The Last Rose of Babylon

last rose of babylon

Babylon Eyes Rose

The great Bavel had been destroyed long ago and it was time to leave its ruins. She had been hiding among the worshipers of the Church of the East because it was the only place left to go. Like her mother and her mother’s mother before her, Warda concealed the truth of her identity and her faith. Now that the Muslims had conquered this land, only a few Christians chose to remain.

She took her place in one of the wagons in the caravan with the other women. They would go north. India was supposed to be safe and the Church had established itself there.

The women and girls prattled on, some gossiping, others fretting about the future, would their daughters be able to find husbands where they were going and such.

She felt a little like Esther, wearing a mask to shroud the name Hadassah. Her mask was Warda, an Arabic name, because these Christians would never understand why a Jew would be a follower of the Christ and still see herself as a Jew.

It had been over 700 years ago that Rav Yeshua died his bloody, symbolic, sacrificial death, and then to fulfill the promise of the resurrection, rose again with the promise of the ultimate restoration of Israel. One day he would return as the King ,and the few Jewish disciples would no longer have to hide in the galut. Until then, Shoshana, the last rose of Babylon, her daughters, and her daughters’ daughters would remain in obscurity. Someday, like Hadassah, she would take off the mask and ask for the King’s favor in saving her people from the Muslims and the Christians alike.

I wrote this for the Sunday Writing Prompt “It’s All in the Title” challenge hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to select one or more titles from the ten listed and then write a poem, short story, or other creative work based on it. Obviously I chose The Last Rose of Babylon.

I looked up Babylon of course, with the idea of telling a tale of its destruction and someone leaving the great Bavel (the Hebrew name of the city) for the last time.

The Muslim’s conquered Mesopotamia in the mid-7th century CE and dissolved the Church of the East, marginalizing or destroying Christianity in that part of the world. Babylon had long since been destroyed at that time, but records mention a small village called Babel which may have been built on its ruins.

What we call Christianity today started out as a wholly Jewish religious movement, a strong variant of Pharisaism, with a group of thousands of Jews devoted to Rav Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as the promised Messiah. Even centuries after the Biblical period, it is thought that there were still some Jews who remained his disciples, living and practicing as Jews rather than “converting” to Christianity, which by that time, was made up largely of non-Jews who had completely re-interpreted the scriptures to eliminate Jewish faith and praxis.

In this case, my Shoshana (which means “rose” in Hebrew) is disguised as Warda in order to practice her faith, and yet she remains devoted to her Rav as a Jew, much like Hadassah hid the truth of her being Jewish behind the name of Esther.

I thought this a fitting story given that today is the Christian Easter in the Western world as well as the second day of Passover.

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13 thoughts on “The Last Rose of Babylon

  1. Powerful work, I sympathized with the main character and hope that she found freedom from persecution. even in modern times freedom seems an illusion, even in modern times people often adapt a false, status quo identity just to enjoy basic rights

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely story. It reminds me of the Jews of Spain who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquistion to continue to live. Some elders (possibly from those early ‘conversos,’ even in this time (I spoke to someone a few years ago who had a MIL who did such a practice (- perhaps speaking in Ladino a mix of Hebrew and Spanish) still lit /light and bless candles in the closet of their homes on Friday nights, – a family tradition, to remind them of their origins. But unfortunately these ‘Jews’, mostly Catholics now, would deny their Jewish heritage in this day and age because they just simply forgot the tradition was to celebrate their Jewish Sabbath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, many Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism under threat of torture and death and yes, they are lost now to their heritage.

      I’m reminded of a story about a Rabbi (I don’t recall his name but it’s a famous story). During the Holocaust, many Jewish children were hidden in Catholic orphanages to protect them, but after Hitler’s defeat, the Priests didn’t want to give them back. This Rabbi would travel from one orphanage to the next and sing the Shema. Some of the Jewish children would cry remembering their families and others would join the Rabbi. The Rabbi then said to the Priests, “These children are mine.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve been to the Babel providence where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet. It is a lush green area I’ve never seen plant greener they it is in that region. I also seen the City of Babylon…..

    Liked by 1 person

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