Abundance of Joy… Not Really So Easy: A Reflection For Purim
Purim‘s celebration is something that I never could truly connect to, aside from the beautiful Mitzvot (precepts) of Mishloach manot (sending your typcial home dishes) and matanot l’evionim (presents for the poor) which I really take seriously, all the rest feels forced to me….
Drink until you can’t distinguish between Mordechai (the good guy) and Hamman (the bad guy), dressing in costumes, going to parties and reading the beautiful and controversial “Megillat Esther” (The book of Esther) which by definition makes me feel ashamed. Why? Because balance (proportions) is missing on that book, specifically that related to punishment, reaction and murder.
During the last weeks I’ve been trying to answer once again the challenge to set up emotionally this celebration, and as always (withPurim) not much came to my mind, but yesterday finally something happened… I found out that with all the material I’ve read, I’ve never succeeded to formulate the correct question about Purim until this point.
Yesterday I asked myself what is the difference between Purim and other Jewish Holidays that actually are really moving for me….
In Rosh Hashana I reflect about renewing, in Yom kipur I try to think how to “improve” my “standing” in the world, Sukkot – nature, Hanukkah (I struggle with Hanukkah – it deserves a full essay) , Passover – freedom, Shavuot – the meaning of receiving the Torah, and Purim – I have to be happy!!???
Why is this idea of “having to be happy” so hard to settle? Then it came!!!! Of course it’s hard! Reflecting about my deeds or thinking about education, freedom and culture are complicated issues but somehow we know how to configure that into our lives; feedback and reflection are (healthily) integrated in our lives. Our “civilization” at some point has discovered that those are good “economical” ideas and we learned how to internalize them in our corporate and global world. But Purim is placed in a different site. Let’s try some other questions…
Why is it so hard to set up a date with my wife? Why do we feel comfortable saying that we will skip something because we have obligations and why are our obligations usually not leisure or sharing time with friends and family?
Purim comes to remind to us something that our culture tends to reject: happiness should also be an obligation for us! We dedicate a full month (the month of Adar) to reflect about it, not just to being happy on that specific time but during this month to assume the commitment of “training those muscles” hoping that this “exercises” will be added to our routine!
So what’s the idea of the missing “balance”? And about not distinguishing between good and evil or reading a super controversial book?
I think that our daily life is full of “missing balances” but we have become used to it because this lack of proportions is part of our routine and therefore we don’t perceive it.
The month of Adar and its peak of expression in Purim‘s celebration, with all its costumes, come to physically shake our mind! Yes, a strong movement is required in order to remind us to get some balance, and it is actually facilitated by doing “crazy” things, in other words, by putting our usual balance – proportions aside!
So I don’t know what about you, what you need to do in order to relax, to build your happy emotional “you”, but just do it! Don’t postpone and don’t miss this opportunity.
For my part I will relax a bit, I will drink some beers, and probably I will go to a party. I will shake a bit my mind to get some balance and this year I will dress up with my more relaxed costume! Ha, not the one of Purim!