A Purim article in the middle of Pesach?! What, am I meshuganah? Not exactly. The article below is one I wrote for our shul's Chronicle, and just became public a day or two ago. Just consider it early for next year. Read the published version here.
Special thanks for the editing help to Shira and my friend Jen (who also helped make the Couting The Omer project come to life). Without these ladies, the article would have been an absolute mess.
Purim, The Perfect Time To Start Blogging
The story of Purim is made up of a series of remarkable events in which Jews have always seen the fingerprint of G-d. While some of these events are well known, such as Mordecai coincidentally overhearing the plot to kill king Ahasuerus, there is one event mentioned towards the end of the Magillah that I’ve always felt deserved more press (Megillat Esther 9:20):
And Mordecai wrote these things [the story of Purim], and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus … and he sent letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had ordained for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. And the commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
In other words, the story of Purim ends with one final miracle: the story was written down and told to Jews everywhere. Without this final act, the story of Purim may have been lost.
With this lesson in mind, I’d like to suggest that now is the perfect time to think about what story you would like to publish and start writing it today. Thankfully, in 2012, publishing has gotten quite a bit easier than back in Esther and Mordecai’s day. We no longer need to draft a letter and send it to 127 different provinces. In fact, thanks to the accessibility of blogging, publishing today couldn’t be easier. It’s free, requires no more knowledge than that of sending an e-mail, and enables you to reach a large, diverse audience. Before we delve into how to publish your own Magillah, it’s useful to consider the why.
What could you possibly have to blog about? Plenty, actually. First off, you can maintain a traditional online diary, the style of which that kicked off the blogging phenomenon. But that’s just the beginning. You can use a blog to publish your fiction, photographs, travelogue or even an entire book. You can use it to advocate for a cause or to turn adversity into adventure by writing about a difficult time with humor and inspiration. You can even use it just as a repository for links, jokes or quotes that inspire. A blog also makes an excellent website for a small startup company. A blog can serve to publicize an event you’re hosting or to start a revolution. As you can see, if you have information you want to share, be it your family vacation or your thoughts on the latest political wrangling, you can’t go wrong by starting a blog.
Now that you’re fired up about getting your creation out to the rest of the world, let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of how you do this. Head over to www.blogger.com, a free blogging service that’s easy to use. During sign-up, you’ll create an account and choose a name for your blog. Most importantly, you’ll pick a web address for your blog.
Suppose I created a new blog, Lessons From Purim, that chronicled all the lessons I’ve learned from the holiday. My web address may be http://lessonsfrompurim.blogspot.com/. That may be quite a mouthful, but it’s all mine. That’s right, once you’ve signed up, you’ll have your own address on the World Wide Web. It is this address that you’ll share with friends.
Once you’ve started your blog, you can create a new blog post (or article) anytime you want, even from your cell phone. Typically, you’ll use the title of the post much like a newspaper uses headlines, to grab attention and pull in readers. As for the content, it can be anything you want - from dense prose to clips from cat videos from YouTube. While some blogs may be updated hourly, others may contain just a couple posts that never change. This should be fun for you, not a chore!
One of the most exciting parts of blogging is its interactive nature. If you wish, you can allow readers to submit comments about what you’ve posted. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of having a complete stranger (or your mom) give you positive feedback on what you’ve created. And since you’re the boss, you can delete any comments you don’t like. So go ahead, and take a lesson from Purim. Don’t let your stories, memories and thoughts be forgotten. Start a blog and share them today!