My friend phoned me. Like clockwork, she does that. Every Erev Yom Hapurim a certain sense of holiness comes over her, and she begins the search for means to prepare herself for God. She calls me for forgiveness and it’s not beyond her to beg at my knees. I respect her for that. Then she wants me to help her find a kosher shpitzle, so she can approach the Day of Atonement all ready. She wants me to guide her to the light.
We need a gemach for headgear, she cries. Don’t you people know how to accept Balei Teshuvas?
I personally, don’t like that getup. For me, I’ve been found staring at the furry pom-pom tail of the bunny costume. I suggested to Yoelish that he could dress up as the zissa carrot, to complete the seasonal spirit.
But well, Yom HaPurim tends to pass and for all the shake-up, life goes back to the usual. So I can’t afford the adult-eared-one-piece just yet. Shishon Purim can be cruel on ex-rabbits.
In the end, I’m dressing up in a white dress coat. No, no, not as a doctor. Doctor S. Shtrimpkind, MD PHD VIP ADD, with a remote stethoscope. \(Wake up, not a doctor I said. N-O-Ttt. \ Damn.). I’m gonna wear that coat, because I believe that that is the only way a woman should approach the holy day. In a white kittel.
On the Yom HaKippurim for men, the one that takes place in ellul, I enjoy the view from the top. From the balcony I watch the men freeze their butts off all day in shul. I would never make it in one place that long. I guess the knowledge that they spend all this time alternating between one wooden chair and two blue feet, I kind of excuse the ones I watch abusing their beards. (Push, pull, krazel, other hand, stare into the ceiling, curl the knot, run through from mustache to chin. Repeat process - as many times as possible). See, when I leave shul after a meager hour of participation, and rush home to feed peanut-butter sandwich to the kids, I am convinced that this day is shorter for us women.
On Yom HaPurim, tables are turned without mercy. I start the month by preaching "ivdu es hashem besimcha" only to try to fool myself out of what an ivdu I'm about to be. As I say tehillim on Esther Tannis, I have one bakasha. I let the tears free as I ask hashem to be matzil of evil puke.
Like these things go, the pangs really start about 2:00 pm into the second day. We then visit the in-laws to get the brucha of Purim Gelt. We come bursting in to a house full of the sound of prayer. Who knows why these people insist on turning the volume knob around chay times, till the powerful layhidim niggun hilchs oop into your kishkes, and makes an imprint on your eardrum that shall forever remain in you kemoi kol nidreh.
I should find me a zits and stop complaining, I tell myself, because I’ll spend the rest of my day praying fervently.
Uvini Malkini, please, zei dich derbarem of deyneh, or meyneh, children... They vehemently refuse to take their coats off, leaving my hand-sewn work buried in sweat. They tear through every can or box for sugar shapes, the consumption of which is rewarded with ample energy I cannot compete. ThI give up when they challenge the tall furniture or younger folks. I have talk to small humans through their white beards that have already been tasted, and tongue-tunneled, by every human my kin with salivary glands.
I coordinate meticulously my gift bags with the costumes. I tease the ribbons into perfect payos. I unscrew the door before we drag in the eye-popper to my mother. I deliver the basket to my shvigger with a crane. I ooh and ahh over the slice of kindle my sister wrapped up in a saran wrap for me, look at the stunning small kedem wine with gustah, and pat her on the back. I'll taste it all, I say, as soon as I'm done eating all the grass you filled the bag with.
Then I take out my pissum and ramseys and give it to her. Nah, it’s nothing, I'm being anivasdig. It’s horrible. I wanted to bake you a seven layer cake instead of the mini mirangues, chocolate truffles and engraved cookies.
Ha. Eat your heart out. Hearty appetite. (Alright, I am secretly evil. Salachtuh?)
A guy comes bursting through the door, followed by his sons. I know him, only now his beard is down and teased and he wears that litvish hat, from which sly contentment drips down, into a wise smile.
"Nee, dee frowen?" One of his sons, hardly 18, asks a sheilah. We are all ushered out, and I continue to watch the spectacle from the dining room door, over my mother-in-law's shoulder. The men vitzle themselves amongst each other, upon which I curse the damn headgear for making me deaf - completely. The half-drunk litvak whispers something l'men. He then leans back, giggles heartily and fumbles through all the glass bottles for a 'real sip'.
As they get up and dance, I know that I am in gulles. My baby holding onto my hip, us leaning through the entrance, holding the breath for the vase to survive the storm, I wonder why I have to see all this. Like a hungry person watching someone eat, I yearn to pull up a chair and bend in.
I wink to my husband as loudly as possible. He holds up a big hand, and finishes his cup. "Don't worry. Just a bit, it's Purim, a mitzvah. I won't get drunk this year. You know I can handle it".
I roll my eyes deep into my head. Anyone hear that?
He's doing his third cup, and I'm not counting anymore, or looking. I eat my food but the my palatte does not respond to the gourmet. Yoelish is wearing a 1 inch shreimel that opens at every shpitz, and runs all over the place to the music. It's shake before drink, so he dances wildly before downing another one.
Then he comes over to his mother, a little too close, and starts to explain to her. "farvoos hustee eer nisht leeb? Mayn vaab, mammi, dee kenst eer nisht! Mwua" He kisses into the air.
He tilts back on his heals and forgets why he came over here. He runs back to the men where they start to talk Torah, and do teshuvah with loud cries. They hug each tightly.
My sister in law isn't that lucky either. True, it's my boy that balled at the wall, but she gets locked up in a room where her husband is loudly telling her how many sins they're doing. When Yoelish starts to look at me that special drunk way, and wobbles over to me, I lock myself in the bathroom. Hashem Yishmoyreynee, yiddishe kinder, being romantic, in deh public!! Showing affection! I must stop this at once!
My father in law, who's been benching his bochur'l all this time - holding onto him as if he's a bottle of alchohol, -starts to feel 'shlecht'. By the time the bowl is around he's vomited all over the carpet, wall, himself and table. If I look, I can see all that in the vomit actually. Holding a towel over his face, he pours himself another drink.
Yoelish sees someone to the door, a beggar that didn't get very royal treatment, one that heard a little more than he should about 'farshtinkene rashooim'. "Dee bist meyn breeder, all yidden are brothers" we hear him say and he too, is out the door. Hands wide open he swallows fresh outdoor air. He zigzags on the road even though I am yelling, stomping, and going positively off my mind.
A few good men take him home, against his will, and he falls into a calming routine of snoring. After I break the fast and furious by some quite time, 'I blow my own horn' knowing that I passed the test. I had my share of hell for the year.
A K'Purim V'Purim Tovah :) !