In Praise of Hamantaschen, Purim Costumes and Hanging Hamanites

Purim painting, untitled. Safed, Israel, 19th century. Hasidic Jews celebrating Purim with a Sephardic Jew (left). The inscription is part of a passage from the Talmud urging Jews to imbibe enough alcohol so that they will not know the difference between the phrases “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordechai.” Collection of Isaac Einhorn, Tel Aviv. (public domain)

As a 10 year old, I loved Purim.

I loved the whole Megillah.

I loved that for a week before the holiday, my mom walked from our Woodridge home to Mortman’s bakery and purchased 12 hamantaschen—three prune, three poppy seed, three cherry and three apricot.

I loved all four fillings.

Yes, my mom bought them for me.

Yes, they’re my favorite triangular-shaped, fruit-filled pocket butter cookie.

Come to think of it, they’re the only triangular-shaped, fruit-filled pocket butter cookie.

Yes, I relished noshing on those hamantaschen and I still do.

Thanks Mom for all the love.

And after I finished the cookie, I sang:

Oh once there was a wicked, wicked man,
And Haman was his name, Sir.
He would have murdered all the Jews,
Tho they were not to blame, Sir.

So based on lyrics of that tune you may ask: “Is there anything as good as munching on the warm ears of Haman with a cold glass of milk?”

“Of course not!”

Eating the ears of a Persian viceroy who wanted to kill all the Jews in the kingdom.

“What could be better?”

I remembered that painted on my milk glass was a picture of Daniel Boone: wearing a coonskin hat, standing in the forest, aiming his long rifle at a “redskin.” (Note to younger readers: political correctness had not been invented in the 1950’s.) The Indian wore red war paint, brown moccasins and yellow feathers in his hair. He held a rust-colored tomahawk which he aimed at Daniel’s head.

And even as a 10-year old, I had known that Native Americans were Daniel’s Hamanites for they were ready to kill all the white settlers living on the frontier.

So in 1959,  I paraded around the Woodridge Congregational Synagogue wearing my raccoon cap and holding my BB gun. I was prepared to kill any Hamanite daring enough to show his face in our temple.

And if my trusty BB gun failed, in my pocket rested my wooden gragger ready to deafen and smash any Hamanites who entered our temple.

For even as a 10-year-old, I understood that there will always be more Hamans, and there will always be another Persia.

And now as a 71-year old, I still love Purim.

But now I love drawing and creating Purim costumes.

Costumes worn by modern-day Hamans, drawn on my yellow legal pad, using my #2 soft graphite HB pencils.

On the first yellow page, I sketched Marjorie Taylor Greene enjoying the pleasures of her Orgasmatron 3000 dressed only in King Ahashveyrosh’s crown.
(Note to readers: For more info on the Orgasmatron watch Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper.”)

On the second page, I penciled a middle-aged, Proud Boy wearing a Capitol Building T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “I survived the Capitol Insurrection—January 6, 2021.

He stood arm-in-arm with another Proud Boy wearing a T-shirt which read:

My President called for an insurrection and all he got me was this lousy T-shirt.

Resting on both villain’s heads were black and orange MAGA baseball caps and in their hands, they held Confederate flags attached to bloodied five-foot poles.

Viceroys hung off of their lips as they mumbled to each other—as seen in the cartoon dialogue box—“Six Million Weren’t Enough! All the Jews in this kingdom must die.”

On the third page, I drew Mordechai and Queen Esther blasting Hamanites on the steps of the Capitol with their trusty Israeli-made Jewish laser beam rifles.

And finally, in my last picture, Haman swings from the gallows, as Esther and Mordechai sign a decree that five hundred of Haman’s followers and his ten sons are also be hung.

They knew how to handle insurrectionists and the meaning of retribution in the old days.

And standing in the lynching party crowd, I drew a kippa-wearing Jew, a Kohen, telling another Jew—of course in the dialogue box—about the rope or cord used to hang Haman.

“I heard they used a secret cord

that snapped his neck and pleased the Lord.

Hallelujah”

As I penciled in the word, “Hallelujah” I felt tired. So I put down my pencil and picked up a prune hamantaschen.

I noshed on it and I gulped it down with some ice-cold milk.

And as the delicious mixture reached my stomach, I burst out in song:

Oh today we’ll merry merry be
Oh today we’ll merry merry be
Oh today we’ll merry merry be
And nosh some hamantaschen.

And Esther was the lovely queen of King Ahashveyrosh
When Haman said he’d kill us all,
Oh my how he did scare us.

Mordechai her cousin bold
Said: “What a dreadful chutzpah
If guns were but invented now,
This Haman I would shoot, Sir.”

When Esther speaking to the King
Of Haman’s plot made mention
“Ha, ha,” said he, “Oh, no he won’t!
I’ll spoil his bad intention.”

The guest of honor he shall be,
This clever Mr. Smarty
And high above us he shall swing
At a little hanging party.

Of all his cruel and unkind ways
This little joke did cure him
And don’t forget we owe him thanks
For this jolly feast of Purim.

Pretty good memory for a 71-year old.

So to all my readers: Happy Purim—Chag Purim Sameach

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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