The Story of Purim
Once upon a time, in a city called shushan in the land of Persia, there lived a man named mordechai, which means servant of god. he was a very good man, and always tried to help people, and do the right thing.
now Mordechai lived with his niece, the daughter of his sister. her name was esther, which means star, for she was as beautiful as the morning star.
Mordechai and esther were jewish, just like many of us, which means they liked eating challah, and lighting Hanukkah candles, and singing Shabbat songs, just like you do.
in the same city there lived the great king of Persia, he was called ahashverosh meaning, king. king ahashverosh lived in a big palace, and had lots of money, and a beautiful wife named queen Vashti. her name means most beautiful.
one day king ahashverosh was having a big party just for the men in the palace, and he decided to send for queen Vashti, so she would come to the party and all the men would be impressed by what a beautiful wife ahashverosh had, and they would respect him more.
king ahashverosh sent for queen Vashti, commanding her to come to the stag party. but queen Vashti had grown tired of being treated this way. she said no to king ahashverosh, and went to live with a good friend in another town.
all the men in the palace told king aashverosh he should get a new wife, and forget about queen Vashti. well, king ahashverosh thought that was a good idea.
so king aashverosh had another party, to which he invited all the beautiful young women in the kingdom, so he could look them over and pick out a new wife. its good to be the king, he thought.
the one he liked best was esther, who was not only beautiful, but also very smart and very kind. Wow said king ahashverosh, all that, and brains too! after the party king ahashverosh sent a command to modechai, esther’s uncle. I wish to have esther for my queen, king ahashverosh said.
so Mordechai spoke to his niece esther. this is a good idea, he said, for we jews are strangers in this land. who knows, one day the king and the people may decide they do not like imigrants, and turn upon us, and we will be in danger. if you are the queen, you may be able to influence king ahashverosh to be on our side. so go and be the queen. but do not let on that you are jewish. keep that a secret. esther went to the palace where she married king ahashverosh and became the queen.
now there was a man working in the palace who was mean, and wanted king ahashverosh to only like him. and this man especially did not alien imigrants. his name was…haman…now the name haman means a really evil dude, haman had big ears, and a jacket with really big pockets.
haman was an important man in the palace, and expected all the people to obey him, and to bow their heads down whenever he passed by. if they didn’t haman got really angry.
well, as luck would have it, one day haman passed by Mordechai in the street. and Mordechai did not bow down to haman. haman became very angry, and went to tattle to king ahashverosh.
haman told king ahashverosh, there are some people living around here who are not like us, he said. they do not look like us, and they do things differently than we do. I think we should get rid of them, haman said. now haman did not mention Mordechai the jew.
well, king ahashverosh did not know that haman wanted to get rid of Mordechai, and queen esther, and all their jewish friends. so king ahashverosh said he did not like foreigners any better than haman did, so haman should get the border patrol and round up all those strange people and get rid of them.
when the jewish people found out about haman’s new plan to get rid of them, they were very sad and very scared. sad because they liked ling in sushan, and scared because the did not know what might happen to them. what could they do? aha! thought Mordechai, this is the very reason I sent esther to be the queen. so Mordechai sent a message to queen esther at the palace.
queen esther, we need your help, Mordechai wrote. that nasty haman wants to get rid of all us jews. talk to king ahashverosh and ask him to stop haman from doing this.
queen esther thought, I must be very brave. she made a special dinner for king ahashverosh, with all his favorite food. then she invited king ahashverosh and haman to dinner.
haman was very proud that he had been invited to have dinner with king ahashverosh. they had dinner on the patio of the palace restaurant, and all the other people could see haman dining with the king.
king ahashverosh thought the dinner was great, and when they finished he said to queen esther, queen esther, the dinner was great. how can I thank you?
queen esther said, oh please, my king, I need you to help me and my uncle Mordechai, and all my jewish friends, because someone wants to get rid of us!
king ahashverosh was surprised, and said to queen esther, that’s odd, you don’t look jewish. but he really liked esther and did not want anyone to get rid of her. besides, he did not want to lose another queen. what would all the men think of him?
that’s terrible, said king aashverosh. who wants to get rid of you and your uncle Mordechai and all your jewish friends?
queen esther pointed right at haman. it’s haman. haman wants to get rid of us.
oh, no shouted king ahashverosh, and he became very angry. and it was haman’s turn to be very afraid.
he had done everything he could to get rid of queen esther, nevertheless she persisted.
king ahashverosh called for his guards. guards! he called. take haman and get rid of him instead. so haman was gotten rid of, and queen esther and her uncle Mordechai, and all the jewish people were saved.
king ahashverosh, who turned out to be good and kind after all, invited Mordechai to come and live at the palace along with him and queen esther. and so Mordechai took haman’s place of honor. of course mordechai was much nicer than haman, and so after that no one had to go live anywhere else if they didn’t want to. and everyone lived happily in the kingdom.
Mordechai did a great job working for king ahashverosh, a really great job. so great, I can tell you.
and to celebrate, queen esther baked delicious cookies, which are called in Hebrew oznei haman after haman’s big ears, or in Yiddish, after haman’s big pockets, hamantaschen.
and that is the story of esther and Mordechai that we tell on purim. now purim means lots, for on purim we eat lots of hamantaschen!