Let me tell you about Purim. But when I speak, be careful with your ears and heart. For there are at least two rules on Purim, I don’t have to make sense and I’m allowed to say anything. The elephants have stormed the library. The pope crucifies the president. Hallelujah! I digress. Purim …
It is the nature of human beings to sin. More precisely, it’s the nature of souls in bodies to fuck up. In addition to all of our good works, we accumulate offenses small and large on a daily basis, and we are in regular need of atonement. There are two routes one can take to effect atonement. The classical method of Yom Kippur is to take ownership of one’s errors by speaking them before God and community, ‘for the wrong we did before you,’ and then make an offering of some kind – a slaughtered goat, a prayer, bread crumbs in a river.
But there is an alternate method of atonement, given over on Purim, the holiday wherein the mystical tendencies in Judaism were left untethered. Though they couldn’t speak it publicly but one day a year, the cabbalists held that every being in the universe, and all their activities, all of life in fact – is God dressed up in costumes and masks. All the disparate pieces of the world are an excuse to awaken more love. For when God was alone before creation, masturbating only made so much love. But when there was a world filled with creatures she could hide inside, so many lovers for God to be – two is a pretext to love. The lion pursues the deer, dancers twirl, an astronaut skips the moon – to awaken more love.
The divine spark that hides beneath all of our garments and ego shells is incapable of sin, and when that spark is revealed, atonement is automatic. On Purim, we bring at-one-ment by releasing our surfaces. Instead of offering up our hearts, we sacrifice our facades. In dressing up, we are undressing the coverings of our true nature. And this is a gateway to atonement equally effective. Atonement on Purim is instantaneous, intoxicating, effortless, metaphysical, and full of joy. Can you dig?
But what, you may ask, are the repercussions of my foolish tale?
It’s like a kiss. Whenever two beings touch: speaking, dancing, giving, making, it is always like a kiss. And my how many kisses will you give today? One hundred kisses – to the barista, the daughter, the partner, the stranger, the rabbi, the friend, the angel, the beloved in drag you think you abhor.
When we kiss, your spirit enters into me, and there are two spirits in me. And my spirit enters you, and there are two spirits in you. And then we join and two and two is four - and four is whole. The singular spirit of love blows over me from all four directions and I am whole - at one. Come and kiss me with the kisses of your mouth. Oh how I love that place where spirit comes and goes.
Rabbi Zach Fredman
PS – Join me for Purim tonight. 630pm at Avenida Cantina – 25 Avenue B. We’ll get so drunk you’ll believe me. It’s tradition.