Monday, February 25, 2013

Changing My Role

    Yesterday the Non-Jewish world was preoccupied with the Oscars. To the Jewish world, it was Purim, a day of feasting and sending gifts of food to friends and neighbors.
   Like every other holiday in the world, people have taken Purim and cellophane wrapped it, commercializing it way beyond where we should have allowed. Certain aspects (sending food gifts and allowing moderate drinking) have been emphasized, while others, like giving gifts to the poor, take a poor second place in our attention. And two groups of people tend to view Purim with a bit of fear: those hoping to not gain weight, and families of alcoholics.
      There is a religious obligation to imbibe wine on Purim (except, as many Rabbis have ruled, there are physical or mental health problems involved, which would include nearly every alcoholic). Not surprisingly, any alcoholic person who is not serious about changing his ways will use Purim as an excuse to drink to excess. And this can often deal a very "unfair" tone and pall to that which is a favorite holiday to the rest of the community.
     The other group that uses Purim as an excuse to indulge an addiction is the "food addict".  Just as the alcoholic faces wine on the table, the overeater faces plates of home-baked pastries and chocolates. Ideally, we should be sending (as I do) salads and fish, and receiving the same (I wish!).
      I tried to not over-indulge in the cakes on Purim, and I failed. Not totally, but enough that I am still wondering what type of craziness entered my brain. But at least that failure was partial, and as long as I return to my eating plan immediately, has (and had) no negative impact on my family. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the alcoholic, and a guest at our Purim meal managed to effectively wreck the whole celebration as we tried to limit their drinking, shouting, and vulgar talk. And my emotional reaction to this situation was undoubtedly a big part of "the craziness that entered my brain". (Which may explain it, but not excuse it.)
  All of this highlights for me the inevitable connection between addictive overeating and emotions. Which means that simply resolving to "be careful", "do it smart this year", etc., just isn't going to do the trick. This means that if a "Purim Binge" on petit-fours is not to be a yearly disaster, I need to make a better action plan than simple resolutions.
    I definitely need to change my role, and if I do, the Oscars will have nothing on me!

1 comment:

Batya said...

Thank G-d our family Purim seuda has never been about getting drunk.