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display of masks and costume elements for Purim

The Definition of Purim

It changes depending on who you ask

by KR

0 Comments | Wednesday, March 13, 2024 under Matanot L'Evyonim

It’s interesting to see how one word (or in this case, one day) can mean such a variety of things to different people. Take “Purim” for example.

“‘Purim is the megilla. It’s Mordechai and Esther, v’nahafoch hu, the hatzala, the miracle of good overcoming evil.” Aharon T., Jerusalem

“To me, ‘Purim’ means costumes and lots of candy.” Daniella, age 6

“‘Purim’ is the seuda! My husband and kids, my extended family - in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone- seated around my table for a huge, lively Purim seuda. Lots of laughs.” Aviva L., mother of 6

“Purim is my favorite holiday. Everyone’s always happy. I love bringing shalach manos to all my friends. I also bring to my parents' friends. I’m the shaliach.” Yosef, age 11

These kinds of descriptions are what most people are used to hearing. 
Fun, and excitement. Food, laughter and noise. All the different mitzvot and minhagim..They all come together to create “Purim”.

And then, there are other definitions of "Purim" that we don't always hear about..

“Honestly? ‘Purim’ is “stress”. I want to make a proper, kavodic seuda for my family but if my husband and I spend for Purim we can’t afford for Shabbos. And if we buy for Shabbos, chicken for example, we can’t also buy for the seuda. It has to be one or the other.” Nechama S. mother of 4

“When I think of Purim I’m sad. Last year we all had to trade mishlochei manot with another girl in the class. When I gave mine to my zug (partner), she made a face and started to cry. She didn’t like it. My mother gave me a bag with an apple and some toffees to give. It wasn’t nice like what the other girls gave.” Sara, age 7

“Since my mother died, Purim is not the same as it used to be. My father can’t really handle everything at home. He doesn’t do anything for Purim so the day just kind of comes and goes.” Perel, 16

“I see everything at the stores for Purim-the foods, the treats, the costumes for children. I can’t get any of these things for them. I don’t know yet what we will do for a seuda. I just don’t know. I’m alone, so ‘Purim’ for me is uncertainty. It’s b’didut (isolation). I’m sure for my children it’s disappointment.” Chagit, single mother of 3

B’ezri’s Matanot L’evyonim campaign is here to transform Purim for families who are struggling. The happiness and celebration of such a powerful chag are elements and emotions that all families should be able to experience so our aim is to bring those back to as many as we can.

Tzedaka funds we distribute will ensure that every household we reach can have a dignified chag, with relief that will nurture simcha in their homes. Simcha, after all, is so critical to the spirit of the holiday. 

Help us at B’ezri with your Matanot L’evyonim donation so for thousands of families in need, we can redefine Purim. 


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