It’s traditional to eat dairy on Shavuot, which begins the first week of Sivan. Because of this, we’re going to explore dairy for the month of Sivan.
Let’s start with the separation of milk and meat in the Torah. What it actually says is “don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk” (לֹא-תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי, בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ). This prohibition is found tthree times in the Torah: Ex 23:19, Ex 34: 26 and Deut 14:21, which means — seriously, don’t freaking do this we’re not kidding around!!! Most likely this was a prohibition on mixing life and death; milk being the source of life and death being meat, very literally in this case the meat of the kid goat. It was also, according to the Encyclopeida of Jewish Symbols, a common ancient pagan practice to give an offering of [Read more…]
What so many of us know about the holiday of Purim is what we can remember from the reading of the Megilah, getting to scream and yell in Synagogue, and, well, getting really…really….lit. Nothing like a Jewish holiday where we are actually supposed to get drunk and party. Yes. It’s the Jewish Mardi Gras.
All of that is amazing, fun and good.
But there is another tradition of Purim that I think we should all be talking about and more importantly DOING: Mishloach Manot (aka Shalach Manot).
Simply, this mitzvah is about the giving of two kinds of food gifts to someone. Mostly now it seems to be about giving a couple of kinds of hamentaschen to your grandmother. But there is such a clearer, deeper reason for this. Purim falls just as the winter is coming to an end. The time when in another era, in [Read more…]
Yes — it’s time for Purim! Who doesn’t love Purim? They tried to kill us, they failed, we kicked their @$$ to the 7th generation — LET’S PARTY!!!!
Over on my own site, I waxed poetic (and ritual) about the hamantaschen. Over at , you can find some great hamantaschen recipe. Here at PunkTorah — I want to talk Purim Shpiel. Next to Passover, Purim is one of our most accessible and fun holidays and like Passover, it’s also serious. The Purim Shpiel is the tradition of doing a humorous play that mocks our enemies. Jews do love comedy, after all.
For years, I threw a killer Purim Shpiel at my house. I just called it a Purim party — but it was all the same. It’s amazing how awesome a party where everyone gets lit and acts out the bible while I read it can be. It was also always a huge opportunity for learning. I always read the JPS translation — and all the way through.
When we hit the end one year, my sister started to yell that I was making up the part where we slaughter Haman’s extended family. She didn’t remember that from Purim as a child. A HUGE debate ensued about this and whether or not they actually read the whole Megillah at our childhood synagogue and how this changed our impression of the holiday.
But seriously — when can you read the bible to people without seeming creepy? It’s awesome!
Here’s how I do it. I have some props that are for each main character and either asked friends who wanted to be whom, or in the true spirit of Purim, had them draw lots for parts. If people were unfamiliar with the characters, I would do a quick explanation. Everyone who didn’t play a part, had groggers and other noise makers — plus they got to drink.
Then I just start reading, and my friends act out any interpretation of what I’m saying they like. I can assure you, we had some fascinating interpretations going. I remember a prissy, pissy french Haman. One time it turned out the hidden story was that Haman was jealous of Vashti’s awesome gold/velvet stole. And well, Esther bowing before the King’s “golden scepter” lead to a not so family friendly interpretation of how Esther saved her people….
This year — invite your friends over and read the bible to them. Read the whole Megillah — word for word. Drink — you are obligated by Jewish law to eat, drink and be merry. Seriously — this is the only holiday where you are obligated to have fun. Take the opportunity to see what you can learn from the reveling and topsy-turvy experience of Purim.
This week is all about Kosher Vegans, Tu B’Shvat and a big OneShul announcement!
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