Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Purim 2007!

Purim starts at Sundown tonight. This is my Purim Spiel from last year. I put on masks for each of the characters in the story when I read their lines. Enjoy. Or not.
*****

There is a Jewish holiday,
The name of it's Purim,
And they read the book of Esther,
The courageous Jewish queen.

Traditionally on Purim,
They play a little game.
With the villain in this story,
(Haman is his name.)

For what that villain Haman did
His name we cover up!
We don't want to make famous
Those who are evil and corrupt!

The game is, when you hear the name
Of wicked You-Know-Who,
You blot it out by making noise,
And shouting loudly, "Boo!"
*****

After God's people in Babylon
Were told they could go home again,
Some of them stayed behind and lived
To be near their Persian friends.

(The Persians took over Babylon
About 539 B.C.,
Under the command of Cyrus the Mede,
The one who set the Jews free.)

The king, Ahasuerus,
(The Greeks called him Xerxes)
Decided to throw a huge party.
(This took place in the 480's.)

He had a 180 day open house
To show off all his wealth,
And at the end, he had a 7 day banquet
To congratulate himself.

It was held in the palace garden,
Everyone had plenty to drink,
On day seven, the king called his servants,
And what did he ask, do you think?

"Go get my wife, Queen Vashti,
"And bring her right away,
"So we can all gaze at her beauty!
"That's my command. Now, obey!"

Queen Vashti was having her own party,
For the women, in the palace.
She didn't care for the king's idea.
She thought it rather callous.

"I'm not just another treasure,
"A thing to be looked at and used!
"And I'm busy here with my party,
"So tell the king I refused!"

"She refused my royal command!?"
King Xerxes shouted back,
"That is no way for a Persian queen--
"And my wife, besides--to act!"

"All the women in the kingdom
"Look up to their queen so fair.
"They will follow her example,
"And there'll be trouble everywhere!"

"I'll get rid of her and find a new queen,
"Who is more deserving than she.
"Each man will be master in his own house,
"Shall be my new decree!"

Then the king held a beauty pageant.
Beautiful girls from all around
Were brought to the capital, Shushan,
To see who would wear the crown!

In the city of Shushan there lived a man,
A Jew named Mordecai,
Who was raising his cousin, Hadassah,
Because both of her parents had died.

Hadassah, which means "myrtle tree,"
Was beautiful to see.
The locals called her "Esther,"
After their goddess of beauty.

Esther was among the young women
Forced into the king's contest.
And she was made the Queen of Persia,
Because Xerxes liked her best.

Now Mordecai told Esther,
"There's a secret you must keep.
"Don't tell them that your Jewish!
"About your family? Not a peep!"

So Esther did what she was told.
Folks might not understand,
If they found out she was different
From the others in the land.

And here we have a play on words,
For Esther means "hidden" in Hebrew!
And Esther hid her identity,
Telling no one that she was a Jew!

Mordecai sat at the gate of the king,
And he heard a vicious plan
By two guards of the king's doorway,
Named Teresh and Bigthan.

These two conspired together
To assassinate the king.
So Mordecai told Esther,
Who told Xerxes everything.

"I can't take credit, Your Highness,"
Queen Esther said, humbly.
"It was Mordecai who discovered it,
"And he told the plot to me!"

So the assassins were arrested
And hanged for their crime.
And Mordecai's deed was recorded
In the palace records for all time.

Some time later, the king promoted
Haman the Agagite.
All but the king were to bow down
When Haman was in sight!

All of the nobles at King Xerxes' gate
Bowed down in respect to Haman.
All of the nobles who sat at the gate,
That is, except for one!

Mordecai would not bow down!
"To my faith I must be true!
"It'd be wrong for me to bow down,
"For, you see, I am a Jew."

This made Haman angry
He hated Mordecai,
And not just him, but every
Jewish person now must die!

So to decide which month and day
For mass genocide would be nice,
Haman cast the "pur," or "lot."
In other words, he rolled the dice.

Then Haman went to see the king,
"Your Majesty," he said,
"There are people in your kingdom
"Who'd be better off dead."

"They live by different customs,
"And your laws they don't obey!
"So please decree they all be killed,
"On the 12th month & the 13th day."

The king agreed, and it was written
All throughout the land:
Upon this date, to kill all Jews
Is Xerxes' own command!

Mordecai and other Jews
Tore their clothes and wailed,
For now it seemed that Haman won
And all their hopes had failed.

The servants of Queen Esther
Brought her news of Mordecai.
So she sent a messenger to him
To find out why.

The message was relayed to her
Of Haman's wicked scheme,
"Please beg the king to stop this,
"Since you are his queen!"

"The Persian royal law
"Is the problem," Esther said.
"You don't just go and see the king,
"Or else, you'll lose your head."

"You wait until he calls for you.
"There is but one exception,
"If he holds out his staff to you,
"You'll get a warm reception."

"But 30 days have come and gone
"Since he last called his wife.
"If I go in and see him now,
"I'll probably lose my life!"

Mordecai told Esther,
"Please consider this:
"Perhaps you have become the queen
"For such a time as this!"

"Three days from now I'll do it,"
Esther said to Mordecai,
"Let's fast & pray for those 3 days,
"Then, if I die, I die."

