PURIM Gragger - Word From Rabbi Shimon Levin
My name is Shimon Levin, Iâm the CEO at Israel Pack and a father of eight children.Â
My wife Alina and I face the same challenges as all other parents.
Soon you will receive your March subscription box, and inside you will find a special surprise item from Israel, which, I believe, will help you stop siblings fighting. Thatâs right, Iâm not just giving you an advice, but Iâm actually sending you an item that you can start using right away.
Before I reveal this magic instrument, Iâd like to tell you about the unique Jewish theory and practice of putting thoughts into words.
We speak thousands of words every day. Words have enormous power. They can be used to hurt others, and in doing so we also harm ourselves. Our language defines us and the world we inhabit; our words can limit or liberate us. Therefore, we need to choose them carefully and consciously.
âThe LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.â (Genesis 2:7)
Here is how Onkelos translates this verse into Aramic: âAnd the Lord God created man, dirt from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils a living soul, and it was for a speaking spirit in manâ. Therefore, our words define who we are.
Proverbs 18:21 related to Solomon says:âDeath and life are in the power of the tongue.â
But sometimes we canât cope with overflowing emotions, and all we want is to scream and yell. Such strong reactions are natural for kids who cannot yet control their feelings.
How can we help?
We can find the answer by looking at the history and traditions of Purim that was celebrated recently. The reading of the Book of Esther (the “Megillah”) is the first religious ceremony which is ordained for the celebration of Purim. During this reading, when the name of Haman is mentioned, the children spin graggers, bang, shout, stamp their feet and generally make a ruckus in order to fulfill the obligation of blotting out Hamanâs name.
In the book of Esther Haman symbolizes evil. The evil of the world, but also the evil in us.
This story teaches our kids not to suppress their feelings, but to express them in a healthy way. Instead of yelling at your sibling, transform your anger into more productive and acceptable behavior. Spin the gragger, make some noise! Convert anger to laughter!
When you open your March box, you will find a Purim gragger. Gather your children or grandchildren, and tell them this story. Talk to them about the importance of kind words. Next time they want to yell at their brothers and sisters, let them spin the gragger and get rid of the evil Haman in themselves. My kids always do that, and usually it helps.
Did you find this story interesting? Would you try it out? Please share your experience with us and our community here!
Rabbi Shimon Levin