February 26, 2018 – Rabbi Chai Levy

Purim: Not Just for Kids

Purim is a great holiday for kids. From dressing up in costumes to making noise when the name of Haman (Booo!) is read, it’s a time to let loose and get a little crazy. But why should the children get to have all the fun?

The truth is: Purim isn’t just for kids. With all of its levity, there is a spiritual significance to the celebration of Purim that is part of the religious life of Jews of all ages. The rabbis of the Talmud said: “Mi-shenichnas Adar marbim be-simcha – when the month of Adar starts, we increase the joy.” The Jewish calendar provides opportunities to express our many human experiences and emotions; there are times for repentance and for mourning, as well as times for joy and for lightheartedness. Purim gives us a day to go wild – to dress up in costumes, to read a farcical story where everything gets turned upside down, to drink “until we don’t know the difference between ‘blessed be Mordechai’ and ‘cursed be Haman,’” and to put on hilarious shpiels (plays) to parody life. Part of taking Torah, Judaism and ourselves seriously is allowing ourselves a day to mock all of these.        

And maybe you thought Purim costumes were just for children, but costumes actually have deep spiritual meaning. When we take off the masks that we usually wear and put on our Purim costumes, we reveal something about ourselves that we usually keep hidden. Ironically, by hiding ourselves, we reveal something about ourselves. In fact, the words “Megillat Esther” (the Scroll we read on Purim) mean at their roots “revealing” and “hiding.” And so Purim is about “revealing what is hidden.” What will your Purim costume reveal about you?

This year, go crazy and celebrate Purim – we need it as much as we need Yom Kippur or Pesach. Come hear the megillah, have a seudah (festive meal with plenty to drink), give mishloach manot (food to your friends), and matanot le-evyonim (gifts to the poor) – these are the mitzvot of Purim, no matter what your age!

Comments are closed.