from Paras the other week! He sounded vaguely French, so I thought he said Paris, but when I made some comment about having been there for a week once, he took one look at my white skin and said, "No, Paras!" (Or more accurately, "לא, פרס"). I guess "Paras" is just how you say "Persia" in Hebrew, but when I first heard him say it, I thought it was a specific region in ancient Persia that was mentioned in the Megillah:
| יג וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ, לַחֲכָמִים יֹדְעֵי הָעִתִּים: כִּי-כֵן, דְּבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ, לִפְנֵי, כָּל-יֹדְעֵי דָּת וָדִין. || 13 Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times--for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment; |
| יד וְהַקָּרֹב אֵלָיו, כַּרְשְׁנָא שֵׁתָר אַדְמָתָא תַרְשִׁישׁ, מֶרֶס מַרְסְנָא, מְמוּכָן--שִׁבְעַת שָׂרֵי פָּרַס וּמָדַי, רֹאֵי פְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ, הַיֹּשְׁבִים רִאשֹׁנָה, בַּמַּלְכוּת. || 14 and the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, and sat the first in the kingdom: |
| טו כְּדָת, מַה-לַּעֲשׂוֹת, בַּמַּלְכָּה, וַשְׁתִּי--עַל אֲשֶׁר לֹא-עָשְׂתָה, אֶת-מַאֲמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, בְּיַד, הַסָּרִיסִים || 15 'What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, forasmuch as she hath not done the bidding of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?'|
After he revealed where he was from, we exchanged some quotes from the Megillah (mostly things like "שֶׁבַע וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה מְדִינָה" / "over a hundred and seven and twenty provinces"). Sometimes, these little, insignificant exchanges happen and I feel very happy to be here.
It made me wonder if Jews from Persia feel differently about Purim than Jews from other parts of the world. Do they celebrate it more personally? Differently? Do they claim special ownership over it? Is Bostonian:Patriot's Day like Persian Jew:Purim?
Labels: Israel, Purim