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stroking on the Angel of Death

So I said I'd post about the Mezuzah.

According to the Torah, God got pissed off that Pharaoh was not letting His People out of slavery. So He told the tribes to get ready for the Angel of Death.

This AD was going to swoop down all over Egypt one night and kill lots of people. The first-born son of everybody. Plus everyone else who is first-born. Cattle, oxen, the whole nine yards. The next morning, Pharaoh would get the message.

But what was a trembling Jew to do?

So God told them to take a lamb. Take a basin. Get the lamb down on the ground and lift its head up and slit its throat. Catch the blood in the basin. Good bye lamb.

Then you take the blood and wash your hands in it and put a big smear of blood on your doorpost. Maybe even two.

Then you get the hell off the street. For the whole night. If you know what's good for you. You don't do that, you're gone too.

I'm not making this up. It's in the Bible. They tell it more elegantly than I do. But that was the deal.

So the faithful did as they were told. That night here comes Field Marshal AD with whirlwinds and lots of help from more enlisted AD's. Next day a whole bunch of Egyptians were dead. Not a mark on them. Pharaoh went nuts. {MORE nuts.} Figured the Jews did it and he did not need them anymore in his country. WOW. That was a longlong time ago, right?

So. Today we do not have Jews slaughtering helpless animals anymore [I think.] We have the Israeli equivalent to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Instead of Pharaoh, we have Iranian Medium-Range Missiles and Russian rockets in Syria aimed at El Al flights and Hezbollah with Allah-knows-what. [They visited just down the street, I told you about that.] In Israel we have the Israeli Air Force and we have tactical nuclear weapons. We have the Torah-thumping faithful {this side of the fence} and the Qu'ran-thumping faithful {other side.}

We have the mezuzah.

It's a little cylinder you tack up beside your door to tell the current Angel of Death to go somewhere else. Actually, to Pass Over and go kill Egyptians, and others, in the name of education. These days, somewhere in the Jewish calendar, we celebrate Passover. It's the AD that passes over. Many modern-day Mezuzahs are very pretty. I bought one in the Muslim market. Lots less messy than painting your doorjamb with blood.

It's supposed to have a little Torah saying in it, blessed by the Rabbi. Both ends of mine have silver plugs with rubber gaskets. They were removed and the cylinder was empty. The Muslims don't listen to rabbis? [Surprise.]

So I have special things placed into mine. Most are from our memorial site.

What you do is, you rub it for good luck.

I just found one on my door in the hotel. Today. Never noticed it before.

The last time I rubbed one on a doorpost was outside Kiota's door to her room at Evergreen. When we left her room for the last time. Never noticed it before that. She rubbed it also, right after me. She had put it up there and she told me how proud she was that her grandfather had given it to her. You wouldn't believe her tiny and powerful smile. I saw it and melted and it's in my heart right now. Besides, now I've found out that her gf is really not Jewish at all.... Another witness to how much he loves her. He wrote me about that.

You can get all cynical and say WTF look how much the Angel of Death paid attention to Kiota when she locked her door for the last time and prepared herself. Pass Over, my butt!

I don't say that.

I think it was the Angel of Life that also came and kissed her and dissolved her body and enfolded her in Her big wings with mountainous feathers and put her back together and helped her away....

But you won't find that in the Bible.

Maybe I have a Revised Version?

I'm poking around in a war zone, all right. But life is especially good today. Because all of you are here, Neta is here, Anna is here.

L'chaim! .. = to life, in Hebrew.

Blessings Be.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
I like your Bible :-)

I have often envied the tradition of the mezuzah. I lived in an apt with an empty one once, but felt awkward about the idea of using it myself as I am not Jewish. But it's such an elegant mix of not just the tradition of protection, but also of brave (and a little audacious) declaration in a world full of Feldmarschall-Todesengel's followers.
Sep. 8th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
O Alex, Ich liebe deine Deutscheworten!

Well, that is one reason why *I* have one. It means what it means. I want a part in making the meaning for me. So!

All that beautiful filigree work and color and silver isn't because it's supposed to be empty.
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)

And maybe the next time I live somewhere that there is one, I will take courage and put something meaningful inside it :-)

Sep. 8th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
I love how that story has translated itself into modern Israeli life. :)
Sep. 10th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
Guess I'd have to admit that there is a lot more here than Death, Angelic and not. But there are always vivid physical reminders ["Morning in the Market" next post]
Sep. 11th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
"It's a little cylinder you tack up beside your door to tell the current Angel of Death to go somewhere else. Actually, to Pass Over and go kill Egyptians..."

hahahaha I love it, for all the wrong reasons.

and all the right reasons too.

and for some reason it breaks my heart to know that Ki rubbed it. but everything to do with kiota breaks my heart right now.

thanks for this, brad. i hope to own one one day.
Sep. 11th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
O Nurzie I would make you a present of one and send it,if I knew how to mail it to you and escape the AUK religious police [or whatever their equivalent is, over there.]!

And I wasn't thinking closely of you when I wrote that, but I instantly see why you love that for all the right reasons too!

There was a lot of light going on in my school visit to Lachan. The kids there now are new, so they don't remember her, but the instructors sure do. She was a real tiger in studying the things she sensed would help her with her dreams. If you can grip the image of a shy tiger.

Which I'm sure you can.

I know very few things about your own school stuff but from what you've said, there's more than a little tiger inside you too.

Blessings Be.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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