Purim: The Story of the Megillah

Unit on the story of Megillat Esther, the different subjects that appear in that story and the values we can learn from it: characters in the megillah and their development, features of the plot, etc.

Unit Ages: 9-11, 12-14 | 4-5 lessons


The story of Megillat Esther has many layers of meaning, in terms of both the characters and the plot. Unlike other holidays, the whole story of Purim is read on the holiday and many children are familiar with the plot of the story. We will learn about the ideas and values that we can learn from a close reading of the story and their implications for our own lives.

Desired Outcomes

Big Ideas

The ideas in the Purim story about the human ability to effect change and the effects of our actions are relevant to our own lives.

Essential Questions
  • How do we form identities that remain authentic and true to ourselves?
  • What can we learn from different generations?
  • How do challenges and struggles lead to growth?
  • he students will be familiar with the story of Megillat Esther and the main characters in that story.
  • The students will be familiar with Purim customs and the relationship between these customs and the holiday story.
  • The students will be able to draw connections between aspects of the story and their own lives.
  • The students will be able to identify subjects and ideas associated with the story, such as the hidden and the revealed, changes in our lives, etc.

Assessment Evidence

What evidence will students provide to demonstrate that they:
Know the knowledge; Can do the skills; Can respond thoughtfully to the EQs and BIs

The teacher will determine a means for assessment before beginning to teach the curriculum module.

Learning Experiences

Possible Unit Plan

To remind the students’ of the story of the megillah, you can show them this presentation, which summarizes the plot of the story. For students who already have a basic knowledge of the story, you can start off with an activity based on the What’s Connected to Purim? worksheet, on which they are asked to circle the pictures related to the holiday. Have the students compare their answers with those of their classmates. It turns out that all of the pictures are related to Purim, a holiday that is complex and has many themes. Over the course of the learning, the students will become familiar with different ideas that can be learned from the Purim story.


Content study:

  • At this point, examine the relationship between the Purim story and the customs of the holiday and note the themes that are present over the course of the story: reversal of fortune/transformation and the revealed and the hidden.
  • Use the resources Characters in the Megillah and Ve-Nahafokh Hu – Topsy Turvy to learn about the ideas of reversal of fortune and personal transformation. These resources present the transformations experienced by the characters in the megillah and the general ideas of transformation and reversal of fortune, from which we learn about our ability to change and to cope with changes and reversals in our own lives.
  • Study the resource Hidden and Revealed – Central Motifs of Purim. This theme is expressed in different ways over the course of the Purim story, sometimes involving deliberate action and sometimes not, and affects the individual characters in the story, as well as the entire nation.


Unit closing / assessment:

Go back to the Essential Questions for this unit and check whether they were answered. Focus on what we’ve learned from the megillah and the experiences of the characters that we can apply to our own lives. Have the students choose one of the insights from the megillah and write it down as a heading on a piece of paper. Under that heading, have them write about how they can apply that insight to their own life, connecting their answer with the megillah.