Cantor’s Column – February 2021

Shalach Manot

Cantor Ilan Davidson

When I was a child, I remember learning a song in my Sunday school class, “Shalach manot, shalach manot, le mi, le mi, le mi (sending portions, sending portion, for whom, for whom, for whom).” It was a part of our indoctrination into the four mitzvot of Purim, a holiday that to a small child just seemed like the Jewish Halloween. We looked forward to dressing up, not being shushed in the synagogue, and being able to make all the noise we wanted and be silly. Who knew that this was only one of the four mitzvot?

  • Hearing the Megillah
  • A festive meal
  • Giving of mishloach manot and
  • Giving to those in need

Three of these mitzvot are actually mentioned in Megillat Esther, which, of course, we are hearing when we read the Megillah. “As days of feasting and gladness, and sending portions of food to one another, and gifts to the poor” (9:22) is outlined in the Megillah, reminding us to celebrate, give gifts of portions of that celebration to friends and family, and give to those less fortunate than us. In fact, it is even clear that these mitzvot are incumbent upon ALL of us, including those who might be receiving the latter. Even those in need should gift a portion of that to at least two others.

Each year, Temple Beth El has done an incredible job with at least three of these requirements. This year, we add mishloach manot to our efforts to fulfill these mitzvot, by giving our community the opportunity to give these gifts to each other. You will see the way in which you can support our Temple family, while also sending these gifts to all of your Temple Beth El friends.

I know how hard it is to dig into our pockets at this difficult time in our world, but by doing so, participating in our Community Connectors program during Purim, and joining together that Friday night for the Purim Spiel and Shabbat, we can fulfill all of the mitzvot in a very meaningful way. I know how much I appreciate that we are working hard at TBE to provide these opportunities, I only hope that it will be as meaningful for ALL of you. This year, may your Purim celebration be fulfilling, meaningful, community building, and still be the silly, crazy, and fun experience that takes us all back to our childhood.