Pure and simple. Straight from the heart. Ten year old David reached for his bag eagerly. It was only a simple cellophane bag, empty at that, but it was important to him. It was his means of giving and David had already learned the joy of bringing happiness to another. “Sure I’m looking forward to a lot of nosh this Purim but this is different. In a way, it’s more fun than getting a bagful of goodies. I don’t know how to explain it but you know what I mean, don’t you?” David was too young to fully explain his feelings but he and thousands like him had learned an important truth: Making another person happy is deeply satisfying.
In most of the schools in cities throughout Israel, a short while before Purim, each student receives a simple cellophane bag, courtesy of Ezer Mizion. Each child carefully prepares the bag with what he feels to be the perfect combination of Purim treats, deciding, changing his mind, re-packing, and changing his mind again. You see, it has to be perfect. It will be received by a sick child who is spending Purim in the hospital. “It’s such a special feeling every year to give mishlo’ach manot to a boy who is lying in a hospital somewhere in the country and cannot be feeling too happy about Purim” says David. “Every year, when I prepare the mishlo’ach manot for Ezer Mizion, I imagine and can almost feel the boy’s happy reaction when he gets the package. I don’t know him, but I am sure he is happy, and I know it’s a big mitzvah.”
The bags are collected and delivered by Ezer Mizion to hospitals across the country. The Ezer Mizion volunteers can attest to the fact that David is right. Children who had planned on being a scary lion this Purim and now find themselves in the scary oncology ward instead. Instead of saying Grrrrrr and frightening others, medical personnel frighten them with needles and terrifying procedures. And then along comes a clown, singing familiar Purim songs and playing a guitar and in his hand is a shalach manos meant just for them. They form a circle. They dance. And when he leaves, the bag of joy remains on his shelf, each bite to be savored with the love with which it was packed.
David’s shalach manos, like the thousands like it, has a theme. It is a theme of giving. The theme of reaching out to another. Yes, David, you’re too young to explain it but we know what you mean.
Lots of parties throughout Israel for the ill, the elderly, the special child. Share their smiles and sing along…