Is Purim Over Yet?

Posted by mwallach on March 16, 2011 in Happy Holidays, My Kids, Tribe Members |

Dear That’s Life,

At the risk of being stoned by a masked and angry mob for saying this: I do not like Purim. I enjoy the megillah, love the story with its hidden meanings and appreciate the miracles, but on the whole if we skipped it, I’d be fine.

As a child I relished the gelt that came along with delivering mishloach manot. I have fond memories of making batches and batches of popcorn with my brother in a pot over the stove, shaking it back and forth, as part of what we gave out in our bags. I do not really remember dressing up and there are not too many pictures of me as Queen Esther, but that is not the point. It is what happens on Purim, now that I am the adult and a parent, which makes me completely bonkers.

There is a lot of preparation and stress for a holiday that lasts only 24 hours. One of my kids always wants our mishloach manot to have a theme, to which I am completely opposed. Here’s a theme for you: everything in our bags will have the bracha “borei meinay Costco,” as I just left the store and bought everything I could that would fit in the bags I bought. Take it or leave it: that’s what I’m going with. And if you want to write a poem about it to put in the bags, fine by me. Knock your socks off.

There is also the mishloach manot delivery system that, despite all the planning in the world, takes too much time and leaves at least one person in tears and someone aggravated. My post, however, is in the house: unpacking, repacking and recycling items that were given to us from various mishloach manot that we do not want to keep and can be reinvented for someone else. Don’t sound horrified – we all do it. Try to stop yourself from also insisting that you do not have a bag in your kitchen labeled ‘office’ where all of the baked goods you do not want to eat are placed and ultimately brought to someone’s place of work for all the co-workers to devour. You know you do.

Do not even start me on the, “There needs to be two different brachot in each package” insanity. No there doesn’t and whoever keeps saying that is not only wrong, but making all of us nuts. My aggravation has nothing to do with not wanting all of this food and nosh in the house, as I will ensure it is gone or donated by the end of the week. It is just a hassle for one, single day. While my friend in Israel insists she loves it and that Purim there feels like it is a month long, I don’t feel that way here. (Yet another reason to make aliyah?)

There are, however, some things I like about Purim. (You know me: always lookin’ on the bright side.) My kids are pretty excited and their smiles are often enough to get me through. Plus, one of my closest friends rents a costume and shows up at my house in something more ridiculous than the year before. Last year he was Barney – stay tuned.

Finally, what I truly enjoy about Purim is that it signals the arrival of Pesach, my favorite chag of the year. Do not think for a moment that I am being sarcastic, as I am totally serious. Pesach is the ‘complete immersion’ holiday, steeped in traditions and lasting long enough for all of one’s hard work and preparation to be completely worthwhile. 

We will have a full house this Pesach and, surrounded by friends and family, I will serve hand-grated potato kugel in a pan that was my namesake’s after I cause a small fire from making the ‘z’roah’ on the stove. I will get at least one burn on my right arm and make more matza pizza than I care to admit. We will relish listening to our children say the Mah Nishtanah, which does not get old, and I may even welcome hearing my son scream, “Bow down to me!” while pointing his megalomaniacal four year old index finger. We will hide the afikomen and my kids will dream about the presents they think that they’re getting but that I have no intention of buying. And finally, I will fall asleep on the couch during hallel, never get to say ‘chad gadiya’ and wake up fully clothed to do it all over again.

Let the festivities begin.

MLW

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