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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

The Rhyming Story of #Purim

Posted by rabbiart on February 26, 2010

The Rhyming Story of Purim (1)

Ahasverosh gave a party
He told Vashti don’t be tardy
He said to her “come show your beauty”
She said to him “it’s not my duty”
Her response he did not like
So he told her to take a hike
His councilors made his anger fester
A tale told in the Book of Esther .(2)

Ahasverosh soon got lonely (3)
No more his former one and only (4)
He told his men “Find me a Queen” (5)
To be not heard, to be just seen
Hadassah had an Uncle Mort (6)
He told her with the King make sport
But not to say who was her kin
So now our story doth begin

Esther did the king desire
Her beauty really lit his fire (7)
No virgin like her had he seen
So she became the royal queen
Meanwhile trouble at the gate (8)
Mort found out, the rest was fate
“Warn the King, and mention me” (9)
Our villains soon hung from a tree

Now Haman gets a big promotion
Then causes quite a big commotion
Bowing down Mort does not do
It’s unbecoming for a Jew (10)
When Haman saw Mort standing there
He told the King Mort puts on airs
My King, he said, Mort insults you
So here’s the thing that you should do

Decree that we can kill his tribe
And I will pay you quite a bribe
The king’s decree went through the land
But Shushan did not understand
The Jews did mourn and fast and cry
Then Mort gave Esther reasons why
And told her “now it’s up to you”
Its time for you to be a Jew

The inner court she could not trod
Unless she got the golden rod
She told Mort “go fast for three” (11)
And then the King I’ll go and see
Esther waited for the nod
From Ahashveros golden rod (12)
Said Esther, King, now here’s the deal
Invite Haman to a meal

When Haman got the invitation
He told his wife great expectations
For this great deal he could not wait
But when he saw Mort at the gate
He told his wife “I am offended”
She said that Mort should be suspended (13) When the King just couldn’t sleep He summoned records that they keep

Reminded Mort had helped him live
He asked what honor did we give?
They told him nothing had been done
And Haman thought “I am the one!”
So Haman helped the King decide
Upon the King’s horse he should ride
Upon his head he’ll wear your crown
And thus you’ll give him great renown

The King said with your plan I’m down
Dress Mordecai and lead him round
Through Shushan’s streets, my word proclaim This man has the King’s acclaim Haman did what he was told He went home feeling very old Where Zeresh told him straight and true There’s nothing more that you can do

The King and Haman went to dine
Two days eating, drinking wine
Esther told the King her tale
She was quick to close the sale
Haman pled for life with Esther
The King thought Haman a molester
On Mordecai’s gallows Haman hung
The King was soothed and justice done

Uncle Mort got Andy’s ring
Esther told him here’s the thing
To save the Jews you must decide
Send your decree so far and wide
You must do the thing that’s right
And grant the Jews the chance to fight
Defend themselves and smite their foe
Save a people from more woe

The Jewish people proved quite able
On their foes they turned the table
And after all the bells were rung
Ten sons of Haman soon were hung
Throughout the land Jews slew the beast
And then of course they had the feast
Our story now is almost done
They tried to kill us but we won
Ahasuerus did what’s right
Honor gladness joy and light (14)

1  The word “Purim” means lots, or casting lots, to determine one’s fate.    Purim is always one month before Pesach, so when leap year gives us two months of Adar, Purim is celebrated in the second month, and the 14th of Adar in the first month becomes Purim Katan, a little Purim.

2 The only book in the Tanach that doesn’t mention G-d.

3  Well, not exactly lonely, but if you’re old enough, you understand. Or as Frank Sinatra said, “I cleaned that one up for you.”

4 Not counting all his concubines, of course

5  Not much is known about Ahasuerus. Being rich and powerful, he demanded a new trophy wife, a fair young virgin to be precise.

6  Mordecai.  Why is Mordecai like an orange?  Neither one rhymes with anything.

7 See footnote #3 and use your imagination, if necessary

8  Bigthan and Teresh, two of the royal gatekeepers, plotted against the King.  Apparently, when their parents named them, they did not consider how difficult it would be to incorporate their names into the Rhyming Story of Purim.

9  The text does not actually say that Mordecai told Esther to mention his name.

10  It would be a violation of the 2nd of the Ten Commandments.  Traditionally, there were four ways this commandment could be violated; ritually slaying a sacrifice, burning any ritual substance on an altar, pouring a libation, or by prostrating one’s self.

11  Days, that is.  At the end of Chapter 4, Esther tells Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Shushan and conduct a three day fast, planning to approach the King without an invitation.

12  The golden scepter. According to the Megillah, no one could approach the King unless he first extended his golden scepter.

13  Haman’s wife Zeresh makes the suggestion that Haman should build a gallows 50 cubits high and have Mordecai hung upon it.

14   This verse, chapter 8:16, reads “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor.” It is in the Havdalah service, with an added prayer; “so may it be for us”

Other tidbits:

Megillat Esther begins with the word “va-yehi”. R. Levi, or some say R. Yonatan said: The following remark is a tradition handed down to use from the Men of the Great Assembly: Wherever in the Tanach we find the term va-yehi, it indicates the approach of trouble. (Talmud Bavli 10b)

Our tradition takes bowing down very seriously.  Our sages taught: If a splinter has got into his foot while in front of an idol, he should not bend down to get it out, because he may appear as bowing to the idol; but if not apparent it is permitted. If his coins got scattered in front of an idol he should not bend and pick them up, for he may be taken as bowing to the idol; but if not apparent it is permitted.

(Avodah Zarah 12a)

Resh Lakish said: It was well known before the One at whose word the world came into being that Haman would one day pay shekels for the destruction of Israel. Therefore He anticipated his shekels with those of Israel. And so we have learnt: “On the first day of Adar proclamation is made regarding the shekalim and the mixed seeds.”

(Megillah 13b)


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