The day of Purim is a bare two weeks away. For those of you unfamiliar with Purim, it is SORT of like Halloween. SORT OF. Kids dress up, but rather than asking for treats from neighbors, everyone SENDS food to friends and neighbors. Also one gives charity, and hears the reading of the scroll of Ester.
Just as American holidays have become commercialized, so have ours. The stores are full to overflowing with costume accessories, and lavish (and expensive) baskets of edibles to be sent as mishloach manot (also called Shalach manos, the gifts of food). And of course the stores are pushing all sorts of noshari (candies, sweets) to be purchased for the occasion.
And as usual, I am refusing to be drawn into this “beat the Jones’s” mindset. There is no reason to become exorbitant, except to your child’s teachers (who, being an underpaid lot, deserve it) or a fiancée. I also refuse to send candy. I send what I would like to receive. Salad.
In amongst all the cookies, cake, chocolate, and canned pineapple, people I send to receive a small container of salad. Real food for real people. For those who celebrate Purim, try it. People will call you up and thank you. And if you’re sending to the teacher, you can throw in a bag of croutons. Or even better,almonds. Or, if you have to go sweet, halvah.
Of course, even if you send real food, you have the choice to “beat the Jones’s” as well. I have a friend who makes stuffed cabbage every year. (She’s from Hungarian background….) I can’t even begin to think about the amount of work that it entails. Keep it simple. Is showing off to your neighbors that you can make the fanciest and most original “gift” worth your health? (PS I am not accusing my friend of "showing off". She is such a giving person, she probably looks forward to this opportunity to lavish on others....)
Leave being fancy to your teenage daughters……..