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The holiday of Purim is known mostly for the Costumes that we wear along with obligation to drink and give food gifts to each other. One of the lesser known commandments, or mitzvot, related to Purim is the reading of the Megillah and the obligation to erase Haman’s name. We do this by shaking or spinning a grogger each time Haman’s name is mentioned.
The grogger used on Purim is essentially a noisemaker akin to a rattle. It has a handle and there is a cog attached to the handle. There is a piece of wood, metal or plastic attached to the far edge of the frame and when it is spun, it makes a noise. The rattle mechanism may or may not be enclosed by some kind of casing to keep the mechanism from breaking.
When picking out a grogger you have several options available. A wooden grogger allows for the most freedom if you wish to be artistic. Because it is made of wood, it can be painted with almost any scene imaginable. The most common things to appear on a wooden grogger are scenes from the Purim story, objects related to Purim, names, Jerusalem, masks or flowers. These groggers make great gifts and are the loudest groggers available. Plastic groggers can be almost any color imaginable, but they usually are two colors that are intentionally mismatched as this adds to the festivity of the holiday. These groggers are made identically to wooden groggers.
The most expensive and most inexpensive groggers are made of Metal. On the affordable side are groggers made of steel. These are simple groggers that have the rattle mechanism inside the grogger. They usually are a circular, rectangular or oblong shape. The most expensive groggers are made from precious metals such as pewter and silver. They are made like the wooden groggers, but are usually more fancy as they are often engraved with verses from the megillah along with vines or Jerusalem.
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.
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.
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.