A long time ago in a place far away, there lived a young Jewish woman who wore English muffins over her ears. Orphaned at an early age, she was raised by her uncle. When the ruler of her province elevated her to Princess, she immediately came into conflict with the evil commander of the troops, a man with a serious case of asthma. He sought to annihilate her and her entire people, but was foiled in the end through her conning and the assistance of reluctant but skilled allies.
In celebration of the victory of the Force over the forces of evil, a holiday was declared. On it, people dress as the heroes and the villains, the spectators and the bystanders, the bit players and the props. And they party to excess and get confused between the plot of a science-fiction movie series and a book in the Bible. Yes, it’s a Star Wars Purim.
Purim begins this year on Saturday night, March 22. Our usual festivities will begin with ma’ariv and havdalah at 7:30 and continue with the costume parade, reading of the Megillah and Purim shpiel. The actual reading will take place in the chapel (for those who want a little less commotion) and be piped into the sanctuary for the benefit of those watching the annual slide show.
On Sunday morning, minyan will include the traditional megillah reading. The rest of the day’s festivities including the carnival are described elsewhere in The Bulletin. Although Purim is a time for general hilarity, there are some joyful obligations besides. The sending of gifts to friends and acquaintances (mishlo’ach manot) and gifts to the poor (matanot la’evyonim) have been a part of Purim since its inception. And participating in a festive meal on the afternoon of Purim is also a tradition. At that time, lampoons of respected figures in the community, as well as the rabbi, are in order. And though we are familiar with the tradition of drinking to excess on this holiday, I actively discourage you from promoting sanctioned abuse of alcohol or any other drug.
I don’t remember whether it was Obiwan Kenobi or Mordecai who first suggested that his young charge trust the Force. But I am relatively certain that is was my Uncle Mordecai ben Kenobi who said to his surgeon, Before you operate on that hernia, force the truss. Or something like that.