Unfortunately, Purim was a dud.
At least I did my hishtadlus (put forth maximum effort).
I put an ad in the local paper. I sent out lots of email and phone invitations to Jews in the woods of Maine; I had a fellow who runs a Jewish chavurah in New Hampshire send out email invitations to the families on his roster. I did manage to get a response from about 7 families – – all saying they couldn’t make it, that a weekday celebration was too complicated, that they wouldn’t get back in time from work to hear the megilla reading at 4:30 pm. Still, I forged ahead, despite the ominous signs, operating on the premise of “build it and they will come,” which has always worked well for me in the past. I figured people who couldn’t make it in time for the megilla reading might still show up for the dinner seuda. It’s called bitachon – faith.
I guess I was in denial. Because this time it just didn’t work – we built it and they didn’t come.
Two young men from Chabad yeshiva in Brooklyn shlepped in a rented car 7 hours to be with us and read the megilla. This was quite a sacrifice for them, as Purim is really one of the brightest highlights of their year, when they celebrate joyously (and drunkenly) with their friends and teachers.
Besides the Lubavitchers and ourselves, only 3 people came.
I cooked for 20. Just in case.
That’s not to say it wasn’t nice – it was. There was interesting discussion and divrei Torah and plenty of l’chaims. And most important, it provided a Purim celebration for three people who would not have celebrated otherwise.
But it was hard not to be disappointed.
I really put my heart and soul into this. I cooked and baked every day for a week beforehand. Who knew Purim could be as expensive as Pesach? We spent tons of money – and I do mean TONS – on this celebration, between the ad in the paper, the food, the paper goods, the costumes, and the major expense of paying for the gas, rental car, and services for the two yeshiva students. I missed my home town celebration, and the nachas of my grandchildren’s excitement being in costume.
It was an experiment, and I knew the risks, but somehow I didn’t expect it to fail.
So I guess next year we’ll do Purim in our home town.
Hey! Next year Purim falls on Sunday! Maybe more people will come since it’s on a weekend?
Hmm . . .