| Purim 5784 |

Green Queen and Haman

With striped hats and hyped cats, these classics reinvent themselves

Illustrations: Esti Saposh

The famed doctor sat and
Worked on rewriting
His widely read classics
Now Purim-exciting
On these days, in this time
Mishpacha is delighting

In hocky and wacky
And all sorts of quacky
Places with people
That will make you weep’l (get it? weep just a little)

Like our Cousin Volozhin,
Gvirish Mulberry,
A leiner-complainer,
A sleepy mommy,
And Tatty who won’t drink
That glass of Chablis

So don red-white-striped hats
To read tomes from hyped cats
Just don’t spill your juice on
This selection from Seussan

Matzav on Mulberry
Shmuel Botnick

Circa 1939, a man named Theodore Geisel introduced the world to a wonderful little universe of rhyming absurdity. His debut publication was a book entitled And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. The storyline describes a boy named Marco who says he sees many incredible sights on his way to school. His dad is incredulous; he does not believe his son.
But what do you say? Was Marco really lying? Could it be that there really are elephants and reindeers dancing on Mulberry Street?

It could be
And it could be not.
What are the thinks
That you have thought?

Is Marco really that uncouth?
Is he such a dishonest youth?
Or perhaps he is telling the truth?
We must retain a super-sleuth!
To fight tooth and nail and nail and tooth,
To prove that he’s an honest youth
Who ONLY tells the honest truth.

But we at Mishpacha magazine
Have some folks real shrewd and keen;
And they decided to hold fort
And snoop and spy and then report
All that they have heard and seen
To publish in the magazine.

So at last, the whole world will agree
That Marco spoke quite truthfully.
And YES, it certainly can be
That all the things he claims to see
Truly happen on Mulberry.

Well, my friend, yay or nay?
What do you think? What do you say?
Ah, you say that you don’t really know?
Well, then, friend, please read below…

The tale of Marco and his Dad
Can sometimes really make me sad.
If Marco’s Dad would come with me
On a short drive to Mulberry,
He will certainly agree
That Marco spoke quite honestly.
And yes, he certainly did see
All those strange things on Mulberry.

So Marco’s Dad, let’s take a drive.
Let’s make Mulberry come alive.

From the Garden State, straight down the Nine;
On to Oak, and then to Pine.
And there you’ll see a big yeshivah
Mesivta Tzvi Dov Ber Akiva.

Outside, you’ll see a group of boys —
Now, stand real still and make no noise.

Together, Marco’s Dad and I will do our very best to spy
A geshmake guy with Brisker peyos
Will begin to share his dei’os.
So we’ll listen close, we’ll strain our ear, and this, I think, is what we’ll hear:

“Nu, Mulberry has major sechoira —
They fund half of Adirei Torah.”

“Ya, Steinenfeld’s a different shlav —
Way more than Fourteenth Street kav.”
“Remember Chaim Dovid’s shver?
Who shtitzes all of Tosh and Ger?
And Goldstein from Your Highness Care —
The guy is kluhr a billionaire.
His homes are now in twenty states!
Mistam, he’s richer than Bill Gates.”

“You know Kranzeroff? The guy is gone!
Kimat owns all of Amazon!
I heard he’s putting up a bridge
From New Hampshire down to Ridge.”

“That Blazernitz is shtelling reid.
I heard he’ll buy out Medicaid.”
“My shvugger holds he has the cash,
But s’kehn zein it will cause a crash.”

“Kleinstein’s eidem’s worth a zil —
Invented up some kind of pill.
You chap the matzav’s radical?
To shtell your own pharmaceutical?”

“There’s that clothing guy, Zalman Hertz,
Who sells Ben Shapiro those shtultzed up shirts.
I’m zicher Gloub’s a billionaire —
He owns a shetach of Times Square.”

And as I stand with Marco’s Dad,
We’ll watch the guys pull out a pad.
They’ll pace and hum and close their eyes,
Thinking as they strategize.
And then they’ll rub their hands with glee,
And cry out excitedly,

“We’ll dress like elephants!
And reindeer!
We’re mamash gonna
K’nack this year!”

And now I’ll turn to Marco’s Dad
And whisper, “Sir, aren’t you glad?
Now that we have done our spying,
You see that Marco wasn’t lying.”

We’ll turn about to head our way.
But then we will hear one boy say,
“Nu, stam the maaseh is azoi,
Mulberry grada has one goy.
It’s not 100 percent kluhr,
If it is kedai to schnorr.
‘Cuz based upon what he declares,
He’s pashtus not a millionaire.”

Hey, Marco’s Dad! Marco’s Dad!
Why do you look so mad and sad?
Please, Marco’s Dad, don’t run away —
You’ll miss the fun on Purim day!

