By Rabbi Arel Platt, Director of J Life
Riddle: The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
Purim is one of the most family friendly Jewish holidays. It is the perfect recipe of joy because it promotes good values, silliness, and fun. Besides the parties, carnivals, and costumes, Purim is framed by 4 key mitzvot (commandments) that not only inspire us to take care of each other, but also bring these important traditions into our lives. Here are the values inspired by the 4 mitzvot, and ways your family can celebrate them:
1st Mitzvah) To listen to the Book (Megillat) Esther. Tell the story of Esther, and have your family act it out with costumes and things you find around the house. The story itself promotes the values of standing up for what you believe in, and bravery (and I am sure you can think of others). Listening to the story promotes the value of learning about your ancestors, and acting out the story promotes creativity.
2nd Mitzvah) Make Mishloach Manot (special gifts of food, drinks, and toys) for friends and family. Giving gifts to the people we care about and spreading happiness are core values of this mitzvah.
3rd Mitzvah) Have a feast (Seudah). Create a festive meal for your family, with each family member contributing. This promotes the value of teamwork and being together as a family (or community depending on who you invite).
4th Mitzvah) Matanot L’evyonim. Giving to those in need. As a family, pick a charity or organization you would like to make a donation to. The values here speak for themselves.
Note there are many ways to celebrate and get into the spirit of Purim, whether it’s inspired by the 4 mitzvot or dressing up and going to a Purim carnival. May the values of Purim bring you and your family joy and fun.
For more information about J Life please visit www.jcc.org/jlife