It is widely known that Purim is often compared to Yom Kippur in its level of holiness, etc. It is said that the spiritual heights to which one can rise to on Purim are essentially unparalleled at any other time of the year.

My question, though, is what would have been if the story of Purim had never occurred? Had the events of Purim never happened would we not have this most-holy of days?

(I suppose this same thing would apply to Chanukah as well. Biblical holidays could be exempt from this because they are there to commemorate events, or were instituted by God specifically for the purpose of purifying oneself and becoming holy [Yom Kippur/Rosh HaShanah].)

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    Anything that has already happened has a 100% probability of happening. While an "alternate history" can be the subject of a novel, it cannot affect the real world. You might as well ask what would have happened if the meraglim had not disheartened the Bnai Yisrael and had failed to convince them. What would have happened if Bnai Yisrael had destroyed the Aigel before Moshe returned or had prevented Aharon from throwing the gold into the fire? Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 1:02
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    it makes me miss all the holidays we don't currently have because their commemorative events never happened.
    – rosends
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 1:28
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    @sabbahillel You can ask those yourself here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/ask
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 3:54
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    If "Purim" wouldn't have happened, then רוח והצלה יבוא ליהודים ממקום אחר Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 5:37
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    And until Purim, what did they have? Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


It's the other way around. Every date in the Jewish calendar has a particular nature, and gives that date the potential for particular things to happen on it. So the 14th Adar had always had the nature of being the holiest day of the year, it was just revealed when Purim happened. Rav Dessler speaks about this in Michtav HaEliyahu (sorry, don't have an exact source).

We can see this in the piyut "Vayehi Bachatzi Halaylah" that we say on seder night. Many, many events in Jewish history connected with redemption happened on seder night, some of them long before the Exodus from Egypt (such as the birth of Yitzhak and the angels coming the year before to inform Avraham).

Similarly, Tisha B'Av has the potential for disastrous events - some, like the sin of the spies happened before the destruction of the temples (and some afterwards, like the Expulsion from Spain). So it would seem that Purim was always of this nature, and so the Purim miracle happened on that day.

  • That's a well known Tirutz, however, it is a bit "buggy", as the potential does not have to be realized. So the 15 of Nissan could stay forever "a potential for Pesach", as Bney Israel could patiently wait for full 400 years, and exit Egypt without all the Exodus story. Another problem is that the fast days, as 17 of Tamuz and 9 of Av were supposed to be days of festivals, but turned out to be disastrous (they will traditionally return to their original designation).
    – Al Berko
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 13:47

As opposed to Pesach where the holiday is because Hashem revealed himself and took us out of mitzrayim, Purim is because we did something. We didn't give up on Hashem even though it seemed he has given up ob us. So if Pesach hadn't happened is a nonsense question because Hashem made it happen. But Purim is a holiday of our efforts, so without the Jews holding steadfast there would be no Purim. (The idea is that because we did something Hashem reciprocated with more then he gives on his own)


Let me tell you a parable, about an ant climbing a building. As it advances, it feels different types of textures, lights, temperatures etc. When it climbs a window it feels hot and shiny, but when it passes a concrete wall if feels dark and cold. For this ant the sequence of the changes is random and sequential, it experiences them over time as it climbs up. So if it was writing his "history" it would write "I've been through tough dark times and times of light and joy".

But for us, seeing the building from aside, the order of floors is very clear, we can see when the ant approaches those dark or good times. So for us, its "history" would be clearly predicted, moreover, it is seen for us as a whole, instead of disjointed fragments.

This idea of a whole 4-dimensional creation (time-space), that's unfolding in time for 3-dimensional us, with all historical events in place is echoed a lot in numerous Midrashim, Meforshim and Kabbalic books.

For example, prophecy, or Ruach HaKodesh, i.g. "seeing the future" can be easily explained by this perception, as in Rashi that brings Gemorah (Meggilah 16b) on Bereshit 45: "וַיִּפֹּל עַל צַוְּארֵי בִנְיָמִן אָחִיו וַיֵּבְךְּ וּבִנְיָמִן בָּכָה עַל צַוָּארָיו" - he wept on two Beit Hamikdashot the are destined to be destructed. There are many interpretations of this kind that vents had influenced not only forward but also backward in time.

THe 4 Galuyot were also destined (as many interpretations suggest).

Another aid is the Mishna in Avot "הכל צפוי והרשות נתונה" - "Everything is seen [at once]". From this point of view, there could be no questions of "what if" as all history is destined from the moment of the Creation.

Concerning Purim - just as the destruction of the first Temple was destined and so the Babylon exile, Purim was necessary to fulfill the establishment of the second Temple, and it was destined just as all other events.

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