I’d like to thank G-d for making my university reading week coincide with this week. Why? Purim.
As much as I love Hannukah, Purim has to be the most fun of all the Jewish holidays. It doesn’t get a lot of the publicity as Hannukah or Passover, but that doesn’t seem to bother us who care about the holiday and making the most of it.
Speaking of making the most of it, that’s just what my family has in store this year. In fact, we’ve built up such a reputation in my shul that we have to go all out and show up with the craziest costumes you’ve ever seen. We don’t even consider it pressure, rather just fun thinking of new and outrageous costumes every year.
Here’s a list costumes that members of family have pulled off over the years (my mom, dad, sister and myself):
Dad: Mr. Clean, crazy mexican, Dog the Bounty Hunter, a ballerina (on many occasions…), Highlander, robot (he called himself the Gabbai-matic), Zorro, Groucho Marx,
Mom: Aunt Jemima, Carmen Miranda, Old Kazakh lady, Beth (Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife), Death, bottle of Crown Royal, Diana Ross, Harpo Marx
Sister: Girl from Hairspray, Joseph (and the technicolour dream coat), rabbit, shark, Dreamgirl, kabuki Japanese girl, Death, wild and crazy bird,
Me: Mr. Gumby (Monty Python character), Borat, Elton John, Angus Young from AC/DC, Gene Simmons, Elvis, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix,
The year I was in yeshiva, all three of them went as werewolves using fur from our dog. Yeah, we’re a little nuts, but we love it, and continue to come up with weird things every year. They usually originate from random shabbos table conversations (which could take place year round) that begin with “maybe we could do that for purim…” That’s how we got this year’s costumes (by looking around, that’s a hint).
Sometimes we do themed costumes, like Aunt Jemima and Mr. Clean from last year (faces on products) or rockstars, or alcohol (my mom passed around mini bottles of crown royal when dressed up as one herself and my dad was Mr. Balvenie when dressed as the Highlander and did the same…)
All of our costumes are handmade, nothing is rented. Buying costumes to us is a cop-out -aka laziness since you can’t figure out something creative out on your own so you have to buy something just to not look out of place….
Asides from costumes, there’s of course the usual moments of madness Purim is well known for. I’ve heard it called a mix between Halloween and Mardi Gras, but never in the religious. That’s probably because there’s so much attachment to the holiday that we don’t see it simply as a masquerade. It’s also the easiest topic to come up with a dvar toarh for(in my mind).
It’s a lot harder in a place like Toronto, where there’s quite a bit going on, yet so little time to scoop it out with a bunch of stuff happening in random locations that take too much time to travel to, and when drinking unless you have a super nice pal, your most likely stuck in one location for the night. What I liked about Israel, especially Jerusalem was that you could walk the whole day and visit several of your friend’s places, rabbis’ houses and have a fantastic time touring the city, drunk off your behind.
But Purim is much more than drinking of course with customs like Mishloach Manot and eating Hamantschens, you’re bound to get sick after eating like a pig, if not because of the excess wine. I actually have a dentist appt. the next morning, so no go crazy on the sweets for now…
That’s my thoughts on Purim for now. I’ll post again with a follow-up of the holiday, including summaries my family’s costumes this year.
Happy Purim y’all!