Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Fiction: Beyond Expectations

Malky Cope

“Don’t you think you’re both secure enough in your friendship that you don’t have to give each other the fanciest mishloach manos to prove it?”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

 Mishpacha image


I' ’m a last-minute sort of person. Which kind of figures, because who else would only start putting their mishloach manos together on Purim night? My younger siblings were all in bed and everyone else was out having fun. Only I was stuck at home, suffering the results of my procrastination, with a job that couldn’t be put off any longer. 

I turned the music on — blaring — and got straight to work filling 15 cereal bowls with different breakfast-themed items. Then, after wrapping each one with cellophane, I stuck on a cute poem. They looked pretty adorable by the time I was done. My work wasn’t yet finished for the night though. I still had Debby’s mishloach manos to make. Debby is my best friend and we have this age-old tradition (don’t ask me who started it) to make a special themed mishloach manos for each other. Each year they’ve gotten bigger and better (and of course more expensive).

I spent over an hour assembling the masterpiece for Debby. When the troops finally stumbled back home (drunk or just plain hyper?), I was done and had even finished tidying up the colossal mess created in the process.

“It’s gorgeous,” my mother said when she saw my creation. “But the whole thing has gone a bit overboard. You’ve spent so much time, effort, and money and I’m sure Debby’s done the same for you. Don’t you think you’re both secure enough in your friendship that you don’t have to give each other the fanciest mishloach manos to prove it?”

The truth was that my mother was right, and I knew it. We had no one but ourselves to blame for this crazy pressure. But what could I do? I couldn’t just stop the trend. Nor did I want to be the one to make that suggestion. I didn’t want Debby to think I was being cheap at the expense of our friendship. But I would have been overjoyed if we could have just made a pact to give each other an ordinary mishloach manos instead of investing a lot of my hard-earned cash, every year, into preparing the most stunning package for her. I mean it was pretty awesome to receive this whole fancy package with tons of nosh and cute accessories but don’t forget that I had to prepare one in return.

Purim morning dawned bright and sunny. I was up in a flash and off to shul to hear the Megillah before you could even say “Haman.” This year, for the first time, I had a whole schedule planned for Purim morning. I had begun to volunteer for an organization that arranged for teenage girls to visit lonely, older ladies in their homes. None of my classmates had signed up for the program with me but over the course of time I had gotten quite friendly with some girls from other schools who were volunteers. Every Sunday, I visited three ladies, and for Purim, the organization had arranged for us to deliver mishloach manos to them and inject them with a bit of the Purim spirit.

After listening to Megillah, I consumed a quick breakfast and then went to put on my Purim getup; a black hoodie adorned with smiley faces, and big smiley earrings that were bound to make even the grumpiest person smile. Before leaving, I issued instructions regarding the mishloach manos. Then I set off to do my rounds, feeling quite altruistic for giving up Purim morning to do chesed. (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 699)

Related Stories

Caught in the Act: Meet Malkie Knopfler

Sarah Einhorn

“I resorted to getting attention another way; through being the class clown. Actually, without reali...

DBTalk: Module 4: Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, Part 2

Yael Dorfman and Bashi Levine, LPC, ACT

Say goodbye to passive, doormat, steamrolled, and stressed Shalva who never says no to anything. Say...

Special Story Subsection: It’s Purim Unmasked!

Teen Pages Contributors

Exchange a smile for a frown, though life may look upside down. It’s only He who runs the show; grab...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah