It’s Adar and Purim and I know I am supposed to be happy, but I am not. We had a class the other day on the importance of laughing even during hard times, and all I could think about is how hard that is. One of the suggestions if one could not find joy on their own, is to make sure there are other people in their life that are able to play the role of “jester”, so help make them laugh – all I could think was, what if someone doesn’t have that person in their life.
This is the first Purim since 2010 that I will not be in Jerusalem. I do not feel the Purim spirit, it is not the same here as it is there. There are no special deals in stores. There are no pop-up costume shops. There aren’t random people dressed up throughout the month. The bakeries are not full of humanatshen. The buses do not say happy Purim on them.
For the first time I was not planning neither a Purim party nor a megilla reading. I was not makeing decorations and worrying that there will actually be festivities for the residents at the nursing home. I wasn’t coordinating a megilla reading, and when I would be there to set up and clean up. I was not part of the stress of making sure that there were people that would read megilla.
School was also much quieter about Purim than we were. We started our celebrations the week coming up to Purim. We used our learning to increase of Purim spirit, creating jokes that were special to us. Dressing up as things we were learning, giving gifts that made our teachers think of the random connection to what we have been learning all year. Here, we just talk about creating a Purim shpeil and having a lunch together after the holiday.
I am not planning what party I will be going to. I do know that I won’t be going to the party in the shuk until 3AM. My celebrations this year are not with friends, they are with a community that I only know distantly. My mishloach manot will be given to random people, not to the people who I love and care about. My seuda, I’m sure will be nice, but will be with an older couple and their friends. The young professionals seuda is too late in the day for me to attend, and I will be getting back too late to New York to celebrate with people that I know.
This is the first real holiday that the great difference is hitting me. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot I was doing something different – it was hard, I remember, but it was a look into the role that I have been training for. Chanukah I spent in Seattle with my brother, sister-in-law and new nephew – there was nothing permanent about being there, and I was there not because it was Chanukah, but rather for my nephew. But here is Purim. Yes, I am going to a different shul and I will be working. But part of the fun of Purim is the lead up to the holiday, which there really wasn’t this year.
Is this what Purim will always be like? Maybe it is just that it is the first holiday after my realization of not going back so soon.