As we prepare for Purim, a cast of staff members and congregants have been working feverishly to perfect the Peanuts characters we will be portraying on Saturday evening.
Actually, that’s not really true. We have been working hard and preparing quite diligently for the evening but there is a certain characteristic to Charlie Brown and company which has struck all of us in our preparation. The charm of Peanuts is found in its low key atmosphere, in its simple portrayal of life. But, in that low key, quiet way, it not only finds its way into our hearts but into our minds as well. So, we’ve been working hard but tapping into something a little less hassled and hurried than preparing for a synagogue Purim evening usually brings. And, it has been very refreshing.
One could argue whether the Peanuts characters are really children or whether Charles Schulz tapped into the childlike piece of all of us and portray adults in all our aspects as approaching the world with a childlike wonder and curiousity, not to mention occasional dreams and certainly frustrations. I believe it is the latter and I feel that the quiet wisdom these “children” teach us is a gift that all of us who have taken the time to read, watch and enjoy the gang have benefitted from.
Besides that, of course, they are very, very funny.
I hope you’ll be with us on Saturday evening for some nostalgia and some unique twists on the Purim story and more as seen through the eyes of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Schroeder, Snoopy and all the rest.
In the meantime, I want to share with you a prayer I wrote for Rosh Hashana a few years ago. It is as appropriate for this or any Shabbat as it was as we entered a new year.
As we look for role models around us, let us learn from those whose example shines for us in our contemporary world as well as those who came before us. And, let us always look for role models in unexpected places.
And, so let us learn.
From Schroeder, who played the most beautiful piano music with his talented hands on a toy piano, let us learn to take the simple instruments we have: our hands, our voices, our hearts, and make the most beautiful music, rising above all of our limitations to make the best use of the talents we have been given.
From Linus, who carried his security blanket everywhere, let us learn to treasure the things which bring us security in the world: holding tight to family, friends and faith to help us to steer our way through the difficult days ahead.
From Lucy, who showed brash chutzpah, let us learn to face this world with confidence but let us figure out a way to leave the arrogance behind and make room for others and respect them.
From Pig Pen, who perpetually walked in a cloud of dust, let us really be a part of this world, let us get dirty doing good deeds, let us feel the earth between our fingers and our toes and let us rejoice in a love of the world we live in.
From Charlie Brown, who always came back for more, let us learn to trust even if we get hurt on occasion, learn to dream even if the rest of the world laughs and learn to get back on the pitcher’s mound again even after we get hit so hard that it knocks us over.
And finally from Snoopy, let us love our meals, let us love our homes , let us always dance with joy and always, always let us dream great things.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim!