Year round I keep my cool and dignified stance; even soaring summer temperatures don’t frizz or frazzle me. If I do say so myself, with my regal bearing I cut quite an impressive figure. But on Purim… ugh! I can already feel the beads of perspiration staining my pricey silk lining. For someone like me, accustomed to being neatly groomed, Purim can turn into a hair-raising experience.
Dear Rachel, I turn to you for counsel and chizuk at the recommendation of my good friend, Yayin Lechayim, who wrote to you a year ago (under the guise of Blushing in Cabernet County).
In his letter, Yayin spilled his woes and really let go of his inner bottled up frustrations. Your gushing praise and encouragement went a long way in restoring his effervescence and high spirits, and he once again looks forward to gladdening the hearts of Purim revelers with his sparkling vigor.
I would be forever grateful for any advice you can offer me that will keep me from losing my head.
Dear Berel’s Shtreimel,
Who would have guessed? Why, you always appear to be head and shoulders above everyone else, with nary a hair out of place. But not to fret – introspection is good for the soul. Let’s put our heads together and try to get to the root of your problem.
Speaking of roots, you may want to begin by taking the words of our Sages to heart: “Know from where you have come [from a putrid drop], to where you are heading [to the dust of the earth]…” Though this counsel is meant to humble us humans, you, Berel’s Shtreimel, might do well to consider your own source of emergence – the fox’s tail.
Please forgive my condescending tone, but you seem to be suffering from what we mortals tend to refer to as a swelled head. What better remedy for overcoming such ga’avah (arrogance, pride) than conjuring up your humble beginnings.
To be fair-minded, the shtreimel also recalls the headgear worn by Polish and Russian aristocracy in the eighteenth century. Much like a bejeweled crown signifies royalty, the shtreimel evolved as part of the malchus’dik apparel of choice by Chassidic masters of yore – worn in honor of the royal Shabbos, in reverence of G-d.
Should the gist of my words be going over your head, you can simply take a cue from Mordechai HaTzaddik. After being paraded about in the king’s royal attire atop the king’s horse, Mordechai wasted no time disrobing and donning his sack cloth – so as not to allow pride to overtake him.
Similarly, Shlomo HaMelech writes in Mishlei, “Do not glorify yourself in the presence of the King.” In short, humble yourself and you will surely emerge none the worse for the wear.
Have a Simchas Purim and do yourself a favor: keep your distance from Yayin LeChayim who will be all over the place with his beguiling tendency to cause others to lose their heads.
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