Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for the ‘Purim’ Category

Purim 5776

Performed at Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue on 23 March 2016 Script by Gillian Lazarus.

Purim poster 2016

Scene 1

Haman: Memusnape, you’re very nearly late. What news?

Memusnape: My Lord, I intend to move Vashti from her current position at the Ministry of Magic. The way will then be clear for your supporter Dolores to marry the chief minister, Ahasuerus Scrimgeour and to further your interests throughout the Persian Empire.

Haman: My interest, Memusnape is in the fall of the Persian Empire, which you all know was founded by the Zoroastrian Zionist, King Cyrus, the man who permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem. . As an Amalekite, I intend to watch the demise of the Empire, as soon as I’ve disposed of any remaining Jews. Teresh, you will accompany Memusnape to the Ministry.

Teresh Malfoy: Whatever you say, My Lord. I am your most faithful servant.

Scene 2

Ahasuerus Scrimgeour: Drink up everyone! We’re celebrating a great success for the ministry.

Hagrid the Chamberlain: What sort of success is that then?

Ahasuerus: We’ve had an upturn of 127% in economic growth for the last quarter, Hagrid.

Hagrid: 127%?  It’s true I got a U in GCSE maths but even I know that’s not a realistic figure. More like 103% if you ask me.

Teresh Malfoy: A U in maths? I doubt you got anything higher than a Z.

Ahasuerus: Well it means I can budget for an overhaul of the marble pillars here at the ministry, and the silver couches can be re-upholstered in gold. It’s so much more comfortable than silver.

Hagrid: Does this mean you’re going to issue a grant to Battersea Home for Orphaned Dragons? I’ve been campaigning for it…

Ahasuerus: Of course Hagrid, of course. After I’ve dealt with the couches…first things first, you know. But now it’s time to call my wife Vashti. She can entertain us with one of her interpretative dances  and her ingenious Vanishing Queen card trick. Memusnape, go and fetch Vashti for me. She’s probably in her office in the Derren Brown Wing.

Memusnape: I’ll go at once, Sir.

Teresh Malfoy: Shall I accompany you? Just to make sure you don’t get lost?

Memusnape: That won’t be necessary.

Hagrid: Ask her to do the vanishing dragon’s egg trick.

exit Memusnape

Teresh: All Hagrid thinks about are dragons. He doesn’t have room in his brain for two different thoughts.

Hagrid: Yes I do. My other thought is that she might make you vanish. (pause) I should not have said that.

Ahasuerus: What’s this Memusnape, back already? You must have flown.

Memusnape: I used a Nimbus 2016.

Ahasuerus: How was it?

Memusnape: In view of our Clean Air Act, I suspect it exceeds safe emission levels.

Ahasuerus: Oh that’s nothing. I have trouble with emissions myself. So where’s Vashti?

Memusnape: I couldn’t persuade her to join us. I told her that you’d specifically requested the Vanishing Queen card trick and she asked me to let you know she’s vanished.

Ahasuerus: What kind of answer is that?

Teresh Malfoy: A very rude one. Allow me to suggest you divorce her and banish her permanently from the Ministry.

Ahasuerus: That sounds a bit draconian.

Teresh: We Malfoys are nothing if not draconian.

Hagrid: Did somebody mention dragons?

Teresh: I can suggest a very suitable replacement. Her name is Dolores. Dolores Ambridge.

Ahasuerus: No Teresh; I’m thinking more along the lines of holding a beauty competition and then I can marry the one who comes first. Or second, if there’s a mix-up, like the one at Miss Universe.

Memusnape: That can easily be arranged Sir. Meanwhile, I suggest you do a party political broadcast, telling all Persian wives to obey their husbands, otherwise it will be the worse for them. No need to mention Vashti’s disobedience. You can just say that she did the vanishing queen trick once too often.

Ahasuerus: Very well Memusnape. Spin, spin, spin, that’s your area of expertise. You should be the one called the Dark Lord.

Scene 3

 Dumblemord: Esther, I want to talk to you about something important.

enter Esther, Harry and Ron

Here I am Uncle Dumblemord. I hope you don’t mind but my friends Harry and ron have come round for a butterbeer and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.

Harry: Esther’s been helping us with our Potions homework, Sir.

Dumblemord: It looks as if you’ve hurt your head, young man.

Harry: Oh, it’s just an old scar. I got it head-butting an Avada Kedavra curse.

Dumblemord: In Aramaic, we say avra kedavra – I create as I speak – but that’s another story.

Esther: Uncle, I read in the library that the Talmud is against wizardry. Tractate Sanhedrin 67b is a case in point, but there are many more examples…

Ron: That’s just mental, that is.

Esther: This is my friend Ron, by the way. He’s looking for his rat.

Ron: He’s called Galloway. He thinks he’s a cat. That’s the sort of rat he is – mental.

Dumblemord: Now Esther, pay attention. The Chief Minister is looking for a new wife, and now that you’re in the seventh year at Hogwarts and you’ve passed your N.E.W.T.S, you’re old enough to be married.

Ron: Hold on a minute…

Esther:  But I don’t want to.

Dumblemord: There’s more at stake than you realize, Esther. This isn’t about personal happiness but about saving our people from a great danger.

Esther: Then I’ll have to put my personal feelings aside.

Ron: She’s so brave, isn’t she?

Esther: Always the tone of surprise.

Harry: We’ll come with you Esther and look after you. We can get jobs as chamberlains at court. And I’ll bring my invisibility cloak. I’m likely to need it.

Ron: Yes, and I’ll borrow a set of extendable ears from Fred and George. If only I could find that useless rat of mine. I looked for him in Bradford but he isn’t there any more.

Harry: Perhaps he isn’t in Shushan either.

Esther: You could try Tehran. I’m just hoping he hasn’t got his nose stuck in a tight spot again.

Scene 4

Hagrid is with Harry and Ron

Hagrid: It turns out that Ahasuerus Scirmgeour prefers Esther to all the other young ladies. He’s planning to marry her as soon as possible.

Ron: Poor kid! What a miserable life it’ll be!

Harry: At least she’ll be able to get Ahasuerus up to speed with the post-Talmudic tractates. You know she’ll enjoy that.

Hagrid: Meanwhile, that no good chamberlain Teresh Malfoy is planning to poison Ahasuerus’s butterbeer.

Harry and Ron: Oh no!

Harry: That’s terrible. I’m going to tell Dumblemord and he’ll find a way to warn Ahasuerus.

Hagrid: I’ve heard that Teresh works for a master by the name of Vol-au-vent.

Harry: Vol-au-vent?

Hagrid: Shush, don’t repeat it. I should not have said it. But he has some other name, an alias he uses. I can’t think of it right now. Some Amalekite name I haven’t heard before…It’s on the tip of my tongue..

Ron: I’m quite partial to a mushroom vol-au-vent myself.

Hagrid: It’s a name beginning with an X, rhymes with orange…oh yes! Haman.

Harry and Ron: Haman?

Hagrid: Shh don’t even say it. But I’ve heard rumours. They say that a certain person, who has the same name as a popular canapé, has been given a powerful position at the Ministry. Everyone’s afraid to cross him, except for your Dad, Ron. And Esther’s uncle, Dumblemord.

Harry: Well I’m going to send an OWL to Dumblemord right away, warning him about the plot to kill Ahasuerus. (calls) Hedwig, where are you?

enter Hedwig, flapping wings

Hedwig (grumpily).  Another message? My wings are killing me. Haven’t you people heard of email? SMS? What’sApp? What century are you living in?

Harry: It’s the fifth century BCE, Hedwig. And you know we live in a magical world.

puts a message in her beak

Hedwig: So what’s wrong with writing a message on a shard and sending it by camel? That’s what normal people do. (exits, muttering sarcastically) Flap flap flap. Too whit to woo.

Potter at STNL

Scene 5

 Enter Ahasuerus and  Vol-au-vent

Ahasuerus: I’m shocked to hear that there are one or two scoundrels not showing you proper respect, Vol-au-vent. The least you can expect is props from the public.

Vol-au-vent: I’m dealing with it, minister. I’ve already sacked Arthur Weasley for being disloyal. The other character, Dumdlemord, is more problematic. Dumblemord is not even his real name. His name is Mordecai and he’s a Jew. Like all his people, he’s arrogant.

