Tuesday, 22 February 2011

How the rabbis stole Purim

News arrives of yet another ban. This time it's not the internet, DVDs, tight blouses, short skirts, walking on one or other side of the road but on walking out altogether. For the rabbis in their eternal wisdom have banned yeshive groups from hiring buses or other forms of transportation on Purim. They have cited the excuse of killjoys up and down the country, 'health and safety' and so killed the modicum of fun that is allowed once a year to penetrate our sacred square of the holy mile and have accomplished what even Haman was not capable of.

Since they don't follow the news, except insofar as it concerns cuts to housing benefit, it appears that they have yet to hear that the Labour government has been out of power for almost a year and health and safety has been declared by the new government a 'music hall joke'. But then what’s a music hall? It is however hoped that having jumped onto the 'elf and saifty' bus more concern may now be shown for the unharnessed children shepherded around morning and evening, weekdays and weekends, public holidays or not in overcrowded vans with their drivers honking their horns while on mobile phones. Or perhaps, just perhaps, it is that our media 'rabbis' and 'police liaison’ machers who are embarrassed by the display of our singing and dancing culture in the open and so have ensured to rid us of their once-a-year red faces.

Mind you talking of jokes there is little to beat the most recent ban, even more recent than the one above. In the run up to Purim a local camera shop, the Camera Media Centre in Dunsmure Road had an idea. An idea? In Stamford Hill? A shop called ‘media’! You can see where this is heading. Anyway, they hired a horse drawn carriage to peddle their wares up and down the square mile. And so a carriage was hired, horses were harnessed, adverts placed, goods displayed, driver seated, whip in hand and…

Horse - Copy

But then a whip even larger and even thicker appeared.

The horses had not dumped some manure on our litter-free streets before the rabbis beat them to it. For no sooner had the blinkers been affixed and the rabbis snorted. Nein, they said. We can't have horses in Stamford Hill. Just imagine what will happen if a brother were to take his little sister to see the sight, his sister meets a friend and presto the boy will be in the company of an alien girl, Go- forbid. Out! No horses in our stables.

There is a saying, if your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong. With a rabbi it's the right question that gets you no, no and no every time. To paraphrase a Yiddish proverb, itself a paraphrase of a verse in Proverbs, there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against a stubborn horse rabbi.

Or as we say in England, a horse, a horse, my rabbi for a ferd!

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