Grogger is the Yiddish word for rattle. A grogger, or noisemaker, is traditionally used during the reading of Megillat Esther (the biblical book of Esther) on Purim. There are no requirements for how a grogger is made, though the image that most often comes to mind for a grogger is a rectangular box, usually made of metal or wood, attached to a cog that allows it to be spun on a handle. This type of noisemaker is known musically as a ratchet. A grogger is used to “blot out” the name of Haman, the antagonist of the Purim story, during the reading of the Megillah. This custom most likely stems from the Torah; Deuteronomy 25:19 states: “you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Since we learn in Esther 3:1 and 9:24 that Haman is a descendant of Agag the Amalekite, we are commanded to blot out his name. Further textual support for this practice is found in Proverbs 10:7, which says: the memory of the righteous is invoked for blessing, but the name of the wicked rots. Some people hold the opinion that groggers should not be used as the noise could prevent some from hearing the words of the Megillah.
With Purim and the Megillah reading this week, now is the perfect time to make a grogger! Continue reading for instructions to make a grogger with your child. This activity is an example of the types of projects students at Heilicher do in our Makerspace. The Makerspace, which opened in 2018, is a self-directed workspace where students can tinker, try solutions, collaborate, and problem solve with one another. The hands-on character of the Makerspace provides a “creative playground” where students can explore materials and learn by doing.
What you’ll need for your grogger:
Container (e.g., can, bottle, cardboard tube, cereal box, paper plate)
Filling (e.g., rice, beans, popcorn kernels, buttons, pebbles)
Fasteners (e.g., glue, tape, rubber bands, staples, clips)
Decorations (e.g., stickers, construction paper, tissue paper, markers)
Handle (e.g., popsicle sticks, twigs, dowel rods, Lego pieces)
Tools (e.g., scissors, hot glue gun, box cutter, ruler)
We’ll walk you through how to make a grogger using just two paper cups (styrofoam or plastic works too), tape, and your filling and decorations of choice.
Fill one cup with any filling that will make noise when shaken.
Place the second cup upside down on the other, rims lined up, and wrap tape around the rims to hold the cups together and allow the filling to flow between the two cups.
Decorate the outside of the cups however you want!
Feel free to experiment with other materials. You can also give your child an extra challenge: Make a grogger that makes noise but isn’t too loud; make a grogger you can use with your feet; make a grogger so that a deaf person can feel the vibrations; make a recyclable or compostable grogger; etc.
Now you’re ready to make noise at synagogue or for fun at home!
Adapted from jteach.org.