According to Google, The name Vladimir is Slavic, meaning, "of great power" (folk etymology: "ruler of the world", "ruler of peace") / "famous power", "bright and famous." The two main protagonists of the current Ukraine war both carry forms of that name. Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky. The two first names are virtually identical. They are polar opposites, yet in some ways interchangeable. There is something so perfectly Purim about this.

There are other Purim parallels too. Like the uncanny mythological undercurrents of this very real battle between good and evil. Today, in his speech to the European Parliament, President Zelensky framed it as a struggle between darkness and light. That message resonates with the triumphant conclusion of the Purim story, Esther 8:16. "The Jews enjoyed light and gladness, happiness and honor." But before that light, in chapters 1-7 there was a lot of darkness.

Have you ever seen the Purim story playing out so in such perfect synchronicity with our front pages? A mad despot - some call him crazy - embarks on a genocidal plan, only to be thwarted by a Jewish leader so empathic that he makes translators cry (one whom they are calling a Modern Maccabee, though I see him more as a modern Mordechai). And, in the true spirit of Purim, protagonist Putin - whose name is almost identical to "Purim" (and Haman is called the evil one - or "rasha" in Hebrew) - is a cartoonish, germaphobic and paranoid villain, while Zelensky is a comedian by trade, best known (before the "perfect phone call") for playing Hava Nagila with his private parts. And now he is a modern Jewish hero. You really can't make this up!

Zelensky's Hebrew name is Vladimir ben Rima, a transliterated Russian name, since he was of the generations denied full access to their Jewish heritage during Soviet and Nazi rule. He was part of the lost century of Jews, who now, stunningly, have reappeared to take their place in history. Russian Jewry had been left for dead - but like Mordechai and Esther, they've emerged from oblivion to save the day, in, of all places, a former killing field in the diaspora.

Putin's Hebrew name would presumably be Vladimir too, if he were Jewish. But he's not.

Purim is a holiday whose motto is "hafoch hu," from Esther 9:16, The very day the Jews were marked for destruction, they gained control over their enemies. The world was turned upside down. That's what's happening now, at least in some respects. Look at at the British tabloids - and just the fact that I even said "Look at the British tabloids" tells me that the world has gone nuts. his week has brought the whole world together in a manner we have rarely seen, to the point where British tabloids, Poland and Turkish leaders are all sounding like principled people, especially in contrast to you-know-Pu. Check these headlines from earlier this week. I especially like the "madder than a box of frogs" headline in the Star.