Today (well tomorrow, depending on your perspective) is Purim. Purim is probably one of the most joyous days on the Jewish Calendar, but unfortunately somehow, it's meaning and joy has been lost to so many including, to some extent, myself. Maybe it suffers because it seemingly falls in middle of the week and since it is a day where work is allowed, many opt to work on Purim. Maybe it is because of its position relative to Passover - (Moshe Yess, a Jewish Folk Singer, has a song stating that Jewish Mothers hate Purim because it means that Passover is only four weeks away). In any case, I am not sure how much I have 'felt' Purim in the last few years, until watching my son at the megillah reading.
Mitch was so excited and ecstatic. He eagerly waited for each utterance of Haman's name and when it came he jumped up and down with his Gragger (Haman, is the antagonist of the Book of Esther - a.k.a. the Megillah, and it is customary to 'blot out' his name by making noise as the person reading the megillah recites it. A Gragger is a Yiddish word for noisemaker). It is hard to describe the look on his face, but it was a combination of intensity, excitement and joy - yes pure joy.
Maybe that is what I am missing. Maybe the stresses of being a Dad and a Husband and and Orthodox Jew have taken some of the fun away. But just looking at my son, and feeling the sense of pride and accomplishment in his joy for this small piece of our tradition and history put some of the joy back in it for me too, and in turn, made the megillah reading a lot more personal and special.
I guess the moral of this story is that every so often we should all take time to stop and shake our Graggers.