Thursday, March 8, 2012
Purim is perhaps the most joyous holiday on the Jewish calendar. That being said, it stands in odd contrast to being an avel (mourner). While Jewish law did not prohibit me from attending a joyous reading of the Megillat Esther (the scroll of Esther), I did not feel it matched my present state of mind. So I choose to attend a more straight-forward reading in the late evening, after the main festivities were over. I would have attended a shul in Manhattan where I went last year, featuring a lively reading followed by a musical concert. However, one of the prohibitions of the mourning period is attending live music shows. In any event, after the reading of the Megilla and Aleynu, I recited the Mourner's Kaddish. I was the only one in a group of perhaps 100 people doing so. It was a strange feeling, as if I were reminding the assembled that, in the midst of joy, there is sorrow. I felt a bit guilty, spoiling the party, as it were. I guess that's my job these days.