It seems that the concept of teshuvah is missing from the story of purim.

although the megiilah does say:

וּבְכׇל־מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה מְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר דְּבַר־הַמֶּלֶךְ וְדָתוֹ מַגִּיעַ אֵבֶל גָּדוֹל לַיְּהוּדִים וְצוֹם וּבְכִי וּמִסְפֵּד שַׂק וָאֵפֶר יֻצַּע לָרַבִּים (Also, in every province that the king’s command and decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing, and everybody lay in sackcloth and ashes.)

This passuk seemingly shows that the jewish people were simply concerned and fearful about the actual predicament which they found themselves in.

There does not seem to be any mention about doing teshuvah or repenting to God to save them.

The Gemara Megillah 14a makes a reference to the teshuvah of the jews, and this teshuvah seems to be in a manner of Teshuvah M'yirah.

I am most interested in finding out what the teshuvah was attoning for, did they recognize their error of attending the feast? Was there another major sin committed that they were attoning for? Furthermore, the comparison with Yom Kippur seems to associate Purim with Teshuvah, but it seems to be a difficult topic to pinpoint.

Any help with this is very appreciated. Can anyone point me in the direction to delve deeper into this topic.

  • 1
    What's the point of fasting and sackcloth if not teshuva?
    – shmosel
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 22:20
  • 1
    @shmosel mourning
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 23:43
  • @DoubleAA maybe there is an argument that the point in mourning is (at least partly) for teshuva too? You certainly see a lot of people come to say kaddish for parents even though they have not attended shul very often before, and a lot of them keep the habit up afterwards! I think Rambam writes that the fasting, weeping and wailing are all behaviour that is appropriate in a time of national crisis too, and I think that is in the context of teshuva. Certainly fasting seems to be more related to teshuva than just fear? Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


It is interesting that the word isn't used +1

On your pasuk: Malbim states that Evel Gadol, great mourning, means the Jews were doing Teshuva:

אבל גדול ליהודים תשובה ותפלה ואבלות

A great mourning among the Jews: Teshuva; tefila; mourning

Joseph ibn Yahya explains that they did the Teshuva through the fasting, weeping and lamenting:

אבל גדול ליהודים ... עושים תשובה על ידי צום ובכי ומספד

A great mourning among the Jews: ... they did Teshuva through fasting, weeping and lamenting.

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