20 Tishrei 5782 / Sunday, September 26, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Someone is Listening    

Someone is Listening

Yehudit continues her spiritual odyssey that began in the IDF, and then to being a knife girl in the circus, to Thailand, Japan, and India searching for that “Someone”…


translated by Esther Cameron 

She proceeded to the next stop on her journey, which was Thailand. She would go into remote jungles to meditate upon hidden things. She aspired to internalize the rising of the sun and the phases of the moon and other marvels of nature. She learned a lot from the sea, which from the outside just looks blue, but when you dive into it, you discover a whole world. She understood that there are many things concealed in this world, in materiality and in spirituality. In Thailand she received from nature mighty powers to investigate the secret of creation.
Once day found herself on a remote island. In the middle of the night, while sleeping, she suddenly felt a terrible sting that sent a shock through her entire body. She awoke and saw at her side a writhing scorpion! She felt completely stunned and had no idea whether the scorpion was deadly. She was all alone, far away from the few inhabitants of the island. She was alone with the pain and the black skies sparkling with stars. Her pupils widened, and she said to herself that if she saw the morning light she would probably live, otherwise she had finished with this world...
Suddenly life and death were very close together, and it seemed as if she was asked to choose between them. After closing her eyes, she said in a voice that grew stronger and stronger:
"If someone is listening to me, I want to tell him that I want to live, but only on condition that I find the truth of the world, and if not, I prefer to die! Take me! If You leave me here, You have to give me the strength and the chance to find the truth of the world!..."
At last she saw the light of morning, which filled her with great strength. That same day she boarded the boat, left the remote island and continued the search more intensively than ever.
By the time she got to Japan, her money had run out. She looked for work and at the same time took part in a course on meditation in which there was no idolatry of statues and mantras. From her first day in the Far East, the statues had not appealed to her. She knew that they were limited and were not relevant to her. She put her efforts into the technique of meditation with the body itself, as it maintains itself in its nature. The course included a ten-day period of silence and almost complete fasting. She nearly killed her body. But she achieved deep meditations above and beyond the body. She repeated the course several times.
Japan is different from other Far Eastern countries. It is mystical and yet materialistic, ancient and yet modern. There she encountered Bhutto, Japanese street theater, which employed a method that appealed to her greatly. It involved living the thing itself: being a tree, a stone, flowing water...
She lived in a park in Yokohama. Her daily route led past a Christian cemetery. One day she gave the cemetery a passing glance and to her astonishment saw a Star of David on one neglected grave. What was a Star of David doing among those innumerable orderly, well-cared-for crosses? Without thinking, she leaped over the fence into the cemetery.
She approached the grave, which was located beside a little shed in a neglected corner, surrounded by a jungle of weeds and shrubs. She didn't understand what was happening to her. She had never felt moved when she saw a Star of David in the land of Israel. Filled with a sudden great strength, she moved giant branches aside till she reached the gravestone and wiped it clean of the dirt that encrusted it. She continued cleaning the graves nearby as well, and suddenly she discovered hundreds of Jewish graves, over a century old, with Russian names engraved on them.
She began to weep like a child. She felt suddenly that she was at home, that there was something here that belonged to her and that she belonged to. From that time on, she formed a curious habit. In the midst of the routine of life in Japan she would steal away to that cemetery, clean off some gravestone and sit down beside it as if in her own house.
One day some Japanese friends telephoned her:
"Yehudit, come quickly, we're watching a broadcast from Israel!" She got to their house and saw on the screen a bar mitzvah ceremony. Again she wept without knowing why. After all, she had seen many bar mitzvah ceremonies in Israel, and had never been moved by them. Her foreign friends looked at her in astonishment.
When she had saved enough money, she went on to India. She felt certain in her heart that from India she would come back with the answer to her questions. She did not know how or what, but she was completely sure of this. In India there is the strongest interest in the nullification of matter, in going out of the body. This is where the work of meditation and surmounting the bounds of matter reaches its peak, and joins with the source of spirituality that is called "the cosmic energy of space." True, they generally have all kinds of different and curious idols with all kinds of names, but the end is to arrive at that cosmic energy, and the condition for connecting with it is the nullification of the body. This purpose sounded very true to her intensely seeking soul. 
She got to India without knowing anything, a young woman alone, looking about for a way that would lead her further. She encountered a flood of offers for all kinds of courses in yoga and meditation. She would choose one, but as soon as she felt its commercialism, she would flee immediately. She was obligated to the truth alone.
She traveled in the direction of the Himalaya Mountains, to Dharmasela, where the Tibetan Dalai Lama lives. The farther she went the more she felt an increasing joy. At every step she saw the hand of Providence, felt that she was being led and and was very happy about this. Everywhere she went she had a harmonica in her smiling mouth. Though she had not yet found an answer to her questions, she was always joyful. The people who surrounded her were sure that she had already attained illumination and understanding, Nirvana, and were drawn to her as if by a magnet. When she began to feel that she was turning into a kind of little guru, she was horrified and fled from them.
At the same time, she began to connect with the concept of prayer. Once having understood that someone was listening to her, she began to speak to Him, to weep and laugh, to pray. For the first time in her twenty-eight years she felt that somebody was really listening to her. She went to the Indian temples. They prayed their prayers and she spoke and cried out to the creator in Hebrew. She did not define anything but addressed him as "You." She felt Providence quite concretely, and really knew that he was there and listening to her. This was a power that was beyond any name or designation, and yet she asked, "who is it?" Something in her wanted to define Him in order to know what He wanted of her. She knew that he existed, but what did He want of her?
To be continued.

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