Happy Purim

Five years ago I wandered through West 47th Street looking for a job. No one was interested in hiring a goy on Purim and my Hassidic friends cajoled me into having a drink with them.

“Whiskey is kosher.”

They poured a good measure of Scotch into a glass.


I clinked glass with them following the tradition commemorating the six-month drinking feast by the Persian King Ahasuerus.

“What do you know of Purim?” Rondell invited him into his office and poured them Scotch.

“Me? A simple goy.”

“There’s nothing simple about you.” The chubby diamond broker and I had cut a few deals, but none this year. “And you’re more a sheygutz than a goy.”

“A wise guy.”

“So let’s hear it.”

“This Persian king drunkenly celebrates his reign and demands his wife appear naked before his nobles. Vashti refused this humiliation and the Persian ruler demanded all young women in his kingdom to audition to be queen.”

“You didn’t mention the queen’s embarrassing skin condition.”

“Probably bullshit.” I had drunk three whiskeys with my friends.

“Please don’t use that language.”

“Sorry, anyway the king chooses a new queen to replace Vashti. Esther.”

“That’s not sure. According to the Book of Esther she was orphaned at a young age and was fostered by her first cousin Mordecai. Some rabbinic commentators state that she was actually Mordecai’s wife, since the Torah permits an uncle to marry his niece. She finds favor in the king’s eyes, and is made his new wife. Esther does not reveal her origins and that she is Jewish. Her uncle is appointed vizier, but the non-Jews plot against them. Is that enough?”

“No, I like the part, where the king kills all the Nazis for Esther.”

“The Torah says nothing about Nazis.”

“They were thinking about killing Jews.”

“But Esther beat them to the punch. Not many goyim know this story. Another about killing.”

“There was a lot of killing back then.”

“And not enough drinking like we Irish.” I tapped my glass for a refill and Rondell poured three fingers in respect for my ancient race. “You know why Yashim created whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world.”

“No, your people must have sold it to us.”

“You’re good customers.”

“Repeat ones too.”

I drank deep from the Scotch. I like Jamison better.

“If you don’t mind, I have to be going.” It was Shabbas.

“Se`udat mitzvah.”

It’s a good time.”

“With kosher wine.”


“Better you than me.”

“There was no such thing as good glatt wine and I downed the whiskey.

“Sie gesund.”

“You too.”

I walked back onto the street.

A starker and Irish to boot.

It was good to be one of the old Tribes.

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