Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Purim report (slighly belated): Two out of four

The four mitzvot/commandments for Purim are:
  • hearing Megilat Ester/the Book of Esther read/chanted aloud
  • mishloach manot--sending packages of food to one another (some say that one must send at least two kinds of ready-to-eat food, preferably requiring two different b'rachot/blessings, to at least two people) on Purim day
  • seudat Purim/(eating) a festive Purim meal (on Purim afternoon)
  • matanot la-evyonim/(giving) gifts to the poor
Well, we fulfilled two mitzvot out of the four.  But at least we did a good job with the two that we fulfilled.

We not only heard the Megillah, we helped chant it.  Years ago, I was given a choice of chapters, and chose chapter 7, in which Queen Esther springs her trap on the villain Haman and causes him to be hung by King Achashverosh.  I enjoy the challenge of chanting the reading as dramatically as possible while staying strictly within the traditional cantillation.  My husband also chants a chapter, which challenges him in a different way--good luck trying to find practice time during tax season if you're a CPA.

Our mishloach manot delivery was a "two-fer," two mitzvot for the price of one--we delivered mishloach manot to some congregants who had recently undergone surgery, and stayed for bikur cholim/(a) visit(s) to the sick.  We were happy to be able to cheer them up.

The bikur cholim visits delayed us enough that, by the time we got to the seudat Purim, it was no longer Purim.  Oh, well.  Sometimes, one mitzvah trumps another.

As for forgetting to donate matanot la-evyonim . . . oops!  No good excuse.  So we made a donation the next day, on Shushan Purim, instead.  It didn't fulfill the mitzvah of donating on Purim, but hey, tzedakah/charity (literal translation:  righteousness) never hurts.  My personnal favorites for matanot la-evyonim are Mazon:  A Jewish Response to Hunger and/or American Jewish World Service.

Slightly after the fact, I hope that all of my Jewish readers had a Purim Sameach/Happy Purim.

Speaking of tzedakah, next up is Maot ChitimHappy housecleaning, everyone.  (Oy.)


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