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Wednesday
Feb242016

THE COSTUME CONTEST

By Zalman Bin Nun

When the teacher made an announcement in class about a costume party with the theme of Yemos HaMoshiach, I was so excited! Images went through my mind of colorful costumes and original ideas. I so badly wanted to have the best costume for our Purim Katan party. And when the teacher said there would be valuable prizes, I was determined to do everything I could to win.

As soon as I arrived home I told my mother about the contest and we worked together to come up with an original idea. I couldn’t decide. At first we thought of the prophecies of the Geula, about the clouds or the “riding on a donkey,” but finally decided to work on a costume that would be an exhibit; what an exhibit – that of the Beis HaMikdash!

For the next few days I bent over my thick notebook and with the aid of a pencil and eraser I sketched the model that I would wear. I first designed the base of the model that would consist of a number of sheets of silver construction paper. Then gold posts and a door would be attached that would have a copper finish. As the days went by I thought of more and more details and the excitement mounted.

Two days before the costume party I went shopping with my mother. We went to Shimon’s stationery store, took a shopping cart, and began filling it up with the items on the list I had worked on during the past few days.

“Where are the long rolls of paper?” I asked Shimon and he directed me to the right aisle. I was happy to find the last two rolls. I put them in my cart and went on. Oak tags, sequins, foil sheets of gold and silver, a large bag of colorful spangles, and that was all I needed. It was time to pay.

“Seventy-five shekels,” said Shimon.

“So much?” my mother exclaimed. “I have never spent so much on a Purim costume. What do you think Rivky?”

I looked at her with pleading eyes and my mother smiled and said, “But for a costume like this, a Beis HaMikdash, maybe we can keep it as a beautiful exhibit. I am willing to invest in it!”

I smiled broadly as I walked out of the store with my mother, carrying the heavy bags. Nobody would have such a beautiful and original costume!

My entire family got involved in helping me. My older brother outlined panels to stick on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash. “This is to repel ravens,” he explained. “They had sharp nails protruding so the birds wouldn’t land there.”

I smiled, for we at home had also put up nails like that to encourage the birds to find another place to land.

When I was about to prepare the pillars on the sides of the main gate, I noticed that they were especially high, so I cut a pillar in half and set aside the remaining roll of paper.

The work moved along quickly but the late hour sent me to prepare negel vasser and say Shma before going to sleep.

The next morning, I went to school in high spirits. The girls clustered together and tried to find out what costume each of them was making. Secrets were exchanged and at the twelve o’clock break I heard a conversation going on behind me that made me jump.

“I’m working on a Beis HaMikdash costume that nobody can make,” Miriam told her good friend Tzivia. She was so sure of herself that she didn’t consider lowering her voice. I realized that the competition was tougher than I thought it would be. Then Miriam went on to say, “But yesterday I went to Shimon’s store and I was so disappointed to see that the rolls to make the pillars of the Mikdash were sold out. I looked in other stores but did not find any. What should I do?” she asked plaintively.

I could picture the long roll that I had left over at home which I could easily give to Miriam. But then I imagined the day of the contest in which I would show up in my amazing costume with silver pillars, and I really wanted to win.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Tzivia. “I don’t know what to tell you…”

I quickly walked away so they wouldn’t talk to me. I began to feel uncomfortable but remained firm in my decision.

The big day arrived and I was excited. My mother helped me put the Mikdash model on my shoulders with the special straps we devised. I left the house being careful not to bang the sides which were very wide.

The street was full of costumed children but it seemed as though all eyes were on my special costume. I seemed to have been successful in conveying the message of Moshiach.

I walked into class and looked around. I wanted to see if my costume was one of the best or not. At first glance I smiled broadly. The costumes were average and mine seemed far more impressive than the rest. But on second glance my smile disappeared. I saw Miriam at the end of the room, wearing a simple model of the Mikdash, without pillars. She looked pale and a small tear fell from her eye when she saw me walk in.

My thoughts raced. On the one hand I saw the admiring looks when people saw my costume; but I saw how with my behavior I was causing the churban of the Mikdash. But I could still correct things.

I hurried over to Miriam and I grasped her shoulder while gently leading her to the end of the hall. I took off my costume and before she realized what I was doing, I exchanged costumes with her. I waved goodbye to her and ran back to class wearing Miriam’s simple model.

The teacher was already standing in her place and was examining costumes. The contest had begun and as I expected, I did not get many points. Was I sad? No! Because Miriam followed me and after she walked around the classroom, she earned the most points! Miriam won!

I was thrilled. Now that I sacrificed to build my personal Beis HaMikdash, I am sure that we will merit to see the building of the third Beis HaMikdash.

Who kept the model I made? It is on display in the school and reminds me not only of the Geula but also of ways to achieve it.

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