Every time I think about my son Max’s upcoming bar mitzvah, I temporarily freeze. My brain just locks up as I try to wrap it around the concept of putting together a fancy-shmancy shindig for hundreds and hundreds of people.
Every year the villagers of Chelm held a Purim parade and it caused trouble for months. Many people around the world consider the Chelmener to be fools, but they are not. They are, however, very specific and honest. So, when you dress them up in different costumes, they often become frightened and confused. One year the entire yeshiva class dressed as Mordechai and they very nearly got into a fistfight about which Mordechai should have the honor of riding Haman’s horse.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved hamantaschen. He loved hamentaschen so much that he would eat any kind. (A hamantasch, as you probably know, is a special kind of a filled cookie baked for Purim and shaped like a triangle to commemorate Haman’s three-cornered hat. Haman, of course, was the villain of the story, who tried to destroy the Jews and, thanks to the efforts of Esther and Mordechai, failed. By the way, when you hear Haman’s name, you’re supposed to stamp your feet, twirl your groggers and make a lot of noise to drown out the sound of his name. Back to our story.)
Every Tuesday morning in the village of Chelm, Reb Cantor the merchant and Rabbi Yohon Abrahms the schoolteacher (and mashgiach) went for an early morning walk. They met in the village square when it was still black out, squinting up at the sky as the sun crept up inch by inch over the Black Forest, and off they’d tramp. Rain or shine, snow or mud, every Tuesday morning it was their habit.