Although today is Purim, this post is 100% serious (as one should be on Purim.
Yeshiva World News reports (English), about a new ‘minhag’ in Eretz Yisroel in recent years among the young, namely fireworks on Purim, which has now led to an eye injury to a youngster. As if there were not already enough questionable practices engaged in by some on Purim. See also the report at לדעת in Hebrew, as well as the one at JDN.
I realize that it may not be too widespread, perhaps just among certain limited types of children with chinuch deficiencies, but nevetheless it is disturbing.
What do we see from this?
1) New ‘minhagim’ are still developing in our time.
2) Not everything from Eretz Yisroel is holy and proper. אוירא דארץ ישראל מחכים, the teaching of Chazal that the air of Eretz Yisroel imparts wisdom, does not mean that there is no foolishness or יצר הרע in ארצנו הקדושה.
3) One has to be on guard against questionable practices.
We are taught that מנהג אותיות גיהנום (attributed to רבינו תם) – minhog and gehinom have common letters. A way of reminding us that something being a ‘custom’ of some sort among some people, is, in and of itself, not a guarantee that it is actually proper practice. Here I think we have a good illustration of that.
In the zechus of being medakdek in minhogim, observing our מנהגים טובים and avoiding those that are out of order, we should be zoche to a kosher, freilich, and safe Purim, און א גוט געבענטשט יאהר!