This past weekend, we celebrated Purim. Of all the Jewish holidays, this one is my absolute favorite. And it’s not just because there is very little preparation required unlike other holidays. (I’m looking at you, Passover!)
First of all, you get dressed up in costume. Who doesn’t like that? Plus, there’s something fun about seeing your rabbi dressed up like a Rastafarian and your cantor dressed like Groucho Marx.
Next, there’s the story. Good man doesn’t bow down to evil man. Evil man takes offense and plots to kill good man and his entire people. Plot backfires thanks to the workings of the good man’s niece who happens to have been named queen. Evil man is killed instead. There is much celebrating all around. (Well, except by evil man’s family.)
Then, there’s the noisemaking. Most times, you must keep quiet during a religious service. On Purim, however, you can make as much noise as you like – provided that it comes after Haman’s name was said.
You also get to eat wonderful food. Specifically, Hamantashen. These are triangle shaped to represent Haman’s hat. I guess munching on the hat of your enemy is a sign of victory. Given his state by the end of the story, Haman certainly wasn’t using his hat. (I make pretty good Hamantashen, but haven’t done so in years. I was planning on making some this year, but the stomach bug ruined those plans.)
You also exchange gifts on Purim. Most Jews do this Chanukah, but the only reason we do that is because of competitive feelings with Chanukah falling out around the over-commercialized Christmas. In reality, you are supposed to give gelt (money) on Chanukah and gifts on Purim. Granted, the gifts you give are mostly food. Nothing extravagant. Still, it can be fun to get a bag full of goodies.
Finally, there’s a sacred commandment that you must follow. Most sacred commandments come in the form of don’t consume this otherwise tasty food, attend this long and boring religious ceremony, or spend eight days without bread/pasta/rice. This sacred commandment is to drink: heavily.
The specific rule is that you need to drink so much that you can’t tell the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai" and "Cursed is Hamen." I’ll admit that I haven’t followed this rule ever.Then again, I’m not much of a drinker. So I’ll "lend" this sacred commandment to anyone who is looking for a plausible excuse to get drunk. If anyone asks you, just tell them that you’re helping TechyDad celebrate Purim – albeit a bit delayed. (Better late than never!)
I just wish every day could be Purim!
I hope you had a wonderful Purim. 🙂
Aside from the traditional commandments of the day, our family has our own tradition — we bake hamantaschen as a family every year (and, of course, take pictures of the process). I now have pictures going back 12 years of the kids baking.
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