March 2, 2007, - 2:00 pm

Happy Purim: Story Celebrating Defeat of Ancient Ahmadinejad Resonates Today

By Debbie Schlussel
To my Jewish friends and readers, I wish you a Happy Purim. The holiday begins at sundown, Saturday Night, and lasts until Sunday Night.
To all of my readers, especially those who don’t know what Purim is: Purim literally means “lots” or “lottery.” It’s one of my two favorite Jewish holidays (the other is Channukah). It’s a like a Jewish St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween combined. Read my previous post on the holiday is here.

hamantashen.jpgqueenesther.jpgtombofesthermordechai.jpg

Purim Hamantashen Pastry, Queen Esther, Tomb of Mordechai/Esther

The holiday celebrates courageous Jewish heroes Esther and Mordechai, who risked their lives to save the Jewish people during the time of King Xerxes. It’s a very cool, true story. And it has special significance for today, because it occured in the land of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran. In those days the King was going to destroy the Jews (at the behest of his anti-Semitic advisor who spewed the same hate as Ahmadinejad), yet we survived. And we will survive similar calls, today, for our destruction by Ahmadinejad. It’s interesting to note that the gravesites of the heroes of the Purim story, Esther and Mordechai–located in Hamadan, Iran–are still marketed, today, as tourist attractions by the Ahmadinejad government of Iran.
Here’s my “Debbie’s Notes” version of the Purim story:

King Xerxes I, in the 5th Century B.C., was King of Persia, though he ruled most of the world, as his kingdom consisted of 127 states and provinces. He had a beautiful wife, Vashti, who refused to show up to his big, boozed-up party with the Kingdom’s men. He wanted to show her off, but she didn’t want to leave her own party. He was advised that he should behead her, or else all of the wives throughout his kingdom would take it as an example not to obey their husbands. So, Xerxes beheaded her and held a giant beauty pageant throughout his entire kingdom (the first Miss Universe pageant). Eventually, he chose the the beautiful, Jewish Esther as his queen. Esther hid her Judaism from the king and her uncle, Mordechai, once overheard a plot to kill the king, which he exposed. For that, he was honored by the King.
Haman, the king’s trusted advisor, hated Mordechai because he would not bow down to Haman (he would only bow down to G-d). Haman was henpecked by his ambitious wife, Zeresh, who was kind of like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. And he had ten sons who were equally pushy.
Soon, Mordechai found out that Haman wanted to annihilate the entire Jewish population of the world (and hang Mordechai), and he got King Xerxes to sign a decree ordering that. The Jews fasted and mourned over their impending destruction, and Mordechai beseeched Esther to appeal to the King to save the Jews.
One night, Esther approached the King (against protocol because only the King could summon the queen, not vice versa–and she could have been beheaded for this; it wasn’t exactly the days of Hillary Clinton wearing the pants). She invited him to a dinner, where she told him that she was Jewish and of the plans to annihilate her people. King Xerxes was angry when he learned of this and had Haman hung on the gallows prepared for Mordechai. He also agreed to try to stop this and arm the Jewish people so they could respond to the decree for their destruciton and live.
The holiday is called Purim because Haman literally conducted a lottery to decide in which month to mass murder the Jews.

On the holiday, we, Jews, celebrate the survival of our people from this order of mass destruction. It is a good deed to become so drunk that you can’t tell the difference between hero Mordechai and villain Haman. We also are commanded to give at least two ready-to-eat foods to friends (we deliver it to their homes) and to the poor. Kids dress up in costumes, usually as Purim characters. We eat pastries known as “hamantaschen” or ears or Haman (because he was evil and legend had it that he had vulcan-like, pointy ears). And we are commanded on Purim to have a giant feast. M
ost important, we listen to the reading of the Scroll of Esther (“Megillat Esther”), which recounts the whole wonderful story. I love reading it, because each time you learn and notice new cool things about the story.
So, to all of my friends who are Jewish, I wish you a very joyous Purim. And to those who are not Jewish, I suggest that you read the Scroll of Esther, as it is part of the Bible. And it is a great story about the commitment to faith, which I think you’ll find as interesting and inspiring as I do.
As I said, we survived Haman in ancient Iran. And we will survive his current incarnation in modern Iran, Ahmadinejad.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 Responses

Hopefully Ahmadinejad will meet the same fate as Haman did in our current purim story we are reliving though it may take a beautifull persian queen jewish or not to deliver us from the blood-dripping paws of this contemporary hamanite.

Jew Chick on March 2, 2007 at 3:29 pm

The insanity continues.
Happy Purim.

Thee_Bruno on March 2, 2007 at 3:53 pm

I love so much of your work Debbie, but this is sooo good–excellent. I have to get some hamantaschen this time!!
How appropriate that you point out the modern parallel of Ackma-genocide (AKA ackma-nutjob).

