Happy Purim-all Year Round
Let me tell you about last years’ Purim meal. It was the best- really one to be remembered. It actually started out with a “minor” mishap, which turned into a great happy time! You see, my son Avi decided to make Hamentaschen- all by himself- for the Purim meal dessert. He actually did the job quite well! He followed the recipe and everything, and even managed to form all the Hamentaschen into perfect little triangles. “Hey, Avi,” I joked, “better be careful, if your Hamentaschen come out too good, I’ll make you bake the dessert every Shobbos!”
The mishap I mentioned occurred approximately one hour after the masterpiece dessert had been placed in the oven, an hour filled with many “Purimistic” distractions: people bringing over Shaloch Manos, my kids’ friends coming over to show off their costumes, the happy sounds of Purim music being broadcasted on loudspeakers from donation vans collecting money for Matanos Laevyonim (money that each Jew donates on Purim for providing the needy with the means to have a nice Purim meal) etc. All of a sudden, the smell of something burning gave us the all too clear message- we forgot to take the Hamentaschen out of the oven!
(The little ones in Purim)
“Oy vey” was my first instinctive reaction. As I opened all the windows in the kitchen to let out the smoke and smell, I started mentally going through the Shaloch Manos packages we had received, trying to choose which sweet item would act as the dessert replacement. But then, I stopped myself in mid-considering: “Wait a minute! Your job now is to make your kid happy! It’s Purim! Leave your dessert deliberations for later!” I grabbed Avi’s hand and exclaimed: “Hey, this is the message of the Megilla! There are no coincidences- this too is for the best! Come on, let’s do a ‘Mitzvah gedolla lihyot besimchah’ dance!” (Popular song meaning: “It is a great Mitzvah to be happy always”) We had a blast, Avi and I, in our slightly smoke filled kitchen. Avi must have been five years old the last time a danced with him!
Then, my husband went to answer a knock at the door. Three teenage Yeshiva students from my next-to-oldest son’s Yeshiva barged right into our living room, singing some lively Purim song, and then politely explained that they were collecting donations for their Yeshiva. (Don’t worry, we’re used to this, they come every year, it’s an annual custom) So while my husband went to get his wallet, Amir and Yair rushed to their bedroom, giggling all the way, and instantaneously returned waving a large wad of Monopoly fake money, gracefully placing it into one of the boy’s hands. “How generous of you!” The Yeshiva boy joked, and the next thing I knew, Yair was riding on his shoulders, with them all singing “This is what is done to whom the king wishes to honor!” A second later Amir was riding on the second Yeshiva boys’ shoulders. By the time my husband came back with his donation, Avi had joined his brothers five feet above the floor. Our seven year old neighbor, hearing all the excitement, knocked, (supposedly) to ask if they could borrow some confectioners sugar. “Hey, come join us! “ My husband said, pulling him into the circle, and then up onto his shoulders. Here I stood in my kitchen doorway, watching the two dance-circles (one on ground floor and the other one a few feet up) going from one Purim song to another, having the time of their lives.
Oh, by the way, just before dessert, my neighbor came over with a Shaloch Manos for us, saying “You made my sons’ Purim!” Inside were: Homemade-confectioner sugar covered: Hamentashen! Our dessert dilemma was solved.
I learned something from this Purim. I learned to try to limit my “worry and decision-making-time” to specific times of the day put aside for this purpose. The rest of the time, I try to “be present” with my kids instead of letting my thoughts wander off…. Not only do my kids deserve it, I do too: It’s a Mitzvah to be happy always!
*The Israeli background, Jewish ideas, and characters of our blogs are real; the stories’ details have been adjusted to make for more enjoyable reading for all our AJudaica customers.