Friday, March 18, 2011
Get Rid of the Insecurity and Just Enjoy Purim
Over at Matzav, you can treat yourself to typical Purim ranting. I recall at least part of this rant from a Yated gem of the past. It is really a shame that a more lighthearted, fun holiday turns into a stress fest for so many people (particularly the women folk).
Do some people have out of control mishloach manot? Sure. Do some people have misplaced priorities? Sure. Have some people taken a lovely mitzvah promoting friendship and perverted it into yet another competition? Sure. Is there unnecessary pressure? Sure. Do some people spend ridiculous amount of money? Sure.
Can we control any of that? Probably not. But we can work to control our own insecurities (and in turn hopefully raise more secure children who won't feel the need to constantly peak over their shoulders). And perhaps if we work to control our own insecurities, we will start to have more Purim fun, rather than pressure to match the neighbor who has been thinking about a costume to coordinate with the mishloach manot package theme (or is that a mishloach manot package to coordinate with a costume?) since Rosh Hashana.
In the grocery store I ran into a lovely friend who always makes a very attractive mishloach manot packages. We enjoy receiving her package each year and always hide it away to enjoy without the children. As we were talking, she mentioned some of her own insecurities which surprised me because I would love to pull off such a lovely (and frugal) presentation.
Over here in the Sephardi household, we just can't seem to get it right. The goods might taste great, but something always seems to go wrong and it doesn't quite come together as envisioned. It isn't easy combining frugality with participation from children with a reasonable quantity with all of the other things I'm juggling during this time of the year. So, we just do what we can manage and that varies from year to year.
So after a marathon of creating with the kids (who ultimately left me holding the bag because the work isn't as much fun an hour later) and a packaging idea that the assigned packager wasn't quite coordinated enough to pull off, we have a basket full of tasty mishloach manot that weren't quite what I envisioned.
And do you know what? I'm accepting what is. We can give these out with a big smile. And we don't need to worry about what others might bring because this isn't an office gift exchange.
While I am critical of overspending and inappropriate displays of wealth or "wealth", I think we can enjoy other people's Purim fun even if we choose a different route. I don't think that in this lifetime we will ever have themed mishloach manot. And I doubt we will ever have costumes to match our mishloach manot theme because I don't sew and prefer to pick up costumes in the thrift store. But I can still appreciate the creativity of our neighbors who show up in great costumes with nifty packages even if we are putting our cookies and candies on a plain paper plate or brown paper bag and sporting a run of the mill costume. We can appreciate what our friends and neighbors bring us even if we are reciprocating with "less" (just say thank you is a midda I work on with my kids, and Purim is a great time to put that midda on display).
On that note, have a Purim Sameach and enjoy the chag anxiety-free.
And one final note, it is clear that many of us would like to see a sense of balance restored in the kehilla. But I don't think complaining about someone's Three Blind Mice Purim theme is going to restore the balance. I do think working to rid ourselves of insecurities and making choices without offering excuses (be it a choice about mishloach manot, consumerism surrounding yomim tovim, or camp) will rub off on others.