Ahasuerus: Did you say he’s Aragorn? Isn’t that from another…?

Vol-au-vent: He’s arrogant – they all are. They think they’re the chosen people, you know and meanwhile they hold the reins of power, with their secret lobbying, their incessant letters to the BBC and their MOSSAD dolphin.

Ahasuerus: That’s not on, is it Vol-au-vent? It’s just not the right way to go about things.

Vol-au-vent: If you leave it to me, I can sort out the problem for you. I’ll foot the expenses myself and, before long, Shushan, indeed, the whole Persian Empire, will be a Jew-free zone.

Ahasuerus: Like in Tehran? Sounds a good idea. Damn, what’s that creature scuttling past? It looks like a rat. Wasn’t one of the Weasley boys searching for his rat?

Vol-au-vent: Possibly, but I believe that one’s one of mine. He wants to be Mayor of London. I can probably make that happen, if I get my hands on the Elder Wand.

Ahasuerus: You’d better send some owls out to the provinces, to let them know what’s going to happen to the Jews.

Vol-au-vent: I’ve pencilled in 13th Adar as a suitable date to exterminate them and I’ll start preparing the owls. On second thoughts, I think I’ll use email. It’s quicker.

Scene 6

 Hedwig: To whit to woo. I’ve had enough of this. First Esther sends me to Dumblemord, to tell him about the murderous plot cooked up by that good for nothing Amalekite, Vol-au-vent, Haman, or whatever his name is. Dumblemord tears his clothes in grief, and I have to fly back and tell Esther. Esther sends me back to Mordechai with a new pair of stonewash Wranglers and a Charles Tyrrwhit denim shirt. Dumblemord tells me it won’t wash. Rubbish. He can use the short cycle, 30 degrees max.

Dumblemord: Hello Hedwig. Back again? Have you shown Esther Haman’s decree, about destroying the Jews?

Hedwig: If that’s what you put in my beak, she’s got it.

Dumblemord: What about my message, telling her to get an audience with Ahasuerus?

Hedwig: Don’t rush me. Do you know the distance between the Ministry of Magic and your bungalow?

Dumblemord: It’s not much more than a mile, as the crow flies.

Hedwig: As the crow flies?  Are you trying to be offensive?

Dumblemord: No of course not, it’s just a figure of speech.

Hedwig: Well this is the thing. Esther says it’s too dangerous. No one is allowed to approach the chief Minister, on his or her own initiative. There’s a penalty and it involves Azkaban Prison.

Dumblebord: The stakes are high, so of course the dangers are great. Tell Esther that she won’t escape in the Minister’s house, any more than all the other Jews.  Perhaps she’s there for a special reason, to save her people from destruction.

Hedwig: Are you seriously expecting me to say all that? Because you should know there are additional charges if you go above ten words.

Dumblemord: Just tell her: Go to Ahasuerus and plead with him.

Hedwig: To whit to woo. Onward and upward.

Enter Hagrid

Hagrid: ‘Scuse me. I’m Hagrid, one of the chamberlains from the Ministry. Are you Esther’s Uncle Dumblemord? If you are, I’ve got an important message for you. And if you’re not, I should never have started this conversation.

Dumblemord: Yes I’m Dumblemord. I was expecting an owl with a message.

Hagrid: Yes, that’s Hedwig. She’s on strike. All the owls are on strike, in protest against long hours and night work. So the message from Esther is this.

Dumblemord: Yes?

Hagrid: Now I wrote it all down and gave it to Norbert the dragon for safe keeping.

Dumblemord: Yes?

Hagrid: But Norbert sneezed and it went up in flames.

Dumblemord: Oh dear.

Hagrid: Anyhow, the message went something like this: Tell the Jews of Shushan to fast for three days. I, Esther, will also fast for three days, and then I’ll go to see Ahasuerus. And if I perish, I perish.

Dumblemord: Thank you. Message received and understood. How long is the owl strike going on?

Hagrid: It’s just a twenty-four hour fly out but I had to borrow Harry’s invisibility cloak to get past the picket lines. I understand their grievance, mind. Owls have as much right as anyone to weekend pay.

hedwig picket

Scene 6b

Owls (chanting):

Weekend pay is overdue

 Join us now, to whit to woo.

  Fight and don’t throw in the towel

   Weekend pay for every owl.

  Unity is strength

Disunity is weak

All together, flap your wings

And open up your beak

What are we asking? Fair play!

How shall we get it? Fair pay!

When do we want it? This day!

Will we be flying? No way!

No more working till we drop

Owlsploitation has to stop

Tell the bosses, tell the king:

Stand together, wing to wing.

One, two, three, four,

We won’t work for Dumbledore

Two, four, six, eight,

Hogwarts mail will have to wait

Scene 7

 enter Esther with Harry and Ron who are sharing the invisibility cloak

Esther: We ought to have a plan, in case Ahasuerus gets angry and sends me to Azkaban.

Harry: I’ll do an Imperius Curse to make him listen sympathetically. If that doesn’t work, offer him these two tickets for the Quiddich Cup Final.

Ron: How did you get those? Did you use a Summoning Charm?

Harry: No, E-bay. Esther, you look beautiful.

Ron: Poor kid, she’s been fasting for three days!

Esther: I do feel a bit light-headed. Come on, best foot forward. Look, there’s Ahasuerus! He’s seen me! Oh, thank goodness, he’s holding out his golden snitch. That means he’s pleased to see me.

Harry: Imperio!

Ahasuerus: What do you want Esther. Whatever it is, I’ll give it to you.

Ron: Nice one Harry.

Esther: Well, it’s just that I’m planning two dinner parties. I want you to be there and to bring Haman – I mean Vol-au-vent – with you.

Ahasuerus: As I said, I’ll give you whatever you ask, even if it’s the sword of Gryffindor.

Scene 8

enter Vol-au-vent and Dolores Ambridge and a cat

Vol au vent: There’s good news and there’s bad. What do you want first?

Dolores: My little kitty cats don’t like to hear bad news, unless it means someone has to be punished. We love devising punishments, don’t we, Pussikins.

Pussikins: Meow.

Vol au vent: Stop talking to your cat and pay attention.

Dolores: He’s in a teeny weeny bit of a grumpy mood, isn’t he Pussykins? I’ve got a feeling someone’s going to be punished.

Vol au vent: I’m to be the guest of honour at a banquet given by the Minister and his wife. That’s the good news.

Dolores: There’s a good pussy – see if you can bring me a juicy mouse for my potion.

Pussikins: Meow meow.

Vol au vent: But all this means nothing to me, as long as I see Mordechai the Jew here in Shushan, not bowing, eating those Rakuzen’s matzos and donating to the Second Temple Byuilding Fund..

Dolores: Disgusting! Hanging’s too good for him.

Vol au vent: On the contrary, hanging is just the right solution. I’ll have a gallows made, fifty cubits high.

Dolores: Ooh, I like to have something good to watch. Don’t we, Pussikins?

Pussikins: If you say so.

Dolores: The way to go is certainly the gallows way. Which reminds me, Pussikins, a rat would be better for my potion than a mouse. A rat in a hat perhaps.

Pussikins (enthusiastically) Meow!

Scene 9         

Ahasuerus in bed, Memusnape in attendance

Ahasuerus: I wasn’t asleep. I was just resting my eyes for a minute. As it happens, I haven’t had so much as a catnap all night.

Memusnape: I feel your pain, Minister. Could I perhaps bring you a mug of Horlicks? Or perhaps something stronger?

Ahasuerus: What’s the use? Nytol doesn’t work.

Memusnape: Brandy and soda?  A Moroccan meatball wrap?

Ahasuerus: No Memusnape. I just need to be soothed. Read me something boring. You’ll find old copies of the Shushan Chronicle in the ottoman.

Memusnape: Very well. This one’s six months old. (Reads)  Coldest winter for years set to bring months of snow and blizzards. Sub-zero temperatures and violent snow storms could hit as soon as late October…

Ahasuerus: What month is it now?

Memusnape: April.

Ahasuerus: So they got that wrong as usual. What else?