Ah, he ran away, that Marco’s dad.
And that, my friend, is just too bad.
But you?
I know where you will be!
You’ll be with us
On Mulberry!


I Am NOT Going to Get Up Today: Mommy’s Purim Morning Monologue
Avigail Albert

Please let me be.
Please let me stay.
I am not going to get up today.

Minyan’s at seven.
Megillah’s at eight.
I’m sleeping in.
We all will be late.
Don’t challenge me. I will not hesitate.

I don’t care if everyone’s wide awake.
The baby is up — who knows what mess she’ll make?
But that is a chance
I am willing to take.

All around the house they’re getting up.
And that’s okay with me.
Let them get up in the attic.
Or the East Siberian Sea.
(Let them get up anywhere. Just far away from me.)

Let them wreck their shalach manos.
And their costumes.
I don’t care.
Let them open up the pantry and eat everything that’s there.
Let them hang-glide off the roof.
Let them spray-paint every wall.
Let them unscrew every chandelier.
I do not care at all.
Let the kids bang my door down and make earsplitting din.
Let them come with drills and crowbars.
It won’t work.
I’m sleeping in.
You’ll ask when I last slept, but I simply can’t recall.
Since Rosh Chodesh Adar I have barely slept at all.
I spent hours making costumes with the most creative theme
And five hundred shalach manos like a foodie’s fevered dream.

My kids just insisted — perhaps it was me.
A combination of both, indubitably.
Whatever. I’m wiped. So please go away.
I am not going to get up today.

Have them come read megillah outside my door.
The Seudah can be from the scraps on the floor.
I am not coming out of this room anymore.

I’m exhausted.
I’m done.
Burn my baking supplies.
I see hamantaschen when I close my eyes.
I love Purim, I promise. But it’s sad to say
My battery’s dead by the start of the day.

Yesterday was a fast, which I spent in great pain
Wrapping huge platters in clear cellophane
While the kids noshed on candy in front of my face
And destroyed every item of worth in the place.

So I’m going to lie here and take a nice snooze.
Don’t bet that I won’t. You are going to lose.

You won’t get me up by requesting a ride.
In fact, that’s the best way to keep me inside.
Enter that balagan? Uh-uh. There’s no way.
That’s the last thing I feel like doing today.

The shalach manos are heavy?
All those bottles of wine?
So the kids will learn discipline.
I’m sure they’ll be fine.

In the meantime, I’ll lie here and hibernate.
Who cares if it’s spring? I’ll be modishly late.
I’ll miss Pesach cleaning, I’ll have no bills to pay. . .
Wow! I’m really not going to get up today!

Truth is, I miss my Purim.
And I want it back.
And for that I need rest.
Which I currently lack.

With some sleep, I can focus —
Give Purim its due.
I just need a nap.
Just an hour or two.

So I went a bit far. I will not sleep through May.
I won’t even sleep through the rest of today.
Just give me till nine. Then I’ll come out, okay?

Yes, I really mean it.
Now please go away.


The Wife in My Life
Esty Heller

The sun did not shine
The kids wanted to play,
So we sat in the house
On this upside-down day.

I sat there with my wife.
We sat there, we two.
And she said, “How I wish
You would lein for our crew.
We must hear the Megillah,
We do not have a choice.
But please not in shul!”
She cried in That Voice.

Only a fool
Takes children to shul.
Only a fool
Does not know this rule.

We can’t take them to shul
to just
The kids will not like it.
Not one little bit.

Me, in my shtreimel, did I take the cue?
No, I did not: “What does everyone do?”

Everyone else
Leins Megillah at home.
He does it, they do,
For the sake of shalom.
Everyone’s husband
Who cares for his life…
He does it, he does,
For the sake of his wife.
(I got a Megillah when we were engaged.
How did I not realize, this whole thing was staged?)

And not just my wife,
It did not end there.
“Can Fraidy come listen?
She, too, wants to hear.
She’ll sit on the side.
She’ll follow along.
She’ll sit on the side.
Oh, what could go wrong?”

“No, no,” I protested.
“I cannot have her here.”
But my wife did not get it.
She said, “Have no fear!”
She could not understand.
Why on earth I would care.
“She’ll sit on the side.
She’ll sit on a chair.”

Before I could blink
Fraidy stood at our door.
Along with her kids
Not one, but all four.
And one moment later
We heard a great knock.
There stood ten more ladies
From around the block.

They came with their kids
They climbed all the stairs
More kids than in shul
More kids than our chairs.

“This is no way to lein!
Oh, no!” I declared.
I said, “I can’t do it.”
But nobody cared.

The women who sat here
Knew all the halachos.
With kids on her lap
My wife said the brachos.
I did not have a choice.
Not a choice at all.
I said, “Vayehi…”
I could no longer stall.

And then
Something went BUMP!
How that bump made us jump!

