I dunno about Purim this year...
I love Purim but I love the spirit of it, not the competition. I can't stand the neighbors showing off their six daughters all matching in some costume I saw for $29.95 in the party store and giving out 65 shalach manos that cost at least $10 apiece.
I mean, yeah, I've been doing themes since I was two and I have pictures of all eleven of us (parents and the siblings) all dressed matching, but they're in costumes we made ourselves and with a theme we worked on together as a family project. It wasn't about my mother showing off her brood to her friends, it was about us kids getting together for a day of creative fun.
There was no pressure as a kid. Purim was pure fun. Sure, I lost my cool when a sister wore our "secret" costume to her purim masquerade a few days before the actual unveiling and I got mad if a brother wanted to be a soldier instead of the garbage collectors we were doing that year, but still, it was all in good fun.
Then I get married and have my own kids and I'm learning what Purim is all about in the adult world. My FaceBook home page is FULL of my friends obsessing over their themes and costumes and the last item that MUST go into their mishloach manos. I'm starting to feel inferior and even a tad resentful that my husband won't allow me to blow my last three paychecks on fancy chocolates no one likes and bottles of wine. Oh, and three Sundays baking Boston cream pies and Biscotti. (Please, I'm kidding)
Just as a by the way- for those friends who are baking- don't bother. If you have kids under the age of ten in your home, everything homemade goes right in the bin. I have a three year old baker here too and I know EXACTLY what goes into your cookies. Snot sweat and more snot.
So not my thing.
Which is not to say I don't go a little crazy.
I am a perfectionist after all and I do want my kids to look good and I want to be proud of whatever presentation we decide to give.
So while my mishloach manos isn't anything special (think everything that was ten for a dollar in the supermarket) and our costumes are pretty basic (black hat, shabbos vest, cane, and money necktie, or in my daughter's case, a pillowcase stuffed to look like a bag of money) the one thing I pride myself on every year is my poem.
You liked it last year, so here's the one we're doing now! (Our theme is Monopoly)
Money money years ago
It started with a king,
He ruled 127 countries
And monopolized everything.
He threw a party for all his subjects
But then his queen refused to dance,
So he shut down her accounts
And said “You lost your Chance.”
When his deed hit him hard,
He sent out a new bill
Said “I’m looking for a Queen,
Vashti’s place to fill.”
Girls from all over the country
Basked in Hagai’s makeups and scents
They were banking on this to get rich quick
And would spare no expense.
Esther had all the properties
Achashverosh wanted in his wife
He took one good look at her
And signed the dotted line for her life.
But although he kept asking her
“A penny for your thoughts”
Esther kept her identity secret
And wouldn’t allow it to be bought.
It may have bothered the king greatly
But soon he had troubles of a capital order
Mordechai found two traitors
And the king had them drawn and quartered.
Then all was forgotten
When Haman proposed his new endeavor
With moneybags as a bribe
He hoped to be rid of the Jews forever
But Achashverosh didn’t much like the Jews
And so gave Haman the Royal seal
Said “Business is business”
And “I’ll fund the whole deal”
Haman set a lottery
He let the die cast the date,
Though he didn’t credit the actions the Yidden took,
When they found out about their fate.
When Charvona came to teller,
Esther asked for a fast,
“For three days of davening I appeal,
Before the king’s patience I’ll tax”
“I’d treasury your company tonight,” Esther said,
“And please make Haman aware.”
The king was interested in her offer,
And promised he and Haman would be there.
The King asked for her trust,
Begged her to get the worries off her (community) chest,
But “Please come tomorrow night”
Was Esther’s only request.
Buy night Achashverosh couldn’t sleep,
And called for Haman’s advice,
“I need to give someone a bonus,
Give me an idea that’s nice.”
So he expressed a fanciful vision
“Weal-the king means me of course!”
But when Haman heard he’d be leading Mordechai
It was like a Railroad hitting him at full force!
His daughter re-vault-ed him in public,
He didn’t much like this game,
And when he had to run to Esther’s party,
He thought he was going insane.
Only one thing had him laughing all the way to the bank,
The thought of cashing in Mordechai’s chips,
So he rushed in to his private party
With a confident swagger in his hips.
When the party passed Go
Eshter laid her cards on the table
“This man has been nickel and dimeing you!”
And she told Achashverosh all she was able.
Obviously, Haman went to Jail,
And he was given free parking on a tall tree.
He and his family hung high above the boardwalk,
For all Shushan’s residents to see.
With the flip of a coin, our nation was saved,
Their mazal was changed in a blink.
Haman was gone, the gezeira was over,
From rags to riches in a wink.
All the Yidden Sell-ebrated,
Once the news got around,
Hashem performed a huge nes,
And the Jews were now safe and sound!
Today we give Mishloach manos, we eat a seuda
And are “b’simcha adei ad”,
And of course we do matanos l’evyonim
Giving dollars “l’chol haposhet yad”!
So this is the story across the board,
What the megilla has to say.
Take note and remember it well,
And monopolize the day!
A Frelichen Purim!