Post Purim Confessions: I caved. I crumbled. At pretty much the last minute before Purim, I baked pineapple coconut cupcakes (yes, with icing), fudge brownies, and molasses spice cookies, all due to personal requests from various expectant shaloch-manos recipients. This kind of breakdown doesn’t happen each year, but it does happen more frequently than feels quite non-hypocritical. I also felt pretty guilty especially because somehow some of these ended up in the shaloch manos for people on special diets.
Therefore, I was very relieved to hear I was not alone. While playing a spontaneous (and unspoken), game of “truth or dare” on the telephone (the day after Purim) with a few friends who spartanly eschew flour, sugar, and anything processed all year long, I learned that this Purim, they too, succumbed. My dear friend M. in fact, sounded delirious, she was eating spoonfuls of icing—the woman lives on salmon, plain vegetables, and water the rest of the year.
Everyone binged this year. Acckkk. Including me. For example, I ate an orange, hot-pink, and white lollipop, which my well-trained husband (all my work coming back to haunt me) pointed out contained “titanium dioxide.”
“Do you know what that is?” he asked in horror. “It’s paint. You’re eating paint!” (It tasted like paint, I might add). And then he proceeded to go to my art supplies and pull out a tube of white paint and show me the label, just in case I was ignorant. Or in a fugue state.
It’s All About Relationships
We’re taught that Yom Kippur is about healing and strengthening the relationship between a person and God. Purim, on the other hand, is about strengthening and healing the relationships between a man (or woman) and his or her fellow. I guess that’s why we give each other so much wine and candy—we’re on a massive sugar high and feeling very forgiving and loving. (Don’t forget, this is the month in which we increase our tzedakah–charitable donations, too).
In Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman says that “…a person must guard himself from falling into an evil eye. This evil eye [or what we would call having an overly critical or jealous way of looking at other people] means the “death of the heart,” for it induces forgetfulness and impairs the memory and the person’s heart dies within him. Then he does not remember his ultimate, eternal purpose…”(Kitzur-Abridged LM, 54:7:BRI)
He also says, “Sometimes a person may view another’s high position with jealousy — and this, too, can take many different forms. A person must guard himself vigilantly from this trait, so that he sould in no way have a critical or jealous eye toward other people.” (Kitzur-Abridged LM, 54:8; BRI)
The month of Adar (in which Purim takes place) is an ideal time to ask Hashem to help us heal our relationships with others (even if they never realize this!). It’s the 17th of Adar, we’ve got 12 more days to go.
I feel well-healed, but a bit lightheaded and…full.
This year, the most exciting part of Purim was the first reading of the Megillah at night, before we broke the fast on Wednesday. It was read by a very melodic Breslover and it took twice as long as most other readings I’ve attended. I was so excited to be able to follow along and understand every word. Plus, in this shul they let the kids and the big kids (we call them, “adults”) bang and boo and hiss every time Haman was mentioned as long as it could be sustained. The children had a wonderful time.
Then we ended the day at the home of Rabbi Trenk (if you want information about his weekly classes in Brooklyn, email me at email@example.com) where he and his wife created a joyous, inspiring, incredible, atmosphere complete with silly poem reading, singing, Torah learning, and real food.
Pre-Passover Cleaning (House, Soul, Body): Today I started cleaning the house for Pesach (Passover) in earnest. Sure, I had tackled a few projects before, but today I got some of the grunt work and tedius chores done—like sorting out the medicine chest and my husband’s personal drug-store on wheels, “just in case, you never know when you might need a lifetime supply of arnica gel—three giant tubes, because they were on sale” and the “1000 count box of alcohol wipes” and seemingly “dozens of bottles of travel-sized mouthwash” in case, I don’t know, we attend a garlic festival in Australia?
Also, by mistake I flipped open a box of acupuncture needles and they went everywhere. Luckily, they’re don’t contain *chometz!
But there is an inner soul cleaning that goes on, too. Now that we’ve sorted and cleaned out any unkind feelings we might have held about others, it’s time to sort out any unkind feelings we might hold about ourselves. For that, we’ll need Azamra (which you can also apply to your view of your fellow, by the way).
On the one hand, we can seek to annihilate the “Pharaoh” aspect inside ourselves, that arrogant, haughty, better-than-thouist who wants control and needs everyone to be his slave, but who in the end we see is really simply a slave himself, to his desires and his ego. On the Azamra hand, we can seek the good inside ourselves, the humble, loving, good, devoted, committed, simple speck of soul and turn our attention towards this aspect in each of us. By focusing a lazer of recognition and intent on this good point within, no matter how small, we feed it, nurture it, make it grow until it simply drowns out much of the other stuff.
Finally, this is a great time, while you still feel slightly gross from your Purim indulgences, to spring-clean the body, too. Eating lighter, fresher foods, avoiding refined sugars, most oil and fats, and gluten-containing grains, leave you feeling less sluggish.
Now is the time to add to your diet once or twice a week:
1/2 large Ripe Papaya, diced (papayas might take as long as a week to ten days to ripen at room temperature depending where you buy them; the peel of large papayas must be splotched with golden-orange, a bit soft, and if slightly touched with mold, that’s okay; the peel of small papayas should be mostly golden and slightly soft). In the photo are the large variety of papayas. The mottled orange papaya in back is just about ripe, the one in front isn’t.
1/4 Ripe Pineapple, diced (to tell if a pineapple is ripe, pick it up and smell the bottom–it should smell headily pineapply)
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon or lime
Put fruit in bowl and sprinkle with citrus juice. If you are pre-diabetic (hypo-glycemic), diabetic, or have other blood sugar problems, do not eat fruit on an empty stomach.
You can also drink daily:
Easy, Anti-Inflammatory Green Drink
12 oz. room temperature or slightly cool pure water
1 teaspoon Pines wheatgrass powder (start with 1/4 teaspoon and work your way up to 1 teaspoon twice a day; you can drink this every day for two weeks, then take a break for one week before returning to previous levels)
1/4 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)
Place in 16 oz. jar, cover tightly and shake. Drink!
Instead of the Green Drink, above, try:
Dandelion greens and other bitter greens are the perfect spring tonic. Traditional herbalists say they cleanse the liver. They are anti-inflammatory, slightly diuretic (especially if the root is used, too), but caution is required if you suspect you might be allergic. (If you have ‘hayfever’ taste only small amounts).
1 large organic cucumber, scrubbed, do not peel
3-6 unsprayed dandelion leaves
Wrap washed leaves around cucumber. Feed through Breville or Champion or juicer. Drink once a day on an empty stomach for one week to ten days. You can drink half and refrigerate the other half until the next day if you find this difficult to drink.
Alternately, drink one cup of dandelion root tea before or after dinner.
Caution: Do not use if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or stomach ache, or digestive inflammation.
*chometz is any grain-based item that can become rise (leaven), and this is forbidden on Passover
NOTE: The recommendations on this blog are not medical recommendations. Before trying, please use common sense and check with your doctor if you have any health issues at all.