Memusnape (reads) Jew of Shushan saves minister Ahasuerus from assassination attempt. Dumblemord the Jew, also known as Mordechai, was instrumental in uncovering a plot to poison the Chief Minister. The perpetrator, Teresh Malfoy, was sentenced to twelve years in Azkaban, which was commuted to eighteen months by the judge, Barty Crouch.

Ahasuerus. Typical of Barty Crouch! What about the Jew? I suppose he was rewarded?

Memusnape: Not as yet.

Ahasuerus: I’ll have to do something for him. Knighthood, you think? Or will CBE cover it?

Memusnape: Privy council?

Ahasuerus:  No point. It’s full of all sorts of beardy weirdies and fellow travellers these days. It had better be some new form of honour. I’ll think about it in the morning, if only you’ll stop nattering and let me go back to sleep.

Memusnape: Yes Minister but dawn has broken and you have an appointment with Vol-au-vent in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

Ahasuerus: All right, bring him to me. I read a strange rumour about Vol-au-vent on Twitter last night. They said Vol-au-vent isn’t his real name.

Memusnape: He sometimes uses Voldemort.

Ahasuerus: No, it wasn’t that, something more Amalekite, like Agag or Quirrell. I’ll remember in a minute.

Memusnape goes out

Ahasuerus (speaking to himself): How can I forget something I knew just a few hours ago. I hope I’m not the victim of one of Gilderoy Lockhart’s memory charms. What was that name? Shalmaneser? Livingstone? Antipasto? Well, it doesn’t matter, since everyone knows him as Vol-au-vent.

Enter Vol-au-vent

Ahasuerus: Ah, Haman! Bright and early I see. While you’re here, I need to ask your advice. What do you think should be done to reward a man I want to honour?

Vol-au-vent: Invest him with special powers. Let him ride on a state-of-the-art broomstick, a Firebolt for example and all the people below will bow.

Ahasuerus: Very well Vol-au-vent, see to it yourself as you’re so reliable. The man I’m rewarding is Dumblemord the Jew. You probably know him by sight.

Vol-au-vent (hisses): Only Parseltongue has enough swear words for this sort of situation.

Intermission

Scene 10

 Image of Hogwarts refectory. Esther, Ahasuerus and Vol-au-vent are dining. Harry and Ron are present under the invisibility cloak.

Ron: This bread is fantastic. Where did you get it Esther.

Esther: I baked it myself. I used the recipe from the Mishnah, order Zeraim, tractate Challah. The only problem was, you’re supposed to give one twenty-fourth of the loaf to a priest, as an offering, I mean a cohen of course, not a Zoroastrian priest, and the Talmud Yerushalmi, tractate Taanit 23b, makes a connection between the challah offering and the twelve spies…

Ron: Too much information.

Harry: It’s getting a bit hot under this invisibility cloak, and my scar’s giving me a bit of trouble. I feel as if I’m in the presence of evil.

Ron: Have some more challah, mate. It’s anything but evil.

Esther: Actually, there’s something I have to say to Ahasuerus. Have your wands ready boys – it’s going to be a bumpy night.

Ahasuerus: That was a fine spectacle today, when Dumblemord flew over the Ministry on a Firebolt. Don’t you think so Vol-au-vent?

Vol-au-vent (hissing). Hiss shish spritz kishkas

Ahasuerus: Ah, you’re still speaking in your native tongue. I get the gist of it, but there are words I don’t recognize, probably neologisms.

Vol-au-vent: Squish pish fish. Hiss.

Ahasuerus: I couldn’t disagree. Esther, what is the thing you wanted to ask me?

Harry: Imperio!

Ahasuerus: It shall be granted to you, even if it’s a seat in the Wizengamot.

Esther: Ooh, that is tempting. It’s so male-dominated at present. But no, what I want is this: only my life. There’s someone close to you who wants to destroy my people and me.

Ahasuerus: Who would dare do such a thing? Give me a name.

Esther: The adversary and enemy, this wicked Haman.

Ahasuerus: Who?

Esther: Haman.

Ahasuerus: You mean Vol-au-vent here? I always suspected that his name was Haman.

Ron: I think you’ll find it’s hashtag Haman.

Ahasuerus: What do you have to say to this Hashtag? No! Don’t answer! I’m just going outside and I may be some time. I’ll expect you to have an answer ready when I come back.

Vol-au-vent (approaching Esther) It will take more than a schoolgirl to defeat me. Do you think you, a mudblood, can have any power over me? I possess the most powerful  wand in Shushan. Hundreds of death eaters are in my service and that’s not even mentioning the Weasley boy’s rat. Avada…

Harry and Ron together: Expelliarmus!

Ahasuerus returns

Ahasuerus: What’s going on here? Is he daring to attack Esther here in the Ministry of Magic? Arrest him immediately.

Enter Hagrid

Hagrid (to Vol-au-vent): Haman, you great prune. I’m escorting you to Azkaban. I have to caution you that anything you say can be given in evidence against you.

Vol-au-vent: Hiss fizz Swiss crisps.

Hagrid: Sorry, you’re going to have to spell that for me. You can tell me all about it on the way to Azkaban.

exeunt

 

Scene 11

 (Esther, Harry, Ron, Hagrid)

Hagrid: What a battle that was! If it hadn’t been for Dumblemord’s Army and the Order of the Nudniks, we would have been hard pressed to keep the Death Eaters out of Shushan.

Harry: If it hadn’t been for Esther, Haman would have achieved his aim of destroying all the Jews in the Persian Empire.

Ron: Now he’s imprisoned in Azkaban, and long may he stay there.

Esther: Dumblemord says that we didn’t do it all by ourselves. We had help from another quarter.

Hagrid: Talking of Dumblemord, I hear that Ahasuerus has plans for his promotion.

Esther: Really?

Harry: Great news!

Ron: Tell us more.

Hagrid: Ah, I should not have said that. It’s all still under wraps. But I’ve started so I’ll finish. Ahasuerus wants Dumblemord to be the head of a big  new Talmud Torah and Yeshiva opening in Shushan. It’s going to be called Loxwarts, lox instead of hog you see, to make it sound a bit more kosher.

Enter Hedwig

Hedwig: Whew! To whit to woo. A hundred and twenty-seven provinces and all in one shift!  I’m not doing that again without double overtime. All they’ve offered me is time off in lieu. To whit to woo. Dumblemord’s to blame.

Esther: Why, Hedwig, what’s happened?

Hedwig: He sent me to all the Jews in the provinces, near and far, to tell them to keep the days of 14 and 15 Adar every year, as days of feasting and gladness, throughout the generations, so that the memory of these days of Purim will never perish.

Esther: Oh well remembered Hedwig!

Hedwig: You’d remember it too if you had to repeat the same message 127 times.

Esther: I’m going to write down all these events in a book and in years to come, people will still read it, and turn it into a successful film franchise. I’ll call it Esther Grainger and the Order of the Nudniks.

Ron: Why don’t you name it after Harry? It has a better ring to it: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ramat Gan.

Harry: As it’s about Purim, you could use my Hebrew name and call it Hymie Potter.

Hagrid: Yeah! Hymie Potter and Norbert the Dragon!

Ron: What about Hymie Potter and the Half-Cooked Blintz?

Esther: No. No, I’ve made up my mind. It’ll just be called the Scroll of Esther.

Hagrid: Oh that’s very nice.

Ron: I like it.

Harry: Yes that sounds just right.

Hedwig: You think? Why not the Scroll of Hedwig? I’m the one doing the wing work around here. To whit to woo. I’m the one who gets zapped by a Death Eater in Chapter 5 of The Deathly Hallows. Knocked off my perch, like a Norwegian blue parrot. I dunno. Being an owl is a dog’s life.

Hagrid: Cheer up Hedwig. It’s Purim after all. Drink your butterbeer and chag sameach.

 

THE END

 

 

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Cue: (Esther 1:12) But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by the chamberlains; therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

BBC_One_circle

Newsreader: The following information was obtained through Wikileaks from the Babylonian Talmud (tractate Megillah), the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the Midrash Rabbah, the first and second Targums to Esther and the Zohar

Visual and sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TSJhIZmL0A
BBC-News-logo1

Edward Hughes: This is Edward Hughes with the News at 10. A storm brews at the castle in Shushan where relations between the King and his consort reach crisis point. We’re going straight over to our royal correspondent, Nicholas Whichway, in Shushan.

