Finally! Purim is almost here - I've been counting down the days until it arrives. What a unique holiday. So many interesting components to it, so many mitzvot to complete and tasks to accomplish in such a condensed amount of time.
Everyone has their Purim "favorite". For some, it's creating and delivering their shalach manos, eagerly waiting to see what their neighbors came up with and how their idea stacked up. Others love the seuda, having waited an entire year till they were treated once again to their family's special Purim dishes. And the costumes...I have one friend who starts planning hers during Chanukah.
I love all of these elements and I can't imagine what Purim would be like without even one of them. Personally though, I have two other favorites: Matanot L'Evyonim & Megillat Esther.
When I tell people that, I always get some raised eyebrows. I think they can understand the Megillat Esther part, but maybe question how Matanot L'Evyonim can be a "favorite". All I can say is, aren't we lucky? There's something incredibly amazing about building into the holiday, the mitzvah requirement to help people who are less fortunate. It makes us stop and think, and remember that even amid all the celebrating (which we definitely should do!) we need to be cognizant that people need help. And that it's our responsibility, our privilege, to help them.
And don't even get me started on Megillat Esther. Every year I sit, glued to my megilla, not only so I can read/hear every word in order to fulfill the mitzvah, but because really, what a story! It's completely enthralling and each time, it feels like I'm hearing it for the first time. I'm constantly inspired especially by Esther; how this woman, an orphan, with a bit of help and advice, handled challenge after challenge not only to survive her hardships but do so while keeping the mitzvot, and then going on to become the heroine of the whole story. Inevitably it leads me to think of Yad Eliezer's Widows & Orphans program, which works to alleviate the suffering of needy mothers and their orphans - also with a bit of help and advice - so they can deal with challenges they face. Our hope, our goal, is that these children, too, will be able to survive their hardships, and that they'll go on to accomplish great things. They don't have to become royalty but they can grow up to lead productive lives, with the ability to support their own families and live with dignity. We're lucky at Yad Eliezer, to be a part of that.
We're also lucky that we're able to provide assistance for needy families in so many other ways through our programs. So if donors are inspired to give tzedaka for a specific purpose, chances are we've got a program for it.
It's just a few days to go until chag and if you're reading this, that means that one of my Purim favorites, Matanot L'Evyonim, is likely on your mind. By donating yours to Yad Eliezer, you can do so knowing that, as one of the most effective Israeli charities, over 96% of your tzedaka will go straight to families in need, helping them spend Purim seated at a full table, feeling relieved and that they are celebrating just like everyone else. And they'll be able to make memories of their own Purim favorites.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday, as you enjoy all your favorites, too!