Holy days

The Feast of Lots

Tonight at sundown begins Purim, a holiday I haven't celebrated since childhood. This year I'll be in costume again, for the first time in many years; I'm playing Haman in my shul's Purimspiel. All of the characters are cast cross-gender; our (male) rabbi is playing Vashti, our (male) past president is playing should be a kick. I'm planning to do drag as thoroughly as I can, up to and including a necktie and a stick-on mustache! Only trouble is, I can't seem to find a tricorner hat anywhere; I think I'm going to substitute our black velvet Hogwarts wizard's cap.

I had hoped to write an essay about the upside-down fun of revealing ourselves through costuming and cloaking, why the Purim story makes a satisfying fairy tale, and the interesting resonances that arise since Purim falls this year during the Christian Holy Week. But orchestrating the spiel took up more time and energy than I expected, and I haven't had time to formulate any interesting thoughts. So instead, here's a roundup of what other folks are saying:

  • Debra Fran Baker posits a theory on why Haman acted the way he did: he had a crush on King Ahashverosh. The book of Esther is full of subtext and innuendo, so this reading strikes me as completely valid, and also pretty entertaining.

  • On a more sober note, Rabbi Arthur Waskow connects Purim with the Baruch Goldstein massacre which happened on this day. This week's Shalom Report e-newsletter also included a thought-provoking piece called "Good Friday and Purim Together: Resurrection, Rebirth and Reversal in the Face of Empire Today," but that doesn't seem to be archived online anywhere.

  • Danya talks about how she really likes Purim. DovBear, meanwhile, has some issues with it.

  • This one's from last year, but it's worth pointing to again, because I like it so much: Naomi Chana muses on what's hidden and what's revealed in Purim.

  • And SoccerDad has put up a special Purim-themed edition of Havel Havelim, which includes links to a Unitarian take on Purim, some digital hamentaschen, and a suggestion of organizations to support when fulfilling the Purim mitzvah of giving to the poor.

Chag sameach to all! May your Purim be joyful.

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