Whichway: Well here in Shushan, Persia, a situation is developing as Queen Vashti disobeys the king’s command to appear at his banquet. King Ahasuerus has been wining and dining his guest for many weeks now, sparing no expense. There are dazzling gold utensils which are said to be spoil from the late King Nebuchadnezzar’s military incursions to Jerusalem. Queen Vashti is the daughter of King Belshazzar, also known for his lavish lifestyle. The Queen has often compared Ahasuerus unfavourably with Belshazzar, saying‘My father could down a quart of Jim Beam without get drunk, but Ahasuerus is hammered after half a cider and a tequila sunrise.’

Queen Vashti is known to be a strong-minded woman, severe with her staff of servants and slaves. Our source reported that she forces the Hebrew women who spin her designer caftans to work naked every Saturday. It is perhaps poetic justice that King Ahasuerus has ordered Vashti to appear naked at his banquet.

Another witness from the queen’s apartments has described an unusual supernatural episode, which has yet to be confirmed. It is said that the Queen was in fact preparing to go the King’s banquet wearing nothing but her crown when a winged man calling himself Gabriel appeared in her bedchamber. He was carrying a blindfold, a roll of duck tape and a pair of handcuffs and was seen tying Vashti to the shower rail in the en suite. This may have been the reason why Queen Vashti was detained. I asked the witness if this was why Vashti didn’t come but the witness replied ‘Oh yes she did.’

Hughes: Well we’ll be following events in Shushan throughout the evening. And now, as the General Election looms, we ask if the beleagured Lib-Dems would consider entering into a coalition with Justin Bieber.

Cue: (Esther 1:22, last verse of Chapter 1) …that every man should bear rule in his own house, and speak according to the language of his people.
jon snow

SL: Good evening. I’m Jon Whiterthan, fully recovered from my recent adventure with skunk. Following events in Persia, we ask: Who exactly is King Ahasuerus? We have in the studio the historian Darth Starkley. Darth, just what do we know about the Persian king?
David-Starkey-006

Darth Starkley: We know Ahasuerus by his Hebrew name, Achashverosh, but the Greeks called him Xerxes and the Persians called him Artaxerxes.

Whiterthan: So he’s either Xerxes or Artaxerxes?

DS: It’s not as simple as that. All the Achaemenid kings – that’s ‘Persian’ for the hoi polloi I look down on – were called Artaxerxes or Darius. Now we know Ahasuerus wasn’t called Darius so, by a process of elimination, he must have been Artaxerxes. Or Xerxes. If you’re Greek.

JW: There are some who identify him as King Artaxerxes II.

DS: Yes. But there are others who call him Artaxerxes I. I sometimes call him Artaxerxes III, just to court controversy and draw attention to myself.

JW: What’s this story about the King trying to sit on Solomon’s throne?

DS: King Nebuchadnezzar seized the throne of Solomon when he was despoiling the temple in Jerusalem. This was an elaborate golden throne decorated with mechanical lions. When Nebuchadnezzar tried to sit on the throne, one of the lions snapped at his leg. Ahasuerus once tried to sit on it and the same thing happened…he required a tetanus vaccination. The only king who could sit on that throne, apart from Solomon was Cyrus.

JW: Well thank you Darth Starkley, informative as ever.

Visual and sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_2OZu693LA (Channel4)

Cue: (Chapter 2:18) Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the bounty of kings.

Visual and sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TSJhIZmL0A (BBC)

witchell
Nicholas Whichway: Queen Esther is a refreshing change from her predecessor Vashti,who was known for love of luxury and her wild parties – considerably more than twelve in three years.. By contrast, Esther lives very quietly in her quarters in the palace, with a small retinue of maids. They are believed to observe an unusual diet and it’s said that Queen Esther chooses simple dishes, such as chopped herring and pickled cucumber, instead of the more usual roast sucking pig or lobster bisque. She is said to bathe in water rather than asses’ milk and her maidservants say she likes to immerse herself every month in her own small water bath.

In spite of these apparent eccentricities, Esther succeeded in winning the heart of his Royal Highness. Many beautiful young women had been entertained at the palace under the supervision of the eunuchs. One of these young women was the daughter of the rising minister Haman, who came to prominence by campaigning for the execution of Queen Vashti. However, Haman’s daughter suffered an unfortunate malady. She was sent home from the palace when diarrhoea resulted in damage to an expensive Persian carpet and the King’s best slippers.

Cue (Chapter 3:1): After these things did King Ahasuerus promote Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.

Visual and sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_09tqeOlGE (Russell Brand Trews)
hustle bland
Hustle Bland:
Hello, welcome to the Trews. I’m Hustle Bland, the host of the Trews.
Today I’m bringing you the true news, about our most powerful minister, Haman. The king thinks he’s a cool dude and has let him become a fat cat, except he isn’t fat or a cat…no, he looks like Jaffar from the film of Aladdin, don’t he? He charges a daily fee of 5000 dinars if he’s doing a speech and calls himself a Persian potentate, but he ain’t a Persian at all. He’s an Amalekite and they’ve got a very scurrilous history which Haman don’t want you to know about. Remember to blot out Amalek, mate. So Haman’s the great-great-great grandson of Esau. Some of the Persians call Haman a Macedonian. Don’t forget mate that Alexander the Great was a Macedonian who challenged the Persian hegemony before he got corrupted by colonial, supremacist ambition. So you might think the Persians are calling Haman a Greek upstart, but that ain’t the truth, because they’re calling him Macedoine de Fruits, that’s a Macedonian fruit salad in Francophone Persian. I wouldn’t vote for a fruit salad because there ain’t much difference between a mango, a peach and an apricot and I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t vote for any of them because I’m the only one who tells the true news!
Jaffar as Haman

Visual and sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_09tqeOlGE (Russell Brand)

Cue: (Esther Chapter 4:3) …and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

Visual and sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TSJhIZmL0A (BBC)

bowen
Jeremy Arrow: This is Jeremy Arrow, your Ancient Near East correspondent. There are disturbances in the streets of Shushan this evening, where a high ranking civil servant has covered his head in ashes and called on the Jews of the city to fast for three days. The civil servant, Mordechai, maintains that Minister Haman is planning to destroy the Jewish population of Shushan. Records show that Mordechai is a member of the tribe of Benjamin – that’s Benjamin, not Bibi – and a descendant of Saul, a powerful king of Israel.

Cue: (Chapter 5:8) …let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king has said.

Jeremy Arrow: And now we have some breaking news from the palace. It concerns Queen Esther. It seems that the Queen approached the King this evening without his invitation, which is of course a capital offence in Shushan. A witness reports that the Queen was accompanied by her maidservants and by three unusual looking winged men. Another witness says they were winged women. A third said it was difficult to place the gender as they were wearing unisex white tunics. Apparently, the king was enraged by this lese-majesté, but his anger melted as soon as Esther touched his sceptre. All our witnesses report that the sceptre extended miraculously by several cubits. One witness insists it extended by sixty cubits, but he must be exaggerating.

Esther was heard to say ‘This whole thing is so much harder than I expected.’
13. Esther behind the curtain7. Valentino

Visual and sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TSJhIZmL0A (BBC)

Cue: (Chapter 6:11) …and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delights to honour

Jon Whiterthan: This is Jon Whiterthan, bringing you up to date with more breaking news. Mordechai has succeeded in evading the limelight until now, but he is being honoured today by the King for thwarting a coup d’etat which was being planned by courtiers with impossibly silly names. Mordechai is being led on a triumphal parade through the streets of Shushan, on the King’s own horse. The man leading the horse is some kind of servant, with a slight resemblance to Jaffar from the film of Aladdin, but, as far as I can see, no parrot. There are crowds lining the streets, waving Persian flags and carrying placards with slogans: I can see ‘God save the king’ on one placard and ‘Je suis Mordechai’ on another and, on a third placard ‘Shushan Metropolitan University says No to tuition fees.’ Some people in the crowd are chanting ‘Mordechai, Mordechai, Am Yisroel chai!’ and there are also cries of ‘Down with the Macedonian fruit salad!’ This would be a reference to the chief minister, Haman , who is nowhere to be seen… but wait! The man leading the horse…it is the minister Haman himself. And now something’s happening at an upper window. There’s a young woman on the balcony, shouting ‘Long live Haman and death to Mordecai.’ She seems to be armed with a round object. It’s a chamber pot and now – oh no! – she’s emptied it on Haman. The young woman’s shouting something. It seems to be ‘Sorry Dad, I thought you were going to be the one on the horse. My bad.’ Well that’s a very unfortunate turn of events, which are growing increasingly volatile. This is Jon Whiterthan, in Shushan, Persia.

