Did I say it was Purim? One of the other practices for this festival is Mishloach Manot – gifting food to people. Many communities do this in an organized way. For example, in the shul we belong to, we had the option of paying into a fund, with the collected amount being used to distribute Mishloach Manot. However, our Purim preference is to remember those who serve their country and protect us. Susan arranges Mishloach Manot for a unit in the IDF. Having had one daughter who served there, we well know how much the soldiers appreciate even the smallest treat amidst their service. By providing Mishloach Manot we kill two birds with one stone. (Hmmm. That may not have been the best choice of metaphor.)
A closely related Purim tradition is Matanot La’evyonim – gifts for the poor. Contrary to the belief of some, poverty is a real issue with strands of society here. Wages are low and costs are high. So, while it’s not unusual through the year to get charitable appeals – direct from the poor person – at Purim, it’s the norm. Even at this morning’s extra early service in shul, there was such an appeal. Apart from everything else, it’s a reminder of how fortunate I am.
One example of that good fortune will be expressed later in the day during another Purim tradition – the seudah – a festive meal, with fancy dress and fancy food. We’re blessed with good friends to celebrate this way. (I think I’ll pass over the requirement to get tipsy until next year…)