Sunday, 23 March 2008

Ad Lo Yada

It's Purim this weekend.

As far as I can tell, the primary significance of the holiday here is an excuse to dress up - children as well as adults - and have a merry ol' time whilst eating the deliciously addictive Oznei Haman (Sorry, no Hebrew script today).

There are other highlights of the holiday, of course, such as:

Adults confiscating the nice chocolates that their children have received from their playmates, and scoffing them all themselves after said child has cried himself to sleep. (I write from experience, and a raging toothache).

Teenage girls wearing miniskirts, part of their Purim 'costume' that they would otherwise never be allowed to leave the house in, on grounds of common decency and good taste.

Middle aged men, old enough to know better, ogling aforementioned teenage girls without any modicum of shame or discretion. (This writer, obviously, not included. But I spotted at least two...

The traditional Purim parade - Ad Lo Yada (again, sorry for the absence of Hebrew script - the better half is out, and I can't figure it out for myself, being the technological incompetent that I am).

Hypertensive parents trying to devise ever more imaginative and outlandish costumes for their children in conjunction with said parade above - we, being the slack things that we are, wrapped a bedsheet around the small noisy one, pulled a branch from a tree and stuck it in his hands and called him a wizard. He did have his revenge though, beating me about the head with the branch all afternoon.

Orthodox Jews engaging in a good old fashioned piss-up (every year, there are stories in the press of tired and emotional Yeshiva boys rolling in the gutters of Jerusalem, pissed as newts. Personally, I am not sure why they need an excuse for having one or two or a dozen, but there you go. To each his own, etc...)

PErsonally, I like Jewish holidays. Always an excuse to eat and drink too much. That said, I've never been able to get my head around the sheer multitude of them. Channukah, Purim, Lag B'Omer, Pesach, Rosh Ha Shana, Shavuot, Succot, Tu B'Shvat...and it goes on and on and on.

The Jewish writer Shalom Auslander has one explanation:

'When I was a child, my parents and teachers told me about a man who was very strong. They told me that it was important to keep this man happy. When we didn’t obey what He had commanded the man didn’t like us at all. He hated us. Some days He hated us so much that he killed us; other days he let other people kill us. We call these days “holidays”.'

He's a very funny man, if one who skates a little too often on thin ice - check out his website here.

Ok, I've got a bit of work to do, and I need to prepare for something very foolish that I am going to do at the end of the week. More on that later.



MMM said...

Clearly you'll have to do a post explaining the underpinnings of each of these holidays. What is Shavuot all about?

Goy said...

Shavuot is something to do with when Moses got the Ten commandments. For reasons that escape me, orthodox Jews keep a diary diet during this holiday/Holy Day.