Categorized | Purim

Purim and Pesach Tips

Posted on 25 July 2010

Purim and Pesach Tips to Get you Going! 

As I currently write this, we are about 10 Weekdays away from Purim. Try to follow at least 1 Purim Tip every few days.

Purim Tip One

Getting Ready for Purim: Sunday, February 28th, 2010

With 10 days until the holiday of Purim, it’s time to make plans, write to do lists, and get ourselves organized for the holiday.

On the Jewish calendar, Purim falls on the 14th of Adar. In the case of a leap year, as is this year, a second month of Adar is added to the calendar and Purim occurs in the second Adar.
Before we get started planning, it’s important to review that there are four special mitzvos of the Purim holiday.

1. Reading the Megilla of Esther. You need to hear the Megilla read once on Purim night and then again on the day of Purim.

2. Eating a festive meal. This meal should include meat and wine. It’s also important to serve each person a roll with their meal so they can recite the special Purim “Al HaNissim” addition during the grace after meals. *** Please note that this year Purim occurs on a Friday. It’s customary to eat the holiday meal early in the day on a Friday Purim so we will have a decent appetite for the Shabbos evening meal.***

3. Sending Mishloach Manos – “gifts of food”. It’s customary that mishloach manos include at least two ready-to-eat foods, requiring two different blessings.

4. Giving tzedekah to the poor. Most congregational Rabbis take up collections for the poor, and give out the money on your behalf, on the day of Purim.

Now that you’re reminded of the mitzvos of Purim, let us get started with the planning. Here are five ways you can start now to get ready for Purim.

1. If you like to sew costumes, shop for patterns, fabrics and accessories.

2. If you do not sew, shop thrift shops, eBay or other Web sites for costumes. Shopping ahead will help you locate bargains.

3. Take a few minutes to peruse cookbooks and begin planning your menu for the holiday meal.

4. Think of ideas for mishloach manos. Some people simply give some homemade baked goods and treats. Other people like to come up with a clever theme and prepare elaborate goodies and foods to fit with the theme. Spend the next day or two giving some thought to how you’d like to present your mishloach manos.

5. If you like to have a big group get together for the Purim meal, this is a good time to start baking, cooking and freezing some foods. Challah rolls, cookies, and soups all freeze well.

Do you have any clever mishloach manos or costume ideas to share?

Pesach Tip One

Start one drawer and one closet at a time. In my Pesach Perfectly Organized book, I talk about the first things to do being the least affected areas of the house. START NOW! Organize one closet at a time, get rid of outdated things, and clutter you just don’t use!

Purim Tip Two

This is a great time to get some shopping out of the way. When Purim falls on a Friday, You’ll want to use fancy disposable plates for our holiday meals so we won’t have so much to wash up before Shabbos starts. (We don’t have to worry about that this year but it still is a great tip) Keep your eye out festive plates you can use at the meal. Its also a great time to shop for packaging for your mishloach manos. Whether you prefer a simple bag or an elegant basket, take time to explore the options for your packaging, buy something you like and put it away for the holiday.

Pesach Tip Two

Start thinking about your needs for Pesach. Did turning over a week before Pesach last year work for you? Or was it too rushed? What purchases or home improvements do you need to do to make Pesach more relaxed. For example, would putting an extra oven in the basement allow you to cook more than a couple of days before Pesach, making everything a bit more calm?

Purim Tip Week Three

A little gratitude… A extra-special mishloach manos package is a wonderful way to show your gratitude to someone special, while also fulfilling a mitzvah. Take time to think of something tailored to your doctor, a co-worker a neighbor, or your children’s teachers. The following ideas can get you started. You mishloach manos packages don’t have to be extravagant or overly creative, just thoughtful.

