Purim Insanity

I don’t subscribe to the insanity that Purim has become these days, with themes for mishloach manot etc. I am not a scrooge, I just don’t see the need for bankrupting oneself over one holiday. (Pesach, oy, don’t get me started on Pesach). People seem to go overboard spending a crazy amount of money on these food baskets for everybody that they know. I have had hot croissants and different jams delivered to my door at 7 am, a coffee assortment with fresh home baked danishes, an arrangement that looked like a sewing kit but was marzipan and cookies….seems like so much work that just doesn’t get appreciated.

The mitzvah of mishloach manot is to send two items of food to ONE person. Nowhere does it say that you HAVE to give to EVERYONE you know. Or that the basket needs to be ornate and that each one has to cost 25 bucks or more. I understand there is such a thing as Hiddur Mitzvah – but I think it gets totally out of hand. At the end of the holiday you always end up with a ton of junk food that you are never going to eat – it’s a waste.

My friends all know by now that I give a simple mishloach manot, to one person, usually the Rabbi, and if we go out for the seudah, then to them too. Otherwise where do you draw the line? I have friends who make up about 50 baskets!! BUT the kids are a different story. The way I see it much of Judaism can very easily be geared to getting the kids to learn lessons. In our house, the kids get to choose 3 or 4 friends that they want to give to, we make simple packages, decorate them nicely, but we don’t go crazy. Then we drive around the neighbourhood delivering the kids packages to their friends, and their rebbeim, and we soak up the atmosphere that is Purim in Montreal. The kids get to show off their costumes to their friends, and it’s a great carnival atmosphere.

It’s about spending time with family not spending more money than your neighbour. It’s a celebration. We overcame the evil Haman – it’s party time. Let’s celebrate being a nation that has survived countless attempts to finish us – do we have to spend a truckload of money to do so? Absolutely not.

Costumes don’t have to be pricey either – buy Halloween costumes that have gone on sale the day after Halloween, make them yourself, or borrow. I dress up every year, but generally something simple – funky wig, or hula skirt or something. The boys are a lot more inventive. Last year I gave Prince HockeyFan a real Mohawk for Purim, he was a punk – I was the coolest mom in town! (we neatened up his hair before Shabbat, don’t worry). If you just provide it all for the kids, where is their imagination? Let them come up with something on their own.

Anyhow, that’s my two cents about Purim. This year I get to share Purim with all of my men – its going to be awesome!!

Have a happy Purim – please do not drink and drive.

10 responses to “Purim Insanity

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that the pressure to create stunning and creative Shaloch Manos is overwhelming!
    So far, though, I have enjoyed the idea of the “themed packages”. I try to limit the list, but it’s hard- so much family!
    We were lucky this year- we shopped early and got great deals on the different elements inside. In total, we’ve spent the average of 4 dollars per package- with a fun theme. 25-30 packages in total.
    I look forward to showing you pictures and seeing yours.

  2. lady lock and load

    This year you and your husband can dress up as King and Queen! And you can post pics here to show everybody….
    This year especially the Rabbonim are saying to cut down on the Mishloach Manos insanity and give more matanos le evyonim.
    If Mordechai and Esther would have known that mishloach manos would be so crazy in our times, they wouldn’t have instituted it.

  3. Years ago I’d pull all nighters baking. No more. I’m giving some soup, compote and …. haven’t yet decided. I guess a bottle of wine for anyone really important and some bought cookies or halva for others, just the minimum number for two people. But remember, in Shiloh we have two days.

  4. i kinda agree and kinda don’t. you see i agree with the part of not spending truckloads of $$$. you see, for me purim is one of the times in the year that i get to put my creativity to good use. i like to match the theme of my mishloach manos to that of my kids costumes. but, i sew my own, and i send mishloach manos only to close friends, family and teachers. of course as with everything there has to be boundaries, but on purim i like to pull out my artistic side.

  5. Esty —

    I’m with you. My favourite time of year is Purim! I actually have it on my mind all throughout the year. Whenever I come across something that has Mishloach Manot potential, I’ll either purchase a stock of them, or make a note of the special item and where I found it. By the time that the holiday season is upon us, I get right down to work (however, for me, it’s all fun, even if it does take a lot of effort and time). This year, we’re delivering homemade pizzas to the kids’ friends and jars of homemade tomato sauce with wine bottles to our friends. I figure that anything that will not add to everyone else’s chametz inventory is good, BUT providing them with ingredients that will help them finish up their leftover pasta before Pesach will be a warm welcome. Happy Purim to everyone!

  6. lady lock and load

    Very nice idea Esty. I like it! I am just not sure if the tomato sauce counts as a type of food. You are supposed to have two types of foods for mishloach manos. I don’t think of tomato sauce as a food, more like an ingredient.

  7. Lady Lock and Load: WAS NOT expecting to receive a halachic discourse on the contents of mishloach manot. I think that the essence of Judaism is to properly understand the spirit of the laws and not merely the letters used to write them. FYI, we always include chocolate with each delivery (otherwise, it won’t meet our own standards). CHOCOLATE is the only real junk food allowed in our house on a regular basis anyway. Hope you had a Happy Purim. Enjoy cleaning up for Pesach!!

  8. lady lock and load

    I did not give a halachic discourse, I am not a rabbi nor do I pretend to be one. As I wrote, “I am just not sure if…”. I apologise if this annoyed you in any way.

  9. Tomato sauce isn’t a condiment, or an “ingredient”, and if you were to eat a spoonfull of ketchup you would make a “sheHakol” on it. I do not see why tomato sauce, which is a fab idea, BTW, would not be acceptable?

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