Next week is already Purim and the Jewish holiday doesn’t only mean joy but it also serves as a reminder that there is only one month left until we celebrate Pessach (Passover). I promised myself that this year, I am going to start early with all my Pessach cleaning. Right after Purim, I am planning to start with my bookshelves. 🙂
Now before Purim, the shops in Jerusalem are packed with Mishloach Manot (the traditional baskets filled with goodies). It is a Mitzvah for every Jew to hand out Mishloach Manot on Purim. Little baskets filled with chocolate, wine, candies or even groceries. There are cheap baskets as well as the more expensive ones.
I think that Purim, the same as Rosh Hashana, Chanukkah and Pessach has become too commercialized. For kids, no matter is secular or religious, it is all about presents. Secular kids want computer games whereas religious kids are happy with little toys. However, it is different with adults because they expect much more.
Especially the haredi world is taking the whole Mishloach Manot Mitzvah very serious. In my opinion, it has gone too far. First of all, haredi families who cannot really afford all the Mishloach Manot are giving out far too many baskets. Not to mention the amount chassidic Rebbes receive. Even a poor family doesn’t want to be left out and is buying an expensive present for the Rebbe.
I stopped handing out Mishloach Manot a couple of years ago. If I give something to other people, they feel obligated to buy me a present. So I give them and they give me something in return. What I do prefer instead is Matanot le’Evyionim – giving to the poor. Candies, food or money. This makes much more sense because on Purim, no Jew should be left out !