photo credit: Larry Costales on Unsplash
The Great Purim Caper
In keeping with the holiday of Purim and its tradition of “masking,” let us call him “Mordecai.”
Mordecai has become something of a legend. His careful observation as a participant in the shalach mones exchange – the receiving and sending of plates of humentashen and other delectable goodies — has taught him a better method than the traditional matching of roughly equivalent goodies, plate for plate.
Mordecai’s method (now known as the “shalach system”) of Purim exchange is based on his gleaned truth that if you receive a shalach mones plate and send one in return with one less item of sweets, given a sufficiently large turnover, you can pyramid (you should excuse the expression) this system into a large profit. Investing the profits from year to year (by use of a freezer) turned Mordecai into the wealthy man he is today. His book How to Win at Purim is a world-wide bestseller (within the Jewish communities) and has been translated into over 40 languages.
Mordecai has not rested on his humentashen, if we may thus phrase it – he has profited by a number of “spin-offs” from his system. The Purim chit, for one, whereby on receiving a plate of sweets from X and another from Y, instead of sending return plates to X and Y, you send a chit to X entitling him to receive from Y, and one to Y entitling him to receive from X (or from Z; there are a number of options allowed for in the system). This system effected a veritable revolution in Purim accounting.
Mordecai’s other bestseller Please Don’t Eat the Profits explains how to bankroll a modicum of shalach mones into a bonanza of investment by simply refraining from eating the goodies received. This method demands a good deal of self-discipline, to be sure, and can turn one’s Purim into a less than festive affair, but the reward in terms of profits is well worth the effort. Careful investment of the goodies so garnered — either in mutual funds or pensions schemes – pays a handsome dividend.
Mordecai also pioneered the use of round cookies instead of the traditional triangular humentashen. The savings (a literal cutting of the corners) in reciprocating with these cookies when receiving humentashen allowed him to corner the market.