This is a reading comprehension lesson to test
your ability to understand information written in
English. Read the information below
and then answer the 5 test questions.
if you cannot understand something on this page,
then use the Fun Easy English
(opens in a new window)
Purim (Hebrew: פּוּרִים Pûrîm "lots",
from the word pur, related to Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish
holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish
people in the ancient Persian Empire which was forming a plot to
destroy them. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of
Esther (Megillat Esther).
According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King
Ahasuerus (presumed to be Xerxes I of Persia), planned to
kill all the Jews in the empire, but his plans were foiled
by Mordecai and his adopted daughter Queen Esther. The day
of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing.
Purim is celebrated by giving reciprocal gifts of food and
drink (mishloach manot), giving charity to the poor (mattanot
la-evyonim), a celebratory meal (se'udat Purim), and public
recitation of the Scroll of Esther (kriat ha-megillah),
additions to the prayers and the grace after meals (al
hannisim). Other customs include drinking wine, wearing of
masks and costumes, and public celebration.
Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew
calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar (Adar
II in leap years), the day following the victory of the Jews
over their enemies. In cities that were protected by a
surrounding wall at the time of Joshua, Purim is instead
celebrated on the 15th of the month on what is known as
Shushan Purim, since fighting in the walled city of Shushan
continued through the 14th. Today, only Jerusalem celebrates
Purim on the 15th.