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Groggers Guide

The holiday of Purim is known for its bright, colorful costumes, energetic parties and overall joyous atmosphere. The holiday also has several commandments that are fulfilled during the course of the day, including giving charity to the poor and giving gifts of food to friends as well as the most important mitzvah, to hear the reading of the Story of Esther.

What is a Grogger?

A grogger is a type of rattle also known as a ratchet that is spun when the name of Haman is mentioned during the reading of the Story of Esther, also known as Megillat Esther in Hebrew.

The Grogger is typically a rectangular shape and is made up of a handle, cogwheel and stiff board that makes noise when it is hit by the cogs. The Grogger makes its noise when spun. However, there are other shapes of Groggers, such as a oblong, ovular shape or circular.

The Use of the Grogger

On Purim, the established custom is to read the Megillat Esther twice, once at the beginning of the holiday and once in the morning of the holiday. During the readings, the tradition is to shake the Grogger at each mention of Haman - the enemy of the Jews during the story who ultimately was defeated. The shaking of the Purim Grogger is also to remember Amalek, the tradition enemy of the Jews who provoked a war immediately following the Exodus from Egypt. Haman is believed to have been a descendent of Amalek.

Materials

Groggers can be made of any sturdy material, but are usually made of plastic, wood or a flexible metal such as aluminum. Precious metals such as silver and gold are typically not used in Groggers because of their fragile nature unless they are accent pieces.

Decorations

Groggers are Judaica items that can be decorated with almost anything imaginable, from simple colorful stripes to fancy depictions of Jerusalem in shades of green, yellow, red, orange, blue and purple. Many Groggers have the word “Purim” in Hebrew or English painted on the top or sides as well as the phrase “Happy Purim”. Other popular decorations include Stars of David, Hamantashen, Masks, Megillah Scrolls. The cities of Shushan - where the events of Purim occurred - and Jerusalem are also common decorations.

Wood Groggers are the easiest type of Grogger to personalize and are often painted with names, scenes from the Megillah and different Judaica items related to Purim, such as Megillah Scrolls and masks.

For More Information

For more information on the holiday of Groggers or other Judaica items, feel free to contact our Judaica experts with any questions or concerns.

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