Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Purim Came A Little Early This Year

Shawn Shafner, Storahtelling Company Member
Emily Warshaw, Storahtelling Company Member
Purim Kid's Program
Barnert Temple, Franklin Lakes, NJ

Hi, I’m Shawn.
And I’m Emily.
We presented a mini-Maven on Sunday, March 6 for Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, NJ for 3rd through 6th graders in the religious school. While the megilla presents an epic tale of betrayal, transformation, and vicious plots—we only had half an hour to cover the plot. While looking closely at the scene where Mordechai begs Esther to go to King Achashverosh and plead for the Jewish people, we noticed that someone else was working behind the scenes: the messenger, Hatach.
Emily played Hatach, relaying Mordechai’s message to Esther—up seventeen flights of stairs to her bedroom, and then passing Esther’s words back to Mordechai—down seventeen flights of stairs to the palace gates, where Mordy lies in mourning. But as the clock ticks and the plot thickens, how will Hatach convince the new, indecisive Queen Esther to take strong action on behalf of her people?
We put this exact question to the students at Barnert. “What could Hatach say or do to give Esther confidence?” And a new Purim midrash was born!  You may not have known, but Hatach the messenger intervened to make sure Esther would hear Mordechai’s message loud and clear, and take ownership of her own power.  Hatach, at the students’ suggestion, told Esther: “You are strong enough! Don’t be afraid of the King; he respects you.  So do the people of Shushan. You’re smart, Esther, and you know what’s the right thing to do.” 
As we left the temple, we realized that Hatach might also figure in the genesis of Nike shoes, when she visited Esther and became the first person to coin the phrase: Just do it!

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