Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Adar II 5760 - March 15, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Is Anyone Bored with Purim?

A recent study of consumer attitudes in America declared that there is a boredom boom. "We are bored despite living in remarkable times," says market research concern Yankelovich Partners, noting that last year 71 percent of the respondents yearned for more novelty in their lives, up from 67 percent just a year earlier. "Just as a drug user develops a tolerance and needs larger doses to achieve the same effect, so too have we developed a tolerance to amazing events," at least that is how the market research firm sees things.

It is funny that we never heard anyone say he was bored with Purim, even those who have been celebrating it for decades, and even though collectively we have been celebrating it for over 2,300 years.

We read the same Megilla -- twice -- this year as in years past, and sing the same songs. True the food may change, and our communities may change, we may manage to come up with some new Torah thoughts or at least to hear some chiddushim -- but the basic celebration is remarkably constant. The similarities easily outweigh the differences in Purim as it is observed around the world and across the centuries.

Why don't we all, individually, get bored with Purim? And why doesn't the Jewish people, collectively, get bored with Purim?

The short answer is: content. While the American consumer is bombarded -- and increasingly bored -- with pure spectacle that has nothing behind it, the Purim celebrant knows that his observance has rich meaning. The "amazing events" that the marketing survey refers to have nothing behind them and lead nowhere. They are merely splashy ideas that entertain while they are new, but have no lasting value.

Effects are lasting when they come from some significant source and lead or point to a purpose.

As with all aspects of the Torah life cycle, Purim is rooted deep in our collective memory of important events and is openly linked with our continued persistence in the exile and our progress towards the ultimate redemption. The only people who may find Purim boring are those who are not tuned in to the deeper meanings of the holy day.

We constantly discover new connections between Purim and the rest of life. For example, one of the prominent mitzvas of Purim is tzedokoh -- matonos le'evyonim. The Imrei Emes points out that none of the Jews at the time of the original miracle took booty from their slain enemies. This tremendous kiddush Hashem was surely most difficult for the poor, for whom the temptation to benefit from the legitimate spoils of war must have been strongest. Their sacrifice was recognized with the special mitzvah on Purim to give gifts to the impoverished.

So when we give our matonos le'evyonim we are not only strengthening our bond with those in need in our time, but performing an act that resonates across the centuries. The same holds true for the rest of the day, both what we do in shul and what we do at home.

We are confident that the Jewish People will happily observe Purim with the greatest enthusiasm and interest until the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu -- and even beyond, as Chazal promise. Exhausting -- maybe, but certainly not boring!

A freiliche Purim!

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