Pre-Purim Poem 2014 / 5774

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I last did a pre-Purim Poem. Anyway, I dug deep for this year’s sermon and I even upped the complexity beyond the simple rhyming couplets.
Even manged to throw in some bilingual rhymes again too. I love those.


Today we read “Zachor,” in which we abhor
Amalek for their craven attack
We were leaving Mitzrayim and in they came flying
And assaulted the stragglers in back

We conquered in battle, though were a little bit rattled
So God wanted to vanquish them all
He sent Shmuel Ha-Navi, 1 to relay his decree
To the king at that time who was Saul

Saul was to destroy their men, girls, and boys
And in case that he had any question
Hashem had declared nothing alive could be spared
Even their cows received no exemption

With 210,000 enrolled, Saul did as was told
And I doubt that the battle was pretty
He vanquished them all from the great to the small
Except for all those he took pity

You see Saul had decided Amelek’s cattle be divided
And offered to God when the battle was done
But he also contrived to keep their king alive
Who was Agog in more ways than one

We can’t say for sure just what was the allure
Though I’m sure that King Saul had his reasons
But nevertheless he caused God distress
Who then called King Saul out for treason

But King Saul protested he did as requested
When he decided to keep all that plunder
It should have sufficed that he sacrificed
How could that be considered a blunder?

The problem however was Saul thought he was clever
Or at least he knew better than God
Engaged in such flaunting, God’s will he was taunting
King Saul was a religious fraud

For what God desires more sacrifice fires
Or gestures to show he’s adored
Nothing so grand but obey his commands
‘Tis all – thus sayeth the Lord 2

Despite his intentions Saul’s religious pretension
Made his kingdom and life go awry
But he’d never expect that he’d later affect
The Jews of Paras and Maddai

For many years later came along hater
A descendant of that Amalek ruler
A scheming tactician who would use his position
To start spreading his malicious rumors

Haman’s objection was the Jewish rejection
To follow the ways of the land
Mordechai was just one who ignored the custom
And would never bow down, but would stand

Haman told Ahashverosh that the Jews they would encroach
On Achashverosh’s rein and regime
For the Jews were so different and socially distant
וְאֶת דָּתֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינָם עֹשִׂים

They had their own laws and denied without cause
The rules of the great Persian king
So Achashverosh undaunted did what Haman wanted
And bestowed upon Haman his ring

Duly empowered did Haman the coward
Determine to hang all the Jews
Upset and dismayed, the Jews fasted and prayed
When they heard of the terrible news

They didn’t spew hate or capitulate
But to God they did turn their attention
And Mordechai and Esther with their roles sequestered
Worked on and defense and prevention

I’m skipping the story of guts, gore, and glory
To get to my ultimate point
Our real bottom line is trust in the Divine
Not in whom we decide to appoint

Some leaders are frauds, and all somehow flawed
Even if many times they are needed
But it’s to God above where we direct fear and love
And whose wishes cannot go unheeded

If you put people first, then you have been cursed
By Jeremiah so long ago
אָרוּר הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בָּאָדָם
וְשָׂם בָּשָׂר זְרֹעו 3

The Megillah has heroes, but thanks to what we know
It’s just God who is celebrated
His presence is hidden, but his will always bidden
And whose name becomes elevated

You may be surprised that the Jews realized
The authentic source of their salvation
Not Esther or Mordy nor a king who was portly
But t’was God who received adoration

For when the danger subsided the Jews had decided
קִיְּמוּ וְקִבְּלוּ הַיְּהוּדִים עֲלֵיהֶם
Inspired and affected the Jews reaccepted
God and Torah after all of that mayhem

Saul was mistaken when he spared Amalek’s kin
His faith in himself was misplaced
He could have ended the threat as intended
And not to have died so disgraced

When it comes to perceiving what we should be believing
It is clear that Saul had an advantage
We’re stuck as we are where God speaks from afar
And understanding him is a challenge.

We’re not always sure if we’re right or we’re pure
But there’s no risk in in appealing to Him
For when Jews of Persia transcended inertia
It was Haman who went out on a limb

As others before me like the great Arlo Guthrie
I promise I ain’t proud…or tired.
But I shall resist my great urge to persist
And just hope that I’ve left you inspired.

Notes:

  1. Accent the second syllable, like Hebrew is supposed to be pronounced
  2. Deleted verse – I did like the difficult rhyme with “prophet” but I didn’t think anyone would know what the word “doff” means:
    Saul’s selfish donation was like “divination”
    In the words of Samuel the prophet
    Saul’s kingdom was broken when he tore Samuel’s cloak in
    What turned out to be Samuel’s doff threat
  3. Jeremiah 17:5
    I’m being pedantic to explain this semantic
    To the point it’s becoming absurd
    The meter is fine and it messed up the rhyme
    But I still will not mess with God’s word.
Posted in Shtick.