Stressed? Come and Laugh

Posted on Mar 1, 2017 in Rabbi's Messages

Many of us are under a lot of stress. There are always personal challenges. We have to deal with difficult members of our family, bosses, employees, friends, and students. It’s hard to go very long without unwanted drama. Even if our personal relationships calm down, there are financial challenges with surprise costs associated with our homes, children, and health. And of course, many of us find the political climate in our country disheartening. I hear frequently of your concerns about our current administration and the direction of our nation.

Sigh. So I have to say, we need Purim this year more than ever. We need to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. We need to laugh, drink, and be merry. This is because of Esther’s courage and Mordecai’s leadership that the Jews of Persia were not only saved but were able to defend themselves against their enemies. Bravery and initiative can counter many evil plans and our people have survived for millennia because we adhered to our values. One of them is remembering our past. Our history lives in us and we transmit the stories of our people to our children. We have wonderful mitzvoth with meaningful rituals and customs. And we have excellent ethical teachings that instruct us to be compassionate and to take care of those in need. There really is a lot to celebrate.

This year Purim will take us to the days of the Wild West.  There’ll be outlaws, a drunkard (well, after our early l’chayim, there may be a few more), sheriff, traveling salesmen, rail workers, and temperance league women (Okay, save your boos for Haman).  Come in costume on Sunday morning, March 12 at 9:30 a.m. sharp. We’ll have prizes for both
adults and kids for best get-up. The shpiel is one of a kind, written and directed by our incredibly talented Sharon Matalon.  By eleven, our western Purim carnival will begin. There’ll be games, photo booth, prehistoric pets, shooting gallery, pie eating contest, and gold mining. Food will include hotdogs, chili, hamburgers, salads, and more. I hear a rumor that there may be saloon spirits for adults.

The essence of Purim is to be joyful, silly, as we celebrate our people’s survival. On this day we read the story of Esther, eat Hamentaschen, deliver Shlach Manot, “portions of food” to friends, give charity to the poor, and drink and be merry. The rabbis stated: Mi shenikhas adar marbim be-simcha meaning “with the start of the month of Adar we greatly increase joy.” Well, the Hebrew month of Adar is upon us and so is Purim.  At Temple Beth David, we take celebrating very seriously, and we look forward to celebrating with you on Sunday, March 12.