By Rabbi Yeshaia Charles Familant

August 30, 2018

I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you, who wished me a Happy Birthday – that includes all of my friends on facebook, and even those who may have unfriended me, all my non-facebook friends, my dentist and plumber, and, oh, ah, my family, too (some of whom say they actually love me).

However, I cannot leave you on such a relatively bland note when an event of great moment occurred to me this morning during the wee hours!

While I lay asleep, I had one of those urges to go to the bathroom, which occurs with some frequency to one having reached my advanced age. To my surprise and mild distress I received an intervening visitation from the Sandman who sprinkled a few of his magical grains into my eyes to keep me in a pleasant state of slumber. Immediately after his departure, a fairy gracefully drifted above me, and with her magic wand, plunged me into a dream.

Within this dream, two visitors suddenly appeared. The first claimed she was one of God’s angels. She said that because I’ve been such a good person (mostly) during these eighty-six years, she was instructed by God to grant me an extension equal to twice the number of years I had reached so far. Being pretty good at math, I did a fast calculation. Twice eighty-six comes to an additional one-hundred and seventy-two years!

“Wow!” I thought. “That’s fantastic! All that for being good (mostly)!”

But then the other visitor interrupted my premature exaltation. He said that he was one of Satan’s emissaries. Satan, he said, was willing to give me a much more generous offer. He would extend my years by an additional square of eighty-six. I remembered what that meant from when I was in sixth grade. Eighty-six squared is actually eighty-six times eighty-six. Not wishing to brag about my facility with numbers, nonetheless, it took me less than a minute (twenty-three seconds, actually, but I don’t want to brag) to discover that Satan was offering me an additional seven thousand, three hundred and ninety-six years of life!

“Wow! Are you kidding me?” I asked, incredulously.

“Not at all” he replied. “Remember” he said, “that Satan was once an angel in heaven, and everyone knows angels never lie – even when they no longer reside in heaven.

“Is that true?” I asked God’s angel.

“Yes, it is” she replied.

“You’ll have to admit” I said to her, “he’s making a much more generous offer.”

“Yes” she replied, “but I’ve been instructed to offer you additional years of perfect health – even better than what you have now.”

“I can match that” eagerly interrupted Satan’s emissary.

“But I can bring you back to when you were just thirty years old! And you can start from there” she said.

“I can equal that, too” he said with some smugness.

“Gee, I don’t know” I said half-apologetically to God’s angel. “You’re certainly prettier than Satan’s guy. And I know that God is good and that Satan has a bad reputation. But maybe he’s just gotten a bad rap all these years. I’ve heard that from a few people, actually.”

“Well” she said, “The choice is yours, but I need your answer now. God is waiting for me back in heaven.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint you and God, but I’m pretty good at math; and Satan’s offer is definitely much more generous.”

“Well, since that’s your answer” she said, “I’ll say goodbye and farewell.”

In a puff of smoke, she was gone. Meanwhile, Satan’s emissary was wearing a strange grin.

“What are you grinning about?” I asked. Remember, you said that Satan never lies!”

“Oh, he never lies” he said adamantly. “You will receive exactly what I offered you.”

But then he added, “I may not have mentioned that Donald Trump will be your president for all those years?”

“Yeow!!!” I screamed to such a pitch that I suddenly awoke in a cold sweat. Fortunately, realizing that it was only a dream – a nightmare, rather, a flood of gratitude swarmed over me.

Well, I can’t dwell with you any longer on this. I just discovered the urge to go to the bathroom has passed. I’ll just throw my bed linens and pajamas into the washing machine and take a very necessary hot shower.