Three Purims ago, Tsfat turned into a Chassidic freak show for exactly one night and one day. Hundreds of drunk-to-hallucinating people surfaced on the streets at 9 in the morning for the most inebriated parade in the entire world: picture Mardi Gras, spring break, the Village Halloween parade, and a NASA space shuttle launch all in one (minus the nudity, of course). It's remarkable to see a hilltop village full of ascetic scholars come to raucous life for 24 hours and then entirely shut down as soon as that window is over, back to the spiritual bastion it normally is.
Three years and three Purims later, the ethereal shit-show holiday is still very much a reality. My foot still aches when the weather turns, owing to a jump off a 10-foot on that fateful Tsfat Purim (thanks a lot, guy who told me to jump; you know who you are). But it’s not just memories that sustain us: one way or another, all the far-flung Tsfat alumni find a way to coalesce around a pool of alcohol every Purim and reenact the debauchery that made the whole year a confusingly dualistic war between hedonism and holiness.
I just returned from the Far Rockaway Chill household, where the sweat I absorbed through osmosis is equaled only by the Black Widow Spider's success in embalming its prey in an adhesive death web. Sorry, I'm watching the Discovery Channel. Anyhow, the hours I lived at the center of a haphazard dancing circle reengaged me in a world that does not make sense, and supplanted my scientific rationality with heretofore discarded notions of spirit, excess, wonder, and poor judgment. Then this morning came, and just like in Tsfat three years ago, the only vestige of that paradigm explosion is an achy foot and a faint hangover, the likes of which I haven’t felt since yesterday, when I woke up at 2:30 on Purim afternoon fully clothed and fractionally dehydrated.
Stay bothersome, refracted rays of light trespassing in urban studies 101,