We looked!
Then we saw him step in on the mat!
We looked!
And we saw him!
Yossele Rosenblatt!
And he asked in falsetto,
“Why do you sit like that?”

Behind him trailed dozens of costumed arrivers
A family dressed up as UPS drivers.
If I could but talk
I would have just said,
“This is not how Megillah
Is meant to be read!
No, no, it is not
Make them all go away.
Tell that Rosenblatt
Please, not on this day!
He should not be here.
He should not be about.
This mess of dressed-uppers
Needs to get out!”

I tried to eke out
Vayehi yet again.
But I was outshouted
By the noise in our den.

My wife pantomimed
Her awe and elation
With the neighbor’s creative
Shalach manos creation.
And then they all left
Rosenblatt at the helm.
I turned back to my scroll.
I turned back to this realm.

We made it through Alef, we made it through Beis.
My home-leining skills became worthy of praise.

But then I read, “Haman!”
And the kids went berserk.
In one wild moment
They undid my work.

They clapped and they banged.
Just as our doorbell
Once again rang.

That’s how we continued
All the way through.
That’s what my wife wanted
That I lein for our crew.
When they finally left, all eleven ladies
I looked at my wife and said, “So many Fraidys!”

And my wife did not know
What to say
What to tell me.
She hadn’t thought leining
Would so overwhelm me.

I took off my shtreimel. I rolled up my scroll.
My wife sat across me, by now on a roll.
“See, what did I tell you?
That wasn’t so bad.
You had such a mitzvah.
Please tell me you’re glad!”

Should I tell her about it?
Now what SHOULD I do?
What would YOU do
If your dear wife asked YOU?


The Cousin from Volozhin and the Very Veggie Purim
Sandy Eller

Purim was coming,
We should have been cheerful.
We should have been thrilled,
But we were just fearful.

For Mom had decided on
A gardening theme.
Decreed our shlach manos
Would be healthy and green.

We’d be dressed as farmers,
With hoes, picks, and rakes.
Mom vetoed our candy,
Said no to our steaks.

We’d pouted, we’d stamped,
We’d begged and we’d pleaded.
We’d wheedled, cajoled,
But our cries went unheeded.

“How ’bout chayalim?”
We suggested instead.
We’d give hummus and bamba
And fresh pita bread.

Or we could be chefs
With pizza for all!
Or schnitzel or corn dogs
Or mac ’n cheese balls!

But while Mom did love sweets,
She’d firmly insisted
On veggie shlach manos,
Which we thought quite twisted.

There we were on the couch,
So mad we were hopping.
It was me, Mo, and Huvi
While Mom went out shopping.

With the food she would buy,
We’d be branded as nerds.
No gum and no chips,
Just stuff fit for birds.

We moped and we sulked
But then who should come buzzin’?
It was ol’ Cousin Irv
Who hails from Volozhin.

Irv was a hocker,
Big plans he had lots of,
And wherever he went,
There was always a matzav.

The Cousin Volozhin
Asked us why we were pouting.
We all started answering
And soon we were shouting.
“Mom’s spoiling our Purim!”
“We’ll be laughed out of town!”
“Veggie shlach manos?”
“A major thumbs-down!”

The Cousin Volozhin
Thought for just a minute,
Then ran to his car
And quickly jumped in it.

We watched Irv pull away,
Mo, Huvi, and me.
He zoomed to the corner
Toward Avenue C.

In five minutes flat,
The Cousin was back.
With goodies galore
Stuffed into a sack.

There were oodles of Oodles,
Neon gummies galore.
Hot sauce chips, sushi,
And gooey s’mores.

Was that edible slime,
Packaged in tubes?
Plus chocolate shots, Sippies,
And Must gum in cubes.

It wasn’t just candy,
That Irv bought on his spree
There was whipped cream and fish boards
And charcuterie.

Dried salami, beef jerky,
And cured smoked duck fry,
The Cousin Volozhin
Knew just what to buy!

He said, “I know that Mom
Wants a theme of nutritious.
But I think you guys want
To go with delicious!”

We nodded our heads,
Mo, Huvi, and me,
But deep down we knew
It just wasn’t to be.

We wanted those goodies,
But we still couldn’t do it.
Our costumes were bought,
We’d just have to get through it.

“Mom’s been planning for weeks,”
We softly told Irv,
“We can’t use this stuff,
We don’t have the nerve.”

“This stuff doesn’t work?”
“No worries,” said Irv.
“I’ve got special things
In my car on reserve.”

Before we could blink,
Irv was back saying, “Try it!”
With towers of treats
That would kill any diet.

There was overnight kugel
And pesto’d panini,
Fried Oreos, latkes,
And, of course, fettucine.

Yummy sourdough toast
Topped with sliced avocado.
Powerade, boba tea
And cans of Moscato.

