Feel joy with what the Almighty has given you, and do not focus your thoughts on what He has not given you.
Imagine how you would feel if you gave someone a present (although you had no obligation to do so), and he immediately complained that you didn't give him twice as much! You would certainly regret having given him anything.
Failure to appreciate what the Almighty gives you is behaving in a similar manner.
Today, write a list of things you feel you have overlooked appreciating in the past. Be resolved to start feeling grateful for those things.
Yesterday in my email I said the fast of Ester was going to be tomorrow. I had moved around my emails becasue of Purim and had moved that email from a deifferent date. The fast will not be today but on Wendesday the 28th. Purim is on March 1 and 2. Sorry for the confusion.
Love Yehuda Lave
Significance: Remembers the defeat of a plot to exterminate the Jews
Observances: Public reading of the book of Esther while "blotting out" the villain's name
Length: 1 day but celbrated on two different days depending on your local
Customs: Costume parties; drinking; eating fruit-filled triangular cookies
In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day ... on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. - Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and gladness. - Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. - Esther 9:22
Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
The Book of Esther
The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.
The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them." Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.
Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.
The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.
Modern Echoes of Purim
The Pesach (Passover)seder reminds us that in every generation, there are those who rise up to destroy us, but G-d saves us from their hand. In the time of the Book of Esther, Haman was the one who tried to destroy us. In modern times, there have been two significant figures who have threatened the Jewish people, and there are echoes of Purim in their stories.
Many have noted the echoes of Purim in the Nuremberg war crime trials. In the Book of Esther, Haman's ten sons were hanged (Esther 9:13); in 1946, ten of Hitler's top associates were put to death by hanging for their war crimes (including the crime of murdering 6 million Jews). An 11th associate of Hitler, Hermann Göring, committed suicide the night before the execution, a parallel to the suicide of Haman's daughter recorded in the Talmud (Megillah 16a). There are rumors that Göring was a transvestite, making that an even more accurate parallel. One of the men seems to have been aware of the parallel: on the way to the gallows, Julius Streicher shouted "Purim Fest 1946!" See: Purim Fest 1946: The tale of Julius Streicher. It is also interesting that, in the traditional text of the Megillah (Book of Esther), in the list of the names of Haman's sons, the letters Tav in the first name, Shin in the seventh name and Zayin in the tenth name are written in smaller letters than the rest. The numerical value of Tav-Shin-Zayin is 707, and these ten men were hanged in the Jewish year 5707 (the thousands digit is routinely skipped when writing Jewish years; there are no numerals for thousands in Hebrew numbering). They were not hanged on Purim, though -- they were hanged on Hoshanah Rabbah.
Another echo of Purim is found in the Soviet Union a few years later. In early 1953, Stalin was planning to deport most of the Jews in the Soviet Union to Siberia, but just before his plans came to fruition, he suffered a stroke and died a few days later. He suffered that stroke on the night of March 1, 1953: the night after Purim (note: Jewish days end at sunset; you will see March 1 on the calendar as Purim). The plan to deport Jews was not carried out.
A story is told in Chabad (Lubavitcher Chasidic Judaism) of that 1953 Purim: the Lubavitcher Rebbe led a Purim gathering and was asked to give a blessing for the Jews of the Soviet Union, who were known to be in great danger. The Rebbe instead told a cryptic story about a man who was voting in the Soviet Union and heard people cheering for the candidate, "Hoorah! Hoorah!" The man did not want to cheer, but was afraid to not cheer, so he said "hoorah," but in his heart, he meant it in Hebrew: hu ra, which means, "he is evil"! The crowd at the Rebbe's 1953 gathering began chanting "hu ra!" regarding Stalin, and that night, Stalin suffered the stroke that lead to his death a few days later.
Purim Customs and Observances
Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, which is usually in March. The 13th of Adar is the day that Haman chose for the extermination of the Jews, and the day that the Jews battled their enemies for their lives. On the day afterwards, the 14th, they celebrated their survival. In cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, because the book of Esther says that in Shushan (a walled city), deliverance from the massacre was not complete until the next day. The 15th is referred to as Shushan Purim.
