While Tu B’Shvat was my first jewish holiday since I started this journey, tonight was the first biggie. Purim. It is the holiday where we celebrate rest from our enemies–the story of Queen Esther, Mordechai, and the evil Haman. We eat Hamantaschen, dress up in costumes, and duck when the Rabbi pelts candy at us.
Purim is kind of like halloween, kind of like a homecoming parade, and kind of like NOTHING that I’ve ever seen in a sanctuary. I had read about it and gotten a skewed idea of what Purim might be like from Jay. He said that it is when you drink until you black out, cause then you don’t remember what Haman stands for. I finally emailed a woman at Temple to find out–are people going to be drunk? at temple?
She said that the kids (and some adults) dress up in costumes and to avoid sitting in the front–due to candy pelting. Other than that, I was on my own. So today I decided at the last minute to go to the Megillah Reading. In walked Rabbi Schaalman dressed like a Sheik and the rest of the staff and clergy were Seargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Rabbi blew the shofar and the kids all yelled and whooped.
The deal is that the Whole Megilla is read. Every time the names Esther or Mordechai are said, we cheer and candy is thrown into the congregation. Every time the name Haman is said, we boo, hiss, stomp our feet and use the noise makers.
I sat between two five year old boys and just kept ducking. I swear Rabbi Zedek was aiming at me. I just kept laughing and tried to read along, because I don’t know the whole story. That is silly–there is no following along with the megillah. Or spelling it consistently or correctly, sorry for that folks.
Tomorrow night is celebration shabbat and Saturday is the adult purim party, so that will be three nights in a row at Temple. And still, I don’t consider myself religious.