March 2018

Mazel and Mishagoss


By Stephanie Lewis


That’s right, and amazingly the story of what happened bears a striking resemblance to the actual story of Pesach itself! It all begins with the lovely woman at L’Chaim magazine, Diane Benaroya (my boss!) whom I jokingly call a “Slave Driver.” Now mind you, she’s nothing like cruel Pharaoh because she’s not punishing, but she is publishing! And while she’d certainly never carry out death sentences, Diane does assign monthly deadlines for my word sentences! But mysterious similarities between this story and Passover don’t stop there, so read on!

Ever the procrastinator, in order to get my articles written on time, I need someone to light a fire under my butt. (For our purposes, we’ll call that “The Burning Tush!”) When I married my husband Otis, it was his job to motivate me. But once Otis and I divorced, I packed up my stuff and made a mad “Exodus” from what I’ll call my mad “ex, Otis.” (You’re making that eerie connection, right?) Nowadays I write in my own bedroom, surrounded by just under a dozen author award plaques hanging on the wall. You might call them, “The Ten Plaques!” Still following these shocking Passover parallels?

Meanwhile needing to submit a Pesach story for the March issue, I asked myself, “The Four Questions” (What? When? Why? How?) which every journalist knows is the correct way to begin a good article. Unlike the children of Israel during Egyptian times, I had no help from Moses — however I did receive inspiration from several “Muses” but lately their ideas had run dry. (Probably from wandering the desert?) Frustrated, I recalled Moses’ helpful sister Miriam, and realized I had my own Miriam assisting me too — Merriam Webster — my trusty dictionary!

Just then my publisher Diane called to issue me a warning about my Passover story not making into L’Chaim magazine if it didn’t get to the printing press pronto. I envisioned the print shop owner, a grouchy guy named Herb tapping his foot impatiently — truly a “Bitter Herb.” I thought of explaining to Diane that I’d been plagued by darkness (a recent power outage!) preventing computer usage, or that all my kids were plagued with lice. But I realized she had hardened her heart when she announced she’d put an indefinite hold on my PayPal. No more paychecks? Hearing this news caused me to cry out in anguish, “Please … let my PayPal go!” Alas, this treatment was simply not fair-o! (Pharaoh?!)

There was only one thing to do and that was compose an email to the printer, Bitter Herb, asking if he’d accommodate my article if I drove it there myself today? I typed the request in red font so it’d stand out. When I proofread the email, I noticed I formatted the word “accommodate” with a hyphen like this … “ac-commodate.” You realize what that means don’t you? I just parted the Red C’s !

After quickly dashing off my article, I hopped into my car, racing my Pesach story to the printers in my Mazda while munching Matzah. (Uncanny correlation?) Running through the front door, whom should I bump into but my publisher, Diane! “I hope this is funny enough,” I said, handing over my story. “Hopefully there are enough laughs?” I reiterated, catching my breath. “Well, if you’d gotten here sooner, it would have been enough, “Diane peculiarly proclaimed. But if anyone knew about that kind of thing, certainly Diane knew! Because … Dayenu! (It would have been enough!)

Only then did I finally have my precious freedom … at least until the April issue. Happy Passover!


Stephanie D. Lewis writes regularly for The Huffington Post comedy section with a humor column at Reach her at


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1 Comment

  1. I love bad yet clever puns so much. Mazel Tov and Gut Pesach!

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