Purim by the Clock

A king who ruled a large kingdom was reading an ancient book when he discovered that he was a descendant of Haman, the son of Hamdasa the chief minister of King Achashverosh in Shushan, the ancient capital of Persia and Medea.


The king thought and decided that he would take revenge for his ancestor Haman, whom Mordechai and Esther sent to the gallows, together with his ten sons. Secondly, he would force the Jewish communities in his kingdom to pay him a large sum of money each year for payment of damages to his family.


The king immediately issued a decree that the Jewish people in his land must pay ten thousand silver coins to the royal treasury on the day of Purim. At the same time, the Jews had to deliver to the King a Jewish man named Mordechai to be hanged on that day.

 Purim Story Tour

On hearing the cruel decree, the Jewish people gathered to fast and pray. They knew that three things help to annul a cruel decree: Repentance, Prayer and Charity. So they prayed with greater enthusiasm and gave more charity than they had done before.


The day of Purim was fast approaching, and the fear in the Jewish community grew stronger each day. If they did not deliver the fine, together with a Jewish man named Mordechai to be publicly hanged, the cruel king had sworn to drive them all out of his kingdom without mercy, and to take over their possessions.


The Jewish people gathered in the synagogues, and prayed that the Holy One, blessed be He would help them in their time of need, while the ruthless king was looking forward with great pleasure to the public ceremony he had prepared for the hanging of a Jewish man named Mordechai.

Teshuvah Story Tour

That night the king had much trouble falling asleep. When he finally dozed off, he awoke just as the clock struck two and was terrified to see an old man dressed in a flowing robe and a long white beard standing near his bed, with a mysterious smile on his face.


Confused and terrified, the king quickly looked at the clock, unsure whether it was day or night. Then he quickly jumped out of bed, ran to the door intending to punish the guards for allowing the old man to enter the king’s bed-chamber. Just as he opened the door, a strong wind lifted him up in the air and carried him to a faraway place.


From inside the wind the king heard melodies, the sound of the music caused to fall asleep. When he awoke, he found himself in an abandoned ancient cemetery, which was surrounded by high stone walls. The strange surroundings, deathly silence and dimness terrified him to his very bones, and he began to call for help — but no one answered his calls.


For many hours he walked around the dismal cemetery feeling hopeless as low hanging branches tangled in his hair and brambles tore his clothes. He was also plagued by hunger and thirst. His hands were sore and scratched as he tried unsuccessfully to climb the high walls.


He called for help again, but all that came back was a deadly silence.


Suddenly he saw the old man he had seen in his royal bedroom. The stranger was carrying a basket of bread in one hand and a jug of water in the other. This time, the king was happy to see him, and he begged him to save him from his desperate situation.


The old man paid no attention to the king. He just left the bread and water and disappeared into the mist.


The following morning, after a most frightful night, the old man came again, bringing bread and water and then disappearing in the mist. The same thing happened on the third day. This time, the old man asked the king: “Do you wish to say anything?”


The king, torn by shame, fell to the feet of the old man and begged him for mercy.


“I have sinned terribly against the innocent Jewish people in my country,” the king said. “But I swear that I will abolish the decree against them and will treat them with justice and kindness in the future. Please, free me from this terrible forsaken place, I can bear it no longer.”


“If you will give me this promise in writing, with your signature, I will free you and you will again be king in your country,” the old man replied.


“This I shall most gladly do,” the king answered. He immediately wrote out a new decree, canceling the previous decree against the Jewish people, and promising never again to issue any harsh decree against them. After signing the document, the king handed it to the old man.


No sooner had the king done this than he felt a strong wind lifting him up and carrying him away. He heard the wonderful melodies and fell into a deep sleep. When he woke up, he found himself in bed in his royal palace. Near his bed stood the same mysterious old man who had entered without permission the night that the king had first been carried off by a wind to the distant, awful cemetery. In his hand, the old man held the document that the king had given him.


The king turned to the old man wearily: “Why did you have to torture me for such a long time?”


With a mysterious smile on his lips, the old man raised his hand in which he held the document and, pointing to the clock showed him that the hands on the clock’s face stood at the same position, two o’clock, the very moment when the king was carried away from his palace. Full of astonishment, the king realized that the entire terrible experience had lasted just a tick of the clock.

Purim Story Tour

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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