17. Haman leading Mordechai

Cue: (Chapter 7:10) Then was the king’s wrath assuaged.
orla g
Rula Ringoe: This is Rula Ringoe and I’m in Shushan. The Persian Minister Haman was hanged today for treason, attempted homicide, conspiracy, fraud, corruption, impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner, larceny, felony and double parking. Not only did Haman intend to murder all the Jews of Persia; he also was planning a coup d’etat against King Ahasuerus. It’s being said that Haman was a Macedonian, planning to subjugate the Persians, although it’s more likely that he was an Amalekite with an ancient grudge against the Israelite people.

Mordehcai is now the Prime Minister and the King has bestowed on him many generous gifts: a necklace of gold from Ophir, a purple tunic with birds embroidered on it, a belt set with precious stones, a Median sword, Parthian red socks, tefilin boxes inlaid with gold, a cuddly toy and a Morphy Richards Mix-and-Go blender.
meerkat-toy

Cue: (Chapter 8:17 last verse in chapter) for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them.

newsnight logo

Paxes: Good evening. This is Paxes the Impaler, and tonight I’m interviewing Bigathan Average, of the Daily Chariot.

Still Paxes: Bigathan, you claim to have knowledge about Queen Esther’s family background, which has not been generally publicized. You claim, for example, that she’s Jewish.

Bigathan: Yes, she is Jewish. There’s no doubt. She keeps kosher and bensches before and after meals. She’s related to Mordecai, the Jew who was given a triumphal parade in Shushan today. And she’s converted two apartments into a through-lounge. QED.

Paxes: This seems a bit far-fetched. The Queen’s entertaining the King and Haman at a private banquet as we speak, and it’s well-known that Haman refuses to banquet with anyone who’s Jewish.

Bigathan: Esther kept her identity hidden. Didn’t you ever notice that Esther is Hebrew for ‘I am hiding.’

Paxes: Oh come off it. This is all speculative.

Bigathan: Esther was raised by Mordecai after her parents died and, when she was grown up, he married her.

Paxes: Are you saying that Esther’s marriage to King Ahasuerus is bigamous? That’s preposterous. Where are you getting your information?

Bigathan: I have it from an authoritative source.

Paxes: Who is the source?

Bigathan: An authoritative person.

Paxes: Are you going to reveal the source?

Bigathan: I’ve seen a document which proves Esther and Mordecai were married.

Paxes: Are you going to reveal the source?

Bigathan: My source tells me that Esther has visited her husband Mordecai since her marriage to the King.

Paxes: Who is your source?

Bigathan: She came out of the King’s chamber, went into her bathroom, got dressed and nipped out to see Mordecai.

Paxes: This is incredible. Who’s the source of your information?

Bigathan: Someone reliable. Besides, that was never Esther in the King’s bedchamber. It was a female spirit. Not Esther.

Paxes: Are you going to reveal your source?

Bigathan: Amazing what you can do with a succubus these days. I’m thinking of getting one myself.

Paxes: Where are you getting your information?
(simultaneously) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SyeqpYdPuk

Cue: (Chapter 9:22) …of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

Edward Hughes: The new Prime Minister has addressed the nation, beginning his speech with the catchy phrase, ‘I have dreamed a dream.’ In his speech, he recalled having a dream which foreshadowed these turbulent events. He described the dream in which two serpents fight in a time of tumult, with darkness all around them. This, said Mordecai represents his own struggle with Haman. Or possibly Harry Potter’s struggle with Voldemort. Mordecai is a Jungian therapist in his spare time, so he knows about dreams. As it happens, he’s the author of a self-help book called ‘Coping with wife sharing.’ The dedication is ‘To Esther, my anima.’ This may be a misprint for ‘My animal’.

Cue: (Chapter 10: 3 last verse in Megillat Esther) …and speaking peace to all his seed.

DV The Prime Minister intends to commemorate these times with a festival called Purim and has written a letter about it to Ptolemy and Cleopatra, king and queen of Egypt. This isn’t the same Cleopatra who dated Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, but one of the earlier Cleopatras. There were a lot of them, and just as many Ptolemeys. And we know there were a lot of Artaxerxeses. But there’s only one Mordecai as people on the streets are singing:

[song there’s only one Mordechai’ to the tune of Guantanamera]

Words to Guantanamera song:

There’s only one Mordecai
And I’m not gonna lie
He’s a helluva guy
There’s only one Mordecai

There’s more than one Artaxerxes
Two and three, maybe more.
When you’ve done Artaxerxes
It’s like you’ve been there before

And there’s less than one Haman
‘Cause they showed him the door,
He did too much inflamin’
You won’t see him no more…

There was more than just one Ptolemy
Each a Greek-Egyptian wannabee
With a flair for astronomy
So many more than one Ptolemy…

There’s more than one Cleopatra
Sending kisses back atcha
It’s all in Bava Batra*
There‘s more than one Cleopatra.

* Actually it’s Sanhedrin 90b. Who knew?

Performed by the rabbinic team of Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue

and written by Gillian Lazarus

Chapter one

In the days of King Ahasuerus

They drank without unit awareness

The satraps and princes

Ate shashlik and blintzes

And talked about Queen Vashti’s fairness.

They feasted in Shushan the Palace

Each man had a solid gold chalice

And spent night and day

Knocking back Chardonnay

And a very fine bourbon from Dallas.

After filling his goblet with whisky

The king was predictably frisky

He said ‘No one’s seen

Such a wife as my queen

So I’m going to try something risky.’

Queen Vashti was called to the party

While the king grew increasingly hearty

Saying ‘Let her come wearing

An outfit that’s daring,

I want her to look downright tarty.’

Resplendent with eye kohl and rouge,

Vashti answered ‘I’m nobody’s stooge,

The king is a boozer

A nerd and a loser

And only his chutzpah is huge.’

The king was both angry and grieved

And his hotshot advisors were peeved,

They called Vashti seditious,

Rebellious and vicious,

And this is the plan they conceived:

‘Get rid of the queen and don’t tarry,

And Sir, you should quickly remarry,’

The king’s main enforcer

Insisted ‘Divorce her,

You’ll soon feel as happy as Larry.’

They mailed every Mede and each Persian

Saying ‘Guard against wifely subversion,

If the women protest,

Robust tactics are best

And don’t draw the line at coercion.’

Chapter two

Mordechai, who lived in the city,

Was a man full of kindness and pity

He loved Torah and peace

And he brought up his niece

Who was lively, good-natured and pretty.

He called for his niece and he blessed her

He said ‘I’ve a plan, dearest Esther,

I’ve thought up a ruse

And it’s good for the Jews

All it takes is a bullish investor.

Now you are my pearl and my treasure

An asset, in truth, beyond measure

I don’t wish to scare you

But I mean to share you,

Our aim is His Majesty’s pleasure.’

Esther moved to the king’s royal quarters

Where Persia’s most glamorous daughters

Used oils and cosmetics

And tantric athletics,

Enjoying the natural hot waters.

The king said ‘This Esther’s appealing,

Let her put on a dress that’s revealing

When she’s on my divan

She’ll think, “Oh what a man!”

There’s a looking glass, too, on the ceiling.’

To Mordechai, Esther was loyal

She submitted to being a royal

It was hardly devotion

But clearly promotion

So Esther tried not to recoil.

Two chamberlains meanwhile conspired;

The death of the king they desired,

But Mordecai heard

And their plan was deterred

And he told them ‘Go home, you’re both fired.’

Chapter three

There rose shortly after to power

A certain man, haughty and sour,

He was Haman by name

And was greatly to blame

Making poor people grovel and cower.

Now Mordechai wouldn’t kowtow;

Before God alone would he bow,

No man could assuage

Haman’s terrible rage

‘I’ll see Mordechai hanged,’ was his vow.

He sought out the king to suggest

That all Jews be placed under arrest,

And sentenced to die,

Though he didn’t say why,

And the king did not choose to protest.