BB on March 3, 2007 at 2:03 am

Dear Debbie;
I am not Jewish. Nor have I ever heard of Purim. However, I am a big fan of your’s, and your Weblog. So HAPPY PURIM!!!! May you, and your family have a lovely weekend.
I will now go, and read the story of Esther, and Mordechai, as you have suggested.
Sincerely;
EJO

EJO on March 3, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Dear Debbie;
I have just finnished reading the story of Esther, and Mordechai. And I enjoyed it very much.
However, the account I read, a/k/a, the Bible, says that Queen Vashti was only banished to the other side of the palace, never to see the king again. Or words to that effect. She was not executed.
She wasn’t even divorced until the king got a load of Esther. And that was a couple of years latter.
Also, how could the king, and everybody else, not know that Esther was Jewish? Since her cousin was Mordechai, “the Jew”?
But Purim sounds like a really fun holiday. With all the feasting, gift giving, costumes, and noisemakers at the synagogue.
I hope you’re having a good time.
Sincerely;
EJO
MORDECHAI AND ESTHER KEPT THEIR RELATIONSHIP SECRET, AND IN FACT, TO HELP CONCEAL THAT AND HER JEWISH IDENTITY, SHE CHANGED HER NAME FROM HADASSAH TO ESTHER. VASHTI WAS INDEED EXECUTED BY BEHEADING, EVEN IF THE SCROLL OF ESTHER DOES NOT EXPLICITLY SAY SO. THIS FACT IS REFLECTED IN HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS OF THIS TRUE STORY AND BY COMMENTATORS ON THE SCROLL. MANY TIMES BIBLICAL REFERENCES ARE CRYPTIC AND AMBIGUOUS, AS IN THE CASE OF VASHTI’S ULTIMATE “DISPOSITION.” BUT A GOOD OBSERVATION BY YOU ON THAT POINT.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

EJO on March 3, 2007 at 4:42 pm

Was Xerxes I the same Persian ruler who invaded Greece, and lost the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis?

Infidel Pride on March 4, 2007 at 1:44 am

Dear Debbie;
Thank you very much for not only reading my message, but answering my questions as well.
You obviously know a lot more about this stuff than I do. As well as a lot of other stuff.
But that is why I read your Blog everyday. I’m always learning something.
Sincerely;
EJO

EJO on March 4, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Dear Debbie;
Thank you very much for not only reading my message, but answering my questions as well.
You obviously know a lot more about this stuff than I do. As well as a lot of other stuff.
But that is why I read your Blog everyday. I am allways learning something.
Sincerely;
EJO

EJO on March 4, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Happy Purim, Debbie!
Another way to learn about Queen Esther is to borrow One Night with the King from the library or rent the DVD. This new outstanding film relates how God used Hadassah, renamed Esther, to save the Jewish nation. Queen Esther saved the entire Jewish race, because at that time the Persian Empire was the world’s greatest empire, extending from North Africa, including northern Sudan, into Asia Minor to Greece and as far east as India. It is now much smaller and known as Iran. Those familiar with Persian rosewater will be interested to see PersiaÔø?s only Jewish queen and her Persian king walking on rose petals in the bridal chamber. Of particular interest will be the true-story role that the African eunuch plays in helping Esther.
I HAVE TO DIFFER WITH YOU ON THIS. I SAW “ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING” AND THOUGHT IT WAS AWFUL. AND IT’S NOT VERY ACCURATE TO THE STORY. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THERE WAS AN AFRICAN EUNUCH HELPING ESTHER. HIS REPEATED LINES ABOUT “LOSING MY MANHOOD” WERE DISGUSTING AND NEVER HAPPENED.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

USWoman on March 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm

My error in overextending the assumption the eunuch with whom Esther found favor was African. Many of the eunuchs were African in the Middle East but not all. Arabs captured Africans and transported them across the Indian Ocean to the Middle East, and sometimes castrated them before leaving the African continent.
I found One Night with the King to be quite accurate to the Book of Esther in the Bible, including the research on Agag. The story line of EstherÔø?s cousin Jesse was used to show that captives were made eunuchs, and it seems natural that Esther, who often found favor, would have admirers her own age. ItÔø?s a supposition but one which advances the story line in a way natural to the culture of that time.
I particularly regret that you were disappointed with this picture.

USWoman on March 5, 2007 at 10:17 pm

I love all cultures Jewish, christian, Muslim..Buddhist..what ever. But why is it OK to be a jew and not a Muslim, the history and culture are very similar, and there are many great stories from both cultures. It seems to me that Islam and Christianity have as much in common as Judaism and Christianity..Islam recognizes that Jesus is the messiah..that he was born from the Virgin mary, and that he will return as the Messiah. Jews deny Jesus as the messiah, and in fact gave him to the Romans to be executed. Seems to me that there is plenty of blame to go around.

future on March 6, 2007 at 8:09 pm

you say: VASHTI WAS INDEED EXECUTED BY BEHEADING, EVEN IF THE SCROLL OF ESTHER DOES NOT EXPLICITLY SAY SO. THIS FACT IS REFLECTED IN HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS OF THIS TRUE STORY
please tell us your sources for the “historical accounts”.

skittlebup on April 15, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field