“So, Yair” I innocently asked “what do you want to dress up as this year on Purim?” (Yes, I should have known better than to let imaginative Yair Belz decide what costume to wear: ) “Imma, my name is Yair, right? Yair in Hebrew means to shine brightly, doesn’t it? Well then, I want to dress up as my own name- a LIGHTBULB! Oh, please Imma? Can I?”
(My little ones, in last years Purim costumes)
In principle, I don’t have anything against light bulb costumes, the only problem is- WHERE AM I GOING TO FIND ONE!? Noam, my always-happy-to-help third grader offered to call up the electric company. “I’m sure I can convince them to manufacture some light bulb costumes. What a great advertising campaign!” Since I just wasn’t as confident as David was in his “bright” (pun intended) idea, I found myself standing in line at one of the “Shekel” stores waiting to pay for a “paint it yourself” face mask. (Ok, it actually cost five Shekel- around Purim time these stores fill up with all kinds of costume paraphernalia, which is obviously a bit more expensive, but still a bargain.) I had already purchased a bottle of yellow paint with which to paint the mask, and a bright yellow rain poncho, to be stuffed with pillows. Now all I needed was the largest yellow helium balloon available, to be tied to Yairs’ shoulder.
As I patiently waited for the Chasiddish-hat-with-hanging-side locks buyers ahead of me, as well as the clown mask, chef hat and apron, and Shaloch-Manos-bag buyers (each bag just one Shekel!), I had some time to daydream. Where did this Purim ‘costume-custom’ come from in the first place? Oh yes, I remember learning in school that all the events related in the Megilla where not at all miraculous, just a long set of “coincidences”, and yet the Rabbi’s of that generation declared Purim as a holiday for all generations- to celebrate G-ds’ HIDDEN guiding hand in our everyday lives. Since the Jews were “scattered and separated among the nations” of Ahasuerus’s reign, re: they weren’t united in loving brotherhood, G-d “arranged things” so that the Jews would be forced to unite in prayer as a result of Haman’s’ decree of Jewish annihilation. Hashem is, as it were, wearing the mask called: coincidence.
(Last year he was a Ninja, now he’s a Light-Bulb)
Talking about coincidence-“Oh no!” I thought. “Here is Rivka walking right into the store!” I quickly turned my head before she would notice me- I haven’t decided if I should invite her for the Shobbos afternoon meal- there’s a Bar-Mitzvah this Shobbos and she’ll be walking in from a bit of a distance to our Synagogue. You see, in my family, with all of my five boisterous-bunch-of-boys, by the time afternoon comes around on Shobbos (when you’re not even allowed to use a mop!), my floor isn’t exactly sparkling clean. And what if the Cholent doesn’t come out right?
“Boom!” Three energetic children just pranced into the store and one of them tripped, knocking down the cowboy hat stand. From my angle, I could see his pained expression from the fall. But then, once he turned to his smiling comrades “Hey, (friendly pat on back) just look what you did!” (They obviously were not aware that he had hurt himself) he quickly hid his former expression and pasted on a weak smile, trying to hide his pain. (Once they turned their heads he gingerly massaged his ankle.)
“I guess everyone has a mask that they wear all year round” I mused. Kids want their friends to think they are “tough”- and don’t show they are hurt. Isn’t real friendship supposed to be different?
Maybe we adults aren’t that much different…we want our friends to think we are perfectly organized, our houses perfectly clean at all times, that we have flawless cooking abilities… Is that what real friendship is all about?
“Hey Rivka! Why don’t you come over for Shabbos lunch, after the Bar Mitzvah? You’ll still be my friend even if the floor isn’t sparkling by that time of day, won’t you?” (smile)
“Oh, Revital, how sparkling do you think my floor is on Shobbos afternoon?
-Happy Purim to you all!
*The Israeli background, Jewish ideas, and characters of our blogs are real, the stories’ details have been adjusted to make for more enjoyable reading for all our AJudaica customers.