Purim is a most uplifting day of celebration.
It is also a day that calls for courage, fortitude, bravery, and strength of character.
We all recognize that most of the products placed in frightfully expensive, oversized mishloach manos packages go to waste, and in most cases aren’t even appreciated by the recipients. We all know that it is more worthwhile to spend more on matanos la’evyonim and less on mishloach manos.
But it still takes courage to buck the trend and send a simple, affordable, small mishloach manos. It takes fortitude to choose to set an example for others to emulate instead of simply imitating — or trying to one-up — what the others have been doing. It is those who really can afford to spend the money who have the moral obligation to be a role model in this area, and begin to put a stop to a frivolous and wholly unnecessary expense.
Only when those people whom Hashem has blessed with resources will begin to cut back, will it be possible for those who are not as materially endowed to do so with their dignity and feelings left intact.
We have all seen the disastrous effects of out-of-hand inebriation on Purim. We all are aware of the many halachic authorities who rule that one should only drink a little more than usual. We all know the horror stories related by members of Hatzolah, the ruined reputations and the strained marriages caused by inappropriate and excessive drinking.
It takes bravery to be the one to say no to the proffered glass filled by a well-intentioned but sorely misguided acquaintance. It takes strength of character to insist that we know in advance where our children — even when they are already young adults — are at all times on Purim, and whom they are with. It is our obligation to train our children in the art of refusing to participate in dangerous or inappropriate conduct — even when it isn’t politically correct to do so.
It isn’t easy. But doing the right thing, regardless of circumstances and trends, is an essential part of the lesson of Purim.