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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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Busy Work

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While Pesach cleaning, I found a whole bunch of questions that were sent in at some point that I somehow haven’t gotten to. So I’m going to address them now, in the hopes that doing so will get me out of Pesach cleaning.

Dear Mordechai,

I think my neighbors are beginning to outnumber me. To be honest, I’m afraid they’re going to join forces with my enemies and defeat me. I don’t even remember how these people got here. Seriously. I don’t remember anything. I might be hundreds of years old. What do I do?

Pharaohnoid, Pajamas

Dear Pharaohnoid,

Well, if they do outnumber you, my advice is that you probably shouldn’t get on their bad side. Maybe you should ask your advisors what to do, and by “advisors,” I mean ones who think for themselves and challenge you, and ask questions like, “If you’re a god, why do you need advisors?”

Dear Mordechai,

I’ve been working at a dead-end job for some time now. This organization is ridiculous. They give the women men’s work, such as opening containers of cement, and they give the men women’s work, such as telling the women where to lug the containers of cement. And it’s not just gender flipping. We have big strong jocks designing buildings on quicksand, and weak nerdy Jewish guys such as myself putting everything up crooked. That said, my fellow slaves and I have a disagreement: Some of us say that we should be lifting with our legs, and others say that if anything, we should be lifting with our arms. Maybe this work wouldn’t be so back-breaking if we had any idea what we were doing.

Swamped, Sand Dunes

Dear Swamped,

I know what you mean about the role-reversal thing. Sometimes my wife and her friends say, “If men would only have babies…”

And they just have one at a time.

Dear Mordechai,

My weirdo astrologers tell me that a redeemer will soon be born who will lead out the slaves. But they don’t know if he’s going to be Jewish, or Egyptian, or secretly Jewish but raised by Egyptians. Why do I pay these guys?

Skeptical, Rooftop

Dear Skeptical,

I say you ignore them. Think about it: If you kill all the baby boys, then this “redeemer” won’t grow up to lead the slaves, and your astronomers won’t have seen that he’ll lead the slaves, and they won’t have told you, and you won’t have killed the boys, and he would have grown up to lead the slaves. So your plan is flawed from the get go. And thinking about this further will only give you a headache.

Also, remember that your entire problem is that the Jews are living amongst you, and you’re afraid they’ll join forces with your enemies. Isn’t having someone lead them out what you actually want?

Dear Mordechai,

My daughter brought home a baby the other day. She says she found him. Is this something I should be concerned about? Also, one of her arms is suddenly way longer than the other. That can’t be good for shidduchim.

Sudden Zaidy, Shock

Dear Sudden,

Not since you’ve been throwing boys into the river, no. Talk about creating a shidduch crisis.

Dear Mordechai,

My grandson was sitting on my lap, and he pulled off my crown and put it on his head. Should I have him killed, or what?

Balding, Public

Dear Balding,

Here’s what you do: First you put two bowls in front of him, and then you GET OVER IT! Kids walk around in their parents’ hats all the time. I keep a pile of old hats for just that reason. Do you have any old crowns laying around? Like maybe one from your bar mitzvah?

See, this is why no one really wants to come to your birthday parties.

Dear Mordechai,

A burning bush just told me to talk to Pharaoh, but I have a speech impediment, due to an insane incident which boiled down to my grandfather and all of his advisors vs. a two-year-old. I spent 7 days trying to dissuade the bush, and long story short, I’m going. Any advice?

Nervous Speaker, Midian

Dear Nervous,

Well, you can just speak softly and carry a big stick. Do you have any older brothers you can bring along with you?

Alternatively, you can write Pharaoh a stern letter:

“Dear Pharaoh,

Let my people go.

Love, Moshe.

PS – Please note the enclosed snake. It used to be a stick.”

Dear Mordechai,

My slave-driving boss just told us that from now on, we have to make our own cement. My question is this: How on earth do you make cement?

Perplexed, Deep Quicksand

Dear Perplexed,

Beats me. I think you need apples, nuts and wine.

I always just get a box in the mail.

Dear Mordechai,

I feel like I have a frog in my throat. Can you recommend a good way to get rid of it? I tried hot tea with lemon, but that just made the frog angry.

Ribbit, Ribbit

Dear Ribbit,

Well, frogs like eating flies. You can swallow a fly. On the other hand, if you feed the frog, it might decide to stay.

So my advice is that you swallow something that might actually eat a frog. What eats frogs? Maybe a hawk. And then a cat to eat the hawk. And then a dog. And so on.

If that’s too hard to swallow, we can try figuring out what else eats frogs. How about a snake?

Dear Mordechai,

Can you recommend a good way to get rid of lice? It’s all over the kingdom. I can’t believe these magicians can reincarnate dead cats, but they can’t conjure up a decent lice shampoo.

Itchy, Everywhere

Dear Itchy,

I actually don’t know what to do about lice. We’ve never had any, baruch Hashem. (I know, I know: “Who’s Hashem?”)

My kids’ yeshiva has nit checks every year, and they charge for it, because making sure the entire student body doesn’t contract vermin is somehow a bonus service that doesn’t fall under regular tuition. But they do this two days before school starts, so I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do if they find lice. Maybe we have two days to find a new school that allows it.

But thanks anyway for sending me this question, in an envelope that I’m afraid to touch.

Dear Mordechai,

My entire town just got hit by a major blackout. Was it something I did? What should I do? What did our forefathers do before light was invented? Do you know where I can buy yahrtzeit candles? Should I eat everything in the freezer? I did, and now I can’t move. Literally. All I can do is stand here and think of questions. What was that noise? I feel like I’m in the dark.

Pondering, Exact Location Unknown

Dear Pondering,

I’d send you some answers, but I don’t know how you’re planning to read them.

Dear Mordechai,

Our slaves just left. What do we do? We haven’t done a thing for ourselves in 210 years.

Starving, Exact Location Unknown

Dear Starving,

Actually, I hear the astrologers might be looking for work.

“Really? You can’t predict that if we enslave the Jews, we’re going to be hit by ten plagues? Can you predict that I’m going to fire you?”

Maybe you should take out an ad:

“SLAVES WANTED: Powerful nation seeks several “can do” individuals for intense manual labor, including busy work, heavy lifting, cleaning, and filing tax returns. Some experience preferred. No salary, so must be able to obtain college credit. Must have own cement.

But I wouldn’t suggest running this ad in The Jewish Press.

Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” No? Well, maybe you’ll find it while Pesach cleaning.

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This week we deal with questions from people who, one way or another, are on their own. And as usual, we don’t really help them.

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