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The King! Bless his heart.

Haint iz Purim, morgen iz ois! Or, in English: Purim today; tomorrow it’ll be over.

Reading the megillah again this year, I am struck by how great the character of Ahasuerus is. I think I have said before that my interpretation of the whole introductory Vashti story is that it exists to show what a fool the king is, and really, the man’s an imbecile. But what a great character! He’s a lush, of course, and a glutton, and and a lecher, and his passion for luxury is outrageous. The nobles and princes who were invited to the party in chapter one must have been giving each other little looks: this new king is going to be a problem. And then the Vashti bit, where he takes the advice of the guy who happens to be standing next to him—who, bye-the-bye, drops out of the story and is never heard from again, and there’s probably a story there about Haman getting rid of him, which would probably be awesome.

Anyway, everything about Ahaserus is amazing. He can’t sleep, so he has a guy read to him from the history of his own reign, which is, I should point out, something like four years long at the time. And he doesn’t remember it! It’s all new to him! Then he has Mordechai put on his own horse, wearing the royal robes and the crown, with his top advisor (to whom Ahasueros had previously given his ring and made everybody bow to) leading him saying Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour, if the king remembereth, thou knowest, after a while, which, mayhap, not so much.

Does anyone else get the impression that about a month after the story ends, Ahasueros is all Where’s Haman? What happened to that Haman guy, I never see him anymore. And his servants probably say something like Uh, he’s… out of town… in the provinces… and he’ll probably be back in six months or so, yeah. And Ahasueros is like Awesome, I wonder what he’ll bring me!

There’s an article by Jay Michaelson in Forvertz making the Ahasueros-Trump connection which is actually quite well-taken, although of course Trump doesn’t drink. The rest of the article is not significantly better than one would expect of that publication, but in fact, Ahasueros is a warning of what a terrible ruler can do. And his blithe acceptance of the death of tens of thousands of his subjects, aliens living peaceably among the rest, is a sobering thought, even if the happy ending is the death of tens of thousands of different people, so that’s all right.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,