Rabbi Ross. With Purim around the corner, I wanted to share something with you that might be useful to many parents out there. It used to be that many children would be excluded from getting Shalach Manos. Nowadays, many classes get together at one house at a certain time, and all the boys can exchange bags or even better all bring in one type of snack. It’s easier and more fun. Do you want to share with your readers? Shifra – Flatbush
Absolutely I do, but not for the reason you’re expecting. I don’t think this is a very good idea at all. Let’s discuss the history of this fad. A few years ago, there was a very heavy snowstorm on Purim that made driving dangerous. A few ingenious moms came up with a solution to minimize the driving, and all the boys got together in one location.
It worked out wonderfully for that year, giving rise to the question, “Why not do this every year?” Here are some reasons:
I know that driving our kids on Purim is frustrating, and I’ve also spent hours in the car trying to get to Rebbeim and friends only to find out that they left already. However, many Rebbeim and teachers give times that they’ll be home, and when your child gets to the Rebbe’s or Morah’s house and shows off his or her costume, it’s all worth it.
We need to remember that each one of the Yomim Tovim holds special memories for our children. They remember dipping the apple in the honey on Rosh Hashana, lighting the Menorah on Chanukah, and yes, going to their friends and giving Shalach Manos on Purim. I’ve asked a few boys about the class gatherings over the past years, and they don’t have such great memories of the experience. It’s the whole class together. Nothing original, and nothing memorable. Instead of remembering the excitement of giving shalach manos, they remember having class gatherings to share candy.
I’m sure many parents will disagree with this, and that’s fine. The important thing, is that you make sure your child has an unforgettable Purim for all the right reasons. Take your kids to visit their Rebbeim and teachers and bring them to the Rav. Purim shouldn’t only be about getting candy, it should be about giving to others and the excitement of being a Jew.I would like to add one point to this article. I was at a wedding recently of a Yeshiva Bachur who was in his low-twenties. I was astonished at how many of his friends were at the bar, and I’m quite sure that they weren’t getting diet cokes. Drinking is a very serious issue, and I wonder what the Yeshivos are doing to combat this.
When I was a teenager, I was told by a Rebbe “Alcohol can kill! You need to be careful and limit yourself! That being said, you’re all invited to my house on Purim and there will be plenty of alcohol.” Over that Purim, I drank irresponsibly at so many of the Rebbeim’s houses. Looking back, I can’t believe my parents didn’t call the police.
Now. I might not be a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that allowing someone under 21 to drink alcohol on your property is illegal. Furthermore, alcohol can seriously injure or worse Chav V’Shalom. I wish every Yeshiva instituted a zero-tolerance policy on drinking. Until then, every parent should closely monitor where their children will be on Purim. Additionally, parents should make clear to their children (as well as the Rebbeim) that drinking will not be tolerated. If you’re worried about fulfilling the Mitzvah, I can introduce you to many Rabbonim that will list alternative concepts.
Have a Freilchin Purim!
2/22/2018 06:56:33 pm
This Rebbe should be fired!
2/22/2018 09:36:01 pm
Fired? Why? Rebbes like this need to be educated. He's probably just showing off to the class, and it sounds like this happened years ago. Hopefully this Rebbe is smarter now. If not, let him watch a video of a mother mourning her son who died of alcohol poisoning,
2/22/2018 06:58:43 pm
Great stuff! I don’t know about the kids getting together, but it sounds ridiculous. Regarding the drinking. Spot on!!!!! It’s sick!
2/22/2018 09:24:12 pm
Rabbi, you're a bit younger than me, so let me enlighten you a little. This drinking issue has been going on for ages. Parents would warn their children, and they would anyway. No one is dying. No one is getting hurt. Unless they overdo it. That goes for anything in life.... everything in moderation. I do agree with you, but nothing will change.
2/22/2018 09:53:20 pm
I respectfully disagree. Everything in moderation is true. If you have too much candy it can give you a stomachache, if you have too much food you can gain weight. Too much iPad time and the kids become vegetables. Too much alcohol and you can die. Not really comparable to the others.
2/22/2018 09:30:01 pm
We had a class get together last year. I agree that it was really dumb. We were talking and saying it was convenient, but, yes, it takes away from the Purim experience. What I really agree with, was the kids being excluded. I distinctly remember last year a few boys sitting on the side being ignored. Their parents looked miserable. If we are trying to be all inclusive, we're doing the exact opposite.
2/22/2018 09:40:54 pm
I think that parents need to get involved. Tell the schools you won’t tolerate any drinking. Why in the world would parents have kids get together for exchanging candies. Is this Halloween? So idiotic.
A Bubby and Zaidy
2/22/2018 09:59:24 pm
Rabbi Ross. I enjoy how you analyze these emails form all angles. I completely understand why parents get together, but after reading your assessment I agree with you. I wanted to mention something about the alcohol. It’s really so sad that a Rebbe would say that. Alcohol is a drug. If you don’t take it seriously, it can consume you instead of vice versa. Have a Frelichen Purim!
2/23/2018 04:09:23 am
Getting together at peoples houses is just another way that people have begun to simplify the Mitzvos. If it’s possible to complete the Mitzvah in an easier way, I’m all for it. When we change the way we perform a Mitzvah, our children notice. As you said, these children are losing out on childhood memories for life. Very said.
A Yiddishe Mameh
2/23/2018 04:17:37 am
Every family should read this. The part about going to friends houses I’ve never heard if either. I don’t understand why people would change centuries old minhag. The alcohol part is so scary and true. As long as the leaders make alcohol into a joking matter, we’re putting neshomos as risk!!!!
2/23/2018 07:29:50 am
Without going into detail, I can assure you that there are many Rabbis like the one you spoke about. They tell kids don’t drink and then have an open bar. It’s horrible.
2/23/2018 08:25:51 am
What an embarrassing article. Not because of the content, but because it needed to be written. Gathering kids together takes the fun out of Purim, and drinking is a problem that WE create!
2/23/2018 09:35:43 am
I have heard about the class purim connection. Some grades do it to allow the Rebbe to see all the boys which is nice. I don't see the harm in it, although I see your points. The alcohol point is certainly correct, I think it'll take a serious incident to help solve this regretfully.
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Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.