I recently flew to Jerusalem for a well-needed spiritual revival. Yes, I will admit that I am not always the most saintly and religious of people, but being aware of my shortcomings I have been looking for a chance to atone. I realized that I had found it when I heard about the Jewish holiday of Purim -- in which you are required to gamble and get drunk.
"I've come for a meaningful religious experience," I said to Rabbi Ari Bar-Mazel as I walked into his synagogue. "Where are the booze and cards? And does Purim by any chance involve broads?"
"Purim is still a few days off," Ari told me, "but, yes, it does involve broads. The Talmud teaches us that there are many broad meanings to all of our festivals."
"No," I said, "I meant women. Are women involved in Purim celebrations?"
"Of course they are!" Ari responded. "After all, Purim is in honor of Queen Esther. She saved the Jews of Persia after becoming queen by winning a contest in which the king slept with a different woman each night for a year. That is recorded in the Bible. What is not recorded, however, is the fact that when the contest was over the king was in traction for a year while he recuperated."
"I guess that in order to celebrate the holiday today women act out Esther's part," I said in anticipation.
"Only the younger ones," said the rabbi.
"That's okay," I said. "Remember, I come from America, the land of Bill Clinton -- age makes no difference to me."
Shlomo, one of Rabbi Bar-Mazel's students, came in to tell the rabbi he was needed elsewhere. The rabbi made his apologies but promised that Shlomo would answer all of my questions.
"The rabbi was telling me about the booze, gambling, and wild orgies involved in the Purim celebration," I said. "I can't wait to start."
"You really should have a check up before the holiday begins," Shlomo said. "After all, having sex with a bunch of women in their 20's can be a big strain."
"I'm sure that I can do it," I told him. "But maybe I should get into shape first."
"No problem," Shlomo assured me. "We still have a few days left. I'll ask some of the women to get you in training -- they'll start you out slowly and then build up to the point where you are ready to handle a full-fledged orgy."
"That sounds wonderful," I said. "I *knew* that I was going to like this holiday!"
"It won't be easy," Shlomo warned me. "Besides the women, there is the gambling. All of our synagogues are turned into Casinos for Purim and you will have to spend hours at the craps, roulette, and blackjack tables. And remember -- the rules are different for Purim -- we change the odds to put them in your favor."
"Wonderful!" I said.
"But can you do all of this while drinking?" Shlomo asked in concern. "It is a very big part of the day. Chivas Regal, Bacardi, Smirnoff's, and Dom Perignon flow like water."
"Don't worry," I said in anticipation. "I can handle it. But maybe you should call those women now so I can start my training."
"I'll get on it right away," Shlomo told me. "One question though -- are you Jewish?"
"No," I answered. "Is it required?"
"I'm afraid that it is," he responded. "We will have to arrange for a quick conversion for you. It will only take a few moments."
"Is it like a baptism?" I asked.
"Not quite," said Shlomo. "You'll have to be circumcised."
"I already am," I said, "so that won't be necessary."
"I'm afraid it will be," Shlomo said. "Your circumcision was not a religious one. It will have to be done over."
"But how can I be circumcised twice?" I asked.
"Don't worry," Shlomo said. "There's always something left to be cut off. Wait here, I'm going to my room to get my Israeli Army Commando Knife and I will do the job myself. I haven't had to use that knife for a while -- I just hope it isn't too rusty."
When Shlomo left the room, I jumped through the window and ran down the streets of Jerusalem as fast as I could. I pulled an old lady out of a taxi, got in, and told him to head for the airport. Thirty minutes later I was on airplane out of the country and still shaking with fear.
"You told him WHAT?" asked Rabbi Bar-Mazel.
Shlomo repeated the story to him.
"But there are no orgies," said the rabbi. "The only females involved are the little girls who dress up like Esther. It's true that we have some small gambling -- but it is only a lottery and the drinking is generally not more than a few glases of wine. As far his having to get circumcised again, well that is just ridiculous!"
"I know," said Shlomo, "but you forgot the best part of Purim: We are required to pull practical jokes!"