Is it a happy Purim?
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Is it a happy Purim?

With universal turmoil comes a raise in prices. Of everything.

By the time this column goes to print, gas could be $30 a gallon and we should be seeing lots of people riding bicycles around town. I remember a few years ago, when there was a “wheat shortage” and all the bakeries raised the prices of bagels and challahs. They said that once the prices went down, they would lower them again. Nope. That didn’t happen. And now you can buy a bagel for almost $2 in one particular store. Is it a really good bagel? Possibly, but I still remember paying 25 cents for a bagel — it was the same time when I would walk to and from school in the snow, uphill, with my wagon and trusty horse pulling me along. Yes, you know you are getting old when you can actually remember the prices of things. I guess because when you are old, you usually have to pay for them yourselves.

My favorite salad just went up from $8.99 to $13.99. I will no longer be buying that salad. Please don’t think I am a spoiled brat — I just really like the salad. And now I will make it myself for a quarter of the price, which I should have been doing all along but coulda, woulda, shoulda — such is life.

And when I went into that same store to buy the cut of meat I like (because it is good and the cheapest cut) I was told, “there is a shortage.” Wait, how is there a shortage when your store is stocked with every other more expensive cut of meat? Does the cow refuse to give up the less expensive part of itself as a political stance? How is that possible? I really need to either a. get a life or b. have a discussion with the cows. It all boggles my mind, but just add it to the list of things that don’t make sense.

Oh wait, I started this column talking about prices because Husband #1’s kosher-for-Passover coffee cake is not almost $2 more than it has been in Passovers past. Is that also because of the universal turmoil? All good. We should just be healthy and enjoy the very expensive cake with joy and blessings. How’s that?

Speaking of joy, the holiday of Purim is rapidly approaching. We always love Purim in my home because Husband #1 is the Megillah Man. He reads it numerous times to numerous people. He gets calls to go to homes, to hospitals, to retirement communities. It is really a beautiful mitzvah, and he loves doing it. This year, however, and unfortunately, is going to be a little bit different— and so will be almost every year to come.

Husband #1’s father’s shloshim falls out on Purim. Yup, this year, the Purim seudah (feast) will be taking on a whole new meaning, as Husband #1 has his family mark the 30 days since they lost their father and husband. And in the coming years, when there aren’t two Hebrew months of Adar, his father’s yarzheit always will fall out on Purim. Husband #1’s Hebrew birthday. A day that had always brought him so much joy and favorable reflection.

When his dad was getting worse, Husband #1 brought up the fact that it could happen, that his dad could pass on Purim Katan, solidifying the fact that the Hebrew anniversary would be on his birthday, on what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of the Jewish year. After his dad died, we had a whole discussion about what Purim will mean to him now. Will it still be the day that he turns into the Jewish superhero Megillah Man or will it become a day of sadness and mourning for the rest of his life?

What would his father want for him? What does he want the day to mean for himself? Why do I keep bothering him with all of these philosophical questions when he just a nice guy who wants to eat his Stella Doro swiss fudge cookies and drink his Fanta in peace?

Only time will tell. Husband #1 knows how proud his father was of him for being able to read the megillah with such skill and love. And since I love Husband #1, all I can do is be uncharacteristically supportive and loving and try to not to ask too many annoying questions and help him get through this time the best that I can.

May all of your Purims be filled with joy and love and, of course, really good candy…

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is still reeling over the price of the coffee cake mix. We might circle back to that topic again another time. And without getting political, with hopes that the universal turmoil will come to a peaceful and safe resolution.

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