Ecclesiastes 12
Orthodox Jewish Bible
1 Remember now thy Bo're (Creator) in the yamim of thy bechurot, while the yamei hara'ah come not, nor the shanim draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no chefetz (pleasure) in them; 2 While the shemesh, or the ohr, or the yarei'ach, or the kokhavim, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain; 3 In the yom when the shomrei habayit shall tremble, and the strong men shall stoop, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows grow dim, 4 And the delatayim (doors) shall be shut in the street, when the sound of the grinding fades, and he shall arise at the sound of a tzipor (bird), and all their banot hashir (daughters of song) are brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of height, and fears shall be in the derech, and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper drags himself along, and desire shall fail; because haAdam goeth to his bais olam (eternal home), and the mourners go about the streets; 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the bor (cistern). 7 Then shall the aphar return to ha'aretz as it was; and the ruach shall return unto HaElohim who gave it. 8 Hevel havalim, saith Kohelet; all is hevel.

9 And moreover, because Kohelet was chacham, he taught the people da'as; yea, he applied, and searched out, and set in order many meshalim (proverbs). 10 Kohelet searched to find out divrei chefetz; and that which was written was yosher, even divrei emes.

11 Divrei chachamim are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by Ro'eh Echad (One Shepherd). 12 And further, by these, beni, be admonished; of making many sefarim there is no ketz; and much study is a weariness of the basar.

13 Let us hear the sof (conclusion) of the whole matter; Fear HaElohim, and of His commandments be shomer mitzvot; for this is the whole duty of haAdam. 14 For HaElohim shall bring kol ma'aseh (every work) into mishpat (judgment), with every ne’lam (secret thing, concealed thing), whether it be tov (good), or whether it be rah (evil). [T.N. A note on the Book of Esther. Five books of the Hebrew Bible are known as the Five Scrolls (Chamesh Megillot). Song of Songs is read on the Shabbos of Passover week (Sepherdim read it on Seder night and Friday afternoons). Ruth is read on Shavuos (Pentecost). Kohelet is read on the Shabbos of the week of Sukkot. Ekhah (Lamentations) is read of the Ninth of Av, a fast commemorating the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. And, finally, the book we are studying, the Scroll of Esther, is read on Purim. Both Esther and Job could certainly be produced as plays or musicals with a high professional production level. In writing a musical, the scenario has to be laid out for the story by identifying the points in the play, visualized as a series of scenes, where the conflicts in each scene rise to a crescendo requiring song and/or choreography. Here are a few ideas on how to organize the telling of Esther's story in this way. A few possible lyric lines for songs have been put in quotation marks. Why not think of how you could write an original play or musical to be presented every Purim? Try your own creative hand---you can polish the ideas below or come up with better ones: Scene: Persian city of Susa (modern Iran). Time: 483 B.C.E. Possible ideas for a scenario with a few song lyric ideas: King Ahasuerus and company (tipsy): "Queen Vashti, you're not acting very pretty." Queen Vashti could sing a song to her maidens to go tell the King she is now a "liberated" woman. The chorus made up of King Ahasuerus's counselors ("wise men [chachamim]"--Esth 1:13) could lament the rebellious female population of the country and how Queen Vashti will start an insurrection in every home. A national domestic revolt is imminent, right in homes of the nation! These wise men could sing, “It's a scandal! Things are getting out of hand… Queen Vashti refuses to come at the king's command!” (see Esth 1:12)." Purim is to be a time of joy (simcha) and feasting and gladness and yontef (holiday) and a time to send gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor (Esth 9:22). Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, boasted that his scud missiles would burn half of Israel, but then he should have studied the whole megilah of Esther because then he would have understood why his elite Republican Guard tank divisions would suffer a “turkey shoot” from the air and be defeated on Thursday, February 28, 1991 (5751), Adar 14, the very day of Purim (Esther 9:19), proving that any Haman who threatens to destroy Israel can still be brought down by the G-d of Esther. G-d, Whose Name is never mentioned in the text of Esther, is nevertheless a presence felt in every chapter of the story, just as He was a presence felt by that disciple of Amalek, Stalin, Hitler, and Haman—Saddam Hussein—on Purim Day, 1991 (but ironically not on many so-called American believers who are not at all grieved over the ruin of Joseph (Am 6:6), not at all gladdened over the reading of this whole Hebrew megilah, not at all aware of what the G-d of Israel is doing, even now under our own noses, even, in the case of the U.S. military and Purim, 1991.

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.

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