Steve Rodan

Dear Diary

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and say to him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah.” [Numbers 8:1-2]
Sivan 14, 2449
Dear Diary,
My kids finally overcame my resistance and convinced me to keep a diary that they can pass down to their children. They tell me, “It’s not everyone who talks to G-d and has an intimate knowledge of heaven.”
So here goes. My elder brother Aaron has got the blues again. He comes to me the other day and says, “Look at all the princes of the tribes. They are sacrificing to G-d during the inauguration of Tabernacle, and I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs. So, I asked for divine help and G-d said Aaron will light the Menorah every day and that’s bigger than a one-time sacrifice.
Whew! I think he bought it.
Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them. [Numbers 8:6]
Sivan 18, 2449
Dear Diary,
I’ve had lots of challenging jobs, but this one took the cake. I had to purify 8,000 Levites so they could serve in the Tabernacle. I started by sprinkling them with cleansing water, actually water mixed with the ashes of the red heifer, then shave all the hair from the bodies. Let me tell you: some of these guys — you could have planted a garden in their chest. Then, I had to make sure they washed their clothes and clean themselves.
But this was nothing compared to what Aaron had to go through. He had to lift each Levite in front of the Tabernacle and wave them. Some of these guys were the size of Haystack Calhoun. A rich cousin of ours went crazy when we told him he had to undergo this process as well. We kept telling him we didn’t make the rules, but it didn’t help.
Then Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’s father-in-law, “We are traveling to the place about which the Lord said, I will give it to you. Come with us and we will be good to you, for the Lord has spoken of good fortune for Israel.” [Numbers 10:29]
Iyar 20, 2449
Dear Diary,
I don’t know if you’ve heard of Murphy’s Law, but today was a great example. After a few smooth days, my father-in-law Jethro says he’s going back home to Midian. Mind you, I knew something was wrong when he asked the other day whether his family would have a portion in Israel. When I told him this was reserved for those born Jewish his face turned funny. I reassured him that we would work something out. But I knew I had lost him.
I pleaded with him. You are our eyes and ears in the desert, I said. You established the system of justice that is doing great. Most important you have foiled plot after plot by those wicked Egyptians who joined us — Yes, I know, it’s my fault for accepting them. Now, he’s leaving. What am I going to do?
The people were looking to complain, and it was evil in the ears of the Lord. The Lord heard and His anger flared, and a fire from the Lord burned among them, consuming the extremes of the camp. [Numbers 11:1]
Iyar 28
Dear Diary,
As soon as Jethro left, the Egyptians started making trouble. It’s clear they had been planning this for a while. A few months ago, after they complained that they had nothing to do, I let them start a newspaper called “Desert Times,” just a few news items as well as weather and birth notices. They wanted to put in a horoscope, but I said no. Anyway, now, the Egyptians changed the title to “Complaint Times” and every edition is another call for demonstrations against Aaron and me.
Here are some of the headlines: “Moses is forcing us to walk in the desert without Blundstone,” “Expose: Moses and Aaron won’t supply meat and fish; ‘Let them eat Manna!'” “Cruel leadership bans vegetable imports.” “Latest Poll: Most want to return to Egypt.” The Egyptians are handing out free newspapers to the Jews, and now, they’re bawling as well.
It’s easy for Aaron. He’s busy in the Tabernacle. I have to face these people every day.
“If this is the way You treat me, please kill me if I have found favor in Your eyes, so that I not see my misfortune.” [Numbers 11:15]
Dear Diary, [I don’t even remember the date.]
I finally did it. I offered my resignation to G-d. I don’t really know how that works but I told Him that He can just kill me and save on severance and pension. The pressure is too great, and I know that G-d is going to take revenge on the wicked — both Egyptians and Israelites — and I can’t watch this anymore.
Of course, G-d didn’t accept my resignation. He just told me delegate, that I should find 70 good men and they would help out. They would also receive the divine spirit. To pacify the epicureans, G-d said He would supply tons of meat until it would come “out of their nose.”
I didn’t like the sound of that.
The new consulting group didn’t work out so smoothly. Two men, Eldad and Medad, designated alternates, have been going around the camp prophesying that I would not enter the Land of Canaan and Joshua would take over. My guys told me to order the arrest of the new prophets. I told them it didn’t bother me, and as far as I was concerned everybody could be a prophet. Still, I’m not exactly thrilled by their prophecy. Funny, I seem to be the last to be told anything.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses regarding the Cushite woman he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. [Numbers 12:1]
Dear Diary,
My sister Miriam, who’s always telling me to watch my weight, is now on a new kick: my marriage. I don’t know what she wants from me. I’m over 80, married for more than 40 years and have two grown children. What does she expect — Errol Flynn? Well, it turns out Miriam met my wife the other day outside the beauty parlor, and Tzippora let it slip that we’re not living together because I have to be ready in case G-d calls.
Then, Miriam runs to tell Aaron the big news, and she’s upset to boot. My sister is also a prophet, and she didn’t have to leave her husband. And neither did Aaron. So, why was I acting differently?
I don’t really care what they say behind my back, but then G-d intervened. He struck Miriam with leprosy and now Aaron is screaming at me to pray for her to be cured. So, it’s on me again. Of course, I did pray, and G-d said He would work it out. Meanwhile, Miriam is under house arrest until she gets on the mend. Now, the peanut gallery is asking whether I pulled strings with G-d to let Miriam off with a slap on the wrist.
I’m exhausted just writing this, and I don’t know if I can continue this diary. Life here grows stranger by the day. Maybe my attitude is wrong. Perhaps, I should just remember what Doris Day sang, “Que sera sera. Whatever will be will be.”
Do you think my grandkids will want to read this?
About the Author
Steve Rodan has been a journalist for some 40 years and worked for major media outlets in Israel, Europe and the United States. For 18 years, he directed Middle East Newsline, an online daily news service that focused on defense, security and energy. Along with Elly Sinclair, he has just released his first book: In Jewish Blood: The Zionist Alliance With Germany, 1933-1963 and available on Amazon.