Purim has finally, praise be given, come to an end. Let us recap. Tuesday morning we had Seudah #1 with the Balsams, except Nafi was sick and had to miss out. We saved him some lox; they're still sitting on the table waiting for him. Come and get it, Nafi! We had a terrific breakfast seudah and then Donny layned for Lisa and me while Meira entertained the kiddies. It worked out very well - we only had all 5 of them smushed into the room whispering various requests into our ears for the last half a perek. After the Balsams headed out, we packed up our mishloach manot and made the rounds. Ariella was very excited to deliver to all of her gan friends (well, the five I let her pick.) We came back, dumped our haul on the table, and headed out to Maaleh Adumim for seudah with the Sassoons.
DIGRESSION ALERT: Mishloach manot here, by the way, are exercises in excessiveness. In America, the tradition has evolved to two extremes. One end is the "highly elaborate theme." This is something I was never very good at, unless "Have some chocolate cupcakes and grape juice" counts as a theme. The themes have gotten out of hand, like a "Breakfast" theme complete with an omelet station, or an "Animal" theme which comes with an actual live frog. The other end of this is the "very practical mishloach manot" - a bottle of wine and challah. Here in Israel, we're still at "dump the contents of your junk cabinet on a plate and cover it with saran." The mishloach manot we received didn't just have some hamantashen and candy. Oh no. Bamba AND Bissli AND chocolate AND marshmallows AND hamantashen AND candies AND cookies. And some dried fruit. You know, for fiber. The only "theme" to be seen for miles around was "Junk Food." I remember assembling our mishloach manot back in B-more. We'd always have an orange, a hamantash, and some chocolates. So I went for a similar kind of thing - I forwent? forgoed? the homebaked stuff in favor of store-bought items. My theme: "Things I bought." We had an apple, a hamantash, two chocolates, some cookies and a chocolate milk. Well, apparently "fruit" does not count as acceptable mishloach manot. When Moshe Balsam saw our offering, he burst out laughing. "Look, Meira, there's an APPLE in here! An APPLE!" He looked at me askance and then, "Hahahahahahaha!"
Where was I? Oh yes, on the way to Maaleh Adumim. The kiddies fell asleep on the way there, the better to conserve their energy for the seudah ahead. We had an excellent time, though we did miss the Bielers, our partners in drunken seudah craziness. Robbie and Donny got drunk, Robbie called everyone he knew in America, the kids did....something, though I'm not sure exactly what, but we didn't see them for most of the seudah and there wasn't excessive crying. After seudah, I drove home, obviously, and then Donny passed out on the couch for three hours. He did help get the kids in bed first, although he has no recollection of a conversation I had with him about my lost contact lens. (I found it, by the way.)
On Shushan Purim we had a Sunday. Donny took off, the kids were home, and we had a really great day. We hiked around Ben Shemen Forest in the morning, then went to pizza and ice cream and hung out at a playground. Afterwards we came home and got ready for our seudah shlishit, at Yael and Yossie's, the Jerusalemites. As Ariella's costume was in tatters, we decided that she could dress up like Mommy for the final seudah. So she put on my scarf, grabbed a pocketbook and cellphone, and went around saying, "I have to go work on my computer now." In fact, the only difference between her and me was that she was prancing around announcing, "I am MOMMY!" which I am pretty sure I don't do, at least not often. Only when I need to assert myself. The other difference was that when the scarf started bothering her, she just....took it off.
Our Shushan Purim seudah at Y&Y's was lovely, especially with the addition of Surprise Guests Zaidy and Sonia. We sang happy b-day to Hanani, and then left, to get everyone into bed at a decent hour in anticipation of the dreaded First Day Back at Gan.
So all in all, I would say that in Israel we firmly believe that "Mishenichnas Adar Marbim b'Simcha." And we certainly simcha-ed our way through the past two weeks. Although I think the phrase is a little off. It should be, "Mishenichnas Adar, until Purim, Marbim B'Simcha. After that, Marbim b'Fret About Pesach."