Israel Revisited – from exile to exodus (part 2/2)
I didn’t know what I was in for… I wouldn’t want it any other way!
After landing in Israel in June 2005, immediately I felt a raising of my energy. It felt perfect to arrive. Prior to that, the only time I had been in Israel was in December 1987 for a couple of weeks.
The first place I went to was the Jerusalem botanical gardens.
However, I soon noticed my lips drying up – this was due to the hardness of the water. Pots and pans were even left with a white residue of minerals after each meal. The only solution was bottled water.
Two people I met in Jerusalem were Sharon (below left) from the CU Agency and Warren (below right, 2018) who is also from Melbourne, Australia. Warren and I took on an extras role for Sharon at Mt Zion for a Discovery/NatGeo documentary. In 2018, right before leaving Israel, I gladly met Warren again who by that stage was using a walker.
Interestingly, the “raising of vibration” that hit me when first entering Israel and kept bringing me back had left by 2018. It is for this reason that I tend to think the term “aaliyah” (going up to Israel) is wrongly applied to Israeli immigration. Moreover, I think the country name “Israel” is incorrect. That name should only be used once all the lost 10 tribes can (and do) return to the holy land and not while the Israelites are lost and in exile – imagine if that became the new security narrative rather than Iran! Even “Jewland” “Holyland” “Israel-2B” or “Israeland” could be more apt. The Temple Mount has not changed since 1948 and the wars never end because there is a fear of justice.
After Jerusalem, I made it to the holy mountain city of Tsfat.
Here I spoke to Jeremy who was immigrating to Adelaide from England. He wasn’t sold on Israel and was very concerned with the poverty. I also met Tony Rose (from Manchester) and his children (photo Jerusalem, 2006) who was later murdered in Tsfat in a horrific stabbing.
In Jerusalem, at around the same location as above, I overheard a couple of American guys discussing Israel and making “aaliyah.” They said it was a highly security conscious, hyper-rational and highly competitive society. Their main gripe was that Jews fighting other Jews just doesn’t work – I suppose they meant especially in Israel – and I agree. It’s ironic, because I went to Israel to be in a place where there’d be less walls between people as a result of being from the same spiritual and genetic background – but it turns out the walls are just different.
Anyhow, months later, in October 2005 and still with the travel bug, I reached Vancouver.
While browsing a second-hand bookstore I discovered a book (Idel, 1988) Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah and it really had a strong resonance with me. The book is a study of Rabbi Abraham Abulafia. Abulafia uncovered new knowledge through an itinerant life and believed he was the messiah – although perhaps that belief was justifiable to the extent of his preeminence.
Abulafia even attempted to convert the pope to Judaism:
He went to Rome in 1280 in order to convert Pope Nicholas III to Judaism on the day before Rosh Hashanah. The Pope was in Suriano when he heard of it, and he issued orders to “burn the fanatic” as soon as he reached that place. The stake was erected in preparation close to the inner gate; but Abulafia set out for Suriano all the same and reached there August 22. While passing through the outer gate, he heard that the Pope had died from an apoplectic stroke during the preceding night. He returned to Rome, where he was thrown into prison by the Order of Friars Minor but was liberated after four weeks’ detention. He was next heard of in Sicily. ~ Wikipedia
I also visited the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in Victoria, BC.
Back in Israel months later, I borrowed the Tanya from Ascent and started reading it. One thing that struck me was how it described the world being continuously created through the constant emanation of the names of God (in Hebrew.) I’d already heard something similar on a radio interview while driving to South Australia – that the Big Bang didn’t occur once – the world is big-banging into existence at every moment.
The apex of my learning came whilst studying at Ohr Somayach yeshiva in Jerusalem.
During one of my first classes there, I had the distressed thought: “So this is it, I have come all the way from Australia, dropped out of university, travelled a great mental distance, spent lots of money and relocated to this premises and all for this classroom? A whole new journey of infinite learning was about to start. Please God if you’re listening, make my day.”
And the class proceeded as usual.
Then that night, in a dream-like state some angelic teacher stood near me and imbued me with an avalanche of wisdom. The transfer went for about a minute or so. I’d never experienced anything like it before or since. It was like the feeling of a million burning questions being answered.
Now who doesn’t want to stand in God’s stream of consciousness?
And so that was it, the exodus was over… at least for me at that point.
So the Ari (Isaac Luria) told the student something remarkable: “if I had 80 years to write down the material that I heard from Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, I still couldn’t finish it.” That’s how much Rabbi Shimon said in whatever brief time that he (Luria) was sleeping or in a trance.” ~ Rabbi Mendel Kessin 8:51