Purim Sameach (Happy Purim)! Purim happens to be one of my favorite holidays, so let’s start out with a few Purim Jokes:
What was Queen Esther’s royal gown made of?
How do we know that Achashverosh had a telephone?
First he gave Haman a ring, then he hung him up.
What’s the point of a hamantaschen?
It has 3 points!
Some people call Purim “Jewish Halloween” or think of it as a time to score some hamantaschen (my favorite Jewish food!) But really, there’s a lot more to this joyous holiday. The theme of resilience and celebrating our survival is found in many holidays during the year, and Purim is where we truly get to celebrate.
When Haman convinced Achashverosh to agree to wipe out the Jewish people, Haman described the Jews as “muzar u’meforad - scattered and separate.” Of course, right now many of us are feeling very muzar u’meforad from our friends and family. While the last year of our lives has often been fraught with worry and sadness, this Purim, I am looking forward to taking the time to celebrate the fact that we have, in fact, persevered and survived. As I scroll through my Instagram feed and see so many of my friends and colleagues across the country being vaccinated, I am reminded that there is genuine hope for the future.
There are four mitzvot that it is customary for Jews to perform on Purim: having a festive meal, hearing the megillah (join us for our Zoom Purim Service on Thursday or Havdalah and Spiel on Saturday evening,) mishloach manot – giving gifts of food to friends and neighbors, and manot l’evyonim – helping those in need. This year, in a time of such great need, I cannot help but reflect on how giving can help contribute to the joy of the holiday and on the important bonds that giving can create, all the more so in a time of social distancing. I cannot help but think, who in our communities might be particularly appreciative of us sending them a gift during this time? How might we help others through matanot l’evyonim this Purim?
This year, we may not have the Purim parades, carnivals, and shenanigans that we’ve grown accustomed to, but I hope that it will only make them feel all the more special in the future. In the meantime, I am find myself feeling inspired by the many options that we do have to remain safe and healthy while still embracing the joy of this holiday.
Mandy Herlich, RJE
Director of ECRS