Once, A Long Time Ago …

… there was an Orthodox Jewish woman who was the ugly duckling of her family. No, not of her family, of the entire community.

It wasn’t so much that she was ugly, actually. I mean, no one can say that for sure. It’s that she worked hard at her chores and looked it. Haggard even.

And since she was the “responsible one,” as her sisters married and also the other women in the village, she took on even more responsibility and you could see the ravages of that when you looked at her too.

Or I don’t know, maybe she was just ugly.

There was one thing, though.

As an unmarried woman, she had not cut off her hair. And she possessed, well, beautiful hair. Hair that grew longer and lusher and more beautiful as the years went by. Even as it turned gray. Especially as the men had wives who, though quite beautiful, were, as tradition demanded, topped with shaved heads and wigs.

So it came to pass that the men would stare longingly at the excessively-tressed spinster in their midst. And she became more an object of desire with each slam of her mealing stone against the unforgiving stacks of matzoh in the unleavened fields. Eventually, the men spoke of nothing but her, gazing with ever less interest at their beautiful wives who grew more jealous with each mention of the ugly woman’s name.

Embittered, the wives shunned the vixen in their special section of the synagogue on Saturdays. And during festivals. And at such other times as they and the woman might be in the synagogue together. Even when it was a coincidence.

They never forgot to shun her. That’s how serious it was.

Gathering each Friday in the marketplace — a safe distance from the temple — the wives not only sought out the best short ribs for their cholent and, of course, an occasional parsnip, but — piece by devious piece — constructed their vengeful plan.

They knew, it must be stated, that there were no men left for the seductress to marry. But they shrewdly determined to marry her to God. Which, with the help of the matchmaker and the rabbi’s wife — married women both — they did, making for them a joyous wedding.

The entire village was there.

And the seraphs. And the cherubs.

And the scampering woodland creatures.

And the sundry beasts of the field

And the Lord swept up his bride in a swirl of wind and took her to the clouds, burning off her glorious mane so that no other man nor God could ever again gaze at the crowning glory of a woman now his and his alone.

Then God took unto himself his bride in a waiting celestial chamber.

Immolating her in his enthusiasm and rendering himself a widower before even a grain of rice had fallen from his ectoplasmic gown.

When the sheets were hung the next morning to establish the purity of the bride, they were stained with ash and hair.

While the town, with no one left to plow its highways or milk the petunias that once had promised so much plenty, grew hungry and inffirm.

It withered and died within a generation.

As for the Lord, he learned his lessons well and turned to one-night stands so that he might never again suffer the heartbreak of losing a wife. And when, eventually, he impregnated Mary, he wore a full-body asbestos condom. With a hole, you know, for his penis.

Sadly, Mary died of mesothelioma from exposure to the asbestos. But God, having long ago moved on, did not inordinately grieve.

And that is why Gentile women, to this very day, keep their hair.



Filed under Gracious Living

2 responses to “Once, A Long Time Ago …

  1. daniela

    Gee, I must have a book of these stories! I really really really liked them! Don’t tell me you never published anything. Most of the self proclaimed writers out there are shit

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