Purim is the holiday everyone loves, except for those who fake it. For years, I resented purim and wished it over, before it had begun. You see, I have always been the kind of person who has a few quality friends and not a huge quantity of people in my circle. This makes for deep lasting friendships, but a bit of mishloach manot envy.
You see I would only get a few mishloach manot as a child, and when we would deliver them to friends and I would see the door packed with baskets and wonder, what I was doing wrong? Nothing. My parents are also people with longtime close friendships, but without a loud and large group of friends. Yet, when mishloach manot become the measure of popularity it can be very hard not to feel less, when you have less.
These early mishloach manot dissapointments really impacted my enjoyment of the holiday. As I got older, in high school, I would give to everyone in the class. On one hand I did not want anyone to feel left out as I had, but, I also wanted to get. It is a deep secret, I gave mishloach manot also, so that I could get them back, and feel like the little girl with a door bursting instead of the girl with few.
Thank goodness our early trauma’s give us plenty to work on as adults. In the past several years, since, I made aliyah I have gained a whole new look and joy in Purim. It all began in Efrat. In Efrat, they had a beautiful women’s megilla reading, by women for women. This was one of the first times that the mitzvah of megillah became a real joy and it inspired me to re-read the megillah every year before Purim and study, hear lectures and make Purim my own.
The megillah brought home the point that mishloach manot is really about giving. So now, I can focus on giving a few mishloach manot to people who I would like to be closer with, or new comers to my neighborhood and the new people in our community raffle. I can give the shomer at the school and my kid’s teachers. I focus on the giving and not on the receiving. I hope that I can translate this to my own kid’s so that when they see that our table isn’t overflowing with baskets, but full of loving and close friends at dinner, they can appreciate their unique family legacy.