There is more than one way to achieve an altered state of consciousness- something that Purim requires us to aspire to in order to recognize the potential for both good and evil residing in every individual. My path was through sleep deprivation. I worked a 12 hour night shift, and then went straight to the Megillah reading at the shul (I was then hauled up and asked to read chapter 4, in Hebrew, sleep deprivation being no excuse to decline…). We went from the Megillah reading to the Purim parade, accompanied by the stares of curious onlookers (we were all costumed as various alter-egos). I probably resembled something out of the pages of a Harry Potter book, exchanging that costume for a ‘shtetl-look’ later on in the afternoon when, after 4 hours of sleep, we went to a second Megillah reading and then ate, and danced away our joy into the evening. At Purim, we are expected to drink enough that we can know longer distinguish between Haman and Mordechai. At the same time that we are to ‘blot out the memory’ of Haman, we are to ‘remember Amalek’ (another evil person who sought the destruction of the Jews). This festival, like none other, is especially relevent to the day in which we live- a time in which the modern day ‘king of Persia’ has once again threatened to wipe Jewry from the face of the earth. Once again we remember that God is faithful- that we can trust that ‘deliverance will come’. May it be speedily in our lifetime.