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    I don’t like Purim!

    Purim engraving by W Forrest, 1721

    Purim engraving by W Forrest, 1721

    I had a friend who was a real sourpuss. He was critical of everything and everybody. Why did I like him? Because he intrigued me; I constantly wondered who would be the next butt of his complaints and what he would say about them.

    We once had a conversation about Purim. It happened on Purim itself, in the synagogue noch, straight after the M’gillah. “I don’t like Purim!” he announced – not just to me but to all his shule neighbours. In unison we asked, “Why don’t you like Purim?”

    As far as I recall, his answer was along the following lines: “The Yiddish proverb is right – ‘Purim is no yom-tov, fever is no sickness’. Purim! Bah! Hamantaschen – horrible, sickly, no good for you. Banging and stamping at Haman’s name? It gives me a headache and ruins the shule furniture. Esther? An opportunist. Vashti? An exhibitionist. Mordechai? A toady, an informer. The King? A weakling, no mind of his own, no courage, no leadership. The M’gillah? Nothing spiritual about it. Purimspiels? Pure pantomime. So why do I come to shule on Purim? Just in hopes that one day it will take a turn for the better…”

    Why do I tell you the sourpuss story? I don’t like Hamantaschen either – but Purim is fun, good for studious types like me: I enjoy a good laugh – and it actually has its adult themes too, with plenty to discuss. Purim Same’ach!

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