Such fun shalach manos
We’d send out so gladly.
But we looked at our cousin
And shook our heads sadly.

“We’d ruin Mom’s Purim—
We’d make her feel rotten.”
And with those noble words,
Our gripes were forgotten.

The Cousin Volozhin
Looked mighty crestfallen.
But he saw our faces
And knew we were all in.

A few seconds later,
Mom walked in the door.
Arms laden with boxes
She’d brought from the store.

She gave us kids hugs,
Said hello to the cousin;
Then started unpacking—
Bags of nash by the dozen.

Our eyes were all bulging,
Us kids, and Irv’s, too.
Were those goodies for Purim?
Could it really be true?

Our mom, a prankster?
It was great Purim shtick.
The whole veggie concept
Had just been a trick!

In fact, we’d be doing
A Candyland theme!
With gingerbread, gumdrops
And tons of ice cream.

And yes, we’ll have veggies,
For those that prefer ‘em.
So everyone can have
The happiest Purim.

We kids were elated,
The Cousin was, too.
While Mom kept repeating
V’nahafoch hu.

The Purim we’d dreaded,
Convinced it would bomb,
Would be so exciting—
Chalk one up for Mom!

The Cousin packed up
And left with a wink.
His mischievous smile
Was making us think….

Had he known all along?
Had this just been a test?
Reminding us kids
That Mom always knows best?

Whatever the answer,
We learned Mom’s real groovy.
And we’re ready to party,
Me, Mo, Irv, and Huvi!


S. Myers

That Purim wine! That Purim wine!
I simply do not have the time!

I know it’s Purim, thank you, I see
But I must do another delivery!

I have a timeline and a map
An algorithm that’s exact

I’m running four minutes late already
I might miss the slot for my son’s rebbi

And if I miss that specific time
The traffic lights just won’t align

And then how will I be on time?!
I’ve not the time to drink your wine!
It’s almost my oldest’-son’s-second-seder-assistant-sganshoel u’meishiv’s shalach manos visitation time!

Can’t you see I’m a busy man?
Driving this jam-packed minivan?!
So please oh please just let me be
These streets are total anarchy!

But today is Purim don’t you see!
It’s time to dance and to par-ty!
We must enjoy this Purim day,
When evil Haman went away
From his plot we were finally free
(’cuz he was hanging from a tree)
Perhaps you’d like a nice Chablis?
A Pinot Grigio? A Chianti?

I’ve not the time
To drink your wine!
Not your Chablis
Nor your Chianti!
No time to sing, dance, or party.

I must be home with kids one, two, three!
And four and five and six as well,
I must babysit ALL my little
So my wife can go
To her favorite shul
And hear Megillah, ’cuz that’s the rule
So please oh please just let me be
It’s Purim day
And I’m in a hurry!

I’ve not the time to relax with you!
I am a VERY pious Jew!
I must deliver baskets door to door,
Eat a seudah
Help the poor.
Swing a gragger when I hear Haman,
Eat his ears, one by one,
Help my little ones get dressed
In their little costume best.
Keep track of whose nosh is whose
Before Gog-Umagog brews
My outfit has to match the theme
Of our mishloach manos
And it does seem
That the neighbors we must all outdo
Each basket the size of a canoe
Because zeh Kayli v’anveihu

I do not have time for your wine
Your Pinot Noir or Chardonnay
Not for your red, white, or Rosé
Please just take it all away
I cannot drink it anyway.
(Today’s a very stressful day.)

But mister Tatty don’t you see?
Today’s the day we were set free!
To do the mitzvos you must try—
Don’t let this holy day pass you by!
The commandments, of course, we obey

You need to take time to reflect,
To relax and introspect
You’re winding yourself way too tight
You’re doing the mitzvos,
But something’s not right
You need to share some divrei Torah
Sit down, chill out, and maybe pour a…
Glass of wine? To have with me?
A yummy Port? A Sauternes?
Just one glass and you’ll be wiser
You’re not the designated driver.
Try it my friend,
You may become a fan…
Wine gladdens the heart of man.

Ok, if you will let me be… I will try it… we will see…


I DO like your wine!
It tastes divine!!

I like Chablis!
And Chianti!

I even like your Burgundy!

Let us sit and have another!
Thank you, thank you, my dear brother!
This has no effect that I discern
First, I’ll pour
Then it’s your turn


The wine is gone without a trace?
Just open up another case!
Uncork another, something new?
Let’s hear some divrei Torah, too

Haman was a pious Jew
Achashveirosh, he was, too!
Mordechai was the bad guy right?
Esther killed Vashti in a fight?
The details are getting kinda hazy
My head is getting kinda lazy
I think it’s time to head to bed
But remember what I’ve always said
Purim needs time for us to THINK


(And have a drink)


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1004)

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