Last week, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills gave us a funny, female-led “Encanto” (or “Hamencanto,” if you will) parody of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” This week, we’ve got another “We Don’t Talk About Haman,” this time, from the kings of Jewish a cappella, the Maccabeats. But don’t worry about feeling any de ja vu, because these two parodies could not be more different.
The Maccabeats’ version is not a funny parody with “Frozen” costumes, little kids having fun and adults being silly. This is a Lin-Manuel Miranda style dramatic production, with “Hamilton”-esque dance numbers (complete with colonial soldier uniforms), dramatic shots, high stakes and detailed references to the Megillah.
At the center of the video, directed by Leah Gottfried, is the story of Esther, played by young Naomi Weissberg. We start by seeing a dramatic confrontation between Esther and Haman over a game of chess (feeling some “Queen’s Gambit” vibes here).
The Maccabeats go to Esther to tell her about the evil Haman — singing their dramatic “We Don’t Talk about Haman” — “We associate him with the sound of casting lots,” they sing about the villain of the Book of Esther. For those who don’t know, the name of Purim comes from the Akkadian word pur, which means lot. When Haman decided to annihilate the Jews of ancient Persia, he cast a lot to determine the date. The parody also describes him as grinning “ear to pointy ear” — a reference to hamantaschen, meant to represent the villain’s ears.
“Standing at the gate, idol around his neck. If you don’t bow down, you might just be next,” the group continues, singing about Haman’s attempt to convert or kill the Jews. As they croon on about the misdeeds of King Ahasuerus’ grand vizier, Esther appears more and more agitated, until she leaves her own throne, her face serious.
It’s then that the parody switches songs to a version of “Surface Pressure,” titled “Esther” — detailing the inner conflict of the Jewish queen. “She’s the new queen, at your service, and they can’t know that she’s not Persian,” the Maccabeats sing. “Gotta face her fears and this heavy burden, if she doesn’t want to see her people’s final curtain,” they continue.
They sing about the decision she has to make, choosing whether to risk her life for her people, singing, “Am I Hadassah, am I Esther?” (Hadassah is queen Esther’s Hebrew name.)
“Here she is, I know she has what it takes. No cracks no breaks no mistakes. She’s Esther,” goes the end the song, showing a determined Esther walking through giant doors to confront her husband and save her people.
Even though this video doesn’t feature any female voices, it is a delightfully feminist celebration of the Purim story’s heroine led by women — and we have to love that.