Purim is coming. Those words bring me great joy. I spend about 352 days every year waiting for Purim, and when Tu B’shevat passes and Shabbat Mevarchim Adar comes into view, I start to get a feeling in the pit of my stomach. Not unlike…. well, you’d have to visit me on Purim to hear the end of that sentence.
So, why? What is it about Purim? I never feel this way about Rosh Hashanah, or Pesach, or Sukkot, or any other holiday. I don’t feel this way about my birthday.
It is partially because Purim is about letting loose. Maybe I don’t let loose as much as I ought to or as much as I need to. But I let loose a good amount - enough that ‘letting loose’ is not enough to justify the utter thrill I feel when Purim is around the corner.
The reason Purim thrills me is because it promises the possibility of being happy, in the midst of what is, with Hashem.
I, and I assume I am not alone in this, spend an awful lot of time either ignoring what is (and pretending it isn’t), or pushing against it so thoroughly in the name of ‘what ought to be.’ Soooooo much of my time, so many of my moments and experiences reflect a basic orientation toward ‘what is’ that is characterized by denial, rejection, and shame. I am constantly asking, “Is this all there is? Isn’t there more? You’re kidding, right?”
After all, ‘what is’ is just so damned disappointing all the time. And on this day, even if I don’t quite reach it, I am setting out to accept what is - to accept who I am, who my friends and family are, to accept how the world is, and to accept how and to what extent I have screwed that world up. And not only am I accepting that, I am agreeing to see that that is “where Hashem is.” Hashem can be seen here, as it were; felt. Heard. Connected to. And that is great reason for joy.