A Gift For Purim: Believe In Good!

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An image from Unsung Hero: TVC Thai Life

Sunday is Purim, the most joyful day on the Jewish calendar. Sadly, because of the threats that the Jewish community has faced over the past several weeks, many of us are not feeling so joyful.  However, given that Purim celebrates our ability to rise above those who threaten our very existence, the holiday has much to teach us.

We read the Book of Esther on Purim. It tells the story of our ancestor’s victory over Haman who sought to destroy the Jewish people. This victory reminds us that for centuries we’ve had to find the strength and courage to stand up to hate. Purim celebrations, including shpiels (plays that recount the story of Purim), costumes, festive meals, and, of course, hamantaschen (the triangular cookies stuffed with filling that are symbolic of Haman’s hat), are important reminders that we have and will continue to overcome those who seek to do us harm. And the strength of our Purim heroes, Queen Esther, Mordechai and the Jews of Shushan, are a reminder that when we are united as a people, haters come crashing down.

It’s customary for Jews to send each other Mishloach Manot – gifts of food and drink – on Purim. By sending these gifts, not only do we help spread the joy of Purim, we also do our part to unite our community. In the Book of Esther, Haman asserted that the Jewish people were “a scattered and divided nation.” Sadly, there have been times in history when it seemed like Haman’s assertion was accurate. Even today, as we face a rise in anti-Semitism and a divisive political climate, we struggle to be a united Jewish community. Mishloach Manot are a way for us to heal the divide and, therefore, a way to ensure that Haman’s terrible assertion about us never really comes true. We might disagree vehemently, we might be fearful, but on Purim, our tradition asks us to come together and celebrate the downfall of Haman.

While Mishloach Manot are usually gifts of food and drink, they can also be words of Torah – a powerful lesson that brings us closer to each other. Today, I’m including my Mishloach Manot in this message.  It’s a lesson that’s not comprised of traditional biblical verses. Rather, it’s an extremely touching life insurance commercial from Thailand. Yes, you read that correctly! Please click on the image below to watch “Unsung Hero: TVC Thai Life”:

This is truly a beautiful commercial. The lesson it contains reminds me that when we do our best to rise above the negativity out there and go out of our way to lift each other up, we can discover pure goodness. When we discover this goodness, we experience pure happiness. And this pure happiness is the essence of Purim.

Please pass this video on as we get ready to celebrate our joyous holiday. Make it your own Mishloach Manot, a simple gift that reminds us of the importance of coming together and believing in good.

Cheryl, Abigail, Jonah and I wish you all a very happy Purim.