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.