Purim in Wonderland
It is the morning after Purim, and I am feeling just-gave-birth exhausted.
Purim, as always, was challenging. Balancing the children and the guests and the mishlochei manot and the chicken I forgot to take out the freezer and the far too many hours spent cleaning up afterwards.
But it was, as always, also somewhat wondrous. A day when the curtain between this world and the spiritual world opens a crack to give us a peek at what lies beyond.
And here’s how that curtain opened for me this year…
At around 9:30 AM I realized that my husband’s 35 students would be arriving for the seuda at noon, and it would be, like, a good idea to start preparing the meal. So I took the meat out of the fridge and cut up some onions and turned on the stove and sent the kids out with 4 mishlochei manot and looked at the list of megila readings pinned up to my fridge. Last one listed was at 10:15, which I quickly translated into Hebrew= 10:30.
Problem was, I couldn’t find the shul, and when I arrived at 10:30 Achashverosh had already chosen Esther to replace Vashti.
I had, it seemed, missed the final megila reading in the neighborhood. And I had 35 guests arriving in an hour and a half.
But I thought to myself, “Hashem, it’s Purim, I know this is from You and that You have something else planned for me.”
And then, as I headed home, I saw a woman rushing down the street. Woman, rushing, on Purim, megila reading!
“Are you going to a megila reading?”
“I hope so!”
Rushing after her, I felt a bit like Alice running after the white rabbit as he muttered “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” And whoop, down the rabbit hole she fell to Wonderland…
Within a minute we had entered a shul crowded with several hundred women. It was strange to me that so many women were there, and even stranger that an entire radio crew was there setting up large amounts of recording equipment.
After a few minutes, a young woman from the radio crew made an announcement, “In a few minutes we will be starting the megila reading and then the rabbis will arrive for the Beit Din to Annul Decrees.”
It turned out that 3 of Israel’s leading rabbis, including a revered kabbalist, would be arriving soon. To annul any and all decrees against us.
How curious. And how fascinating. And how clear that, for some reason, Hashem had decided to send me down this particular rabbit hole to be here in this place with those hundreds of women and with these rabbis.
I quickly called my house, and gave instructions to my 11-year-old daughter to turn up the heat on that pot, turn down the heat on that pot, and then more instructions to my husband to add the carrots, dill, and celery to the chicken soup.
And then there was the megila reading, and after that the rabbis arrived and we all stood up.
The main rabbi, who is the rabbi of a city, had a remarkable smile. I mean, what was remarkable was that his entire face was a smile as he blessed us. And then, afterwards, the famous kabbalist, stood and blessed us as well, going on and on, with an abundance of everything good that it is possible to have in life.
I was crying. It was so perfect that I had showed up at this place. Such a gift that Hashem had guided me to receive all these blessings which I need so badly.
And then the rabbi instructed each of us to turn to the woman standing next to her, and bless her with whatever she needs. So I turned to the older woman with sad eyes standing next to me, and smiled at her, “So, what do you need.”
“Everything. I need everything.”
And my eyes filled with tears, I felt so choked up that I could not speak. But somehow, after what felt like forever, I managed to get out the words through my clenched throat, “May Hashem bless you….” and I went on and on as the rabbi had.
And then I wished her with a Happy Purim and fled out the door and towards home, where I found 35 students waiting for me.
I quickly poured the frozen kreplach into the simmering soup, and felt a remarkable feeling of joy, as remarkable as the rabbi’s smile that was in fact his entire face.
And I thanked Hashem for sending me down that rabbit hole this Purim, and for bringing me back home with the glow of Purim in my heart, just enough to last, IY”H, until next year.