The Talmud teaches us Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha: With the arrival of (the month of) Adar, our joy increases. How interesting that the month in which we celebrate Purim is the only month with this moniker. What is it about Purim that would be the cause of this statement? Certainly, the defeat of Haman is cause for celebration, but there have been other defeats in our long history. We are also taught that it is a mitzvah to imbibe sufficiently to not know the difference between the phrases “bless Mordechai” and “curse Haman”. This can lead, however, to embarrassing behavior, poor choices, and even dangerous consequences.
Much of our celebrating is frequently geared towards children, and that is good to the extent that it engages our children in the joyous elements of Jewish life. By focusing on our children, however, we have sometimes created what I call “pediatric Judaism”. There is much that is beautiful and glorious that adults can and should partake, but they might be inhibited because of our child-centered attitudes. This is why, for example, that I write Purim shpiels for an adult audience and utilize adult actors. Adults can also have fun on Purim, and I can tell you that the cast has been enjoying the rehearsals. Some of the ad-lib remarks are quite funny.
I warmly welcome you to a joint celebration of Purim with New Light Congregation on Wednesday evening, February 28 beginning at 6:00pm with dinner (rsvp required by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org). This will be followed by an evening service featuring melodies taken from popular music of a wide range. Megillat Esther will be chanted publicly, in some cases in voices. The Purim shpiel is entitled “A Farklempt Purim” and incorporates references to movies and television, challenging you to catch the reference. You can see that this is an evening for all generations, children and adults. For those concerned that this is a school night, that is true, but our children need to see the fun, sometimes zany, side of Judaism, and this only occurs once a year.
It has been, and continues to be a difficult week as the consequences of the Parkland shooting unfold. Not to minimize the tragedy or insult the memory of the deceased, but we could use a brief diversion, and Purim is just the right event at the right time. Please join us. I will save you a Hamantaschen.