Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I still carry the little stone I took from within the fenced area around Givat Olam. It is in my pocket every day, Shabbat, holidays, etc. If I cannot be with Aargareezem, then a little piece of it will have to be with me, and this will have to suffice.

I heard Loreena McKennitt say, at her concert in the Alhambra, that a traveler just travels. The point is the journey itself (or "The journey itself is the point"), not arriving per se. Arriving somewhere, anywhere, is irrelevant. I am tired of travelling. When I became an orthodox Jew here in Israel, I thought that I had arrived. And then, after years of living as an orthodox Jew, I felt restless, I felt the yen to travel and I realized that being an orthodox Jew was just a way station, to where I as yet had no idea. Then my path led to, led me to, Aargareezem. This is where I want to be but where I cannot be. Why can't I, why couldn't I, be happy in Jerusalem (as it were), as an orthodox Jew??!! Why do I feel this spiritual restlessness? I would be far happier, I think, if I did not feel it, if being an orthodox Jew was not just a way station. But much as I would like it to be, it is not. I am still drawn to a northern hill. Deny Aargareezem? I might as well deny my kidneys.

And what scares the hell out of me is what if Aargareezem isn't it either? What if I could get there and after a while, I feel that awful gnawing restlessness again and Aargareezem proves to be just a glorified way station? What then?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


Yesterday & Monday was our (Jewish) two-day holiday of "Rosh Hashanah". In the orthodox Jewish ritual, once on each day, at a certain point during a particular prayer, we kneel on the floor & genuflect. I placed my stone from Aargareezem on the floor and knelt, resting my forehead on it (and not on a cloth or piece of paper on the floor as per Jewish custom). I prayed that one day I might kneel & genuflect in prayer on Aargareezem, openly, as an Israelite Samaritan. May it be G-d's will!

Monday, July 1, 2019

I went to Aargareezem!

One week ago today, I had to drive up north. Instead of driving on Highway #6 the whole way, I drove through Samaria and paid a quick (5 minutes!) visit to Aargareezem before driving through western Samaria and turning onto Highway #6 further north than I otherwise would have. Once again Givat Olam was locked, as was the Altar of Yesaahq. But it didn't matter. I knelt by Givat Olam & prayed and then went over to the Altar of Yesaahq. There was nobody else there, just me & G-d. I slipped off my sandals and walked around barefoot. Before I left I said with as much emotion as I could muster: "How full of awe is this place! This is none other than the House of G-d and this is the gate of Heaven!" I reached inside the fence around Givat Olam and took a small stone from the area next to Givat Olam. I keep it in my pocket, especially when I pray. Until the next visit!

I did not tell my wife. I'm not happy about that but I think this is one of those times when, to quote the Jewish sages, peace trumps truth.

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!