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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Purim Sameach

Since the Orthonomic posts relating to Purim have been covered (see MominIsrael and Ari Kinsberg) and the auxilary topics of Drinking on Purim have been covered (see IndependentFrum Thinker, SerandEz, Moshe Abelesz, Yingerman, DAG, Married and Navigating Jewish Brooklyn, Orthomom). Most importantly see what Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski (posted by DovBear), Rabbi Horowitz have to say.

I'm just sitting back and wishing my readers a Purim Sameach and most importantly a safe Purim. The only thought I feel is worth adding at this point is that the Yeshivot who allow (and even encourage or push) drinking (or smoking or other substances) do a tremendous disservice to the parents who are trying their best. There are enough bad sights and unsavory places that we need to be weary of. The Yeshiva should not be one of those places even one day a year! The scene on Purim is oftentimes deplorable. I hope that we will have the strength to tell our children that they cannot go to the local Yeshiva on Purim when they are old enough because based on the stories that some of the teenage boys who have befriended my husband tell, we just cannot allow it period. And it makes me sad.

As for mishloach manot, I have to wonder when those who really go "all out" on in the mishloach manot department find the time and the energy, much less the money. A few baked goods and some candy or a piece of fruit in a bag is plenty of work for me. Let's just say that baking in the kitchen with my kids is a bit of a zoo. My son really enjoys "helping" Mommy and I am mastering the art of guestimating when it comes to baking. He has probably memorized all of ingredients that go into baked goods, but has no clue about the science behind the art. Why not throw in some extra flour? How about some vanilla Mommy? You mean there is a difference between the 1 on the teaspoon and the 1 on the tablespoon? Doesn't look like a difference to me, they both say one!

This year my husband encouraged me to buy the Purim cards and just fulfill the minimum when it comes to Mishloach Manot. I seem to give it thought every year, but once I'm baking it doesn't really make a difference if I'm dong one batch or four batches. And my packages are so minimal that I'm sure we aren't contributing to any out of control spending. I probably make everything for somewhere between $15 and $30. We like to deliver our little bag of cookies and candies to neighbors, mostly widows or widowers if possible. I don't think I will be switching to the cards anytime soon, especially since I don't want to do away with the spirit that I associate with Purim. But, on that note, I think the cards are great!

One other note regarding Mishloach Manot, please don't be shy about telling people that you do not accept homemade items. The fact that it defies the spirit of Purim, nonewithstanding, I hate to think that perfectly kosher food could be going to waste. There is a comemntary that I read (sorry, no source) that because the Jews did full teshuvah that people could trust their neighbor's kashrut and exchange gifts of food as a sign of that. I don't know the best way to convey that you don't accept homemade items, but RaggedyMom has a neighbor that throws out everything homemae. At the very least you could give it to someone who has no issue.

Today I helped my son make and wrap little packages of his own to give to his friends. We try to make all of the Chagim into a big deal and I try to include our kids in the preparations to the best of my capabilities It isn't easy, but I try to make it fun and keep it under control. We put on our CDs of different Shabbat and Holiday music and have a great time singing and working together. When people hear my preschooler sing they oftentimes ask where he goes to school. Well, the "preschool" is right here in our home, and we don't even have formal lessons. And the biggest benefit is that I don't have to put up with music I don't like as we go straight in for the "real stuff" (nearly all Hebrew and Ladino, but I even tried a little Yiddish Chanukah time-nothing wrong with exposing your children to various sounds and languages). :)

Purim Sameach.


Neil Harris said...

Great post. We also have found pretty cost effective ways to cut down on what we spend for shaloch manos. Enjoy!! Did you see the Agduah statement on drinking?

queeniesmom said...

Chag Samach. A fun Purim project with your son also is "orches D'Haman" my kids loved the story of haman being pulled by his ear, so we make a cookie of his ear. they also liked the idea of eating Haman's ear. what can i say it appeals to little kids (and big ones,too). If you make them just be careful with the oil.

My kids decorate our family baskets and then make for their friends. No themes here, other than what is reasonably priced at the wharehouse store.

What Ladino tapes/cds do you have? I'm always looking for these. My neighbors looked at me as if i was from another planet when I said i had no idea who "Uncle Moishe" is.

Enjoy! Have a wonderful Purim. Shabbat Shalom.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Great post.
My favorite was the last paragraph. So few parents really educate their children anymore, it's really deplorable. Kudos to you. I'm sure your children will turn out all the better due to your efforts.

Anonymous said...

"please don't be shy about telling people that you do not accept homemade items"

so why do you bake for mishloah manot?

happy purim

-ari kinsberg

Anonymous said...

Chag Purim Sameach. :)

Ari Kinsberg said...

on a different subject, in ask shifra's recent post she mentions that she tried to get back her non-refundable application fee. what is your opinion on these fees? i think they are a scam.

SephardiLady said...

MB-We miss you a lot. Hope all is well and a belated Purim Sameach. Sorry I didn't freeze cookies for you this time. Maybe another time. :)

Ari-Great topic. I will have to get to it. Thanks for the other link also. Also, nearly everyone we give to has eaten in our home (since we concentrate on our guests mostly). But I think I have given to those who don't on occassion and wish I knew.

RaggedyMom said...

SL - I always enjoy reading your take on issues - I know so much of what you say will resonate with me.

I am so disturbed by the in-shul drinking that I've seen lately. I really do feel like it has gotten out of hand and to me, detracts so much from the idea of shul as a makom kodesh and turns it into a frat house. I'm referring not to the men (usually older) who are able to drink a little shnaps and be on their way, but to the guys (usually younger) who think that ad d'lo yada is a year-round concept. I have no interest in seeing that, and the accompanying behavior, or having my kids exposed to it. All under the guise of being "heimish" of course. Yuck.

The idea of going all out for mishloach manot totally baffles me - one month before Pesach, no less! I'm glad that I'm aware of who eats homebaked goods and who doesn't, since I hate waste just as much as you do. This afternoon we were able to tote off about 2/3 or more of our stash to the Tomchei Shabbos bin, though I don't wish the cavities and belly aches on the needy any more than I do on my own kids!

It was great to hear about the involved, hands-on approach you take to chinuch. How old is the son you're referring to? Thanks for doing us moms proud!

Miriam said...

Well, I wish people would skip the dairy in the mishloach manos! I don't have an issue with homemade stuff (depending on who it is from, but everything was fine this year) but I had a ton of OU-D stuff to get rid of (we're makpid on cholov yisroel)!! My ILs aren't (long story) so I sent some of it home with them (they came for the seudah) and one of my kids took the rest to school and sorted it among his non-cholov yisroel friends, so none of it was wasted, but I felt so bad that people went to such effort and we couldn't even eat it.