A Dr. Seuss-shan Purim Shpiel
by Dana Baruch and Robbi Sherwin © 1998 all rights reserved
In celebration of Ramat Shalom’s 36th Birthday, we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday
Sh’ma yeladim and hear us well
For now is the story of Purim to tell.
It took place in Shushan so long, long ago.
Now off to Persia we all will go.
In this beautiful kingdom ruled Achashverosh, a king
A king with no brain, who’d think such a thing?
He spent all his days and his nights having fun
Parading his wealth in the warm Persian sun.
A queen named Vashti was his loyal wife
She promised to love him all of her life.
She promised, that is, until he did ask
For her to perform an unthinkable task.
At his grandest of parties the king did command
Queen Vashti dance for royal men of the land.
“I am Not your servant, and dance I will Not!”
Vashti refused the king’s stupid plot.
For Vashti, you see, was not known as a fibber
She was, in fact, history’s first women’s libber.
Vashti was banished – away she did go.
Where did she go? That we do not know.
In this fair kingdom lived also the Jews
Who could not practice the religion they choosed
No Torah, no Challah, no Matzah Ball soup
For a villain named Haman had started a coup.
“Bow down to me now”, cruel Haman did say
“For I am an important man of the day.”
“I’m the King’s right-hand man – I rule all that I see
If you don’t bow down now, you will cease to be!!!”
Meanwhile back at the palace grand
An announcement went out throughout the land
A new queen to be chosen in an unusual way
In a beauty contest held the very next day
All the maidens of the land were forced to appear
From near and from far, from far and from near
Be them skinny or zaftig, quite brilliant or dumb
From near and far they were ordered to come.
One such maiden had brains and had grace
Esther was her name…Such a pretty face!
A Jewess of humble origins and needs
With the kind of body and soul that would make a heart bleed!
Encouraged by her Uncle the great Mordechai
“I beg you dear Esther, this you MUST try”
“With your brains and your beauty YOU he would choose
“Go, go, go, go! “Comb your hair. Wear nice shoes!”
“Besides that my dear,
With your grace and your charm
You will blow them away.
You’ll be on King Achashverosh’s arm!”
Unsure of herself but willing to go
Because she loved her Uncle Mordechai so
She entered the contest
But said, “Uncle dear
Promise me that you’ll always stay near.”
Mordechai did promise and promise he did:
“You betcha – I’ll always be here, Kid.”
The contest was held – They came one and all
And Esther of course was the Queen of the ball.
Chosen for her beauty in a contest quite shallow
Esther learned to love this not-quite-clever fellow
Though Achashverosh chose her
And she was now queen
There was one rotten rule
She had not foreseen.
Under penalty of death she had to obey
The following rule in an unbending way:
Her new husband commanded she could only see him
When HE chose to see her – and on HIS whim
So now back to Haman, that cruel crusty fellow
At the top of his lungs he continued to bellow:
“Bow down, bow down NOW I command!
Or great harm will come to you in this land.”
Mordechai, of course, refused to obey
“I bow only to G-D to my last dying day!”
Haman’s face turned red with anger and hate
“I’ll get you my pretty, if it’s the last breath I take!!” (Cackle cackle cackle)
Mordechai turned his back, and the Jews they did follow
As for Haman, well, his pride he had to swallow
“That Jew, Mordechai has ruined my heinous plot
Because of this affront I will have to draw lots
The straw that I pick, the one that comes nigh
Is the day that the Jews of Persia shall die!”
Into his three-cornered hat – he did cast
All of the dates – the future which is now the past
The lot that he picked was the 13th of Adar
“Make ready the gallows! Adar is not far!”
Right after Haman he did pester
Went Mordechai to see Queen Esther.
‘Cos at the palace gate, two eunich guards he did broach
Bigthan and Teresh were to kill King Achashverosh!
Brave Mordechai protected his king and his land
By revealing the plot in the palace so grand
His loyalty and his brains gave him the upper hand.
The king in his chamber that evening did read
Of Mordechai’s loyalty in the “Book of Good Deeds”
With the smallest of brains, the king thinked and he thinked
“Who is this Mordechai who saved me from the brink?
“Who, who, WHO is this man who foiled the guards’ plan?
I must reward him – send for Haman!”
A question to Haman, Achashverosh did pose:
“How should I honor a man who has been on his toes
Who has saved my kingdom through heroic deeds
Without a single thought to his own needs?”
Haman, thinking this hero was he
For saving the kingdom from the Jews
Pompously swelled with excitement and greed
He knew the king would his words heed:
“I think my dear king no reward is too great
Give him diamonds and jewels—a house by the lake”
“Fabulous clothing and all of the best
Let him ride the king’s horse on your next birthday fest!”
“Make it so, dear Haman, loyal right hand man
Bring forth Mordechai the Jew…this is my command!”
“Instruct all my tailors, my jewelers my builders
To spare no sheckles, no rubles, or guilders
Call all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
To honor this Jew again and again!
Haman astounded, speechless at best
Felt his anger spread from his feet to his chest
Could it be that this man who refused to bow down
Must now be honored all through the town?
Seizing the moment, the opportunity here,
Mordechai to Esther did appear
Using his Wits and Oh, so clever Brain
Mordechai made history, now Esther has fame.
“You must risk your life and go to the king
And tell him about this heinous thing
That Haman is planning the Jews will all die
You must go brave Esther…this you MUST try.
“But Uncle,” she said – trembling with fear
“Without his permission, I cannot go near
It could be my life – I am so afraid.”
But Mordechai replied: “You can do this, BABE.”
“Use your brains and your charm and your prettiest skirt
And your shaina punim…What could that hurt?”
So, Esther swallowed her fear,
And she calmed her nerves
She went after this task
With Vim and with Verve
At a party given that very same night
She walked into the banquet, trembling with fright.
Although shocked to see her, the King did beckon
“I’ll see her, I’ll see her…It’s fine, I reckon.”
“Dear husband.” she said, “I’ve gotten some news
So horribly horrible that I did choose
To come un-summoned to be by your side
You must listen to me – After all, I’m your bride!!”
Risking her life Esther told him the story
Of Haman’s dastardly plan—Evil and Hoary
Esther, still trembling explained to her mate:
“My lord, at the risk of sealing my fate
I must tell you something that to you may be news…
Someone is planning to kill all the Jews!”
“This includes Mordechai, And all of his kin
And in this category, you must put me in.
For you see, I am Jewish, but so loyal to you
Please don’t hurt my people…Please don’t hurt the Jews.
I fear my dear husband,
Unless you act with your heart
I too will die on the 13th of Adar.
Oh, please me smart!.”
Thinking the thoughts a king would sure think
(That his loyal wife deserveth a mink)
He called for his henchman…His Number Two
To question again—what should he do
In order to save his wife and her kin
Haman of course, slunk right in.
“Esther, dear Esther, tell Haman your fear
Don’t be afraid—Tell him my dear.”
“Okay, here goes nothing,” said Esther inside.
She looked straight at Haman, and summoned her pride
“You wicked wicked man…How dare you pretend
That you are loyal to my king to the end?
You who did plot to destroy all the Jews
Also will kill ME Whom the king did choose!
For I too am Jewish, you hateful old coot!”
“Turn around,” said the king…”while I give you the boot!
I sentence you now to the gallows you built
Not a single drop of Jewish blood shall be spilt!
Pack up your belongings but don’t go far
On the gallows you’ll be swinging on the 13th of Adar!!!”
The moral of the story, Yeladim, you now know
Is to honor G-D and all people wherever you go.
To stand up and speak out for all that is right
And to you Chag Sameach…Laila Tov, and good night.