For a number of years now I have been guilty of not getting into proper Purim spirit. Sure, there were reasons aplenty: our family is not together anymore, no money, no job, munchkins are not here, friends turned out to be radishes (non-translatable Russian jargon), Hussein is the President, our community is rotting and stinking from the head, our people are not using their gray matter and behaving like water buffaloes (especially during the Holidays) – well, the list is long, painful, and emotionally exhausting.
Add to this the fact that our enemies like to keep our wounds fresh; they love to make sure that each day of celebration is market by somebody's sorrow – and a very recent one, at that. I would never forget the Seder where one of the guests remarked right before the Shvach Hamatcho “remember the parents of Shalhevet Pass who are just getting up from Shiva”. And when it comes to Purim, we have the massacre at Merkaz Harav, which occurred on Rosh Chodesh Adar, and the murders of the Fogel family, may Hashem avenge their blood, which happened shortly before Purim. Yes, all this definitely adds to a lovely celebration and merriment.
But this year, about a week before Purim, it suddenly dawned on me: we celebrate despite all that! Because in every generation, heck, almost every decade, we have a new Haman who rises and thinks it would be a great idea to get rid of this one “people scattered and separate among the peoples throughout all the” nations. Safety is only a temporary illusion; we are constantly in danger (sometimes more, sometimes less) because we are still in galut – mainly due to our ignorance and sinat chinam. On Purim we remember that an evil bastard wanted to exterminate us all, with the full cooperation of the governing body (who did not even care about the loss of revenue to the treasury); only through the hidden miracles from the Almighty were we saved, and the wheels of fortune turned in our favor. We celebrate the simple fact of remaining alive despite the unbelievable odds! And we also remember once more that “united we stand, divided we fall” - a simple phrase, repeated so many times by so many different people in so many different circumstances – but not loosing its validity none-the-less. We eat, drink, enjoy life, and give gifts to each other; it really is the most joyous day of the year.
And so, this Purim, that's what I did – tried to celebrate it in the proper spirit. I am still jobless, money-less, and lonely; our community is still, well, by far not perfect; our people still behave like water buffaloes and still propagate idiocy and sinat chinam; our enemies are more powerful than ever and are coming at us from all sides; and the wounds from loosing our brothers and sisters to unending hatred are very fresh – but I smiled, sang, and danced regardless. Granted, I was costume-less (due to poor planning last fall), but as half of my wardrobe and accessories are “strange” and “funny” anyway (or the results of manic shopping choices), they did it instead of a real costume.
Also, went to my by now usual Purim meal in Riverdale. The food was great (I even ate and enjoyed turkey!!!), the company pretty good, and I had a great excuse to escape Brooklyn. Finally tally on the emptied bottles – 8!!! Americans can't drink properly, man!
I hope your Purim also rocked, peeps – because, hey, we are still alive and kicking! Am Yisrael Chai! Le'Chaim!