So, last year I posted about the way Israeli teenagers celebrate Purim: by going to the mall in costume (usually as sexy-something, including sexy Santa Clauses... it was quite disturbing). This year, though, my husband and I had other plans: we were going to go to our synagogue to hear a megilla reading. Problem was, we got the time wrong, so we showed up just as Haman's sons were being taken into custody and only about ten minutes before clowns arrived to entertain the kids who had been chattering throughout the whole thing.
We didn't have plans for the rest of the evening, so instead we decided to go to the mall. But something was missing... it didn't feel like a proper Purim without a megilla reading (and it obviously isn't a halachically proper Purim either). Just as we were leaving Steimatsky with a few books, we saw a bunch of young Chabad guys dancing past shouting: "just 10 minutes! Hear the Megilla! It's a big mitzva!" So we followed along, and there next to the Cellcom booth in the Kiryon Mall, we heard a full (turbo-speed) megilla reading.
It was one of those simple, awesome moments that could only happen in Israel-- there we were in a busy aisle between the food court and the Fox clothing store, along with about 15 young Lubavitch guys, a couple of teenage arsim, a few freichot, some 10-year-old boys who stopped by for the novelty value and hamentaschen, a few Israeli guys who looked like they hadn't worn a kipa since their bar mitzvot decades ago, and a security guard who was upset that we were banging on the mall's table too hard when Haman's name came along. These were all probably people who wouldn't go to a synagogue to hear a megilla reading-- they would be VERY sure you knew they aren't dati'im-- but they stopped and listened respectfully as the Lubavitch guy read through the Megilla so quickly that his face turned red. (He read it with feeling, though!) My husband's fingers whipped from line to line as he followed along in the little megilla pamphlet another Chabad guy gave us. After the megilla was finished and the blessing read, the people in the cellcom booth clapped as the Lubavitch guys danced around the table, singing. We left into the wet night air... a good Purim.
Happy (belated) Purim! Don't forget to check out Haveil Havalim, the Purim edition, over on The Israel Situation!
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