Purim is known as a time of revelry. The anti-Semites wanted to kill us, we thwarted their plans and, then, in retaliation, killed 75,500 of them in a 3-day bloody frenzy, after which, we partied. This historical record explains why, on the 15th of Adar, we drink to excess, hold festive meals, perform in Purim shpiels, and don costumes; dressing our kids as Power Rangers, Optimus Prime and Minions. Except for the girls, since they cannot be part of a minion.
So, I suppose one could say the lesson of Purim is to find laughter and joy in the face of adversity, which is somewhat surprising for a people whose Torah and rabbis are mostly devoid of humor. Oh, there’s the business about Abraham having to entertain guests right after circumcising himself with a sharp stone at age 99 that has sitcom written all over it, and one of the rabbis of the Talmud even took a try at comedy; when asked why the oceans are so salty, he answered, “because of all the salt-herring who live there.” Not exactly Evening at the Improv.
And yet, the Children of Israel have not only produced great thinkers, fighters, and scholars but Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Mel Brooks, and Kenny Marks. You may have never heard of Kenny Marks, but in 7th grade he made me laugh so hard at lunch one day, that half a turkey sandwich came out of my nose; including the crust. That’s a funny Jew.
Therefore, in honor of Kenny Marks and the holiday of Purim, I offer you this week’s parsha poem, entitled Haman’s Ears, or Why Change Isn’t Always for the Better.
Haman’s Ears, or Why Change Isn’t Always for the Better
On the holiday of Purim, Jews have a strange custom to which everyone adheres:
we eat Haman’s ears.
Though eating an anti-Semite’s body part seems cannibalistic, something of which
the religion surely does not approve, a tradition is a tradition, as sang Tevya in
Act One of Fiddler on the Roof.
This odd practice arose to show contempt for Haman and prove that, with faith,
one can conquer all fears.
Good reasons, both, to eat someone’s ears.
Why not his fingers and toes?
What is strange, though, is that of all the enemies who have persecuted us throughout the years, the only bad guy’s appendage we consume, is Haman’s ears.
Certainly he was an evil adversary, but his monopoly of the hatemonger pastry trade,
probably violates the Sherman Act and is, at the very least, exclusionary.
It seems that a resourceful Jewish cook would take the body part concept,
mix some flour, sugar, and eggs, to create a scrumptious cookie called, “Hitler’s Legs.”
Or a tiny treat, sweet as sugar cane, called “Arafat’s Brain.”
How about a confection made with bright red cherries, that would delight the palate of any desert aficionado or aficionada and bring to mind the bloodthirsty First Grand Inquisitor of Spain, Tomas de Torquemada?
Any combination of Jew-hater, and limb, organ, or bodily fluid will suffice, especially if it tastes nice.
Although a pastry called “Osama’s Nose,” no matter how tasty, wouldn’t sell, I suppose.
Who, after all, would be willing, to eat the filling?