Sunday, March 12, 2017

Purim, Bedroom Politics, and Vera

Why only dress up once a year for Hallowe'en when you can also bust out the costume for Purim (say: POOR-im)?

Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the story that is Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. The tl;dr version: some dude got his niece to persuade the king that he should save the Jewish people from some evil bellend. Sounds simple enough, right?

Hahahahahahahaha. *cough* I wish. *cough*

Let's dissect Purim into bits of its broken brilliance (eat your heart out, Matt Hardy).

Broken Purim Brilliance #1: The Cast of Characters in the Book of Esther

The main players in this story comes down to these folks:
  • King Ahasuerus/Achashverosh (this is one of those times where pronunciations are as varied as my taste in music genres) is the dude who rules over the land of Shushan (say: SHOO-shahn), which would be modern day Iran
  • Queen Vashti (say: VAHSH-tee) was King A's head wife (King A was the man; he had, like, about 300 concubines, also known as side wives) until one day, she did not want to "perform" at King A's request. Needless to say, King A banished that azz of Vashti's out of Shushan. And that's pretty much the last we hear of her
  • Haman (say: HAY-man) *RRAAWWWRRR* *HISS* was King A's right hand man
Umm, Vera? Do you always make cat noises for this guy?

Who, Dear Reader?

Haman?

*RRAAWWWRRR* *SNARRRL*

...

Why yes, yes I do.

The fuck for?

I will explain a bit further in the post.
  • Mordechai (say: more-deh-KH-EYE) happened to be that dude who refused to prostrate, or bend at knee, to Haman *RRAAWWWRRR* while strolling through the kingdom one day
  • Queen Esther (say: ESS-ter), Mordechai's niece, became Vashti's replacement head wife for King A
Broken Purim Brilliance #2: Neither Earth, Wind, nor Fire Could Stop this Celebration

In modern times, Jews would come together, either at a synagogue or a Jewish community center (OFF TOPIC RANT: WHOEVER IS CALLING IN THESE UNFOUNDED BOMB THREATS TO JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTERS NATIONWIDE NEEDS TO STOP IT), and put together a carnival of awesomeness. The carnival is a symbol of the Jews celebrating after being spared death from King A's decree via Haman *GGRRROOOWWWWL*.

And speaking of evil bellends, think of the noise (animal noises are optional, usually these are the noisemakers of choice) as a response to "The Secret Word of the Day" from Pee Wee's Playhouse (and if you didn't see this on television back in the day, then we can't date). Instead of being a secret word, it's more of a playfully villainous term where one hears the name and just loses their shit by making all types of sounds to show their displeasure.

As with the majority of Jewish holidays, there are commandments, or mitzvot, one must do in order to really understand and appreciate Purim:
  1. Make some finger food as small gifts for friends and family. The most popular finger food to make are hamantashen (say: HAH-men-tah-shin), or "Haman's *HAMAN HAS SMALL HANDS* Ears")
  2. Listen to the reading of the Book of Esther, commonly known as "The Story" or "HaMegillah" (say: HAH mee-geel-LAH).
  3. Give charity to the poor.
  4. Finally, eat, drink, and whatever be merry is, do that too.
Broken Purim Brilliance #3: The Book of Esther Has More Sex in it than Your Typical 1980s Action Movie

Yeah, go read it. Top Gun got nothing on this.

Queen Vashti didn't want to put out to King A, so he proverbially swiped her off to the left.  When Esther was sent off by Mordechai to King A, she was placed with about 300 women in a harem house.  In order for Esther to save her uncle's backside and the lives of her people, she had to stand out in terms of looks, the way she addresses King A's henchmen, and she had to perform acts that are not suited for a general audience.  Think of "Shushan's Got Talent" at this year's AVN Awards. This is also known as the idiom "sleeping your way to the top."

Esther did all that so folks who, even today, are deemed "inferior" wouldn't have to.

Broken Purim Brilliance #4: What Happened After the Jews Were Set Free

I discovered this when I attended a grown up version of Purim last night at my temple.  The cantor made mention that the last chapter of the Book of Esther is not really discussed because of its bloodbath.  The last chapter discusses this: in order to override an edict from a king is to provide an edict that provides some relief to whom the original edict was against.  Layman's terms: Via Haman *HAMAN SUCKS*, King A issued an edict to have all the Jews destroyed.  Since an edict can't be overturned, Queen Esther convinced King A to issue an additional edict: to provide the Jews with all the assistance and resources they needed "to defend themselves." In the months that followed, a total of 75,000 Persians were killed as well as all ten sons of that evil bellend by the Jews.

How come this isn't taught or talked about at your temple?

I dunno.  Probably because we don't have to go killing people who hate us in order to have a good time?

Nice. Well played.

Yup. Although next Purim, my temple needs more cowbell, or moscato, or something, for the grown and decrepit.

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