Purim vs. Covid

Thursday, 11 February, 2021 - 2:22 pm

In 2020, Purim was on Tuesday, March 10. That was the day that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Louisiana. Little did we know what the next year would look like. (In fact, we still don’t…) We had no conception of what COVID-19 would do to our lives, what it would do to our communities, what it would do to our congregations, or what it would do to our ability to observe our religion in a communal or personal setting. Nobody had even heard the phrase “unmute yourself” at that point. Zoom was an obscure company that provided corporate meeting software.

We have had many unprecedented experiences in the last year. Holidays didn’t look anything like they did previously. Life cycle events were marked in unusual ways. Pesach, Shavuot, High Holidays, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Chanukah were all celebrated in strange fashion.

Purim 2021 is on Friday, February 26 (starts the night before, Thursday, Feb 25). While the vaccines are being rolled out and many are getting inoculated against the virus, there are still restrictions in place. However, I encourage everyone to find a way to observe Purim. There will be opportunities to hear the reading of the Megillah indoors and outdoors, according to one’s comfort level. We can still send Shalach Manot, give Tzedakah to the poor, and enjoy a Purim feast and L’chaim. It is vital that we do not allow COVID to take this one from us.

Please look out for information from Chabad (all locations) over the coming week, about a wide range of options, times and settings in which to hear the Megillah.

The Megillah tells us that Adar is categorized as the month of overturning a negative to a positive – “the month that was reversed for them from grief to joy and from mourning to a festive day.”

May we indeed merit to see this occur for us in 5781. May Hashem transform the uncertainty and fear that the world has experienced over the last year to an unbridled freedom and joy during this happy month of Adar through the coming of Mashiach speedily!

Shabbat Shalom and happy Adar
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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