Little kids will laugh at anything. The simplest knock-knock joke or a tickle fest -- even the threat of one -- can so easily end in hysterics. They laugh because they are surprised by something unexpected in a world they are constantly discovering.
With Purim just a grogger’s turn away on March 19, it's time to reroll the scroll of Esther and take another look at the whole megillah. It's a story with characters so lifelike, I should quote them. That would be news. But lacking a time machine, I was still able to go to the source to hear what Mordecai, Esther, Haman and Vashti have to say: I interviewed prominent people -- Jews and a non-Jew -- whose names either come from the Megillah or sound like they are straight from the scroll:
Iranian authorities have downgraded the status of the tomb of Esther and Mordechai, while an official state news agency has publicized the Purim story as a Jewish massacre of Iranians. Officials recently removed the sign that identified the mausoleum of the biblical figures in the central Iranian city of Hamadan as an official pilgrimage site. The removal of the sign signifies that its status has been downgraded, according to reports. The actions come about two weeks after a group of about 250 militant students surrounded the tomb and threatened to tear it down. Their threats were in response to alleged Israeli excavations under the Al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem.
It's time to take out the groggers, make some noise and watch the parade of mini Esthers at the local synagogues and Jewish schools.
Surfacing this week, the Mordechai affair deals Barak's motley coalition another awkward blow.