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A Little Bit of Purim

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I was home sick and all but missed Purim this year. A friend and neighbor came and read the Megillah for me at home. She did it twice – once in the evening and once again Purim morning.

Living where we do in Israel, very close to Jerusalem but not actually in Jerusalem, we have an unusual relationship to Purim. Why? Because the law is that Purim is celebrated on different days, depending on whether a particular city was walled in the time of Joshua. Since Jerusalem was a walled city way back then, Purim celebrations begin in Jerusalem on the 15th of Adar, known as Shushan Purim, the day after Purim is celebrated everywhere else. So in the Jerusalem area, we actually have two days of Purim festivities.

As Purim ended in our city, I was feeling both a little sorry for myself that I missed the energy of Purim and also just well enough to go for a car ride.

We had one prepared mishloach manot* left that I hadn’t been well enough to deliver. My husband and I reached into the Purim costume box, put on goofy hats, got in the car and headed for Jerusalem. Our goal? To find someone to give the mishloach manot to.

I wanted to give it to soldiers guarding the entrance to Jerusalem, but my husband thought that, since they weren’t technically in Jerusalem, it wasn’t Purim for them anymore. Also, in previous years, we tried to give mishloach manot to them but they told us that, for security reasons, they weren’t allowed to take it.

Soldiers weren’t the recipient God intended for us.
 
Would a stranger on the street think it was weird if we just drove up and said, “Purim Sameach!” and handed them paper gift basket filled with treats? Or maybe their level of kashrut was stricter than ours and they wouldn’t accept our gift of food? I didn’t want to risk it.
 
Strangers walking on the street weren’t the recipient God intended for us.
 
We drove on, asking Hashem to send us an idea for the perfect recipient. We drove past Terem, the 24-hour urgent care facility. Bringing a little Purim cheer to there was a good idea. But we couldn’t find a place to park.

The staff members at Terem weren’t the recipient God intended for us.

As we neared the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, I thought about giving it to a bus driver. But to do so would have required waiting for a bus to pull up, getting on the bus and handing it to the driver and hoping he would take it. And where would we put the car during this time?
 
Bus drivers weren’t the recipient God intended for us.

Not a bus driver, but what about a taxi driver?

My husband pulled up to a cab. The driver’s window was open while he waited near the Central Bus Station for his next fare. He was a middle-aged man. Balding. No kippa. One of those non-religious looking veteran Israeli cab driver types who surprise you with their faith in God.

I screwed up my courage, called out “Chag Purim Sameach!” and reached through our window, offering him our last mishloach manot.

He smiled, opened his car door, got out to accept the package and asked, “Do you have another one for my friend in the next cab?”
 
Sadly, we didn’t. But wow. In the end, Hashem gave us the exact right recipient.
 
 
* Mishloach manot – also called shalach manos are gifts of food and/or drink sent to other Jews on Purim day.
 
Photo Credit: Jacob Richman
 
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