For this crime, they selected a date

Haman said ‘We had better not wait,

But just to be sure

We’ll cast lots, known as ”pur”,

Then the Jews will be sent to their fate.’

Chapter four

When the dreadful news reached Mordechai,

He said, with a loud, bitter cry,

‘This decree must be seen

Take it straight to the queen

And I hope for a speedy reply.’

Esther realized with dread that her mission

Meant breaching the king’s prohibition;

To intrude on his court

When an audience was sought,

Could be viewed as an act of sedition.

Said Mordechai, ‘Do not falter

Or we shall be sent to the slaughter

For our lives you must plead,

For the Jews, intercede,

Help will come from a heavenly quarter.’

‘This prospect,’ she said ‘I don’t relish,

Unless the king’s minded to cherish,

But I’ll make the approach

And this subject I’ll broach

And then if I perish, I perish.’

Chapter five

Esther fasted three days and three nights,

Shunning all culinary delights

Then she dressed to the nines

In enticing designs:

A basque and some black fishnet tights.

The king rested on his throne, drowsing,

Sleeping off a long night of carousing,

When Esther drew near,

He said ‘Sweetie, come here,

I find your attire arousing.’

She sidled up at his behest;

He said ‘Tell me babe, what’s your request,’

Esther, no longer scared,

Said ‘I’ve dinner prepared,

You bring Haman and I’ll do the rest.’

‘If this is your wish,’ said the king

‘It seems like a very small thing,

I always assume

Women want more perfume,

Expensive Swiss handbags and bling.’

Haman said to his wife ‘I’m excited

To be in this manner invited,

For in Queen Esther’s eyes

My stock’s on the rise

So I’ll tell her that I’d be delighted.

Yet Mordechai’s conduct still galls me

His refusal to bow just appalls me;

I’ll see the man swing,

Then I’ll go to the king

The esteem of whose wife quite enthralls me.’

Chapter six

At quarter past three in the morning

The king was still tossing and yawning

Then he’d fidget and cough

But he couldn’t drop off

And he longed for the day to start dawning.

A chamberlain wearing a monocle

Read aloud from the court’s Daily Chronicle

It consisted of lists

But no longer exists,

Which is why it was never canonical.

The chamberlain said ‘Here’s a nugget

And nobody’s bothered to plug it

But the Jew Mordechai

Foiled an evil plot by

Installing a wire, to bug it.’

‘So the plot,’ said the king, ‘was recorded,

It was traitorous, wicked and sordid,

But the plotters were sacked

And their telephones hacked

By a man we have not yet rewarded.’

‘Send for Haman, the man I rely on,

He may have some thoughts I can try on;

He can be rather grim

But I get on with him

Just so long as I don’t mention Zion.’

Although he found Haman unnerving,

He said ‘There’s a man most deserving,

So help me devise

Some acceptable prize

As his loyalty’s truly unswerving.’

So Haman considered and, duly,

He thought ‘This refers to Yours Truly.

I’ll soon be raised high

Then I’ll show Mordechai

How I punish the proud and unruly.’

He said ‘Gladly, sir, I’ll be your mentor;

Clothe the man in Chanel and La Renta

Select a fine horse,

Your own stable, of course,

Then he’ll ride through the town’s Arndale Centre.

‘Your idea is too good to waste,’

Said the king ‘And it’s much to my taste

To Mordecai, go

And fix it just so,

Now off with you Haman, make haste.’

Haman went, but his language was blue,

He hatred, if anything, grew,

He cursed his bad luck,

Cried aloud ‘Wtf?

I’ll soon be revenged on that Jew!’

When Mordecai mounted the steed,

He said ‘Here’s a turn up, indeed,

I’m not an equestrian,

Just a Red Sea pedestrian,

Shanks’s pony is all that I need.’

Chapter seven

At the banquet of Esther the Queen

There was sushi and nouvelle cuisine,

Chopped liver and borscht

And Bloom’s garlic wurscht

And a jelly, without gelatine.

The king, amidst drinking and laughter

Said ‘Esther just what are you after?

Is it diamonds or land

Or a colliery band

Or some other gift even dafter?’

Then Esther got down on her knees,

Saying ‘Husband, be serious please,

You accepted a bribe

To extinguish my tribe,

Alas! What dark hours are these!’

The king pleaded incomprehension

And asked ‘What’s this bribe that you mention?

My dear, you’re my wife

Any risk to your life,

Would bring on my old hypertension.’

Said Esther ‘This Amalekite

Is the man I would have you indict,’

The king said ‘No kidding?

Well I’ll do your bidding

Now Haman get out of my sight.’

The king then stormed into the garden

He could feel all his arteries harden;

Haman sat next to Esther,

Which greatly distressed her,

And asked her to plead for a pardon.

When the king very shortly returned

His anger now kindled and burned

Barely catching his breath

His said ‘Put him to death

And consider this banquet adjourned.’

Chapters eight, nine and ten

The prospect for Jews now looked healthy,

And Mordechai grew very wealthy

For the king now despised

The plot Haman devised,

Saying ‘Damn but that bastard was stealthy.’

Royal letters were sent near and far

Regarding the month of Adar,

The plot was depraved

But the Jews would be saved

While for Haman it was au revoir.

There followed a great deal of fighting

Which was triggered by Haman’s inciting,

But to Esther’s relief

Haman’s men came to grief

And she put the whole thing down in writing.

Esther wrote in a detailed report

How Mordecai managed to thwart

Those evil intentions

By bold interventions,

And rose to distinction at court.

At Purim we drink like the Persians

With nobody casting aspersions

The villain gets hissed,

We all get Brahms and Liszt

And engage in light-hearted diversions.

So this is the end of our thriller

With Haman condemned as a killer

Mordecai and his niece

Both had gladness and peace,

And that is the gantzer megillah.

Performed with Powerpoint, music and pictures, at Sha’arei Tsedek North London Synagogue on 7 March 2012

ESTHER CHAPTER ONE

From Ahasuerus (king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe)
To medes@media.com; satraps@persia.co.pe; princes@ethiopia.co.et; raj@hodu.co.in;
Cc achaemenids@shushan.org.pe
SUBJECT Invitation

Ahasuerus King of Persia requests the pleasure of your company at a banquet to be held at Shushan the Castle.

‘We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart,’ to quote our court poet, Sheikh Spir.

WACS (wives and concubines) will be welcome at a banquet given by Queen Vashti in Her Majesty’s private boutique.

The most royal and gracious

Ahasuerus

Dress: informal blue/purple linen
RSVP info@shushan.org.pe

*

From Ahasuerus (king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe)

To Memucan@satraps.com; et cetera

SUBJECT Vashti the Queen

Having REALLY MERRY time with courtiers and satraps – one prince came all the way from India on an ELEPHANT LOL!!!

It will be our pleasure for you to fetch Queen Vashti PRONTO, so that these guys can see her in the flesh. Eat your heart out, Menelaus!

The most royal and gracious sovereign
Ahasuerus

PS Tell her to wear her crown!!!

*

SMS

No way King A! Am having gr8 time in harem with unux, 2BZ2 meet ur geeky friends. C u (much) l8er, VashT

*

From: Memucan Memucan@yesucan.com
To: King Ahasuerus (king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe)
SUBJECT Vashti the Queen

Your Majesty
Queen Vashti has wronged not only your royal person but all the husbands in your empire. She has shown the kind of disrespect that leads inevitably to a breakdown in family values and the subversion of identity. I urge you to divorce Vashti at once and replace her with another, better than she.
BTW thanks for the awesome banquet.
Your devoted servant
Memucan (Prince)

*

MEMO
ATTN Princes of Persia and Media
From: Prince Memucan
Re: the person formerly known as queen Vashti

HM King Ahasuerus is divorcing Vashti. She will cease to be Queen forthwith and is not to be referred to as HRH.
Make it known in your own households that every woman is to be subservient to her husband. This is an unalterable decree of the Medes and the Persians and is available in the following languages: Akkadian, Aramaic, Coptic, Elamite, Greek, Hebrew, Klingon, Parsi, Sanskrit, Sumerian and Welsh.

