Ask Avigail: Babylonia

Dear Avigail,

My husband, Seymour, and I are thinking of making a move to Babylonia. Seymour is a landscaper and has heard about Nebishthenezzek’s* Gardens. Perhaps he can find lucrative work there. Between you and me, artificial plants die on him…The problem is that, I am afraid of making changes, of going away from my tent. There have been rumors of leaving Egypt, but I also have a sagging uterus and need to have quick access to rest stops, on the way. I want to help my husband. What should I do?

Planted in Egypt

Dear Planted,

Funny you should mention fear of change. My cousin, Evelyn Polotsky, heard about the exile out of Egypt while having a routine bikini wax, with Novocain (for the technician). The Exodus was called for that very same day at 5:00! Ultimately, plans were cancelled at the last minute because it coincided with rush hour. However, assuming it was a definite go, she immediately tried to plan for the event, to alleviate the stress of a major life transition. The ban of dental floss ranked first in major life stress; moving and uprooting ranked second.
First, she cancelled her coveted nail appointment with Sergio from Assyria. Then, she made a list and hurried to the registration tent; she wanted a good place to stand, preferably in the front of the line. Then, she hurried to the Post Office to fill out a change of address card, so her mail would be forwarded to the Wilderness. She also wanted to go to the ATM, to change her money from Egyptian currency. There was no line, as slaves carry very little paper on them. She was hesitant to depend on plastic, not knowing which credit cards would be accepted there. She asked Moses what to expect when they left Egypt. He reflected and said, “Don’t expect Las Vegas.”
As she entered the bank, she wasn’t sure which line changed monies. She went up to a teller who politely answered, “NOW YOU WANT TO CHANGE MONEY???!!!!!” WHAT WERE YOU DOING ALL DAY? TRYING TO SUCK UP THE DESERT IN A DUSBUSTER?” Evelyn acknowledged the new customer service approach – much friendlier, more judgmental, like family. She nodded to herself in approval. The teller, without lifting her asp to help, directed her to an empty line. Evelyn was quick to notice that there was no teller there, either. She waited patiently for a whole five minutes, before returning to the first teller. Evelyn timidly approached her and asked if she knew whether the money changer was out to lunch, or what? The teller was wrapping her last nail in linen; but managed to give Evelyn what passed as eye contact.”She called in sick this morning.” Evelyn made a mental note to say an RS* for her, and hurried out.
She wished she had time to take a test drive and find a shortcut to New Canaan, but it seemed a “no-can-do.” Since news of the Exodus, there was a lot of pillaging and looting in the streets; Hebrews against Egyptian taskmasters, Hebrews against their mothers-in law, Egyptians against Egyptians, and the Irish against anyone, just for sport. She ducked into the souvenir shop, which was the last stop before the Red Sea. She figured she would pick up a few chachkas* for the grandkids to remember Egypt by: little woven baskets with baby Moses inside, plastic pyramids, with neon fireflies, trading cards with all the Egyptian gods and goddesses; Charades (in hieroglyphics) and a Junior Science Home Embalming Kit! She also filled her basket with snacks made of straw and mud, low in fat, high in fiber. On the checkout line, she reflected about her life in Egypt. She felt empowered by her career as a brick layer, although there was no room to advance – only a lateral move to straw gathering. She was even toying with the idea of becoming a caregiver to the Pharaoh’s cats, but her asthma would have become an issue.

The advice I have to give you…Evelyn Polotsky could have acted like an ant – racing around in circles, only to butt antennae with other hysterical ants, creating an epidemic of vertigo. But, she accepted CHANGE with child-like wonder and enthusiasm. She threw caution out with the coffeemaker, convinced that the electric current would not be compatible. She left Egypt with Hashem’s blessings and a great insurance policy, while her husband, bent over from the pain of unhealed whip lashes and reoccurring sciatica, carried a knapsack with a change of underwear and a small bag of non-perishables. Evelyn and the crew trusted Moses to lead them out of Egypt to the Great Unknown because Moses had a map with arrows pointing, “You are here for the next forty years.”
As the Hebrews looked back at Pharaoh’s advancing army on horseback, they were paralyzed with fear, until a young shepherd, Stu Newman, yelled out, “Hey, can horses swim?”

*RS – Jewish prayer to get well, so that the stricken one can pay back a loan.
Chachka – souvenir or gift which recipient puts in a “re-gift” basket.
*Nebishthenezek: The ancient Hebrew translation for this Babylonian tyrant is:
Nebish (screw up) the nezek (damage; one who is damaged, or, one who causes damage; either way, stay away).

About the Author
Shashi Ishai is a former stand-up/cartoonist from Teaneck, N.J. She resides in Netanya with her husband, Yacov; daughter, Zehava; son Zaki and dog, Stanley .Shashi is the author of ASK AVIGAIL: Advice from a Biblical Era Sagette, available on Amazon.