Purim marks the unofficial beginning of spring. Winter may not be over, but its icy grip has begun to loosen.
A congregant once remarked he doesn’t come to services because “it’s always Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur.” He should try Purim. It is a raucous, slightly irreverent celebration of an event in Jewish history that many historians are not even certain actually occurred. It is a fantasy, according to some scholars, a whimsical story with larger-than-life characters exaggerated in their buffoonery and malevolence, and glorified for their bravery and daring. The people in the Purim story may not be real, but they do bear a striking resemblance to other real-life tyrants and villains as well as heroes and rescuers throughout our history.
Megilat Esther, which recounts the events of the story, is the only book of the Bible in which God’s name never appears…not even once! The sages teach that this was quite intentional. Purim is not an account of God’s intervention; it’s about human agency and the role we play in determining our own destiny.
There is much in life that is beyond our control. But in the end, the quality of our lives is very much determined by our own attitude. If we see ourselves as being singled out for punishment, or life as a series of tests and trials in which we are always the victim, we won’t be terribly happy. But if we view the proverbial glass as being half full, a cliché to be sure but quite valid, there is going to be a lot more joy and laughter in our lives.
Our experiences at Temple are much the same. There are plenty of occasions for somber reflection. But Purim is a time for revelry—a reminder of the importance of expressing unrestrained happiness. In that spirit, on the weekend of March 15-16, we will pull out all the stops! Saturday evening, March 15th, music and laughter will fill the air. There will be a brief Purim schpiel (a whimsical telling of the Purim story) and laughter with comedian Rabbi Bob Alper, along with plenty of good food and drink sponsored by the Temple Brotherhood.
On Sunday morning the celebration continues at our 10:30 Family Service with an original Purim play written and performed by seventh graders, and more singing and
celebrating. After the service, the fun continues with the TEMTY Purim Carnival at 11:15.
Spring is in the air…the long dark winter is ending. It’s time to rejoice! Join us this Purim -- a time for laughter and joy, a celebration of all that is good in life!
…………Rabbi Robert Goldstein