Soon, the moment we have been anticipating will arrive. With fanfare and great delight, we will gather to watch a spectacle for which people prepare sometimes years in advance. Yes, soon it will be...Purim!
Ah, Purim, a day like no other. Well, actually it is a lot like other days except it happens to be Purim. And this year, the designated day begins on Wednesday night, March 11 and continues into Thursday, March 12. Once again the Megillah will be read and accompanied by an all-new (er, almost all-new) slide show, guaranteed to have little or nothing to do with anything else. Services and general lunacy will begin at 7:00 and conclude around 9:00 on Wednesday night. Thursday morning we will begin minyan early (7:00) in order to finish closer to on-time.
And you all want to know the theme. Well, you'll have to wait. Not yet. Not yet. Okay, now! Our theme for costumes this year is AN OLYMPIC PURIM! Come dressed in the garb of a sport that is part of Olympic competition. Or, come dressed in the garb of a sport that should be a part of Olympic competition. Or, better yet, come dressed in the garb of a sport that would have been a part of Olympic competition IF they had been held in ancient Shushan. And nothing is too ridiculous – remember that alleged sport where young women twirled sticks with mylar streamers? And how about that ski / shoot-a-rifle / skin-a-sardine thing in Finland a few years ago?
If you don't come in costume, you may instead bring a liquid contribution to the congregation, which should be appropriate for enhancing the diversity and quality of kiddush and havdalah. Please bring it in its original container, not in you.
I am also searching for the lyrics to the Olympic song that they play on those trumpets all the time. Please let me know if you find them.
What does all this have to do with the story of Purim? A lot. In the very beginning of the story, the King gathers people from 127 provinces, obviously for the games. The competition for the queenship follows the Olympic model. Mordecai dresses in sackcloth, obviously for Olympic Sack Racing. I'm sure there's more, but I'm on deadline, so settle for those.
Now, don't forget the mitzvot of Purim: to hear the entirety of the megillah, to send delicacies and greetings to friends and, most of all, to send gifts to the poor. And to have a really good time, which is an absolutely real mitzvah. See you there!