June 14, 2024
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
June 14, 2024
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Welcome back to “How Should I Know”—the best advice column that is written by someone people call “The other Mordechai. Not the tzaddik.”

Dear Mordechai,

I always get pounding headaches when I fast. What do I do about all the kids in shul who insist on banging for every mention of Haman? I feel like they should have killed Haman much earlier in the story.


Dear A.,

There’s not much you can do. Setting off explosions for Haman is a tradition that dates back thousands of years, passed down from son to other son to son’s friend. (No adults were involved.) And it hasn’t even helped that we’ve moved Daylight Savings to a time when it will sometimes fall out before Purim. The kids still stay up, and any kid who’s falling asleep during Megilla reading is quickly woken up at the first mention of Haman.

Not that that matters this year anyway.

From what I hear, though, the women’s leining usually doesn’t have any banging, because everyone’s in a rush to get back home so their husbands don’t mess up the mishloach manot prep. And they generally need 10 men for that leining, so there’s no reason you can’t be one of those men! Unless you’re a woman. In which case I would definitely recommend the women’s leining. There’s no rule that says you have to have little kids in order to show up to that. They don’t card you.

Of course, if you do have little kids who you have to keep home, you’re going to have to fight your husband for it. He might want to go to the women’s leining and have you go to the men’s. I’m not going to get involved in your shalom bayis here.

But I’ll help you out here. A lot of kids read this column, so I’m going to talk directly to them: Don’t make such loud noises during Haman. I know you’re excited to use all your party snappers and air horns, but maybe just save all that for after Purim, when everyone has a hangover.

Dear Mordechai,

I have several kids, baruch Hashem, and each one has several rebbeim and morahs, baruch Hashem, and they all sent home notes before Purim about which one hour during the day it’s OK to bring them shalach manos, and it’s all the same hour, and none of them live anywhere near each other. What do I do?


Dear S.,

I know the feeling. One hour? The rest of us are answering the door all day! And if we’re not home, they leave it on the doorstep. Who says, “I’m only accepting your gifts between the hours of X and Y”?

Maybe they don’t want their students to see them plastered.

“You have to come between 12 and 1. Until 12, I’m at the women’s leining, and after 1, I’m going to be out of my keilim, mostly because of what’s going on here from 12 to 1.”

So what do you do?

Carpool. We carpool to school every day; why not arrange carpools for Purim? You can bring one of your kids and all their friends to one teacher (and also to all of your friends who live near that one teacher), and other people can drive the rest of your kids.

The teachers should really send home this note, like, a month in advance.

Because why do you have to be there, with your personal kid? So you can take a picture? The rabbi is wearing the same bekeshe he wears every year; the morah has her sheitel in pigtails and freckles drawn on her face. And you already have pictures of your kids.

The only downside here that I can see is that no one really wants to deal with other people’s kids on Purim, in costume, hopped up on candy, getting in and out of the car every two minutes. Are you the only parent who teaches their kids how to put on seat belts, or what?

The real question is: What happens when you have one kid who has multiple teachers with conflicting times?

But the key here is this: You don’t actually have to bring the correct kid to each teacher. They’re all wearing costumes anyway. And they look pretty similar to everyone but you. No one’s going to know. Just make sure to debrief each kid on what the other kid’s teachers look like, or you’ll have some pretty awkward moments. But awkward moments are what Purim’s all about.


Have a question for “How Should I Know”? Seeing as it’s Purim, you can just give it to me in-person. No, that’s my brother.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles