Monday, December 26, 2011

Strange encounter with the long white beard.

One Shabbos I was walking back from a meal in Har Nof. I see this fairly large man walking with a long flowing beard. Somehow I gravitated towards him. Looking back I was lonely. In those days, I didn't like silence. I needed to be speaking, it hid me from my pain. I loved being engaged n conversation because it gave me the imaginary idea that I was known and that I was close to someone. I said "Good shabbos". Now this man must have been wise, and deep because he must have seen the pain and loneliness right away. He did speak to me. Then we sat down. We must have spoken for a little while. He was American, and he came across as safe and normal. Somehow I felt comfortable talking to him. All I remember was that somewhere in the middle of the conversation, he said something like, "your blood must be boiling over". I wasn't sure exactly what he meant and he explained that, as a young man, I must be thinking a lot about sex. I was shocked to hear a man with a long white beard talk about sex so openly. I don't think I had heard the word mentioned in all these years in Israel."How did he know this" I wondered because I knew that I surely didn't tell him what I was thinking. Although it would be many years until I would begin having a slightly healthy and "normal" attitude about sex, this was one moment of surprise, normalcy and encouragement that planted a seed in my mind. Perhaps there was another way to live, another way to think. I also knew that it would be a very long time until I made it there. I had no idea how it looked so I didn't really know what I was after.

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