25th of Av, 5774
Parashat Re'eh


The Megillah for Very Young Children

This is a version for very young children. It’s much shorter and utilizes the euphemisms “go away” and “get rid of” instead of kill.

A very long time ago in the land once known as Persia, there lived a nice Jewish man called Mordechai. He lived in the town of Shushan, and he was known to be a very good man, always trying to do the right thing, and helping people whenever he could. Mordechai’s job was Keeper of the Gate for King Ahasuerus. He was supposed to keep his ears open and tell the king if he heard anyone talking about hurting the king. Some people were jealous and angry that the king had chosen Mordechai for this job, but Mordechai just did his job as best he could.

Now Mordechai had taken in his cousin, a baby girl who was orphaned at her birth, and he had raised her as if she were his own. Her name was Hadassah and she grew up to be a very smart and kind woman, and beautiful, too. When the king began looking for a wife, no one was surprised that he chose Hadassah.  Her beauty reminded people of Venus, a famous beauty from earlier times, and everyone began calling her Esther, the Persian word for Venus. So Hadassah-Esther said goodbye to her cousin Mordechai and went to live in the palace with the King and became Queen Esther, but she didn’t tell the king she was Jewish. She also didn’t tell him that she was related to King Saul.

One day Mordechai overheard two men talking about hurting the king, so he told Queen Esther and she told the king what Mordechai had told her.  The king was grateful for Mordechai’s help; he even wrote about Mordechai’s help in his record-book, and this allowed the king to remember Mordechai as a faithful and trustworthy man.

There was a man who worked in the palace who was not very nice, and he didn’t like Jews because they did things differently from him. He was the Prime Minister and his name was Haman.  He expected everyone to do exactly what he said, and to bow down to him when they saw him, and he got angry if someone didn’t do exactly what he wanted.

Sometimes Haman would pass by Mordechai at the gate, and Mordechai never would bow down to him.  Haman became very angry and he went to the King and said, “There are some people around here who do things differently from other people, and I think you should make them go away.”

The King didn’t really know what Haman was talking about, and he didn’t take time to find out, but he said “OK, you can tell those people to go away, the ones who do things differently”.

Haman wanted to get rid of Mordechai and Esther and all their Jewish friends!  The Jewish people were very sad, because they liked living in the kingdom and they didn’t want to go away, or to get hurt. Mordechai sent a message to Esther at the palace, “Esther, we need your help!  Please talk to the King and ask him to stop Haman.”

Esther was scared because no one—not even the queen—was permitted to speak to the King without permission, but she just had to try. Queen Esther thought “I must be very brave” and so she made a special dinner for the King, with all his favorite foods.  Then she invited the King and Haman to come and have dinner with her.

The King thought dinner was delicious, and he was so happy after he finished eating that he said to Queen Esther, “What can I do for you, to thank you for this wonderful feast?”

Queen Esther said, “Oh please, I need your help! There is someone who wants to make me and Mordechai and all our friends go away”.

“That is terrible!” said the King, because he loved Esther and he didn’t want her to go away.  “Who wants to get rid of you and your family and friends?”

Esther pointed at Haman and said “It’s him! Evil Haman wants to get rid of us!”

“Oh no!” said the King, and he was very angry indeed.  He called his guards and said “Take Haman away and get rid of him instead!”

Everyone lived happily together in the Kingdom after that nasty Haman was gone. And just so everyone would remember that sometimes a person must step up and be brave, and to celebrate the King’s desire for all to live together in peace, Queen Esther asked that all Jews everywhere read the story of the Book of Esther every year and have a party and celebrate the two days in Adar when the Jews were saved from evil.

The End