Wednesday, May 29, 2019

More dreams

Sometime in the past few years, after my Mom passed away, I dreamed that I was actually converting to the Samaritan version of our faith. I was preparing for the ceremony and put on an orange-colored robe / tunic. My Mom had ordered an orange-colored robe / dress / garment thing / before she passed & never wore it. My Dad offered it to my wife. It wasn't her style and we ended up giving it away. Was my wearing an orange-colored robe in my dream my Mom's way of communicating her approval of my inner embrace of the Samaritan version of our faith?

In June of last year (2018), I dreamed that I was driving to Aargaareezem. I was very excited. I was in Huwara when I remembered that my wife does not want me to go there because she feels threatened by my interest in the Shamerim and their approach to Torah, and my attachment to Aargaareezem. My interest in the Shamerim and my attachment to Aargaareezem frighten her. I remembered, in my dream, what the Cohein Hagadol told me when we met, that I must not jeopardize our marriage. (I would never do anything to jeopardize my marriage to the wife Shema has blessed me with but it was good to hear the Cohein Gadol tell me this.) So I turned the car aside, off the straight road to the Mountain. I was aware, in my dream, that the straight road, both physically and metaphorically!), for me, leads to Aargaareezem. So I turned the car onto a twisting road back to Jerusalem.  That is when I woke up.

I was not upset that I was not able, in my dream, to reach the Mountain. Not even in a dream am I prepared to go behind my wife's back and betray her trust in me. I was happy and grateful to Shema that Aargaareezem was still in my heart such that I dream about it even though I had not been there for over 2 years

Monday, May 27, 2019

Wow, it has been a while since my last post, 2.5+ years.

I have been back to the Mountain only once since my last visit. During the intermediate days of Sukkot 2016, my wife agreed to go with me (!) to the National Park on Aargareezem. The parks authority was having all kinds of activities there, including kite-flying. That is not how I want[ed] to go to the Mountain but since it was the only way my wife would agree to my going there, we went. The fence around Givat Olam was locked. I stood right next to it, slipped off my sandals, stuck my toes under the fence and gripped the rock as tightly as I could and prayed. We walked around the top of the mountain and walked over to the Altar of Yesaahq.

I have not been back to the Mountain since. My attachment to it and to the Israelite Samaritan version of our faith frightens my wife terribly. She feels threatened by it. So I do not go there and do not talk about it. I want to go the Mountain more than anything except upsetting my wife and affecting (detrimentally) our marriage. I will not go there behind her back (no more "furtive visits on the sly"). So I keep the Mountain even deeper inside. I just hope given the lengthening years that It will not get lost in there, deep, deep down inside me. But I suppose that is my challenge, to keep it at the forefront of my heart, and my hopes. Even though I do not talk about the "Samaritans" or "Mt. Gerizim" around, or to, her she knows that they are still in my heart (though I wonder if she really knows how deeply). That bothers her but she has made her (uneasy) peace with it. (Did I say a post or two back that I marvel at her endless patience?) G-d but I love her!

My mother passed away in November 2017, may she rest in peace. Having to mourn for her according to orthodox Jewish law jolted me back into going to regular prayers in the / a synagogue three times a day. But I still direct my prayers to Aargareezem. I put on tefillin in the morning but I do not, and will not, say the blessings. Outwardly I must appear the (modern-)orthodox Jew. Plus it makes my wife happy, which counts for very, very, very much.

I pray that G-d may open her heart that she should allow me to go to the Mountain very soon but without her being threatened or afraid. I also pray that G-d might open her heart that she will see Aargareezem the way I do and that we might worship G-d together, there, but in secret if need be.

I WhatsApp my Samaritan friend every now and then to let him know that I am still here. It is now between Passover & Shavuot. Of course I am counting the Omer according to the Israelite Samaritan rite.

On Friday nights, at Shabbat evening prayers in our synagogue, I envision myself standing there on Givat Olam, in spirit I am there, amidst the buffeting winds until they blow me back to where we live. During morning prayers, every day, when we read the song at the Red Sea, I envision myself at Givat Olam and the Altar of Yesaahq, in spirit I am there. I just pray that it is Shema's will that I might be there bodily, not just in spirit, and openly.

I still read that Israelite Samaritan commentary on the weekly Torah portion (according to the IS rite) in our synagogue every week. It and the tehina are my physical links to the Mountain and the Israelite Samaritan version of our faith.

