As I write the words, we’re a month out from Purim — the Shpiel is coming together, the choir is getting ready, a raucous new show is around the corner. I want to take a moment to reflect upon the meaning of the mitzvot associated with Purim.
1) We chant the Megillah; we recount the tale. We cheer the heroes and boo for the villian. Why? Because our stories are important — they’re part of us. Those crazy plays I’ve been working on all these years — it’s all part of an old tradition of merrymaking in Jewish communities around the world.
2) We give alms to the poor. Poverty doesn’t go away. We do battle with it; we try to craft policies which help the needy. On Purim, a day of gratitude and joy, we reach out. It could be putting money in the tzedaka box at shul Thursday morning of Purim (3/21) or giving money or needed items to Daybreak, it could mean volunteering at Macon Outreach.
3) We share a special (se’udah הדועס ) meal as a way of expressing our gratitude. Great meal, by the way, coming up on Wednesday night (6pm) March 20!
4)We exchange goodies — shalach manot, explicitly mentioned in the Megillah. It’s part of the Purim magic.
All of these things speak to the joy of Adar. Because of the Jewish Leap year we actually have two Adar’s — a double dose of joy. We need it!
I hope to see y’all at shul for Big Easy Purim!