Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here’s a French Purim Custom that Should Be Carved in Stone

Haman was like Pharoah. He had a heart of stone. Today, the thought of having to live with any type of Haman within our midst leaves us stone cold. Could a combination of these two factors be the reason that French Jews created a unique Purim custom using stones? It seems that at one point in history French Jewish children would take smooth stones and either write or engrave Haman’s name on them. They would then take two stones each to the Megillah reading and bang them together whenever Haman’s name was mentioned. The logic behind this custom lies with the Biblical verse in the Book of Exodus (17:14-16): "And God said to Moshe: Write this for a remembrance in a book, and repeat it in Joshua's ears, that I will surely wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.” We all know that Haman was the Amalek of his time. By smacking the two stones together the children would wear away his name little by little, so that it would be “erased” by the end of the Megillah reading. In my opinion, this custom is not only a unique alternative to groggers but also a timely way to vent our frustrations about today’s Amalek. He comes from the same country as Haman and his name deserves to be erased as well. Anyone for putting the name Ahmadinejad on two stones and using them as this year’s grogger?

I hope you are enjoying my blogs. I’m off to the States so both this blog and Zvuvi will be on vacation for the next 4 weeks.
See you on February 21st.

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