Friday, March 18, 2011
This coming Sunday is Purim (a Jewish holiday). For those of you have never heard of Purim, I'll give you a quick crash course: You take costumes + candy + wild crazy antics + gift baskets + noisemaking instruments + triangle cookies + a great story + the hidden miracles of G-d, and you get Purim.
One of the mitzvot, or commandments, of Purim is giving shalach manos (gift baskets) to our friends and family. You only need to have foods for two different blessings, but beyond that, the sky's the limit. These baskets range from small baggies with a few candies to giant baskets wrapped with cellophane with swans hand-carved out of chocolate (well, I've never personally received a chocolate swan, but I've seen them in stores. And would very much welcome one:) ).
So clearly, the scrapbooker/Martha Stewart wannabe/ Person who thinks she has more time than she has is ambitious.
If all goes well? There will be barnyard theme gift boxes filled with animal-themed candies and cake pops in the shape of chicks, like so:
If things don't go well--there's no telling.
Beyond the cool and fun parts of it, though, Purim has a beautiful story behind it. The story of Purim is in the book of Esther. It involves ups and downs, major heartbreaks and reversals, and fits the traditional Jewish theme of "they tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat!" I would tell you more but I couldn't do it justice here.
This fun video explains the story some:
One cool fact about the Book of Esther? G-d's name does not appear in the book at all. Not even once. Weird, huh? Why on earth would we canonize a book that doesn't even mention G-d? What kind of book is that?
The question gets to the heart of Purim--which is that G-d is hidden in this world. And that's the reason we dress in costumes on Purim. We hide ourselves to remind ourselves how G-d hides Himself, how He acts in ways that aren't obvious or clear. As I walk through my own journey with infertility, the story of Purim reminds me that sudden reversals can happen, your life can change in the blink of an eye, and that--most importantly--there is a purpose behind every event that happens to me, even if it's hidden.