This Friday night, Congregation Emeth will celebrate Purim with our annual Purim Carnival, Purim Shpiel (play), and Purim Seudah (meal). This is a joyous holiday, with only four commandments:
- eat a Purim feast (you can fulfill this mitzvah at our Carnival);
- deliver Mishloach Manot, Purim gifts (thanks to Marilyn Freund, you can make a gift for members of our congregation who are on our Rachamim Committee’s loving care list);
- hear the Purim Megillah (the Purim story from the Book of Esther – Friday night we’ll give you that opportunity too!).
- The fourth mitzvah is giving tzedakah, gifts for the poor. Everyone, even the poor, are required to fulfill this mitzvah at whatever level one is capable. Our tzedakah boxes will be out and you can be easily fulfill this commandment by putting some coins in the pushkes (charity boxes).
One of my favorite scholars and authors is the brilliant Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who told this story about giving tzedakah:
“There is a lovely story about the great Victorian Anglo-Jew, Sir Moses Montefiore…one of the outstanding figures of the nineteenth century…(He was a wealthy man.) Someone once asked him, ‘Sir Moses, how much are you worth?’ Moses thought for awhile and named a figure. The other reply, ‘That can’t be right. It’s a large sum but not large enough. By my calculation you must be worth 10 times that amount.’
The reply Sir Moses gave was moving and wise. ‘You didn’t ask me how much I own. You asked me how much I’m worth. So I calculated the amount I have given to charity this year, and that is the figure I gave you. You see…we are worth what we are willing to share with others.’
(He understood that) happiness is not made by what we own. It is what we share.”
May you have a week of blessings, a Shabbat of peace, and a Purim filled with great joy and happiness!
Rabbi Debbie Israel