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Woodchoppers

Friday, 22 March, 2019 - 7:48 am

Wow! The energy of Purim still pulsates through my being.

With over 125 people celebrating together on Thursday, we relived the story of Jewish pride and survival. We listened to the Megillah, a tale that is as relevant today as it was nearly 2500 years ago. We too must trust that Hashem is the one really in charge, not some frightening villain, nor even a queen in the palace.

We danced to the live music of local musicians playing traditional and modern Jewish music. Israeli, Chassidic, folk and ancient melodies reverberated throughout the room.

There was more mouth-watering food than we could consume – pastrami on rye, egg rolls, salads and hamantaschen to name a few.

The tzedaka box filled up as we remembered our less fortunate brethren.

Everyone enjoyed contributing to our one-of-a-kind graffiti wall, bringing the spirit of Purim to a pop!

The joy, the unity and the energy were all so palpable!

BEFORE & AFTER 

graffiti-wall-before.jpggraffiti-wall-after.jpg

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But, now it’s the day after. And, it’s back to life as normal.

Of course, we look forward already to the next Jewish holiday. Pesach is only a month away!

Obtaining shmurah matzah, shopping and cooking for Passover, cleaning and inviting guests – there’s plenty to do.

Some might say that we have so many holidays on the Jewish calendar, barely giving us time in between!

But, I think this week’s parsha tells a different tale. The parsha Tzav talks about the sacrifices in the Mishkan (and Beit Hamikdash).

Describing the different offerings, much attention is given to the uniqueness of each offering. There were lots of tasks associated with the offering, each one full of meaning and devotion.

Each day fresh wood was brought for the offerings. A group of kohanim (priests) would chop fresh wood for the offerings. This group did not enjoy the rewards of their efforts in a tangible way. They did not recite any prayers or perform any rituals at the Holy Temple. They simply chopped and delivered wood.

Yet, our Rabbis teach, these woodchoppers were cherished by G-d. The fact is that they displayed greater devotion than their comrades. Their efforts did not reap any noticeable benefits to themselves. Because of this, their endeavors demonstrated true self-effacement. They did it truly for the sake of G-d.

And, that gave them great joy.

For there is no greater joy than doing something completely for the sake of G-d.

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On Purim, we celebrate with all of our senses. On Pesach, we once again engage in a multi-sensory reliving of the past, present and future.

But, the opportunity to connect with our Creator in the days between might be even greater.

Now, if we take the energy of Purim and carry it into the ‘day after,’ then we’ve got the best of both worlds.

Happy Shushan Purim!

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