Purim and the Spring Equinox
Purim 2008 falls on the spring equinox (March 20). As we celebrate the Purim story, in which Esther comes out of hiding to save her people, we also celebrate the story of the spring, in which new life comes out of its hiding place in the ground to bring redemption to the world.
This ritual can be conducted after the Purim megillah reading, at the close of Purim, or at the end of the Purimspiel. Those who conduct the ritual, if in costume, should remain in character.
Havdalah for Spring
(A Jewish Ritual to Use in Welcoming the Vernal Equinox)
You will need a cup of wine or grape juice, fresh flowers, and a braided candle.
At this time of the wildness of Purim, we invoke the fruit of the vine as a symbol of life’s joy and delight.
Beruchah at shekhinah eloheinu ruach ha’olam, boreit peri hagafen.
(Holding up cup) Blessed are You, Shekhinah who guides the world, who creates the fruit of the vine.
On this day that spring begins, we invoke the fragrances of new growth, of flowers and grasses.
Baruch ata adonai eloheinu melekh ha’olam borei isvei vesamim.
(Holding up new flowers) Blessed are You, Holy One who guides the world, who creates fragrant grasses.
On this day when we celebrate Esther, the morning star of our people, we honor the lights of fire: the sun, moon, and stars that give light to our sky.
Beruchah at shekhinah eloheinun ruach ha’olam, boreit me’orei ha’eish.
(Holding up candle) Blessed are You, Shekhinah who guides the world, who creates the lights of fire.
As we turn the wheel of the seasons, we ask that the joy of Purim stay with us all year round, reminding us to take in the pleasures of the moment and not take ourselves so seriously! May laughter inspire us, may joy visit us, may peace guide us.
Baruch ata adonai, eloheinu melekh ha’olam, oseh vereishit, asher betevunah meshaneh itim umachalif et hazmanim. Od kol yemei ha’aretz zera vekatzir, vekor vechom vekayitz vechoref veyom velailah lo yishbotu. Baruch ata adonai mevareich hashanim.
Blessed are You, Holy One who guides the world, who fashions the world, changes the times with wisdom, and turns the seasons. All the days of the earth, planting and harvest, cold and hear, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease. Blessed are You, Holy One, who blesses the years.
(The candle is extinguished in the wine as the spirit of life enters the earth. We open the door to welcome in the spring.)
Eit dodim kalah, bo’i legani (2x)
Parcha hagefen, heineitzu harimonim (2x)
Neranena, nezamera, neranena, nezamerah (2x)
It is the time of love, O bride,
come into my garden.
The grapevine has blossomed, the pomegranates have flowered.
We will rejoice and sing.
Rabbi Jill Hammer is the founder of Tel Shemesh and the author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons.
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