Purim is the one time of year when we go to synagogue and do all the things we would never do any other time. And we encourage our children to do them too. By that I mean: we laugh and talk loud and generally misbehave. There we are, at services and we’re yelling, cavorting and making a racket! Our kids grog their groggers, make loud hissing sounds and stamp their feet whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, so they can wipe out the evil name. Don’t we all just love it too!
Really, it’s okay, all this acting out. According to the Megillah, we’re actually commanded to right? This is the way it’s supposed to be on a day when we celebrate a victory over an enemy who tried to destroy our people.
We eat well too. If we’re lucky, someone has made old-fashioned kreplach. But of course there’s always Hamantashen, those fabulous cakey-cookies fashioned to resemble Haman’s tri-cornered hat. Hamantashen may now be readily available all year long but they taste especially good on Purim as we remember our sweet victory.
In the midst of all the merriment though we should stop for a moment to think about one of the other, more serious and significant lessons in the story of Queen Esther, and that is the importance of our continuing relationships with our family, friends and all who make up our community. It is always a mitzvah to give food to those in need. But it has become especially fitting on Purim to perform the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot, to reach out to those whom we care about by offering gifts of food.
Purim food gifts shouldn’t be a matter of one-upsmanship with anyone. You don’t have to spend a lot of money buying stuff that’s elaborate, fancy or expensive. In fact, a homemade morsel of something delicious may be just the right thing to show you care. Homemade candy or scones or salsa or chutney or pie or cake. Anything really. Maybe Lemon-Blueberry Muffins or Banana-Cranberry Streusel Muffins. Or both!