Purim Renewed

Reflections

As a young child, I loved the holiday of Purim. I would dress up, usually as Queen Esther, head to temple, watch the Purim Spiel and win prizes from playing games at the carnival. One year, dressed in a poofy 80s pink dress, I even ended up in the local newspaper!

But, likely, between the ages of 9-22, with the exception of one celebration in Israel, I forgot about the holiday. It seemed, after all, to be a children’s holiday. My love for the holiday of Purim returned when I entered rabbinical school, and discovered the importance of the holiday as an adult.

Purim for adults looks quite different from Purim as a child. There’s no carnival or prizes, but the theme of the day remains the same. For all year long, we take ourselves seriously, don’t we? We dress “appropriate” for holidays, for services. Our worship is serious, the sermons are, too. That’s why I love Purim — on Purim we let loose. On Purim, we are commanded to rejoice! On Purim we are given permission and even encouraged to dress in costume, we are encouraged to shout, boo during the service and megillah reading.

My love for Purim has been renewed because I’ve come to realize that we take ourselves so seriously every other day of the year. But, it’s also important to remember humor and fun. Purim allows us to take time and laugh at ourselves.

Every year since I was 22 years old, I’ve built up a costume wardrobe, literally. And recently, I’ve brought the spirit of Purim into other days of the year. You may have seen a picture of three rabbis in EMOJI costumes from the first day of religious school. Why did I ask Rabbis Limmer and Zinn to wear a silly costume with me on the first day of school? Because we danced around at our open assembly to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, a pop song that our students know and love. Because, yes, learning at Sunday school is serious, but what I’ve learned from my favorite holiday of Purim, is that it can be fun, too. And sometimes, even silly.

If you’ve ever wondered why there’s a picture of Rabbi Limmer in a dinosaur costume passing out Challah on the TV screen montage in our lobby, it’s because our preschoolers love the song about the Dinosaur welcoming Shabbat. So we surprised our preschoolers on the last Tot Shabbat of the year, showing up dressed as dinosaurs. People laughed, the kids had a great time, and we did, too.

As we journey through the winter months, bringing the light of Chanukah into the darkness of our world, celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our winter holiday season concludes with Purim. However you choose to celebrate, take a moment this year, and remember to let loose, have a little fun, and most importantly, remember that in the Hebrew month of Adar, we increase happiness.

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