PURIM IN RHYME

The Book of Esther in Rhyme
By Fay Kranz Greene

It happened in the days of Achashverosh the King
A boor and a fool to boot
He made a great feast for the nations he ruled
To display his treasures and loot

He had no shame, did not fear G-d’s name
The fortune was not his to keep
It was stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem
Which lay in a sorrowful heap

Yet invitations were sent addressed to the Jews
At the palace to celebrate
Though they were warned, they did not stay away
And G-d’s anger was kindled, irate

The festivities lasted one hundred eighty days
The wine and the spirits flew
Destruction and deliverance were being prepared
But at the time, nobody knew

The drunken king ordered Queen Vashti to appear
She refused him unceremoniously
Upon advice from his court he cut her head off
And regretted it almost instantaneously

So a beauty pageant was quickly announced
To choose a new queen in her stead
All the maidens vied for this honor so great
But beautiful Esther was filled with dread

Her kinsman was Mordechai, a Jew so renowned
Her lineage from King Saul’s royal gene
She tried to hide, but fate would not be denied
Achashverosh chose her as his new queen

Mordechai gave her instructions precise
To the palace he came every day
Esther was not to reveal her nation of birth
Yet remain Jewish in every way

The stage was now set for Jewish salvation
Esther was a powerful force
She urged Acheshverosh to choose an advisor
The Jew Mordechai, of course

One day Mordechai heard two soldiers plot
To kill the king was their aim
He told it to Esther who saved the king’s life
But gave credit to Mordechai by name

Now an ill wind was brewing for the Jewish nation
In the guise of Haman the Aggagite
The royal ring was bestowed on him by the king
Though he was a wicked anti-Semite

Haman was proud, he preened at the gates
He commanded all to bow
But Mordechai refused, he said I’m a Jew
And my G-d does not allow

Haman wanted revenge on all the Jews
To annihilate them was his vow
He’d slaughter them all on one bloody day
The only question was how?

But this evil man thought of a plan
He devised a kind of lottery
To determine the date for the poor Jews’ fate
The thirteenth of Adar it was to be

Now Haman pleaded his case to the King
That the Jews were of no use at all
Achashverosh agreed, and it was quickly decreed
That our people were slated to fall

When Mordechai learned of this treachery
Sackcloth and ashes he donned
Weeping and wailing he ran through the streets
Knowing Esther would surely respond

Dear Esther, he said, your time has arrived
For this you were chosen as queen
To plead on the throne on behalf of your folk
Divine providence can clearly be seen

For her people Esther would risk her life
She had but one request to make
For three days the Jews must fast, regret their past
And all other gods forsake

Esther and her maidens would likewise fast
Then make a move so bold
To see the king unbidden was forbidden
Unless he extend his scepter of gold

Dressed in royalty and cloaked in Divinity
Esther was grace personified
Her prayers were answered, hope was at hand
The king invited her inside

Half of my kingdom is yours he said
Esther should have been delighted
But she was waiting for a sign Divine
So to a party she invited

Not only the king but Haman too
A move calculated to distress
The Jews would put their trust in G-d
And the king would become jealous

Esther waited for an opportunity
But there was no sign in sight
She had to stall and risk it all
With a party a second night

Haman was gloating ‘the queen chose me’
It was just the King and I
But his bubble bursts and his anger spurts
When he sees the Jew Mordechai

His wicked wife Zeresh comes up with a plan
Build a gallows about fifty feet
Go ask the king, to let Mordechai swing
And your joy will then be complete

What a night was ahead, the kingdom’s astir
No one is sleeping it seems
Esther is planning, Mordechai is praying
And the king has disturbing dreams

In the very heavens the angels are weeping
G-d hears his children in need
The king is awakened, his sleep is forsaken
From his royal book he begins to read

The pages turn as if on their own
To an entry long ago recorded
Mordechai the Jew saved the life of the king
But his loyalty was not rewarded

Achashverosh hears Haman in the courtyard
And calls him in post haste
How can I honor a man who’s deserving
I have no time to waste

Haman lays out a course of grand action
All the while thinking it’s he
A gala parade astride the king’s horse
Who else would he honor but me?

But his downfall was near, his end was in sight
Imagine his horror and dread
When the king said go do, to Mordechai the Jew
Exactly the things that you said

When Esther heard this turn of events
She knew it was her cue
And that it was right at the party that night
To reveal that she was a Jew

If I have found favor in the eyes of the king
And your highness will agree
Please spare my life and the lives of my people
From death by an evil decree

Who would dare to threaten my queen
Asked Achashverosh in a great fright
It is none other than your trusted advisor
Haman the Aggagite

The king was enraged, he needed air
From the room he quickly fled
And on the gallows intended for Mordechai
He had Haman hanged instead

Now letters were swiftly dispatched
To all the kingdom near and far
For the Jews to prepare, their foes to beware
On the thirteenth of Adar

The Jews were triumphant against the enemy
They fought bravely for their nation
And the days that were slated for destruction
Became days of celebration

Now proclamations were sent to all the Jews
Rejoice and be of good cheer
Remember these days of Purim
And commemorate them every year

By sending mishloach manot, food gifts to your friends
And eating a feast galore
By reading the megillah not once but twice
And giving charity to the poor

Purim means ‘lots’ chance and conjecture
G-d’s name was absent, concealed
But Esther means hester hidden, obscure
Unmask and all is revealed

HAPPY PURIM

Posted on February 27, 2012, in 2012, Judaism 101, March, Ram's Horn. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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