What Happened After Purim this Year
Purim was crazy, insane this year in Jerusalem.
Jerusalemites celebrate Purim a day later than almost every other city in the world, which means that while most JewishMOMs had a chance to catch their breath this year between their Thursday Purim and Shabbat, we Jerusalem JewishMOMs had to huff and puff our way on a short Friday through two Megila readings, distribution and receipt of large quantities of mishlochei manot , preparation and serving and cleaning up of a festive meal, topped off by a brisk outing to donate forgotten matanot l’evyonim– with the final cooking for Shabbat squeezed somewhere in between.
In preparation for all this Friday-Puriming, this past Wednesday night I made up a to-do list of all the things that I needed to do that Thursday and Friday to pull off this Friday Purim feat, and it was TWO WHOLE PAGES long.
But B”H, I pulled through. A hectic but uplifting Purim and Shabbat came and went…
And then, on Sunday morning, just hours after managing this Purim-Shabbat feat, a truly bizarre thing happened.
I looked around my kitchen, and saw that every single counter was strewn with pots and plates and silverware and tupperwares which I had washed the night before and left out to dry. And then I looked in the living room and saw that there were blankets and sofa cushions strewn across the floor from a wild JewishKID rumpus earlier on that morning.
And I? I felt like I was the only JewishMOM in the universe who cannot/willnot/doesnot get my act together.
Most of the people who live in our apartment complex are secular university students. And over the past 12 years in this home, we have grown very fond of all these sweet students who have rotated through those apartments over the years. And every Purim we deliver each one of them Mishlochei Manot.
This year, the MMs we delivered the students were embarrassingly simple, containing a package of lemon wafers and a bag of ketchup-flavored cheetos alongside a xeroxed note from the Weisbergs wishing them a happy Purim.
The Sunday after Purim, every single student waved at me through my kitchen window or knocked on my door in order to thank me for the MM we had given him or her.
That wasn’t unusual. I mean, everyone thanks everyone for the MMs they received on Purim. But it’s just a nicety. The decent thing to do after somebody has presented you a small bottle of syrupy wine you will never drink and a poppy-seed spelt hamantaschen you will never eat.
But the way these students thanked me was different. It was a bit jarring for me to see how they REALLY meant it. And then I realized that our measly delivery of lemon wafers and ketchup cheetos was the only MM they had received that year. And possibly, for our newer neighbors, the only MM they had ever received in their entire lives.
And yanno what? I still couldn’t shake it. I thought of those lame MMs and I knew I was the only JewishMOM in the universe who cannot/willnot/doesnot get my act together.
One of my daughters, who will remain nameless, has started playing a wind instrument, which I will not specify lest some lurking Nachlaoter JewishMOM will recognize which daughter I am referring to.
Last week, this daughter told me she needed to buy a cleaner for her instrument. I didn’t get around to it on Sunday. Or Monday. Or Tuesday. (Remember? I am the JewishMOM who cannot/willnot/doesnot…) So, after Shabbat, my daughter, who will continue to remain nameless, decided to insert a pencil into her instrument with lots of tissue wrapped around it in order to clean it out. The aforementioned pencil got stuck inside the unspecified wind instrument of my unnamed daughter, and my husband had a heckuva time pushing it out.
Sooo, Sunday afternoon I went out with my instrument-playing daughter to find a cleaner at the music store next to our home in the Klal Center.
The man at the music store was sorry, but they were out of cleaners.
“Are there any other music stores around here?” I asked him.
“Yes, on Ben Yehuda, there is a different music store.”
And then something incredible happened. The likes of which I have never ever seen in Israel or anywhere else.
The man said, “I will call the other store to find out if they have a cleaner in stock.”
And he picked up the phone and he found out they did, and he found out what time that other store would close.
And I thanked him very much, and told him that no salesperson had ever helped me out that way. Ever.
And he couldn’t understood what he had done that was so out of the ordinary.
But I was thinking about his act of kindness for hours afterward.
It reminded me of just how powerful and meaningful small deeds can be.
And that while I will almost certainly remain a person who cannot/willnot/doesnot get my act together…
Perfection is not nearly as perfect as performing small deeds with great love—for others, and for myself as well:)