Cantor’s Column – March 2020

Four Mitzvah — No Waiting!

Cantor Ilan Davidson

Every Jewish holiday is typically surrounded by customs, traditions, and mitzvot – commandments. Purim is no exception. On this festive holiday there are four mitzvot, or commandments that the Jewish people should fulfill. I know what you think they are – silliness, drunkenness, spieliness, and costumes! Okay, maybe each of those are part of what happens, but the real mitzvot are reading from the Megillah, also known as the Book of Esther, sending Mishlo-ach Manot, or gift baskets, the Seudah, or festive meal, and Matanot La’evyonim, giving to the poor. Here at Temple Beth El, you can do all eight, LOL. Yes, we are often known for our silly Purim shpiels, our crazy costumes, and even our Mitzvah Bar, and this year we will offer all of those as usual, but you should also look to fulfill the rest, and here are a few ways you can do so:

Megillah: Throughout our Toy Story shpiel (for which I hope all of you will dress as your favorite Toy), we will intersperse verses of M’gillat Esther, but you also have the opportunity, if you are 21 and over to join us for Megillah and Martini’s to study the WHOLE story of Esther, along with verse interspersed, as well. You won’t want to miss this great learning opportunity.

Mishlo-ach Manot: Our Sisterhood makes the best Hamantaschen in the world, and anybody would love to be the recipient of these delectable cookies. But, what about those who can’t get to Temple Beth El, due to illness or immobility? Our SPeTY members (San Pedro Temple Youth) have come up with a plan. If Hamentashen are too many points on your WW plan, or just not your favorite (which I don’t understand), donate a dozen to SPeTY, and our teens will create mishlo-ach manot, and deliver them to our members who can’t get to TBE during the holiday.

Seudah: Join us for the Adult Purim Party, directly following the Shpiel, for dinner and dancing to the live music of the Moody Jews. The Toys will be swinging the night away. When the kids are away, the Toys will play.

Matanot La’evyonim: When you join us for the Purim Shpiel and Megillah, bring with you your home bought graggers (noise makers). That’s right, bring boxes of pasta and rice, then leave those with our SPeTY teens and Yaldai Shalom (our junior-high youth group), and they will deliver them to a food pantry. Also, after their overnight lock-in party at TBE, our teens will be feeding the hungry locally, to truly make a difference in the lives of our local homeless.

This Purim, celebrate to the fullest. Put on your Toy Story costume, hear the Megillah and Shpiel, party, feast, and feel the difference that following these mitzvot can make in your lives and the lives of others around you. Hag Purim Sameah – May your Purim be filled with happiness and fulfillment.