For your doctor: Try a “TLC for the Healer”-themed package: chicken soup and crackers with a cute mug filled with tea bags and a small honey container. Tell the doctor that these foods that heal are second only to his or her care and concern.

your co-worker: Try a coffee-themed package: Combine a coffee cake with a mug filled with edible coffee beans or coffee candies. Tell your work mate that you look forward to many more enjoyable cups of coffee together at the office.

your neighbor: I’m always borrowing two eggs or a cup of flour or sugar from my neighbor, but those things don’t work as a mishloach manos gift. Tell your neighbor you’re returning all those eggs, and the flour and sugar in the form of a cake. Thanks again for being such a generous neighbor.

teachers: Try an apple-themed package: Fancy apples, apple chips, apple strudel or cake with a note of thanks for all they do for your children.

Pesach Tip Three

Begin making a list of everything that needs cleaning and those areas that need EXTRA cleaning!

Purim Tip Four

* Think of all your ingredients and items you will need to make shalach manos, make lists and start buying things that you can store.

* Write down all the items you’ll need for your Purim Seudah (meal), foods, disposables, wine, etc. Make detailed lists and buy things that you can store.

* Make a list of all the people to whom you plan to send mishloach manos. Remember, you’re fulfilling the mitzvah by sending mishloach manos to just two people… not two hundred.

There never seems to be enough time to deliver packages to friends and family and also fit in the other mitzvos of the day (hearing the megillah and eating the holiday meal). Be sure your list of mishloach manos deliveries is really doable.

Pesach Tip Four

Start thinking about any extraordinary circumstances that may be occurring in your life the weeks before Pesach and what do you need to do to be prepared for them. One extraordinary circumstance last year was that Pesach occured on Motzei Shabbos! To be available soon- Pesach Perfectly Organized EXTREME…which includes how to make Pesach on a Motzei Shabbos!

Purim Tip Five

Busy Mom’s Hamentashen (Made From Cake Mix) courtesy of Sarah Zeldman of Solutions for Busy Moms.

Purim is coming…and you know what that means! Time to make the hamentashen. But if you’re short on time, here’s a shortcut you can take. They come out…well..’cakey’ compared to regular hamentashen, but they will do in a pinch! I know this doesn’t exactly fall into the “healthy” part of this blog but…sometimes you gotta sacrifice “healthy” for “quick and easy”

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 (18.25 ounce) package moist yellow cake mix
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 eggs
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and flour. Stir in the eggs and water to form a stiff dough. Refrigerate for easier handleing. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch round circles and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Place a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie and pinch the sides to form three corners. Moisten with water if necessary.

3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Pesach Tip Five

If you’ve haven’t yet purchased Pesach Perfectly Organized, you need to! In addition or if you need to, you can also purchase a $7 report on Making Pesach on Motzei Shabbos where you will find everything you need to know on Making Pesach on a Saturday night! Essential to this year! By the way, this report comes free in the Pesach Perfectly Organized Collection.

Purim Tip Six

By this point I hope you have:

1. Assembled all the elements for your family’s costumes and tried them on once.

2. Made a menu, shopped, baked and frozen many dishes for the Purim seuda (meal)

3. Made a list of people to whom you’re sending Mishloach Manos, bought all the elements you intend to include, and have started assembling the mishloach manos as much as possible.

4. Read through the megilla once so you will be prepared to hear it in shul on Purim.

Things to do this week:

1. Finish assembling your mishloach manos.

2. Plan and shop for the meals before and after the Fast of Esther. Be sure to drink a lot of extra water on Wednesday and Thursday and to serve a high protein, high fiber meal on Wednesday night. Plan a delightful break-the-fast meal for Thursday night.

3. Plan a Shabbos night meal that you can make now and freeze or that will be very simple to prepare. Meat or chicken with a sauce will freeze well.

4. Plan out the course of Purim day with your family. When will you go to hear the megilla? When will you deliver your mishloach manos and eat the seuda? Remember that the Purim seuda is eaten early in the day since Purim is erev Shabbos. Many of your mishloach manos can be delivered in the afternoon after the meal is eaten.

If you feel you needed a plan all at once to conquer, do see Purim Perfectly Organized as well as Pesach Perfectly Organized! There is still time to get organized!

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