3 days they prayed & fasted--
All Jews within Shushan--
Then Esther went to see the king,
Taking her life in her hand!

Would he hold out his scepter
And welcome her to stay,
Or call the palace guards to come,
And take her life away?

Xerxes was glad to see Esther,
And held out his golden staff!
"What is it you want, Esther, Dear?
"I'd grant as much as half

"Of my kingdom to you,
"Whatever you desire!"
Esther swallowed hard and said,
"If it please you, Sire,"

"Here is my request:
"Would you and Haman come
"To a banquet I've prepared?"
The king said, "It shall be done."

Later, over drinks,
The king said, "Now, My Dear,
"There's something that you want,
"Which you haven't made quite clear."

"Whatever it is, just tell me!
"I can have it done tonight!"
She said, "How about dinner tomorrow?"
And both men said, "Alright."

Haman left in a good mood,
'Til he saw Mordecai,
Who still would not bow down to him
When he saw him walking by.

That night, he called some friends in,
And said, "My life is great,
"But when I see that Mordecai,
"It fills me up with hate!"

They advised he build a gallows,
75 feet high,
And ask the king in the morning,
To please hang Mordecai.

Then go enjoy the banquet,
Knowing Mordecai is dead.
Haman liked their gallows plan,
So he built one like they said.

That night king Xerxes couldn't sleep,
So he called a servant in,
To bring the royal records,
And have them read to him.

They read about how Mordecai
Had once saved the king's life,
By reporting two assassins
To Esther, the king's wife.

"What did we ever do for him
To thank him for his act?"
"Nothing, Sire," the servants said.
"Well, that we must correct!"

Just then, in walked Haman,
To ask about his gallows,
But Xerxes had another plan.
Their conversation is as follows:

"I want to honor someone, Haman,
"Help me think of how,
"I could really show I like him."
And Haman thought, "Now,"

"The king likes me a lot,
"So who else could it be
"That the king would want to honor
"In his kingdom more than me?"

"Your Majesty, dress him in robes,
"The very kind you wear,
"And place him on a royal horse,
"And send him 'round the square!

"Have a prince most noble
"Lead the horse and cry,
"The king honors this man!
"He's a really wonderful guy!"

"I like that plan!" the king replied,
"And I am choosing you,
"To get the robe and horse and do that
"For Mordecai the Jew!"

So Haman did exactly that,
Honoring the man he despised.
Then rushed home, humiliated
Before all the Jewish eyes.

King Xerxes' messengers arrived,
To hurry him without rest,
To Esther's second banquet,
Where he was an honored guest!

The king and Haman sat,
And with Esther dined.
Finally, the king spoke up,
"Now clearly speak your mind."

"Esther, what is your request?
"What can I give you, My Wife?"
She said, "If it please your majesty,
"I ask that you grant me my life!"

"And also spare my people!"
The queen of Persia cried,
"There is a plot to kill us all
"In one mass genocide!"

Xerxes asked, "Who is he?
"Who has dared to do this thing?"
"It's this wicked Haman," Esther said,
"Who is the enemy of the king!"

Haman's heart was filled with fear,
He knew that he was through.
The king stormed out, and Haman
Fell down and begged to be spared too.

When the king returned, he saw Haman
On Esther's couch was falling.
"You dare assault the queen while
"I'm still here? Now that's appalling!"

On Haman's 75 foot gallows,
They had that villain hung!
The neighbors said, "How appropriate!
"He was always a bit high-strung!"

To Esther was given his property,
And to Mordecai, his position.
Once more Esther approached the king,
And this was her petition:

"About the law that was devised
"By Haman, the vicious and cruel,
"To destroy the Jews--my people--
"That law, please overrule!"

So a new law was created,
Giving Jews the right to act,
To destroy any army or province
Who might decide to attack.

The date that they could do this,
Was the one chosen by lot
By Haman, as the day to hatch,
His anti-Jewish plot!

The Jews fought back upon that day,
And their enemies did destroy,
And it's celebrated on "Purim,"
A holiday of joy.
*****

Perhaps you may have noticed,
God seems to not be here,
In all the book of Esther,
God's name does not appear!

But certainly God was present,
At work behind the scene!
Just as Esther hid her identity
When she became the queen.

It is the same in our lives,
Sometimes God we do not see.
But, be assured, he's still at work,
On his plan for you and me!

We should also learn from Esther,
When we don't understand why
We're in the place that we are in,
Heed the words of Mordecai!

"You have come to royal position
"For such a time as this."
Perhaps you're there to do God's will
In a place where nobody else is.

Pay attention all around you.
God will lead you if you ask.
"What do you want me to do Lord?
"What is my chosen task?"

Lastly,
It is always right to do what's right--
Even when that's a difficult choice,
But God will bless the lives of those
Who choose to heed his voice!

2 comments:

Diesel said...

Hey Allen! This is really long!

Also, one of your posts has been nominated for the funniest blog post for February!

Allen said...

Yeah, I forgot how long it was, since I had it in double columns in my original manuscript. Anyhow, it's as long as it is because it was basically the entire text of my sermon that Sunday last year. You gotta figure 20-25 minutes of material...
A big Thank You goes to the raving nutjob who nominated one of my posts for Funniest Feb post! You know who you are!