War Zone Festivity Fortified Faith in the Ultimate Peace

Living in a war on the border of Ukraine and Russia, shluchim in Sumy, Ukraine, dedicated Purim to the theme of “beating swords into plowshares” with the firm belief and trust in Hashem and the coming of Moshiach, ushering in peace and tranquility for the entire world.

On the Russian border in war turn Ukraine, the Shluchim in Sumy, Rabbi Yechiel Shlomo and Rochi Levitansky uplifted their community this year by transforming their Shul and grand Purim Seudah with ‘Purim on the Farm’ – using the message of the Navi “they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives.”

From a week before Purim, calls were made to every Yid in the city to confirm whether they would be able to come, or if they needed to be visited at home. In addition, the Shluchim’s boys learning in Yeshivos in Europe made the 30-hour trip home to bring the mitzvos of Purim to the Yidden in the two neighboring cities of Konotop and Romny.

Back in Sumy, the Shluchim with their children split into groups and spread out through the city, visiting the elderly and homebound all day, to fulfill the Mitzvos of Purim with hot Seudas Purim lunch and beautiful Mishloach Monos packages, thanks to the Federation of Jewish communities in Ukraine.

Towards evening, people began coming to the Shul for the grand Purim Seuda. Entering the building they were greeted by the shluchim kids who handed them a straw hat, helped them give Matonos Lo’evyonim in the two ‘milk pails’, and washed their hands for Hamotzi from ‘the well’ making Brochos with each one.

Upstairs the Shul was decorated by community volunteers including bales of hay and farming instruments as the stage where the Megillah was read, a horse-drawn wagon filled with challah rolls as center pieces, and a washing line hanging from the ceiling. As the program began, everyone exchangedMishloach Monos with each other which were generously provided by the Chabad JRNU.

The Megilla was read and Rabbi Levitansky introduced the theme of the evening -“Growing in our Jewish life with acts of goodness and kindness to bring Moshiach and transform weapons of war to farming tools.” The children from the Ohr Avner afterschool program performed a Purim skit for the crowd in Ukrainian and led the crowd in Purim songs.

A professional entertainer ran the evening, playing games with the crowd; adults and young alike, all bringing out the theme of the evening. Everyone enjoyed a fascinating ‘liquid nitrogen show’ demonstrating how one small act can transform objects that are hard to soft and vice versa.

The community felt strengthened with a firm belief and trust in Hashem and the coming of Moshiach, ushering in peace and tranquility for the entire world. Although in the past few weeks, there have unfortunately been more bombardments all over Ukraine, It was so wonderful to pause for a few hours, sing and celebrate together, and focus only on the good and happy things in our lives.

As the evening ended with the famous Kazatzka dance by the shluchim kids, the room was energized with a true Simcha and many people stayed to continue farbrenging and made new Hachlatos to grow in their Yiddishkeit. Seeing that it was getting late and public transportation had already stopped, the Shluchim arranged for everyone to be driven home before the beginning of curfew. Many thanks to all who helped make this Purim such a beautiful successful event!

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