In leap years, when there are two months of Adar, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar, so it is always one month before Passover. The 14th day of the first Adar in a leap year is celebrated as a minor holiday called Purim Katan, which means "little Purim." There are no specific observances for Purim Katan; however, a person should celebrate the holiday and should not mourn or fast. Some communities also observe a "Purim Katan" on the anniversary of any day when their community was saved from a catastrophe, destruction, evil or oppression.
The word "Purim" means "lots" and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre.
The Purim holiday is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther, which commemorates Esther's three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king.
The primary commandment related to Purim is to hear the reading of the book of Esther. The book of Esther is commonly known as the Megillah, which means scroll. Although there are five books of Jewish scripture that are properly referred to as megillahs (Esther, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Lamentations), this is the one people usually mean when they speak of The Megillah. It is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle gragers (noisemakers) whenever the name of Haman is mentioned in the service. The purpose of this custom is to "blot out the name of Haman."
We are also commanded to eat, drink and be merry. According to the Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai," though opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is. A person certainly should not become so drunk that he might violate other commandments or get seriously ill. In addition, recovering alcoholics or others who might suffer serious harm from alcohol are exempt from this obligation.
In addition, we are commanded to send out gifts of food or drink, and to make gifts to charity. The sending of gifts of food and drink is referred to as shalach manos (lit. sending out portions). Among Ashkenazic Jews, a common treat at this time of year is hamentaschen (lit. Haman's pockets). These triangular fruit-filled cookies are supposed to represent Haman's three-cornered hat. My recipe is included below.
It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, to perform plays and parodies, and to hold beauty contests. I have heard that the usual prohibitions against cross-dressing are lifted during this holiday, but I am not certain about that. Americans sometimes refer to Purim as the Jewish Mardi Gras.
Purim is not subject to the sabbath-like restrictions on work that some other holidays are; however, some sources indicate that we should not go about our ordinary business on Purim out of respect for the holiday.
Recipe for Hamentaschen
The Laws of Mishloach Manot
The Fast of Esther will be observed next Wednesday and Purim will be observed on Thursday in most places and on Friday in Jerusalem.
The Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot The verse in the Megillat Esther (9, 22) states: "In order to mark them as days of feasting and merriment and sending portions (Mishloach Manot) to one another as well as giving gifts to the poor (Matanot La'Evyonim)." The Gemara in Masechet Megillah (7a) states that "Mishloach Manot" refers to sending two food portions to one person while "Matanot La'Evyonim" refers to giving two gifts to two people; i.e. one gift per person. (This is because "Manot" refers to at least two portions, "Matanot" refers at least two gifts, and "Evyonim" is at least two poor people. The verse does not say, "Sending a portion to one another as well as giving gifts to a pauper").
The Reason for This Mitzvah The underlying reason for this Mitzvah is that when one sends one's friend a gift, one expresses feelings of fondness for him and by doing so, one plants feelings of camaraderie in the friend's heart for himself as well. Additionally, there are those who truly lack financial means and they may be ashamed to ask for assistance for the necessities of the Purim feast; thus, when one sends one's friend this "Mishloach Manot" in a respectable fashion, the friend will not be ashamed to accept it at all, and he will thus be able to partake of the Purim feast amid much joy.
Since the fundamental reason for this Mitzvah is to create friendship between man and his fellow, if one sends Mishloach Manot to one's friend and the recipient does not know who the sender is, the sender has not fulfilled his obligation, for being that the recipient does not know who he received this gift from, there is subsequently no friendly bond formed.
This Mitzvah is different from the Mitzvah of Tzedakah (charity) donated during the rest of the year, for regarding Tzedakah, it is most preferable that the recipient not know whom the donor is and that the donor not know who the recipient is. However, regardingMishloach Manot, the recipient must know who has sent him this gift, for only in this way will feelings of friendship enter the recipient's heart.
