Give and Give More: Beyond Mishloach Manot
By Molly Livingstone
Purim is always that fun holiday where you get dressed up, eat and drink, celebrate our victory against our enemies and spend some quality time with the family.
It is also a time to give. Two of the four Mitzvot (commandments) that we perform on Purim are all about giving. We give Gifts to the Poor (Matanot l’Evyonim) which, according to Megillat Esther, must be at least two gifts to two poor people. Normally these gifts are given as cash - money straight to the people that need it most. In fact, even poor people are expected to give gifts to those even more in need.
Mishoach Manot, the second giving mitzva, involves giving at least two items of food to one person. In practice, Purim has become a day of giving baskets of delicious treats to friends and family, your kids’ teachers, those soldiers that constantly watch over us, and sometimes a stranger who reminds us of what we have in life or what we don’t. But there are some people that may be overlooked.
This year Israel Forever helped sponsor a group of Jerusalem residents in the neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv hand out gift baskets to bus drivers. With the current wave of terror, the neighborhood has become vulnerable to attacks, especially at bus stops. In the past six months the community has been hit with a horrific shooting and stabbing attack on bus route 78 and another attempted stabbing (the knife broke during the attack).
Yet everyday the brave men and women bus drivers continue to do their job, despite being on the frontlines and in harm's way. And in the attacks they are the first to try and thwart terrorists, using self defense, shutting their doors, and even blocking traffic.
So the residents gave back. And Israel Forever supported this cause. On Thursday, March 24, the community came together to hand out mishloach manot (gift baskets) to those everyday heroes. And while the kids considered it fun, they understood the value in each gift. The value of giving. Giving back. To move forward.
Thank you to all those that do not wear a cape, but deserve a badge of honor. This is for you.
Special thanks to Armon Hanatziv resident Pam Gelber resident for her initiative, preparing all the gift baskets, handing them out and being an all around good person.
Molly Livingstone is a freelance reporter and comedian, not to mention a mother of two, living in Jerusalem. While playing all those roles, the script remains the same, showing the world the Israel that she sees everyday, from the people and places, to the culture and definitely the food.