Shalach Manos databases other abuses of Purim.

Purim Drag Purim. A story that features mass rape, including the fortunate(?!) rape of the one Jewish girl, named after the Mesopotamian goddess of sex, Ishtar. Her uncle, named after the Babylonian god Marduk, accomplish the great feat of almost saving the Jews. They get permission for the Jews to defend themselves from genocide. Big salvation. Let’s party. The only modern character in the book is Vashti (named after Avesta?) who defies the king’s command to debase herself in front of others — basically she does what you’d want your daughter to do — to say no to a creep. And, like a red-shirt wearing black man on a Star Trek expedition, she’s dead as soon as the story gets started.  The story of the idiot king ends with (drum roll) the king remaining in power and imposing taxes. Party on.

Growing up, this holiday was the highlight of the year. We’d dress up, prepare ‘shalach monos, and sing borrowed Hungarian folk songs set to Hebrew words — thinking these were Purim songs. Shalach monos was fun. It’s when we got to drive around and go to all the houses of people who would never invite us over for a meal. We’d bring them food, and they’d give us something in return. I wanted to visit my friends’ houses, but my parents had us go visit all the shut-ins from the older section of town. They told me it was a mitzva to visit them. One old man would always give money — a collection of coins in a plastic case. Every year I’d get about 85 cents from this guy — which for some reason I thought was a lot of money. One guy would only give out a plate of peanuts. One old woman would always bake little cakes, and I’d get it only if I made a bracha out loud.

Mishloach Manot is not only found at Purim, the book of Nechemia mentions Bnei Yisrael would give food treats to celebrate Rosh Hashanna too. Something we stopped doing. I think we stopped doing it at Purim too. See, most communities don’t really do mishloach manot anymore. Instead, we have the Purim database where people sign up for other people to give bags for them. We have fundraisers where shuls raid Trader Joe’s for a bunch of junk food and create impersonal bags, delivered en masse by  people you don’t know to people you probably don’t care about. That ugly word: reciprocity – give those people who gave me something — I don’t know who, or care. They will get some nuts, dried fruit, cookies, maybe a bottle of seltzer. And a list of names. Then the tzedaka cards — “Instead of giving you junk food that you don’t need, or home cooked food you would not eat since you don’t trust my kashrus, I gave money to a tzedaka I care about and thought about you.” Is this is what shalach manos is supposed to be? Oh and don’t get me started with the oh-so-cute themed shalach-manos. Blech.

Amit women took over Purim and the gays took over the St. Patty’s day parade. I plan to auction off my shalach manos on eBay — a protest. What a shame we lost the spirit of Purim. Hashivenu Hashem elecha venashuva venashuva chadesh yameinu kekedem. Give me that old-time religion, Hallelueh, good enough for me. 

Search for fake plastic unoriginal and boring mishloach manot at http://4torah.com 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Izzy

    It’s just a fun raiser….gevalt.

  • http://yeshivadaze.wordpress.com Shragi

    “It’s when we got to drive around and go to all the houses of people who would never invite us over for a meal.”
    Oy how true.

  • Yochanan

    It’s also possible that Esther is based on the Persian for “star”.

    • Telz Angel

      Or the Cannanite goddess Ashtoret, or the Hindu Ishta-Devata. But sure, if you want to sanitize it by removing references to avodah zara, you are welcome to. So, Tammuz is not a god either. And this is not a story of Marduk relinquishing his throne to Erra, the Mesopotamian destruction god of the month of Adaru based on the advise of Ishum (Haman).

      Whenever I hear the dvar torah about how God is not found in the megilla I laugh, because there are so many gods mentioned here. Isthar, Marduki, Mashti, who knows how many more.

      Hey, it’s Ad Delo Yada, baby.

      • Reason

        lol well said

      • Spinoza
      • Yochanan

        Yes, I know we got the names of months from the Babylonian pantheon.
        If Ishtar is pronounceable in Hebrew, why was it changed to Ester?

        • Spinoza

          I posted an entire book link to this connection but Heshy deleted it.

      • A. Nuran

        Shhhh!!!! If you go on you’ll start saying things like “The Torah ripped of Hammurabi” or “Parts of our religion were cribbed from earlier ones” or “The Exodus didn’t happen.” And that sort of sciencey aporikos stuff just crazy talk.

  • Purim Never Happened

    I find the site of skrawny yeshivish rats puking in the streets very moving.

    • For Real

      That was too mean for me, and I’m not particularly well-known for tact on the internet or in real life. If you find the sight of another person in pain moving in a positive way, as you stated, you have a real problem.

      • Purim Never Happened

        I was joking its call sarcasm, what are you doing on this website if you don’t understand satire?

    • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

      Hitler? Is that you?

      • Purim Never Happened

        No, leftist race baiter is that you?

  • http://furrydoc.blogspot.com furrydoc

    we have a mixture of these two things. Our shul has a fundraiser in which you can designate a family for them to prepare shalach manos on your behalf. Since we attend Purim festivities elsewhere most years, we pick up those couple bags dedicated to us before the expiration date on the Kit Kat bar that is usually in the bag but after the expiration date of the orange. For our friends, my wife assembles the treats in a lunch bag and distributes them. Most went to neighbors or co-workers but since she retired there is a small amount of driving around the neighborhood which is spread out well beyond walking distance where we live.

    I eventually eat all the Hamantaschen, drink about half the Od Lo Yadah liquid, saving the other half for St. Patrick’s Day, and don’t get all that concerned by what the Megillah characters are doing. While my wife has the same outfit as Vashti, she much prefers to dress as Teresh while I seem least obtrusive playing Memuchan.

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