The Definition of "Two Portions" The definition of "two portions" is two different food items or a food item and a beverage, such as cake and a bottle of wine. It is customary nowadays to send different kinds of sweets and one will indeed fulfill one's obligation in this manner. Women must also send Mishloach Manot to their friends.
Since one of the predominant reasons for Mishloach Manot is for people to have food to eat for the Purim feast, if one sends one's friend such gifts as clothing or blankets as Mishloach Manot, one has not fulfilled one's obligation. Even if one sends one's friend a monetary gift such that he will be able to purchase food with it, he has still not fulfilled his obligation, for one can only do so by sending food items or beverages. Thus, one who sends one's friend snuff tobacco or cigarettes as Mishloach Manot has not fulfilled his obligation.
If you return, O Israel ... you shall return unto Me (Jeremiah 4:
Tthe first day of Elul, a period of time which is particularly propitious for teshuvah, for it precedes Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment.
The Sages say that the Hebrew letters of the word Elul, form an acrostic for the verse in Song of Songs: I am devoted to my Lover and He is devoted to me (6:3). Song of Songs utilizes the relationship between a bridegroom and his betrothed to depict the relationship between God and Israel. Any separation between the two causes an intense longing for one another, an actual "lovesickness" (ibid. 2:5).
The love between God and Israel is unconditional. Even when Israel behaves in a manner that results in estrangement, that love is not diminished. Israel does not have to restore God's love, because it is eternal, and His longing for Israel to return to Him is so intense that at the first sign that Israel is ready to abandon its errant ways that led to the estrangement, God will promptly embrace it.
Song of Songs depicts the suffering of Israel sustained at the hands of its enemies, and we can conclude that the Divine distress at this suffering of His beloved Israel is great. Teshuvah is a long process, but all that is needed for the restoration of the ultimate relationship is a beginning: a sincere regret for having deviated from His will, and a resolve to return.
Today I shall ...
seek to restore my personal relationship with God by dedicating myself to teshuvah.
From a Mexican Friend
The difference between a friend and a Mexican friend
A friend is someone who never asks for food... A Mexican friend: you're the reason he's organizing a meal.
A friend asks you how you are?... A Mexican friend tells you you look good, hugs you and kisses you.
A friend calls your parents, sir and madam... A Mexican friend calls your parents " Uncle " and " Aunt..."
A friend may have never seen you cry... A Mexican friend has cried with you, for anything.
A friend sends you flowers and a card when you're in the hospital. A Mexican friend stays to sleep in a chair next to you.
A friend offers you the couch to sleep. A Mexican friend gives you his bed, lies on the floor... And he won't let you sleep all night talking to you.
A friend knows a few things about you... A Mexican friend could write a book with the things you told him.
A friend takes you medicine when you're cold. A Mexican friend makes a chicken soup and the remedies that his grandmother taught him. And I may even make you "the plane" with the spoon, so you can take the soup.
A friend knocks on your door for you to open... A Mexican friend opens the door, comes in and then tells you: I'm home!
A friend asks you to make him a coffee. A Mexican friend goes to the kitchen and rides the coffee pot and even asks for sugar to a neighbor if you don't.
A friend can be for a while... A Mexican friend is for a lifetime.
** I don't know who the author is, who describes us so perfect.
*** a friend smile with this email... A Mexican friend will pass it to all his friends, because he is proud to be Mexican and more to be your friend!!!!!!!
Jerry Lewis's opening monologue at the 28th Academy Awards®, held at the RKO Pantages Theatre on Wednesday, March 21, 1956. Featuring an introduction by Academy President George Seaton and appearances by New York hosts Claudette Colbert and Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Eleanor Parker presents the Oscars for Documentary Short Subject to Walt Disney for "Men against the Arctic," and for Documentary Feature to Nancy Hamilton for "Helen Keller in Her Story." Sal Mineo presents the Oscar for Sound Recording to Fred Hynes for "Oklahoma!"