I will close by reposting something I originally posted back in March 2014:

High Priest Amram Isaac writes about Mt. Gerizim:
In the account (to which reference has been made) Jacob (upon whom be peace) is commanded to erect another altar on it, in order that the timid may be well assured that such a place is his refuge, for it is the house of God, the protector, (may He be exalted) who saves the one taking refuge in Him and seeking Him by faith, in this place.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I had another dream about the Israelite Samaritans two weeks ago. I dreamed that I was in some kind of seaside resort complex, a very large, spread-out building on the sea, with outdoor decks, promenades, etc. only I was inside with all the families & people who were walking around. There was a kind of atrium on a lower level, with a deck running around it, ampitheatre-style. The Israelite Samaritans were there, holding a Hatam Torah ceremony in which a child reads Deuteronomy 33 & 34 before the community (the closest thing to a Jewish bar mitzvah). I wanted to go down to them but there was a (perfectly transparent) perspex/plexiglass barrier between the Samaritans & non-Samaritans. I was in a crowd of people most of whom were shuffling past them without paying them any attention. I wanted to go them but I couldn't. I saw the barrier and stopped. I thought it wouldn't be seemly to gape & gawk. The shuffling crowd shuffled me along, and away. That's when I woke up.

It being autumn I am thinking about going to Aargareezem again, before "Rosh Hashanah". What do I seek, and find, there (in the few hours that I will spend there)? For me, I am going to Umbilicus Mundi and tapping into the spiritual energy that flows into the world (and me) at that point. I recharge my spiritual batteries for another year (until my next visit). I get the strength to re-realize that God has a plan for me, that I must trust in Him that He knows what He is doing and that what He is doing is for my benefit, and that rather than seek immediate answers, I must wait and believe.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

This motzaei Shabbat & Sunday is the Jewish fast of the 9th of Av. I will be fasting for one reason only: My wife would be upset (very) if I did not. I think I will eat some Israelite Samaritan tehina as my last food before the fast starts & as my first food after it is over. This way I will either be remembering it or looking forward to it throughout the day, when my heart is not on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem but on Aargareezem.

I even wrote my own kinah to read on Sunday morning:

Today I weep for stillborn hopes
and dreams that withered while in bud.
An empty belly is soon filled
but an empty heart cries for bread.

See the grapes beyond my reach?
Would that I could have them!
They are sweetest nectar!
(Why can't I play the fox?)

The bird in hand makes a joyous chirp
for others; I cannot hear it
and would serve it up stuffed
except then I'd have nothing.

Better to have one's cake and gag on it
than stare at reflected grapes on an empty plate.
And the worst part?
Pretending that I like cake.

Aargareezem Bit El - Kal yaamee 'ayyeenoo!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Random thoughts

I had a thought about the Rabbinic notion of building fences around the Torah. I thought about Aabaah (Eve), in Genesis 3, in which she tells the snake that Shema had told her and Aadaam not to touch the Tree of Knowledge. We know, of course, that Shema said no such thing. Aabaah was, in effect, building a fence around the Tree and misrepresenting it as God's own words, just as Rabbinic Jews have been doing for centuries vis-a-vis the Torah. (And once the snake saw that Aabaah was prepared to misrepresent and, in effect, falsify Shema's words, the snake knew that he could persuade her to sin and defy Shema.) 

Last month my wife & I went to a wedding near Beit Shemesh. When they sang "If I forget you Jerusalem..." during the chupah, I said quietly to myself (and to Shema, of course!), "I acknowledge and testify that Aargareezem is the Holy Place chosen by God, not the Temple Mount in Jerusalem."

Also last month My wife & I went to the Old City of Jerusalem. My wife had to pay a shiva call & then we went to see the Light festival. While my wife was paying her shiva call, I sat with my laptop in a quiet corner in the Jewish Quarter and checked my email, did some work, etc. My wife had suggested that I could go down to the Western Wall but then dropped the idea when she realized, I think, that I have no desire to visit that place, certainly not to pray there. It really means nothing to me. Later we walked past the gigantic Hurva synagogue. What a monument and testimony it is to the Jewish penchant for grandiose buildings! Where did we ever get that idea? Certainly not from the Torah!

No plastered house can match the thrill
of a simple tent on a northern hill.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Been to the Mountain!

Let's see...

I left my office on Tuesday afternoon, March 29, at around 13:30. I picked up & dropped off hitchhikers along the way. I always make it a point to pick up hitchhikers & give people rides. I figure that if I do good with the car, then perhaps Shema will bless me as I drive it. Driving through Hawara was absolutely fine. We even got stuck in slow traffic; nobody even looked at us.

I drove up past Har Bracha & through Kiryat Luza to the gate at the national park. I saw men cleaning the area around the Pesach pits (it breaks my heart to see garbage & litter in that holy place!) & getting it ready for the great offering. I used my annual Parks and Nature Authority pass to enter. I couldn't go to the holy places right away as I had some work to do on the computer. I did that, put the laptop back in the car & walked out on the Mountain. It was windy & chill but I didn't mind. I was the only person there which was just as good. I looked down at Kiryat Luza and at Har Bracha, looking at both but actually in neither. I thought, how appropriate! As much as I try to learn about the Israelite Samaritans (including the IS version of the Torah) & talk to my IS friend, I know that I will, in all likelihood, never be one of them. I will always be the literal outsider looking in. And Har Bracha (which might as well be our entirely religious neighborhood)? I'm not at home there either. There I'm the figurative outsider looking out. I never felt so alone. I went to Givat Olam, took off my shoes and socks, opened the fence (how symbolic! I, the rabbinic Jew, opening the fence!) and walked out on the bare rock. I wanted to feel the rock with my feet. I lay down flat on Givat Olam (I wanted to feel the rock on my face and my hands) and prayed for the day when I can go to Aargareezem openly & not have to steal away on furtive visits. I also prayed that Shema should please, until that day comes, grant me some sort of equilibrium. 

