Purim Themes – Do You or Don’t You?


Happy Rosh Chodesh Adar II everyone!

It wasn’t until I joined the Facebook group “purim themes and ideas for shalach manos” that I realized how seriously people took shalach manos themes.  Growing up themes wasn’t a thing that most people did.  Shuls usually had a theme, but that was it.  The average person didn’t do a theme.  Of course there were always “those people” – you know the ones that out-do everyone else, but that wasn’t the average person.

Now it seems like everyone does a theme.  Not only a theme for the actual shalach manos, but it seems like everything needs a theme.  People are posting about their family costume/shalach manos theme combos and other are posting about the theme for their seuda.  A theme for a seuda?

While looking at all these pictures and reading all these posts it’s so easy to feel inadequate.  It’s easy to feel like I’m not putting the right amount of effort into our beautiful holiday.  But that really isn’t the case at all.

The one year we did a theme, it was really cute.  We did a coke and mentos theme.  It was simple, easy to shop for and really fun!  It was something DH had wanted to do for a while, so we did it.  But in the next few years after, a theme didn’t come as easily, so we didn’t have one.

We kept it simple.  We gave 2-3 items.  Sometimes we wrapped it in cellophane to make it look extra fancy, but other years we just bought simple bags.  I usually try to make a nice label, but one year we bought the “Simchas Purim” pre-made labels.  And at the end of the day we still had a nice Purim, fulfilled the mitzvos of the day and didn’t have any added stress.

We all focus our efforts in different places.  This year I made a personal decision that I don’t want to make time for an elaborate theme.  My time is valuable and needs to be spent elsewhere.  I work long hours every day.  I need to make sure I buy my kids the simple costumes they asked for.  I need to arrange my schedule to account for the half-day my kids have off from school on Ta’anis Esther.  And I need to schedule in time to hear the Megilla.

In the end, we all prioritize differently, according to our needs.  More creativity does not yield more reward.  The effort we put into simchas Purim is what we will get out of it.  It is up to each one of us to decide how we make the day special.

In the spirit of Purim, I wanted to share some inyanei d’yoma pertaining to the day.  As a busy mom, I sometimes need a reminder of what the holiday is really all about.  I also recently found this article on the Laws of Mishloach Manot and thought it was a really interesting and quick read.

Purim Inyanei D’Yoma

The 4 Parshios

These 4 Parshios are read as maftir on Shabbos:

  1. Shkalim – read on the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Adar (I guess I missed this one)
  2. Zachor – read on the Shabbos before Purim (see more below on this one)
  3. Parah – read on the Shabbos following Purim (I kinda know this one because it was part of my brother’s Bar Mitzvah leining many moons ago)
  4. HaChodesh – read on the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Nissan

While it’s a mitzvah deoraisa to hear Parshas Zachor, it’s a machlokes if it pertains to women, so make an effort to attend Shul if you can and ask your lor about your obligation.

Ta’anis Esther

The Fast of Esther is the day before Purim and commemorates that Bnei Yisrael fasted on the day of the battle – 13 Adar.

Mitzvos on Purim Day

On Purim there are 4 mitzvos:

  1. Mishloach Manos – must give 2 food items that are ready to eat to 1 person
  2. Megilla – must hear every word, night and day
  3. Matanos L’evyonim – charity to the poor
  4. Seuda – you’re supposed to have eaten most of your meal by the end of the day

In morning before Megilla reading, when Shehecheyanu is recited have in mind other other 3 mitzvos of the day… shalah manos, seuda, and matanos l’evyonim.

Tefila on Purim Day

In Shmoneh Esrei and Bentching add Al HaNisim.

We do not say Hallel on Purim.  25 extra credit points to anyone who can list the 4 reasons why we don’t.  Classic seminary entrance exam question 😉

Wishing you all a very happy Purim!!

Until next time,