*
CHAPTER 2
Classified
Inexperienced and obedient maiden required by royal male. Must have stunning good looks and an agreeable disposition. Must be amenable to new experiences and say yes to everything.
Apply to hegaitheeunuch@shushan.org.pe

No mingers

*

15th Samiyama

Dear Hegai
My foster daughter Hadassah (also known as Esther) has all the virtues required in your advertisement which appeared in the Star of Shushan on 14th Samiyamas. She is also virtuous, obedient and speaks five languages (Elamite, Aramaic, Hebrew, Elvish and Esperanto). She has just two desires: the well-being of His Gracious Majesty King Ahasuerus, and world peace.
Yours sincerely
Mordecai ben Jair

*
SMS
Hi uncle Mordecai am well treated at Palace – free myrrh and all u can eat!! – and have kept QT re Jewish Gen and whole exile schtick. Got King to autograph my chador. Worst case scenario can sell it on ebay. Esther xx

*

My dear Esther
Just want you to know I’m very proud of you. I’m sure you’ll make the best of your new role, and remember, because this is important, don’t mention the J word, at least not until I say so. Have been networking with some of the eunuchs, who keep me up to date with court gossip (They tell me those nebekhs Bigthan and Teresh are looking for a grievance lawyer).
With love from your affectionate
Uncle Mordecai

*

From estherthequeen@royalapartments.org.pe
To king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe
Bcc: mordecaibenjair@benjamites.com

SUBJECT: Conspiracy

My most dear and gracious husband and king, Ahasuerus of Persia and Media,

It pains me to tell you that I have been informed of a plot against your royal person. This has been discovered by your trusted servant Mordecai ben Jair who works in the Accounts Department. He has heard that your chamberlains Bigthan and Teresh seek your life as a reprisal for their failure to make promotion to Grade 6. Bigthan also asserts that he is owed overtime for serving wine at your most recent banquet, which he says is not within his remit.
Mordecai begs you to take steps against these evildoers and thwart their conspiracy, to which petition I add my own signature

Esther

*

From king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe
To Memucan@yesucan.com
SUBJECT FW: Conspiracy

Memucan, deal with this ASAP and get it written up in the Book of Chronicles (not that anybody reads those bubbemeisers).
The most Royal etc
Ahasuerus
*

CHAPTER THREE
MEMO
ATTN princes, satraps, chamberlains courtiers and hoi polloi
From: Haman
Re: Haman
All the Kings’ servants are to prostrate themselves in the presence of Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. That includes the princes. No one is exempt. Especially not the accountants.

*

Twitter

Shushan_cushion Carcas
@Bizzetha What do you make of fact that Mordecai the Jew won’t bow down to #Haman?
2 hours ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Shushan_cushion@Abagtha Someone should have a word with #Mordecai as Haman is getting well miffed. Please RT
1 hour ago

Abagtha Abagtha
@Bizzworks@Cheeseeater Why is #Mordecai trending on twitter? Is this the dude from accounts who won’t bow to #Haman? Do we want him to bow?
25 minutes ago

Cheeseeater Harbona
@Abagtha Of course we want him to bow. And scrape. Got to keep #Haman happy. Tell #Mordecai he has to prostrate himself like rest of us. RT
18 minutes ago

Abagtha Abagtha
@Cheeseeater Prostate?
15 minutes ago

Cheeseeater Harbona
@Abagtha Prostrate. Keep up
14 minutes ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Abagtha. #Mordecai is only trending in Shushan. Doubt that he’s trending in Halicarnassus for example
10 minutes ago

Abagtha Abagtha
@Bizzworks Is anything trending in Halicarnassus?
7 minutes ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Abagtha No way. Nothing ever happens there, place is like a tomb
5 minutes ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Shushan_cushion@Abagtha Someone should have a word with #Mordecai as Haman is getting well miffed. Please RT
Retweeted by Shushan_cushion

*

STAR OF SHUSHAN ¼ silver talent
13 Hadukannaš
12th year of King Ahasuerus

MORDECAI WON’T KOWTOW IN HAMAN BOW ROW

Chief Minister Haman is furious that palace accountant Mordecai ben Jair, 46, still refuses to bow down to him. Haman, 52, has demanded that all the King’s servants prostrate themselves before him. ‘I won’t kowtow’ says Ben Jair, whose Jewish grandparents were carried away from Judah in the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

Haman was not available for an interview but a source close to the Minister has revealed that he has an audience with the King today.

STUDENT UNREST HALTS CHARIOTS IN THERMOPYLAE
Disgruntled Spartan students prevented traffic crossing the pass at Thermopylae yesterday during an anti-Persian demonstration. Several windows were broken in Argos, as rioters laid their hands upon
the spoil.

Banished Vashti sells Sushi from sea shore in Shushan
Disgraced queen Vashti has opened a fashionable Sushi restaurant in West Shushan, offering fresh fish from the Caspian Sea. ‘I find my new business both profitable and empowering,’ Vashti tells our reporter. See page 5 for our exclusive interview.

*

RECORD OF A MEETING BETWEEN HM KING AHASUERUS AND CHIEF MINISTER HAMAN
13 Nisan 12th year of the reign of King Ahasuerus
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
Present: HM King Ahasuerus, Chief Minister Haman, Zethar the Scribe

Haman reported that there is a certain people scattered through all the provinces of the kingdom who do not keep the King’s laws and should therefore be destroyed.

The Minister then explained that he had cast pur, that is to say lots, and found that the 13th day of the month of Adar would be an auspicious time for the destruction of these people.

HM the King then removed his ring and said ‘Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, I give you this ring as a seal of my confidence in you. Deal with these people in any way which seems good to you.’

It was agreed that letters to this effect would be posted to the satraps of all the provinces, all the letters to be sealed by the King’s ring.

HM the King said ‘Does that mean I have to sit on the photocopier?’

The decree is to be published instantly in Shushan the Castle.

Recorded by Zethar the Scribe

CHAPTER FOUR

SMS
Uncle M am sending u clothes as hear u tore urs and r wearing sackcloth. Sorry ur :(. Am sending my servant Hatach the unuk 2 c u Esther xx

From Hatach@chamberlains.org.pe
To estherthequeen@royalapartments.org.pe
SUBJECT: Mr M Ben Jair

Your Royal Highness Queen Esther
I visited Mordecai Ben Jair according to your command. He asks me to tell you that Haman the Agagite is plotting the extermination of all the Jews in the Persian Empire (see attachment). He requests very strenuously that you approach the King and ask him to spare your people.
Yours respectfully
Hatach the chamberlain

SMS
Uncle M u know no1 may approach KA unless summoned. He has not called me and if I do what u say he will probably have me killed!!!
E xx

*
SMS
Esther, do not think u will s cape just bcos ur in the palace. If u hold ur pce deliverance will come from an other ¼. Who knows if u have not come to royal est8 4 just such a time as this? M x

*

SMS
Am fasting 3 days. Please have all Jews in Shushan do same. Then I will c king and if I die I die. E 

*

CHAPTER FIVE

Facebook

Bizzetha the Chamberlain
Breaking news: Queen Esther approached His Majesty’s inner court without being summoned. Whoops!

52 minutes ago
2 people like this

View all 11 comments

Abagtha: Pourquoi ‘whoops’?
48 minutes ago

Bizzetha: Because it’s a capital offence, that’s why whoops. Luckily for her, she still has her head.
45 minutes ago

1 person likes this

Harbona: I heard she wants to give a banquet for HM and Haman
30 minutes ago

Abagtha: What’s HM? Is it short for Haman?
28 minutes ago

Bizzetha: His Majesty
25 minutes ago

Harbona: I also heard about the banquet. Haman must be well pleased.
15 minutes ago

1 person dislikes this

Bizzetha: It’s a great honour for him. Can’t understand why he still complains about Mordecai not bowing. He must be a goblet half empty person.
11 minutes ago

Abagtha: Which goblet is that?
9 minutes ago

Bizzetha: It’s a notional goblet.
5 minutes ago

Abagtha: You can get them in Argos.
4 minutes ago

Recent activity
Haman seems to be hell bent on destr… on Harbona’s wall
Bizzetha and Memucan are now friends
Bizzetha has unfriended Vashti, Bigthan and Teresh

SMS
Haman pls call in at B&Q on ur way home and get a gallows 50 qbits high. Arrange with the king to have Mordecai hanged b4 u go 2 the banquet, that will show him. Luv from ur clever wife Zeresh

SMS
Dear Z Am in B&Q now trying to find sales assistant. H

From King Ahasuerus
To Zethar et cetera
SUBJECT Records of the Chronicles

Be advised that I have been reading the records in the book of Chronicles and wish to show gratitude to Mordecai the Jew who uncovered a heinous plot against my life. The wrongdoers were punished but Mordecai has not yet been rewarded.

