Where Do Purim 'Spiels' Come From?

Scholars have long believed these satirical performances originated in a poem from the 1500s, but a careful reading of the Talmud reveals a spiel that extends far further back in history than that.

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Where do Purim "spiels" come from? These satirical performances, stories or songs – which often mock an aspect of the Book of Esther or community leaders, like rabbis and cantors – are as central to the joyful...