Dybbuks Don’t Wait for Halloween


All well-informed Jews know what a dybbuk is. An evil imp, a ghost, a soul stealer. They take many forms. Remember last week you dropped the grocery bag spilling five pounds of sugar, two dozen eggs, and two pounds of flour – thereby creating the world’s first raw and sweet omelet? A dybbuk! But that’s nothing.

Their range of impish behavior stretches from your computer – remember you whined and complained about the boss on that e-mail to your friend and erroneously sent a copy to the boss. Remember? Also a dybbuk.

How’ bout the time when our president was ranting to a worldwide audience about the danger of Islamic terror and somehow the teleprompter left out an “I” in Shiite Muslim? Wow! Did we hear about that from the English-speaking world. Again, a dybbuk. They thrive on miseries ranging from embarrassment to premature death.

The reason I’m so knowledgeable about these evil creatures is my Bubbe, who studied them like you study the Standard and Poor listing. (“You know why Zayde didn’t work for thirty years?” A lazy dybbuk possessed him. I thought it was just because he liked to sit around and eat Bubbe’s cooking, which she blamed on guess who when it was so salty it killed the kitchen cockroaches.)

She knew World War I wasn’t about all those silly historical conflicts between Germany, Russia, and France, but the dybbuk who jumped in the body of that assassin who killed Franz Ferdinand of Austria. From there the dominoes began to fall and before you knew it – WWI! And there are Japanese imps, too. (They love sushi, you know.) They sneaked into the soul of Emperor Hirohito. Guess what? WWII.

Those in the know are aware of a hidden arm of the CIA – DMA – Dybbuk Monitoring Agency. Who keep up with clandestine activity of these creatures, though experts say their chairman is the great grandson of the devil who took over the body of Al Capone. Remember him? A nice Chicago boy possessed, they say, by multiple dybbuks. And the Mossad is firmly convinced that the current ruler of Iran has long been taken over and they – the dybbuks – are at work making deviltry. And they don’t just do their deviltry on the world stage.

The DMA intercepted a Devilmail (their language) wherein devil No. 1 was bragging to devil No. 2 (without mentioning that he had polluted his email – they can’t help it) that he had absolutely destroyed a promising love affair between Alan and Rivka. Dybbuks are so clever. Instead of something obvious like giving Rivka a full-bodied, life-long case of Chicken Pox, he contrived to have Alan call her, “Jennifer”, his old flame. “Jennifer, I love you”. To Rivka! Every time, too. Fun, said Devil 1, but not nearly as exciting as the gold ol’ days when he took over the body and soul of that Austrian corporal. Ah, those were the days.

I, myself, had a firsthand experience with these creatures once. They’re always after me since they know I’m a dybbuk hunter. It’s supper. Smilingly, we sit at the table. Marital skies are sunny. Marital breezes are soft and refreshing. (An environment set for deception.) I eat a heaping forkful of kugel. (No raisins, which I love, but I say not a word.) But uh oh, I can’t swallow it! I’m ready to scream, “This isn’t kugel, it’s bubble gum,” but I hesitate. It’s THEM. They’re trying to break up my marriage. Instead, I smile. “What lovely kugel,” comes out of my mouth although my eyes are popping out of my head. But I’m in control. I didn’t run the DMA for nothing. “What lovely kugel,” I repeat.

”Liar,” she shouts back.

Ah, I get it. One of their favorite techniques. “A double pollution”. They infected both her and the kugel. But I recognize it immediately and instead of replying, I reach in my coat and extract a ten-dollar ring, which I carry for such occasions, “A small token of appreciation for a great kugel,” I say to my wife with a courtly bow. A lessor man would have been impaled with his wife’s fork.

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