The Purim column
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The Purim column

Hello there — did you know that Purim is next week. Purim. When did that happen? Wasn’t it just Rosh Hashanah? And if it is almost Purim, then it must mean that Passover is just around the corner. Of course, if you have been to Stop & Shop, you would think that Passover is next week, but that is another story.

So it is time for the holiday of Purim. Queen Esther is the heart of the story. She even gets her own fast day, which is like every teenaged girl’s dream. A whole day of not eating in your honor! Think of how well the dress for the ball will fit you after that!

So Purim means many things to many people, but in my house, Purim means that it is Husband #1’s birthday. The story goes that his father was doing a residency or fellowship in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when little Husband #1 made his way into the world, almost killing his mother with his exceptionally large and handsome cranium. And there he was, a Purim baby. He couldn’t have been born on a more appropriate holiday. Husband #1 is full of joy all of the time. It is what makes him an amazing father, and an amazing friend, and an amazing human. And because he was born on Purim, he learned to lain the megillah for his bar mitzvah. His father found someone to teach him, I think he was a doctor who needed the extra money and taught Husband #1.

Husband #1 is the Santa Claus of Purim. He reads the megillah at least nine times over the course of the holiday. It never takes him longer than 19 minutes — unless his crowd catches on to the very fast “Haman rule.” This means that if you say Haman fast enough, no one hears you and you can just keep reading and no one tries to stop you. I usually catch on, but it is a challenge.

In any event, Husband #1 loves Purim because he loves reading the megillah and making people happy. A few months ago, he saw that the mother of the man who taught him the megillah passed away and the family was sitting shiva in Monsey. Well, it was also Chanukah, and Monsey was selling some epic-looking donuts and, well, I convinced Husband #1 that he needed to pay a shiva call to give hakarat hatov to the man who taught him how to be the “megillah man,” and let’s be real, I am all about the donut. So off to Monsey we went. We parked the car and walked into the house. First there were those initial glances among the mourners, the “Um, do you know who that is or am I supposed to know who that is” faces, but then they realized who it was, or at least who its father was. Many folks know my father-in-law in the holy land of Monsey. And that is when the conversation started.

Husband #1 started to remind the man about how he was his teacher, but then he got married and his brother had to take over… something like that. But then I started to tell the man how he changed Husband #1’s life. How every Purim, he lains for old people, young people, really old people, really young people — in fact, all people, all night and all day long. It is his favorite thing to do, and we want him to know how much we appreciate what he has done for him.

The man was truly touched. Telling someone how much he means to you and what an impact he has had on your life is an amazing thing. And for Husband #1, something as important to him as reading the megillah, well, that thank you needed to be said.

And this Purim is even more special, because it is his 50th birthday on this earth. And if you think you can’t believe that it is almost Purim, I can’t believe that the curly-haired dude I met in 1983 is turning 50, or as I like to cheerfully call it, more than halfway to dead. (Yes, I am not the optimist in this relationship.) So this year, if you see Husband #1 roaming around Teaneck wondering why we have no shaloch manot to deliver because we have no kids living at home (insert sobbing noises here), please wish him a happy 50th birthday. He deserves it. After all, he has been living with me for half of his life….

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wishes you all a happy and healthy Purim. Filled with delicious candy that will not show up on the scale or on your hips…

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