Monday, March 5, 2012

In the year of King Uzziah’s death

Preface I was asked by a few readers (yes, there is someone other than you out there looking at this blog) what was this post about and why the title. Why the title: Open a Tanakh and figure it out on your own, it is a very famous passage. What is the content: two weeks ago a Buddhist priest walked in during Shabbat morning services. After my initial delight at the thought of interesting interfaith interactions, I realized he was a nut case (or close to one). This post is mostly a verbatim of his words only (except for the two parts in italics) you can imagine my responses from his reactions. My only comfort while this surreal conversation was taking place was the fact that I could understand all he was telling me, which could mean one of two things: 1) finally all those hours poured over Japanese textbooks are paying off, or 2) yes, me too...

I am a Buddhist priest from Niigata Prefecture. I specialize in Tibetan puja, Hindu puja, esoteric Buddhist invocations, Jewish puja and Islamic puja. Who is the rabbi of this church?
“I know that Jews have these objects and I would like to see them. Would you please show them to me?
“But I know that you Jews have these objects! You have made them for the Temple in Jerusalem. I want to see this one, and this one, and this one for burning the incense. I want to talk with the person in charge! I know Jewish priests wear these clothes. I have studied it!
“I read that Jews burn incense on this small altar covered in gold: do you have it too?
“Why can’t you show them to me? I just want to see how they are made. I will not touch them. I know that anyone who touches them dies.
“I know these objects are secret, but can you show them to me?
“I have come from Niigata Prefecture. Can I talk with the older rabbi of this church? Where is the older rabbi of this church? I have come to speak with him.
“It is not true that there is no older rabbi. I want to talk with someone older. And with a long beard like this! When is he coming?
“Look, look at this picture. I took this picture in the backyard of my temple. You see this? This is a ray of light coming down from the sky. From the God of the Jews. This is like the story of the prophet Elijah, when a ray of light came down from the sky and burned his sacrifice. A ray of light from the God of the Jews has come down to the courtyard of my temple! Look! Look how strong it is! It was very bright when we saw it! I want to build an altar in my courtyard like the one the prophet Elijah built, when the ray of light came down from the sky and burned his sacrifice. This ray of light means that the God of the Jews has accepted my temple, doesn’t it?
“What are the words you say when you make sacrifices? Can you write them for me in katakana?
“How do you invoke the God of the Jews to make him come down? Write it for me in katakana!
“Can you count in ancient Hebrew?
“No!! No!! No!! I know that the numbers in ancient Hebrew are hi, hu, mi, yo. This is what the gods sung to Amaterasu! The ones you say are not ancient Hebrew! You don’t know ancient Hebrew! Who knows ancient Hebrew here? I want to talk with someone older!”
“People are waiting for me downstairs. I have to go.”
“I went to the Israeli Embassy on Thursday. I wanted to talk with the Ambassador, but they did not let me in. They said that without appointment I cannot meet the Ambassador. But I have a very important thing I can disclose only to the Israeli Ambassador. Is he coming here? Do you know the Israeli Ambassador? He needs to know!
“Six times an UFO flew above my home and my temple. Six times! Then the seventh time a female-UFO came out of the ship and took me for a walk in the woods. She was taller than me and she was wearing white clothes and had this on her chest, made of gold with twelve precious stones. She gave me this map of where they are from. This galaxy is where they live.
“She said she was one of the angels of Bible of the Jews and the God of the Jews has sent her to inform me about what shall happen beginning in June. She told me that only the Bible of the Jews has the truth and asked me to come and tell you. She showed to me passages from other religions’ holy books telling me they are all lies.
“I am not allowed to tell what shall happen in June, I can only tell the Israeli Ambassador. The Jews have to be ready to be saved.
“I cannot tell you what shall happen. Many people shall die. The Jews have to be ready because the God of the Jews wants to save them. In June the destruction of humankind shall begin. Many people shall die, and then the God of the Jews will send space-ships to save the Jews. The Jews have to be ready to leave. All the Jews have to gather in Israel and after all the Jews leave the God of the Jews will destroy the earth. I know other things but I can tell them only to the Israeli Ambassador. Please, I need to talk with him.
“The God of the Jews has promised that he will destroy the earth as soon as all the Jews are on the ships. No one will be left on earth this time.”
“People are waiting for me downstairs to say another prayer and then we have lunch. I cannot believe in what you said. Maybe it’s better if you leave now.”