Reimagining the King of Israel

Sing and be glad, O daughter of Zion, for behold! – I come and I will dwell among you – the words of Hashem. Many nations will attach themselves to Hashem on that day, and they shall become a people unto Me, but I will dwell among you – then you will realize that Hashem, Master of Legions, has sent me to you. –Zechariah 2:14-15 (The Stone Edition Chumash)

pesach

Pesach in Jerusalem – Image found in multiple locations – no photo credit available

Matthew Osborne sat in his easy chair, his teeth clenched and his fingers tightly gripping the arms as he watched the broadcast program from Jerusalem.

“I can’t believe it, Eloise, I just can’t believe it. I mean look at them. How could they all…”

The older man started sobbing and his wife, who had been pouring a cup of tea for him, came out of the kitchen and put her hand on his shoulder from behind.

“Matt, if this upsets you so, turn it off.”

He looked up at her. “Turning off the TV doesn’t change the fact that millions of the saints have turned their backs on our Lord Jesus Christ to follow this pretender, this Jewish King.” He spat out the last two words like a curse.

“Let’s pray together, Matt. Jesus is still our Lord in Heaven.” She hurriedly moved around the chair and kneeled in front of him.

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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.

Blood Libel

passover seder

Passover seder at the home of Rabbi Mayer Hirsch, San Francisco, circa 1920. (Courtesy of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life)

Klaus Buchner was running for his life. One minute, he was a guest at his friend Josef Steinbauer’s home expecting to experience his first Passover seder since he was a child. Now these insane fools were chasing him, screaming terrible insults in archaic German. Where did this damned desert come from? Why couldn’t he get a cell signal?

Martin Frederick had been hosting his family and close friends in his home for Good Friday, mourning the loss of their Lord Jesus Christ, his being betrayed by the damnable Jews some fifteen hundred and thirty-seven years prior, and now they were chasing one of them. He and his kind were no doubt responsible for the disappearances of six-year-old Hans Kruger and his sister Elsa, two years his junior. But this was nowhere near Magdeburg. There was no such terrain anywhere in Germany. How had they gotten here?

Both Klaus and Martin, men worlds and centuries apart, felt as if reality had abruptly changed from light to dark, from liquid to solid. How could they be here and who were the men Martin was following and who were pursuing Klaus?

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Matzah Pizza and an Island of Peace

pizza

© Dale Rogerson

Esther had some cheese and matzah pizza and another sip of wine. Fortunately the owner of “Stanley’s Pizza” knew how to accommodate her needs during the Passover season.

At work, time was very fluid, which was why she appreciated the dependable rhythms of a Jewish life. Looking at her watch on the counter, she chuckled. She could only wear it off-duty.

Being a Cross-Time Detective was draining. Thank Hashem she’d captured the dimensional jumper before he could illegally copy the plans for, what..oh, “velcro” and bring them back to our reality.

Now she could enjoy her pizza and peace.

Written for the Friday Fictioneers photo challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the photo above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine is exactly 100 words.

Since this is the week of Unleavened Bread, and since my wife is visiting our daughter in California and I’ve got the place more or less to myself, I thought I’d write this small bit of “Jewish themed” science fiction. Besides, the pizza really does look like it’s made of matzah.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.