SkiN Riding To Freedom On The Magic Grogger
By LEVIN KIPNIS
One Purim eve, just before
sunset, grandfather was sitting on a
stool examining his Megillah. Before
the stove stood grandmother,
blowing at the fire, raising clouds of
smoke and preparing all kinds of
cakes and cookies.
Suddenly Haggai, their little
grandson, came running in.
"Grandfather, it's almost time to
go to the synagogue to hear the
Megillah read. And I haven't a
Grandmother peered out from a
cloud of smoke.
"Haggai is right," she said.
"How will he beat Haman without a
"It's time to make one, then,"
So grandfather, who was handy
with tools, took his sharp penknife.
It was an old penknife, but it shone
as though it had just come out of
the factory. He picked out a smooth
piece of wood from a box and
began to work. He cut and hacked
away, the splinters flying in all
directions. Haggai danced about,
trying to catch the splinters.
"Stop dancing about," said
grandfather. "While I make your
grogger, you study your lessons."
Haggai took his grandfather's
old Bible out of his bag and opened
to the book of Joshua.
"And it came to pass after the
death of Moses ..."
Grandmother stood at the stove
listening, her eyes filled with tears
of joy. Grandfather listened, too, but
he did not stop his work for a
Haggai read one chapter, two
chapters, three, four, five. And
grandfather worked away on the
grogger. He put together small
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1988
pieces of wood, big pieces, narrow,
wide thick wheels, sharp rollers,
Haggai reached chapter six and
his voice rang out like a golden bell,
"Jericho was shut in," just as his
grandfather was finishing the
grogger. The wheels were put
together, a screw here, a nail there,
and the grogger was finished!
"And the people shouted," read
At that moment the grogger
shouted, too. The voice of the
grogger shook the air. For this year
grandfather had made the most
wonderful grogger of all. On top
was a little blue and white flag, and
while all groggers have only one
wing, this grogger had two wings.
Haggai closed the book in the
middle of chapter six and even
grandmother left her hamantashen.
Grandfather rose happily from his
work, like a conqueror. He tucked
his Megillah under his arm and the
three went to the synagogue.
There Haggai's grogger
became famous.lt made more noise
than any other grogger in the city.
As its wings turned, the synagogue
became a thundering mountain and
Haggai might have been a
messenger from Joshua sent to
throw down the walls of Jericho.
When the three returned home
again, they happily ate their Purim
"Tomorrow," said Haggai, "I'll
dress in blue and purple, like
Mordechai, because my grogger
Grandfather smiled, then sighed
and said, "Yes, Haggai, Haman was
killed, but there are other Hamans,
many others. In Germany ...
Romania, Poland ..."
That night Haggai lay in his
bed, tossing from side to side.
Suddenly his grogger came and
stood beside him.
"Haggai, why aren't you
"Oh, dear," said Haggai, "one
Haman was hanged and now there
are so many others."
"Yes," answered the grogger,
"but they'll all be punished. You
should be happy because it's
Purim. Tomorrow there's that big
celebration in Tel Aviv."
"How can I be happy," said
Haggai, "when Jewish children are
suffering in other lands?"
"Why don't they come here?"
asked the grogger.
"I wish they could," sighed
The grogger jumped about in
great excitement. "Why not?" it
asked. "You can bring them,
Haggai, if you're brave."
"How can I bring them?"
"Listen," said the grogger.
"Take me outside. Spread my
wings, then sit upon me and fly off.
Together we'll fly over foreign lands
and bring all the Jewish children
here. But don't forget to take
provisions, not cakes and goodies,
but rockets and flares to light the
"Hurrah!" cried Haggai.