Last Thursday, a week before Purim, many of my Jewish friends and Jewish co-workers began going mad.

They were frantically writing names of colleges on a grid marked on paper. It looked like there were 64 college names in boxes, and they had to write 32 of these names into other boxes, then 16 more name, then 8, 4 2 and finally 1 name in a giant box in the middle of this grid.

I asked one guy what he was doing, and he was frantic and said that he had to "bracket" something or other. Another person I asked was also in a frenzy and said he was also "bracketing".

OK, so they fill these boxes exactly a week before Purim. They do this early in the morning. Then from late morning to late at night, they watch college basketball games on TV. For 3 weeks afterwards, they go mad while watching these games. Someone told me that this madness continues on Purim itself and Shushan Purim. (well, maybe getting drunk makes people mad.) The madness occurs on Shabbat and Sunday, as well. The madness lasts about 3 weeks, which means that it lasts from a week before Purim to a bit over a week after Purim.

Is there something about Purim or Adar Sheni that makes people mad to the point that they have to "bracket"?

Note - this madness seems to happen only in USA, for some reason.

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

closed as off-topic by Scimonster, Gershon Gold, Y     e     z, Monica Cellio Mar 27 '16 at 4:43

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    @GershonGold I said that they go mad on Shabbat. The madness is not specifically related to their writing college names in a grid. I'll edit to explain the activity better. – DanF Mar 22 '16 at 15:54
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    Is this a US disease? Because it doesn't resonate at all with a European/Israeli? – mbloch Mar 22 '16 at 16:16
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    Maybe it has to do with the 3 weeks of tisha bav? We limit happiness there, here we increase it. – andrewmh20 Mar 22 '16 at 16:59
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    Many nonJews go mad in the same way at the same time. I think that it must have to do with "Judaizers" trying to behave in the same way that Jews do. – sabbahillel Mar 22 '16 at 17:38
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    @mbloch You may have a clever answer if you cite that source. – DanF Mar 22 '16 at 18:31

The time before Purim is very busy. We run in all directions to prepare the mitzvot of the day: we buy food for mishloach manot, buy for and prepare the festive Purim meal, culminating in a crazy Purim morning where we run across cities to listen to the megila reading, deliver mishloach manot, matanot le'evyionim and attend the festive meal with friends.

Our friendly gentile neighbors see us all excited, running all over the place and want to get in on the action, following the well-known hadran said after learning Masechet Megila

אָנוּ רָצִים וְהֵם רָצִים
We run and they run

Our neighbors do not have the same mitzvot but observe this period according to their minhag hamakom. Your question describes a fairly specific North American minhag. In Europe I observed other practices which will culminate this year on the Sunday after Purim, e.g., running around gardens to hide eggs which kids will then try to find.

PS. Some say they copied the latter on the search for the Pessah's afikoman but I couldn't find an authoritative source for this in the Rishonim.

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    +1 for the clever citing. But, see if you can explain why this starts a week before Purim and ends before Pesach. – DanF Mar 22 '16 at 19:25
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    Come on Reb Dan, a week before Purim because that is when our wives start running to prepare the holiday. And it ends before Pesach because the omer period starts then and one curtails joy during the omer ! – mbloch Mar 22 '16 at 19:29
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    OK. Though, I know someone in my neighborhood that prepares for Pesach just after Chanukah. Now THAT sounds "mad". – DanF Mar 22 '16 at 19:32

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