For the last few years, I have done my Purim mishloach manot delivery by foot.
It started when Mayer Fertig posted on Facebook that he did a Purim morning BBQ on his front lawn. I knew Mayer in the 80s when we were in MTA together.
(A five-mile round trip...for a hotdog?)
I don’t see you offering.
(I’m inside your head.)
It’s funny how many of the guys I went to high school with live in Teaneck. Almost as strange as to just how many of my 1987 MTA classmates are on Facebook with me.
In the pre-COVID days, my Purim delivery route would take me from my house on the eastern edge of Teaneck all the way to Mayer’s house near River Road which is the Western edge.
I would give Mayer his gift of food, grab my hotdog and run back to my neighborhood to do more deliveries.
This year with COVID, I knew that Mayer would not be doing anything in front of his home.
I didn’t know if anyone would be doing front lawn Purim parties, so I was on the lookout for a way to make Purim special.
(So, getting dressed up, hearing the Megilla with your family and eating three corner cookies isn’t special?)
OK...make Purim EXTRA special. Sometimes I wish I could silence the voice inside my head.
Purim is the time of year that we eat hamantaschen.
The whole reason we eat triangle shaped cookies is to remember Haman who tried to destroy the Jewish people,
(But why remember his hat? Isn’t that like celebrating that he almost won?)
To quote a popular meme, “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.”
(You are not getting off that easy. Why do we eat his hat?)
The custom, like the modern Chanukah jelly doughnuts and latkes, is traced back to medieval Italy.
(Which you wrote about in December.)
Thank you for noticing. Anyway, in 15th century Italy the custom was to cut off the ears of a criminal who was executed by hanging. So, it is not his hat, it is his ears that we remember.
(Wait, I’m eating ears?)
There’s a reason it’s called medieval.
(Chanukah, Purim...if next month you tell me that the matzoh ball was created in medieval Italy...)
I really need to silence the voice inside my head. Just like the latke and the jelly doughnut, the custom of three cornered cookies migrated from Italy to Germany where it picked up the name mohntaschen.
Mohn is German for poppy seed, and tasch is a pocket.
Which is why my Dad calls poppy seed hamantaschen, mohn.
Every year we buy a few Project Ezrah prepackaged mishloach manot, to support their charity work in Bergen County.
When I arrived at the Project Ezrah pick up location, I was asked, “Would you mind making a few deliveries?”
(Light bulb moment.)
I could deliver some of theirs for them and help promote this great organization’s charity work.
(You didn’t think this through, did you?)
I didn’t think this through.
It’s one thing for me to deliver the packages that my wife and younger son assemble, because I can take a few and return for a second and third delivery.
It would be another thing to take all 15 Project Ezrah bags and try to run with all of them.
(Did you take all 15 bags?)
I took all 15 bags at once.
With a single strap tying them all together, I needed an arm at all times to keep the bags from sliding off my shoulder.
It was tiring.
Once I had finished those, I had to run home and deliver my own mishloach manot.
As a family, we make around 50 mishloach manot, so my wife and younger son delivered 20 by car.
(Don’t you have an older son?)
Yes, I do but, have you ever tried to wake a teenager before 9 a.m. on his day off?
I took 15 mishloach manot and we kept the rest at home.
(For people who came to your house.)
The funny thing about running through town making deliveries is people will see you and hand you mishloach manot.
So, ours consist of hamantaschen, some candy and a little juice box. People were handing me packages with cans of soda, bottles of wine, cans of wine...
(Cans of wine?)
Apparently, it’s a thing. By the time I was on my way home, the backpack was heavier than when I started my deliveries. Those 16 oz. beverages are heavier than you realize when you are “rucking” close to a dozen of them.
Hats off to our military personnel, it’s hard running with a 20 lb. backpack.
(What did you do with all the candy you received?)
I sat my sons across the table from each other with the mountain of candy in between them and let them choose.
(Was the selection process like a sports team trading players?)
No...it was more like a prisoner of war exchange.
David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6. He can be reached at [email protected]