I stood up, walked around some more, then knelt & lay flat and prayed some more. I left Givat Olam (closing the gate, I won't say "fence"!) and walked out to the wooden deck overlooking Mt. Eval & Nablus down below. Before leaving I went to the Altar of Yesaahq & walked down & around & stood in front of it for a good while, awestruck, trying to imagine Yesaahq stretched out on there with Abraahm ready to do Shema's bidding. But then it was time to go & I went back to the car. I know that there are the other holy places on the Mountain and one day I will ask my IS friend to show them to me but for now it is Givat Olam & the Altar of Yesaahq that draw me.

The drive back through Hawara was equally uneventful. I picked up & dropped off more hitchhikers on the way home.

I wrote the following verse:

Furtive visits, snatched on the sly;
time too short, til the next visit good-bye.
Until then the Holy Mountain I see
must remain hidden deep within me.

I thought/think about receiving the High Priest's blessing, which is very comforting, and a great source of strength, to me.

Our youngest son (15) once expressed an interest in coming to see the Pesach offering. He wants to see the shechita and preparation of the lambs & lowering them into the blazing pits. He hasn't brought up the idea lately. I hope he has forgotten about it. I really would prefer not to see the ceremony again, once was enough. To see it again as an observer, a spectator, and not experience it as a participant, would be heart-rending. I also see that the Israel Nature and Parks Authority will be having the usual activities but I that isn't how I want to come to the Mountain. All the visitors might think it odd to see me praying at the various holy sites.

I see that the Israelite Samaritan and Jewish counting of the Omer will coincide this year. We will both start on Saturday evening April 23/Sunday April 24. I can count with my Jewish friends & neighbors and none of them will realize that I'm really counting according to the Israelite Samaritan understanding of "from the morrow of the Sabbath". Where better to hide than in plain sight?

On another note. On the Shabbat before Purim, the rabbi at our shul spoke as he usually does & mentioned Haman in the course of his remarks and added that Haman was an Amalekite. His adorable four year old son piped up & said that the King of Arad was an Amalekite. I looked up the King of Arad (Numbers 21:1-3 and saw that Rashi says that he was indeed an Amalekite even though the actual text says nothing of the kind and describes him as a "Canaanite" who "lived in the South." Rashi cites various midrashic sources to the effect that these descriptions don't mean what they say and that the King of Arad really was an Amalekite. I think this is another example of the rabbis playing around with the plain and simple meaning of the actual text to make it say what they want it to say. What if the text actually means what it says & not what rabbinic sophistry says it says? There's a thought.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

End of February news

Up until this past Friday, my main point-of-contact with the Israelite Samaritans has been reading the weekly Torah portion in my translated English Torah & following the Hebrew commentary that I download from the IS website. The IS readings are now about the 11 Plagues & the exodus from Egypt. The IS count 11 plagues in Egypt, not, 10. They count the incident with the staves & the crocodiles ("serpent" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew t'nin, which means crocodile) in Exodus 7 as a plague. (FYI, in Exodus 4, the word nahash, snake or serpent is used.) This is my contact; this is what I must make do with at present. But this past Friday, my wife & I went to a family-owned pharmacy in our community. The pharmacy also stocks natural herbs & extracts & stuff. We went in & I noticed on a shelf IS tehina (tahini), from the factory in Kiryat Luza, on Aargareezem. I was delighted; naturally we had to buy some. The wife pharmacist (they're a couple) said that they had recently visited Kiryat Luza & the national park, saw the tehina & decided to buy some for the pharmacy. Seeing & buying that tehina, this token from Aargareezem, inspired me. When I was in synagogue Friday evening & I faced Aargareezem (see my previous post) to beg Shema to bless me and grant that I might serve Him one day on the Mountain, I felt the wind carry me all the way past Har Bracha, through Kiryat Luza, past the Passover pits and deposit me down on Givat Olam. I felt the wind at my back as I stood there, I actually leaned backward into this spiritual wind as I stood there, on the Mountain, before the wind picked me up and brought me back to our snagogue. How exhilarating! I thanked Shema as profoundly as I could.

The other bit of news is that just before Purim, my wife will travel abroad to help her mother (a wonderful woman) move into the local Jewish assisted living facility. She will be abroad for almost three weeks. I would love to visit the Mountain if I could. We shall see.