Another thing: tell the court physician to bring me further supplies of a sleeping potion – I think he calls it mandrazepam – as I have run out.

Your most royal and gracious sovereign

Ahasuerus

*

STAR OF SHUSHAN
¼ silver talent
19 Hadukannaš
12th year of King Ahasuerus

AGAGITE GOES GAGA AT MORDECAI HONOUR SAGA

Chief Minister Haman the Agagite is said to be fuming as King Ahasuerus honoured Mordecai ben Jair today with a horseback procession. Ben Jair, 43, was mounted on the king’s horse and dressed in royal apparel while Haman, 54, led him through the streets of Shushan. Sources close to Haman have revealed that the minister was expecting to be honoured himself and has long held a grudge against Mordecai. Straight after the parade, he was seen hurrying home with his head covered. Haman’s wife Zeresh, an attractive brunette, 49, said: ‘If Mordecai is of Jewish origin, Haman will not prevail against him’. Zeresh’s name has been linked with that of Hocham, one of Haman’s advisors. They were seen last night at one of Shushan’s liveliest venues, ‘The Purple Turtledove’, sharing a goblet of wine with two straws and a papyrus umbrella.

MORDECAI FINDS SUPPORT ABROAD Sha’arei Tsedek, a poor community in the land of the Britons, called on King Ahashuerus to respect the rights of Persian Jews. Their leader, Rav Eimer, seen here addressing a meeting of Mordecai’s supporters warned of the dangers of Amalekite anti-semitism.’

Foreign news: Ezra lambasts Jerusalemites for taking Moabite wives. See page 12

*

CHAPTER SEVEN

Wonderful banquet Esther babe, Californian Pinot has lively bouquet with notes of vanilla. Tell me what u want and I’ll give it 2 u, even if it’s ½ my kingdom LOL!!! King A

*

Majesty I ask only 4 my life and the lives of my people 4 we are sold 2b destroyed. QE xx

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Say what? Who dunnit? KA

*
An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman. QE xx

*
Omg that makes me cross. Am going outside 4 a smoke. KA

*
Help! Haman being inappropri8 invading my personal space. Yuk! QE xx

*

?? Will he force the queen b4 my face??!!

*

From Harbona
To King Ahasuerus
SUBJECT Gallows

Your Royal Highness
It may interest you to know that Haman owns a gallows fifty cubits high, on which he intended to hang Mordecai. As Mordecai is Your Majesty’s valued advisor, and it seems a shame to waste a good gallows, you may wish to have Haman hanged in his place. (It is in Haman’s garden, next to the shed, just past the garden gnomes.)
Your ever-so-humble servant
Harbona

*

From King Ahasuerus
To Harbona
SUBJECT Gallows

See to it.

Ahasuerus

*

From Harbona
To King Ahasuerus
SUBJECT Gallows

Haman son of Hammedatha sleeps with the fishes.

*

From King Ahasuerus
To Harbona
SUBJECT Gallows

I’m not interested in his private life. Just kill him.

Ahasuerus

*

CHAPTER EIGHT

Dear husband, King Ahasuerus
Uncle Mordecai and I are very grateful for the kind gift of your ring which you took off Haman to give Uncle Mordecai. I am sure he will enjoy wearing it. Thank you also for the generous gift of Haman’s house. It is wonderfully spacious and the garden is charming (I have donated the gnomes to a charity which provides for the gnomeless).

If you will forgive one further demand on your goodwill, I request that you reverse the letters devised by Haman authorising the destruction of the Jews in all the provinces of the Empire.

I do not wish to be importunate, but this means a great deal to me. I was encouraged by the way you held out your sceptre to me last night, which led me to believe that you were pleased to see me.

With gratitude and big hugs xoxox

Esther

*

MEMO
Attn: Scribes
From: His Majesty King Ahasuerus
Re: the Jews

Concerning the Jews

Letters are to be sent to all satraps, governors and princes of the provinces that the Jews are permitted to defend themselves against anyone who attacks them. This is a decree of state. Horses to be sourced from royal stables for maximum speed. No camels, as speed is of the essence. Anyone using a camel to transport a royal decree will be clamped.

Ahasuerus

PS Mordecai to be kitted out by court tailors in blue and white with purple cape and gold crown (not as big as my crown).

*

CHAPTER NINE
STAR OF SHUSHAN ½ silver talent
13th Miyakannaš
13th year of King Ahasuerus

500 DIE IN SHUSHAN AS AGAGITE COUP FAILS

The Jews of Shushan took up the sword today to defend themselves against supporters of the late minister Haman the Agagite. Among the dead are believed to be the ten sons of Haman: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Viagra.

Dalphon was a graduate of the London School of Economics, where he had achieved an upper second in Political Science. Poratha was a major shareholder in the company Nabatean Consolidated Olives. Shares in NCO are down by 4%.

Parmashta had been linked romantically with Princess Rhodogune, who is now betrothed to the Armenian satrap Orontes. Rhodogune, an attractive redhead, 22, told our interviewer ‘Even though everything was over between us, I’ll never forget Smashmashta…Parthamster…whatever’.

Memucan the Chamberlain has suggested that Jewish reprisals in Shushan have been disproportionate. The Star of Shushan can reveal Mordecai’s comment, exclusive to our reporter: ‘We had some very old scores to settle with the Agagites. It was necessary to blot out the memory of Amalek.’

SUSHI QUEEN OPENS PIZZA PARLOUR IN PERSEPOLIS
Vashti, CEO of the successful Sushi Queen chain of restaurants, and former wife of King Ahasuerus, has diversified into Etruscan cuisine with her new restaurant ‘Parsi Pizzas’. Let’s hope the Parsi pizzas surpass the Shushan sushi!

.
From Mordecai (Mbjair.privycouncil@shushan.org.pe)

To Board of Deputies of Persian Jews (bod@provinces.org.pe);
Sanhedrin (posterity@yavneh.co.il)

Cc Judah ha Nasi (tannaim@mishnah.co.il)
Bcc Queen Esther (estherthequeen@royalapartments.org.pe)

SUBJECT Purim

As the wicked Haman was foiled in his attempt to exterminate the Jews of the Persian Empire, we enjoin upon all the Jews in the empire and in posterity to keep 14th Adar every year as a festival (14th and 15th if you live in a walled city – you know who you are), from generation to generation, so that the memory of these days shall not perish.

*

From Queen Esther
To Board of Deputies of Persian Jews
Sanhedrin
Cc Judah ha Nasi
Bcc Mordecai

SUBJECT Purim

Hi everyone
I know we haven’t met but I’m the Queen here in Shushan, which isn’t bad going for an exiled Jewish orphan, even if I say it myself LOL!! Anyway I want a book written about these events and I hope there won’t be any argument about its place in the Bible (Rabbi Judah please note!). Don’t forget to mention that Uncle Mordecai and I are from the tribe of Benjamin because I’m not totally happy with the way we Benjamites are depicted in some parts of Judges and Samuel and I think people should know that we finished off Haman and the Agagites and Amalekites ONCE AND FOR ALL. This is very good news for all of us as it spells the END for anti-semitism! 🙂
Xoxox

Esther

CHAPTER TEN
Twitter

Harbona: Mordecai’s become the most powerful man in Shushan. The Chosen People always get themselves chosen for positions of power.
30 minutes ago

Bizzetha: Typical! What about all the Persians who get passed over for promotion?
25 minutes ago

Harbona: Yeah it’s the Jewish lobby, they control everything at Court.
22 minutes ago

Abagtha: I think Mordecai’s all right, he’s a dude. He lent me his dvd of ‘300’, ROTFL comedy where 300 Greek guys beat Persian army AS IF!!
10 minutes ago

Star of Shushan
Macedonians protest as Mordecai introduces VAT on Thracian slaves.
Retweeted 100+ times



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