Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Purim!

Purim started last night and runs through to this evening. Around the world, Jews celebrate the victory over Haman, which is recounted in the Megillah (the book of Esther found in the Bible). Haman sought to exterminate all of the Jews found in the Persian empire, but in the end was defeated by the strategies of Mordechai and Queen Ester. Purim is a celebratory holiday, with food and games, and when the story of Esther is read, whenever the name of Haman is mentioned, it is drowned out by noise from the listeners, whether shouts or stomping or spinning graggers. A gragger is a child's noisemaker toy that makes a clacking sound as it is spun around:

Here we come to this blog post. Joanna Brichetto has built a series of LEGO graggers that are a lot of fun. She used Technic elements for the ratchet, and has played with different ideas for the flexible piece that clicks along the gear:

By the way, I would highly recommend Joanna's blog, Bible Belt Balabusta "Hands-on, Jewy projects with kids, for parents and teachers". She writes in there a lot about using toys and fun to introduce kids to their Jewish roots, which is the same idea that I have with this blog (a little narrower in scope in that I focus on LEGO and a little broader in scope in that I'm considering all different religious traditions). A lot of her projects use LEGO, so I'm going to be delving more deeply into her blog for future posts.


  1. Thank you for putting this up. It's an honor for a newcomer to be amongst such august company. And thanks for adding a pic of a real gragger, which is something I forgot to do.
    Just found out that the wooden versions are also used in a Christian context--or at least they are in the Czech Republic, at Easter.

  2. Cool. I didn't know about the Czech tradition. Some Googling led to this page, which has some great photos. I wonder if the use of ratchet instruments to scare away Judas borrowed from the Jewish tradition of blotting out the name of Haman? I suppose to know more it would be necessary to know when these traditions arose and if there was an appreciable Jewish population in this area of Bohemia at the time.

  3. I'm ever so curious about the Judas - Haman thing, myself. Will keep looking.