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The Emissary: Chapter 5

“We have no choice but to partake in one last military expedition.” The generals passed the message along the ranks, and it spread like wildfire from Jew to Jew


“There is one more enemy I need you to help me defeat. I know you have fought bravely, and for this I will always be grateful. But you know how much I am offering you in return for your services. Do not forget my incredibly generous offer. I will allow you to rebuild your homeland like it was never built before. Who else would say such words to you? Which other ruler would be so kind?”

“We certainly appreciate your offer, and this is admittedly a strong part of the reason why we are fighting so hard for the empire out in the battlefields. But our men are exhausted. The wars have taken their toll, and our spirits and bodies are battered and bruised. We need to leave, and we want you to keep your end of the agreement.”

“Do you take me for a common thief? A liar with no morals? I was not merely babbling for naught when I promised you the return of your country! Do not imply that I am not a man who keeps his word! I certainly do. However, as I have already stated, your services are still needed. Not far from our country, another one of my great foes awaits with his armed forces. I won’t sit idly by while he prepares to threaten my power. I will strike him now, while my army is filled with your mighty warriors, and together we will smash the enemy to smithereens!”

The Jewish generals had no choice. What could they do, after all? Argue? Refuse? They would be killed on the spot. With a feeling of impending doom, they returned to the men awaiting their return.

“We have no choice but to partake in one last military expedition.” The generals passed the message along the ranks, and it spread like wildfire from Jew to Jew. “This will be the last fight, though, so stay strong and keep your spirits up! Hashem is with us, and soon we will march proudly with our families to the holiest land on earth and rebuild its ruins.”

A mantra was taken up among the Jewish fighters as they marched with the Persian soldiers to do battle once more.

“The fall of this enemy is the rise of Yerushalayim!”

The goal was in sight. All they had to do was defeat the enemy once more, and this would automatically guarantee them the ultimate victory of being allowed to leave foreign soil and return home at long last.

They fought bravely, even though their strength was low. Their spirits soared, raged within them, as the promise of breathing in the holy air of Eretz Yisrael kept their body and soul as strong as ever. The enemy soldiers were overcome by the passion and zeal of these defiant, fearless Jewish warriors. Soon, the war was over, the battlefields filled with the triumphant chants of the Jewish soldiers, while the Jewish generals instantly cast off their armor and weapons, hurrying back to the kingdom to speak to the king.

The Jewish community was already celebrating, songs of gladness bursting into the air as people packed their belongings and prepared for the journey to the Holy Land. The Jewish emissaries set off for the king’s palace to finalize their agreement.

When they entered the king’s chambers, he was sitting on his throne with a big smile.

“Ah. My brave Jewish fighters have returned. My heart is bursting with joy at the news of the downfall of my enemies. You have indeed lived up to your side of the agreement. You marched with your men into the heat of battle, not shying away from the toughest fights. And you helped our armies defeat the enemy. Time and time again… Well done. I could not be more pleased.”

“It was our greatest honor, and we are happy we could service the king and subdue his foes, with the help of G-d. Now, we return to you to finalize the arrangements for our mass exodus from your land to travel back to our own and rebuild what was destroyed.”

“Yes, yes, of course. I knew you would not forget!” The king chuckled, running his fingers through his black, scraggly beard. “I am already arranging for my army to escort you home and of course, attack and eradicate the enemies in your land, who will try to keep you out and retain their control over it. Come back to me tomorrow and I will have all the details for you. For now, I want you to return to your community and spread the message that the king is so proud of his Jewish constituents, and our entire empire owes you a debt of gratitude for all of your heroic services and undying loyalty. Go! Go celebrate!”

The generals returned home, and the community breathed a sigh of relief. The king was already arranging for their return home! It had been so many years…

That night hoofbeats awoke the sleeping Jews. Then more hoofbeats… and the sound of steel clanging, armor, and swords. Riders on horseback appeared, swords held aloft.

to be continued… 


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 930)

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