My Purim was actually quite nice, in a very non-standard way. This year, I decided to dress up as the ‘Doctor of the Soul’. I had a blue medical hat stuck on my headscarf, plus a plastic stethoscope and a big sign that I pinned to my top that said ‘Doctor of the Soul’, to make it clear.
In shul, an older American lady leaned over to me and told me: ‘I like your outfit, it’s cute’.
Aha! I thought I’d managed to identify another Breslev anglo in my area! Things were looking up!
Then she ruined it by leaning back over and stage-whispering: ‘What is that, anyway? A psychiatrist?’
On to the megilla reading. They banned loud stamping and exaggerated musical instruments and groggers at the mention of Haman, so it went pretty fast – except for the fact that the older Moroccan woman directly in front of me decided she was going to read the megilla loudly herself – and completely out of sync – with the official version. It was like some weird simultaneous translation, or something.
I came home, I made challah (!) for the first time in months, I tried to wake up at midnight to pray, and mumbled something for about two minutes before conking out again – which was good, because at 5am I was woken up by some loud puking noises.
Hmm. We hadn’t even got to the stage of drinking the alcohol yet, or crazily stuffing in all the junk from the mishloach manot, so what was going on?! Turned out one of my children had stomach flu.
I have one bathroom and guests coming for seuda, and most of the morning she was running in there about every half an hour to throw up.
Hmmm. I decided to leave that up to God to sort out before the guests came, because in the meantime I had to hear megilla and then deliver my mishloach manot.
I got to shul 10 minutes before the megilla reading was meant to start – to discover they’d managed to lose the key to the aron hakodesh. We were waiting around 25 minutes before someone remembered which bookcase they’d shoved it behind, and they could unlock the Torah scrolls and get on with reading the megilla.
I ran home for the next stage of Purim: deliver the baskets of goodies.
This year, I decided to give 4 mishloach manot: 2 for people who lived close who I really like; and 2 for people who lived close who I really don’t like – thus, keeping all opinions satisfied.
I also decided to do ‘worthwhile’ baskets, with good wine and nice pastries, instead of the usual chocolate bar and waffley things – and one of my ‘don’t really like you’ recipients was clearly shocked when I handed it over, in a good way.
They reappeared at my door a few minutes later with a reciprocal bag of goodies, and heaped blessings on my head, including that we should merit to buy our own apartment soon. I took that as a really good sign, as that was most of my Purim ‘ask’ this year, but clearly they didn’t know that.
The puking kid went to sleep the whole time the guests were here, so that got resolved. The seuda was very relaxed and pleasant. And I was ready for Shabbat two hours early, for a huge change.
That night, I walked down to the Kotel for Friday night prayers, and a woman dressed as a huge silver bird came over to me and wished me ‘shabbat shalom’. (Sometimes, I really love where I live in Jerusalem).
I got to the Wall, and there was a flock of swallows spinning and turning all over the place right next to the wall, which is a pretty unusual sight – I don’t remember seeing that before. So given the bird woman, and then the unusual flock of birds, I decided to look up the ‘song’ of the swallows in Perek Shira when I got home.
Here’s what it said:
The swallow is saying, ‘So that my soul shall praise You, and shall not be silent, God my Lord, I shall give thanks to You forever.’
I liked that very much.
There’s a Breslov idea that Purim in many ways marks the beginning of the year. Just before the Purim seuda last year, my husband finally made it out of the depressed state that had engulfed him for months after our business went bust and we ran out of money, and went back to work the week after Purim.
I don’t know what amazing turnarounds and miracles await me this week, Bezrat Hashem, but I know they’re coming.