One nice thing about D attending a Jewish preschool is that they totally ignore most of the secular and Christian holidays.  So we didn’t have to run around making valentines for all of his classmates last month, and this month he’s not bringing home Easter baskets or talking about Easter eggs.  Instead, they’ve been making hamentaschen and singing Purim songs.  I’m particularly fond of "Harma Harma Haman" sung to the tune of "Little Bunny Foo Foo."

But the Purim story isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to explain to a 4-year-old.  He likes being Haman and saying "bow down to me" and I get to be "the Jewish People" and say "NO!" and then we both laugh.  But last night he was thinking about all the characters, and he couldn’t quite figure out why there were two Queens in the story.  I simply said that Vashti is the queen at the beginning of the story, and Esther is the queen later on, and left it at that. 

I think I’m going to get away with it this year.  But at some point, he’s going to notice that Vashti gets the kibosh for refusing to dance in front of all of the King’s friends.  And while saying "NO!" works out ok for Esther and Mordechai and "the Jewish People," it doesn’t turn out so well for poor Vashti.  (I guess I’ve always been a fan of the underdog; I used to dress up as Vashti for Purim when I was just a bit older than D.)

5 Responses to “Purim”

  1. Phantom Scribbler Says:

    My son made me stop reading the Purin story to him after Vashti got the kibosh. He found it too “mean.” Another fan of the underdog, I guess.

  2. amy Says:

    Yeah, I’m not too keen on the Vashti part of the story either. Especially when the explanation is that she deserved it because she made the Jews work on Shabbos. Boo, feh.

  3. Genevieve Says:

    We explain (to our just-turned-5-year-old) that Ahashuerus is a bit of a tyrant, and that it wasn’t fair of him to kick Vashti out.
    I used to dress as Vashti, too! Except for the year I dressed as a gragger.

  4. amy Says:

    Kick Vashti out? I think you got the Charles & Mary Lamb version…in the one I learned, Vashti was put to death. Megillah translation, anyone?

  5. trilobite Says:

    Ahasuerus is definitely portrayed as a jerk. Even at the end, he really turns against Haman because he jumps to the conclusion that Haman is trying to rape Esther. A lot of the comedy in the Megillah is that the authority is a buffoon and the good guys are able to manipulate him for good purposes. It’s interesting to compare the story to The Arabian Nights, which also begins with a (much more serious) betrayal of the King by the Queen, a search for a less-threatening queen, and a courtier’s daughter who successfully manipulates the King. But in the Arabian Nights, the King is redeemed, whereas in the Megillah he apparently learns nothing from the experience.
    Not that you want to say any of this to a 5 or 6 year old, except the part about how the good guys sometimes win by manipulating a buffoon. This will teach him, among other things, that the guy in charge is not always right. Not a bad lesson for a member of a permanent minority group.
    BTW, I think this is my first post here — love your blog!

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