As life goes on, Purim becomes less and less magical. As children, we learn about the holiday, we dress up, make our lists of who gets Shalach Manot, and plan which parties are worth attending. When we get older, dressing up becomes less important, Shalach Manot becomes a chore, and the importance of learning about the holiday is diminished. After all, who has time to sit down and learn when we have to worry about the fifty-seven food packages to assemble for our children’s friends?
Growing up, my mother always said, “I’m not dressing up this year, I’m not in the mood,” and every year I convinced her that it would get her into the spirit of the holiday. Every year she conceded to my begging and pleading, wearing a Renaissance style dress with a beautiful mask.
As Purim has been inching closer, I realized that for the last couple of years, taking care of everything has caused me to lose sight of my Purim spirit. Despite my generally elaborate costumes, last year, my costume was just a mask. I never want to be “not in the mood” to enjoy and partake in this holiday!
In order to renew my excitement, I invited a few friends to my house to learn about the holiday. In my search of a new perspective on Purim, I found a real gem. The Torah Anthology has a wonderful translation from the Me’am Loez that has a take on the Purim story that I have never encountered. With each pasuk (in Hebrew, and translated) comes a commentary that is an easy read, but is packed with some serious learning. Going through this book has really revved up my enthusiasm for this coming Saturday night.
This commentary discusses the ancestry of Achashverosh (his father was raised by a dog?), the miscalculations of the prophecy of the 70 years (how many times could they miscalculate with such conviction?), as well as the relationship that Mordechai and Esther had (an old discussion with a new twist). There are in depth explanations of the parties that happen throughout, as well as why the Jews had to go through this ordeal.
The more we learn about Purim, the clearer the miracle is, and the more we want to celebrate. Although I have not gotten everything planned for this weekend, I know that I will be running from place to place with an excitement that was lacking last year. May we never lose sight of the hidden miracles that Hashem provides every day that will lead us to the final redemption.
P.S. Mom, are you in the mood for a costume this year?