Chag Purim Sameach!
Purim Masquerade is now a book!
“Mordecai, what a mensch, What a good guy.”
Mordecai was Queen Esther’s cousin who raised her when she was orphaned. He saved King Ahasueras’s life and urged Esther to alert the King to Haman’s plot.
“Haman, BOO! Haman, BOO!”
Haman was King Ahasuerus’s right hand; a wicked villain who plotted to kill Mordecai and the Jewish people. During the reading of the megillah (‘scroll,’ here referring to the scroll in which the Book of Esther is written) we blot out Haman’s name with boo’s, stomps, and noisemakers. Folklore has it that Haman wore a three cornered hat and that that is why we eat the triangular cookies called hamantaschen on Purim.
“Queen Esther, So brave and so lovely.”
Queen Esther was King Ahasuerus’s newly chosen queen. She risked her life by bravely telling the King that Haman was plotting to kill the Jewish people.
“King Ahasueras, Sounds like a sneeze.”
Despite being a ruler, King Ahasuerus of Persia often acted in reaction to those around him; in this sense, he was a somewhat foolish figure … with a very difficult name to pronounce!
“Vashti, Vashti, Courageous Queen!”
Queen Vashti was King Ahasuerus’s first wife who was banished when she refused to display her beauty wearing only a royal crown. Vashti is often depicted as wicked and vain, but others see her as a feminist icon; Harriet Beecher Stowe said that Vashti’s disobedience was the “first stand for woman’s rights.”
The winter that I moved from the city to the country, I became preoccupied with the warm glow of windows dotting the dark winter landscape. In each of these windows, I thought, are stories – some of comfort and joy, others of loneliness and despair, all of them nuanced and unique. The magnitude of these unknowable stories overwhelmed me.
And then I imagined that behind one window lived a bear who had traveled from her apartment in the city to her cabin the country to hibernate. I imagined that this bear woke up one morning to a snow covered landscape and was chuffed at the prospect of experiencing winter for the first time in her life. Then I imagined her discovering how very lonely winter can be without a friend. Continue reading