Purim-Sign---English

The Hebrew month of Adar is here and joy is in the air. As the festive holiday of Purim approaches, preparation is in order. It’s time to prepare mishloah manot baskets for friends and family, set aside money for matanot la’evyonim, get some costumes for the big and little ones alike, and make a menu for the beautiful Purim seudah. And when Purim finally comes around, be sure to remember what a holy and exceptional day it truly is, so we can grab this once-a-year amazing opportunity for prayer and inspiration.

Mishloah Manot

In the weeks preceding Purim, Jews across the globe become occupied with preparing mishloah manotbaskets, bags or boxes in order to fulfill the mitzvah of giving “gifts” to at least one other person on Purim day.

Before you begin preparing your mishloah manot, make a list of all family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues that you would like to give to on Purim. Then go to the nearest dollar store buy enough baskets, bags or boxes, and at least two foods to fill each package with. And don’t forget to make colorful labels with your family name on them so your recipients know the mishloah manotis from you and your bunch.

The purpose of giving mishloah manot is to fulfill the mitzvah and to strengthen the warm bonds of camaraderie among Jews. So there is no need to spend an inordinate amount of time or money on your mishloah manot. If you are the creative type, or your kids really enjoy coming up with themes and putting together bags, then shop and stuff to your hearts delight. But before you overdo it, remember that two items and a nice presentation for at least one person is all that is required.

GIFTS TO THE POOR

While we are running around giving mishloah manotto our neighbors and relatives, it is imperativenot to forget those who are in need of our assistance. So if you are approached by a poor person on Purim, give as much as you can with a warm smile and an outstretched hand. Involve your children in this special mitzvah of giving money to the poor on Purim day.

HIDDEN BEHIND THE MASK

We dress up on Purim to symbolize the fact that Hashem, in His infinite kindness, orchestrated the salvation of the Jewish people under the guise of nature, as events which appeared coincidental were in fact specifically arranged and caused by our Father in heaven.

Children love to wear costumes. You can go to any party store or Purim store to choose from an adorable and colorful selection of policeman, firefighter, clown, or bumblebee gear. To really bring the Purim story to life, dress your children up as people mentioned in the Megillah, from Queen Esther to Mordechai. Adults can wear colorful hats, scarves or a fun necklace to get in the spirit.

SEUDAT PURIM

It is advisable to prepare the menu and begin cooking for the Purim seudahin advance, so you can enjoy Purim day and take advantage of all the special opportunities it has to offer.

The Purim feast is unlike any other in the Jewish year. In addition to delicious food and wine, the meal is characterized by its fun and happy atmosphere – horns tooting, silly antics and grown men singing and dancing together for hours on end.

POWER OF A PURIM PRAYER

Purim is one of the holiest days of the year, and thus the opportunity for prayer on Purim is so incredibly powerful. Purim gets extremely hectic, so it takes concentrated effort to make some private time for an audience with Hashem. Set aside as much timeas you can for sincere, heartfelt prayer. There is so much to beseech Hashem for on this holy day. Pray for health, peace, safety, and the coming of Mashiahin a peaceful and joyous way.

May the Jewish nation be worthy of beholding miracles in our times, just as we saw them during the times of Mordechai and Ester, amen.