Purim, Merriment, and Wellness

hamentashen at Purim

Purim merriment is upon us. As we laugh and feel joy, we are inviting in health and well being. Can you feel it?

hamentashen at Purim

The hamentashen, the grape juice, and the masquerading

The Megillah reading and the festive groggers as we boo the name of Haman and recount the story of how Esther became queen of Persia and successfully thwarted Haman’s plan to commit genocide against the Jews.

The ensuing celebrations in appreciation of life!


Laughter, gratitude, and celebrating across generations with loved ones and neighbors make a great recipe for wellness!  For all those joyful ingredients, dayenu*!

*see bottom of the article for all translations


Chanting, a powerful tool for wellness

As luck would have it, this year, the full day before Purim coincided with Kabbalat Shabbat at Main Line Reform Temple. Kabbalat Shabbat is a monthly chanting service led by Rabbi Ethan Franzel.

Before we began chanting, Rabbi Franzel spoke about emet* (the Hebrew word for truth) because so much of the Purim story hinges on TRUTH.

Rabbi Franzel offered his perspective and wisdom; and then he, along with musicians Hoagy Wing and Danny Gold began playing their instruments and the room filled with the collective vibrations of everyone’s voices.

Rabbi Franzel, Hoagy Wing, Danny Gold
Rabbi Franzel, Hoagy Wing, Danny Gold


The service consists of chanting 5 verses; each verse repeating words of positive intention, love and harmony in the language of our ancestors.  Each had it’s own flow and sound and because of that, the words seem to originate in different parts of the body (some from the mouth, some in the throat, some from the diaphragm).

By the end of the hour it felt as though the oxygen in the room was vibrating with love and every cell in my human vehicle was humming.  Participating in this sacred Jewish tradition is quite a magnificent experience and quite a powerful tool for wellness.

Being imbued with positive vibrations from your surroundings as well as from within, dayenu!


Purim, Truth, and Abundance

Emet_aleph-mem-tavOn the car ride home, I was thinking about what I had learned about the word emet.  The word emet is spelled aleph, mem, tav; the first middle and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, reminding us that truth is all encompassing.

Truth is a word we all know, but contemplating it’s meaning with this additional perspective opened my eyes to how consciously honoring TRUTH can support wellness.

Truth and conflict. 

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and completely frustrated that the person you were speaking to just “didn’t get it”?  Think about the stress that adds to your body.  What if at those moments, you could breathe and think of the word emet.  Truth encompasses all perspectives, so what if instead of allowing stress (and the hormones that get triggered by stress, which can cause weight gain and sickness), you considered that the person you are in conflict with is speaking from their perspective of the truth and their perspective of reality.  That changes the intention of the miscommunication from conflict to empathy, which may lead to smoother conflict resolution and substantially less stress hormones being released in your body.


Truth and essence.

Our personal truth is the essence of who we are.  What is our essence?  We start to see the picture of our essence unfold throughout our life path in the decisions that we make and the ways we show up in our relationships with Spirit, with ourselves, with our loved ones, and with our community.  When we think about emet in that light, perhaps we may bring another level of consciousness and awareness to our relationships and our decision making.


Truth and abundance

As I was contemplating the word emet, my thoughts wandered to another inspiring Hebrew word that I had previously learned from Rabbi Franzel, shefa*.  Shefa means flow, abundance.  When we connect those two words, we can create deep wellness for ourselves.  To me, living in flow means being aware of how the decisions we make define our essence; it means paying attention to the cosmic crumbs that gently guide us along our personal path; and it means having clear intentions so your flow leads you in the direction you intend.

When we live our truth and we stay in flow, we experience true wellness.


Chag Purim Sameach* and Be Well.


You can find Rabbi Franzel at Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, PA.

In addition to the monthly chanting service at MLRT, Danny and Hoagy share their creative gifts here:



Dayenu – it would have been enough
Beshert – meant to be
Emet – truth
Shefa – flow, abundance
Chag Purim Sameach – Happy Purim


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