Today is the holiday of Purim when Jews make merry to celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish community in Persia in the 5th century B.C.E. by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai from the evil Minister Haman’s decree to annihilate them. I usually explain Purim as the Jewish carnival since it is customary to dress up in costumes and act silly. In synagogue, there is the official reading the Megillat Esther, the ancient scroll that tells the story of Queen Esther.

There’s another custom on Purim, called Mishloach Manot, namely sending gifts of food to friends, family and neighbors. While the giving of gifts to mark a joyous occasion is an old tradition, giving food to people who aren’t in need as always struck me as odd. So it took a while for that custom to take hold in our household, but as you can see here, I bought gift boxes especially for Mishloach Manot this year, and my daughter is now busy packing.

So, as we say in Hebrew, Chag Purim Sameach! Happy Purim!