This year, our first in the holy city of Jerusalem, we had the additional challenge of celebrating Shushan Purim on Friday, just before Shabbat. I was convinced it was going to turn out a disaster, and initially, I seemed to be right.
For the last six or seven years, G-d's helped me to wake up around midnight on Purim night, to do an hour of praying. It's meant to be the most powerful 'et ratzon' or favourable time of the whole year, and as usual, I had a whole, massive list of things to pray on.
This year, I simply couldn't wake up. I woke up for about three minutes, mumbled something (I don't even remember what), then conked out again, until my regular morning wake-up call.
Not a great start.
The megilla reading was OK, except I couldn't figure out how to wear my cat mask over my glasses without giving myself a migraine, and I couldn't use my specially bought 'grogger', as stamping on Haman was banned at that particular shul.
But I still got the mitzvah done, however colourlessly.
I came home to find my husband in a pretty bad mood, for no obvious reason - and I went beserk at him. I think it's become a tradition in our family for me and my husband to have a massive fight on Purim, and this year was no different.
I started chewing him out, big time, for his 'negative' attitude and miserable behaviour, and he stomped off, furious, to deliver the mishloach manot we'd got for his two main rabonim, at the yeshiva.
Great! Happy Purim. What a wonderful blueprint to have created for the rest of the year.
Thank G-d for my kids. They swung into gear, and decided to try to repair the festive atmosphere a bit, by making pancakes to give all the neighbours in my building, as I got the food cooked for the Purim seuda and Shabbat meal. I cheered up a bit.
An hour later, my husband came home a changed man. He'd got blessings from both his rabbis, and let me tell you, they worked.
He was the happiest I'd seen him in years. Together, we went to deliver our pancakes and juice to the neighbours, and just as we got to one flat, the wife burst into the door, and started screaming blue murder at her husband.
The traditional Purim fight.
My husband glanced at me, smirked, and said: "I see I got off lightly…"
We came home to a text message from a friend, who'd decided last minute to join us for our Purim seuda as she'd just moved house and hadn't managed to pull things together. I was so pleased to have guests, especially such laid-back guests that didn't require any more effort or cooking.
The meal was relatively quiet, relatively fast, and relatively sober, as we had Shabbat coming in a couple of hours - but it was probably the nicest Purim seuda we ever had.
Later that night, I sat by the Kotel watching the people praying, dancing, and singing Shabbat songs (interspersed with Eyal Golan), and I felt so blessed to be there.
In the space of 12 hours, I'd gone from feeling so cynical, down and despairing of my husband ever getting his act together, to seeing everything turn around for the best. A true Purim miracle.
My tips for next year are this: 1) Get your husband to take mishloach manot to the biggest rabbis you can get access to 2) Encourage him to get a blessing from said big rabbis 3) Don't let him in to the house until he's done 1) and 2) above. That's it!
May we all be blessed with the most joyous, happy year, and may all our hurts dissolve, all our problems disappear, and our husbands all cheer up. Amen v'amen.