There is something beautiful about sitting on the floor like during Shiva and typing on my laptop on the holy day of Purim. I am not dressed up, and a part of me doesn’t want to engage in the playful costume tradition. I am in Shnat Evel, mourning year, and today my heart pangs with sorrow. On this holy day of Purim where everyone is vividly and outwardly rejoicing I want to curl up, have a good cry, and just see my father one more time. Where does Judaism give room for me to mourn the first Purim without my father when it’s a Mitzvah to rejoice on this day?
My answer lies in Halachos.
My family has been talking about the different Halachos for the year of mourning throughout the year. At first this highly distressed me. My father just died! And Rabbis who I don’t know are going to tell me how to mourn?! I am an individual! With my own unique way! Music is healing for me! And you tell me as a mourner not to listen to it?!
There is no way Rabbis intended to disrupt my process of healing the hurt and I feel certain that those same Rabbi’s would kindly tell me to listen to the music that touches my soul and walks beside me through this grieving process.
The reason I believe this is because of the profound and uttermost sensitivity I see in other Halachos for mourners, like one for the day of Purim that allows me to cry if I want to. My family spoke about a Halacha where other people are not supposed to give Mishloach Manot to mourners. When I heard this an overwhelming sense of validation and comfort swept my heart.
Because they understood. These Rabbis from hundreds of years ago got that I would not want to be swapping candy, food, smiling, and dancing on the first Purim without my father. They understood that this year everything would be different and celebrating would not be foremost on my mind.
The sense of religious societal validation (if you have a better word for it you are welcome to share) is a positively overwhelming and profound experience. It is changing me, warming my heart further towards G-d, the Torah, and Judaism.
Authors note: The title for this article came from a powerful song titled “Cry if you want to”. The song is a prime example of validation and empathy which resonates with me on this day. I am certain it will resonate with others who are hurting, whether on this day or another.