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