The Rabbi (the Ninth Chapter)

Sorry, maestro, I haven’t been writing lately. I’ve been giving up caffeine and nicotine. I look forward to continuing my account of the days after my second drug binge today. As I mentioned before, at the beginning of October, I still didn’t believe Noah’s cruel words. I continued to listen to her songs, identifying the coincidences that convinced me that their lyrics pertained to me.

Look, Noah van Ouwerkerk was like a fleece to me. That is, there is a story in the Bible, in the Book of Judges. That book tells of the time between the years of Moses and Joshua and the years of the kings of Israel. It was a time without peace or government, in which all the tribes did what they wanted. There was a man they called Gideon, an insignificant individual from an insignificant family from an insignificant clan, who had a vision of an angel who told Gideon that he would be a mighty warrior and leader and the savior of the people of Israel. Gideon was so convinced that he was a weakling that he did not believe anything he heard in the vision.

To check if what the angel was saying was true, he put a wool fleece outside, lying in the sun, and said to himself: “Tomorrow, if the fleece is wet with dew, but the ground is dry, I will try to become the great hero of Israel.” By morning, the fleece and moisture had met his requirements to the letter. But the guy still didn’t believe the freaking vision. He did the experiment one more time: “Tomorrow, if the fleece is dry with dew, but the ground is wet, I will try to become the great hero of Israel.” In the morning it was as he demanded. His request had been fulfilled. Therefore, Gideon became the savior of Israel. The fool needed an angel and two miracles to come to accept that he had a mission to accomplish with his life.

In my case, I wanted to know what to do in my life. You know that I studied Judaism, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic. I asked God if I had a purpose with the Jews. I think sometime I should probably tell you my main reason for leaving the United States back in 2018 to go to Israel in the first place. The story definitely adds the sense I have of a destiny outside of my country. Don’t let me forget to tell you about that later.

Anyway, upon leaving Israel in 2019, when I had the problems with the van Ouwerkerks, I said to myself: “If Noah van Ouwerkerk can treat me in a nice and civilized way, I will interpret it as a sign that I must return to Israel.” The answer was clear and forceful.

She didn’t do it. The fleece was wet and so was the ground. That is why I canceled my visa to Israel and made the decision not to return to that country. Yes, I clearly understood that everything with Noah could be a fantasy and nothing more. Having a legendary romance through Spotify with a teenager who lives on the other side of the world would be a miracle. I didn’t ask for a miracle to tell me what to do, but I did want a sign. I didn’t ask that Noah raise the dead, just not to be the attack dog of a family of so-called Christians. But the fleece was very, very, very wet and the ground was sopping wet as well. It was like a fucking fountain.

Surely my previous e-mails have shown you that in 2019 I encountered several challenges to my sanity. It seemed to me that my inner world and my outer world were beginning to show a very direct, obvious, and primitive connection. Everything in the innermost parts of my mind and as well as in in the external world around me was a matter of God against the devil. All the people I met were either a servant of God or a servant of the devil. Like a 1960s movie about the Old West, with cowboys in white hats and white horses against cowboys in black hats with black horses, it was all a matter of light versus dark.

Also, perhaps as a result of deep psychological circumstances related to my personal history, everything in my life related to gender was very strange. It seems that I have more than insignificant traces of fear, anger, and perhaps also envy towards women. This, in combination with the disgust I felt towards my personal life at the time, led me to recognize that I wanted to become someone else by supernatural means. Shedding my identity as a hated old man even brought me to various comments and thoughts about being a woman. The substance behind this is the macabre idea that with the help of sufficient amounts of drugs, I could change my perceptions and alter reality at will. In short: the traumas in my life were sending me down the path of Satan.

If it weren’t for the Noah van Ouwerkerk situation, it wouldn’t have been very difficult to determine that my insanity was the result of drug abuse. However, the song romance on Spotify happened before the hotel methamphetamine excursions. And the situation of the songs with the adolescent could be a consequence of my PTSD. My PTSD was not just an effect of the war, but also of my divorce and some problems with female army officers. I will describe the origin of my PTSD later. Now I just want to tell you that at the moment it seemed obvious to me that everything was an incredible fiasco with some kind of a purpose. But was it divinely or diabolically arranged? That would remain to be seen.

One benefit of my PTSD is that I have a generous pension even though I am not yet fifty years old. I am a free person. I have no job or home. In fact, I was celibate, a free monk unencumbered by family. A servant of God who had nothing to do except serve God.

I went to Israel, the Holy Land. Apparently the devil didn’t want me to live in that country. He had the perfect storm in store for me: all my friends in the country abandoned me, even my daughter. Then the devil unleashed his nuclear weapon: Harold van Ouwerkerk. By treating me almost like a male child molester, Harold van Ouwerkerk triggered my PTSD, which in turn triggered an emotional breakdown. His daughter’s songs on Spotify, like a siren song, made me fall in love to such an extent that I really believed I was interacting with her. In the end, during this debacle, I took drugs and encountered situations that I can only interpret as temptations to completely abandon reality, including my life and my identity.

For me, it all started with the Noah thing and her father’s attack. And now, a year later, I don’t understand if what I saw in her songs was false or not. In addition, the matter became the central point of the derailment of my life. Up until now it is difficult for me to enter a church because I imagine that Christians can be like the van Ouwerkerks: rabid moralists who attack the foreigner, who throw their sinful stones. They were Christians who used their money, power, and reputation to destroy the hapless traveler.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

James 2:1-5

They even involved the police because someone wanted to speak to a family member.

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

1 Corinthians 6:1-7

They were Christians who were not trying to make peace with an enemy.

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Matthew 5:43-47

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22

Matthew 18:21-22

For my part, what were Harold’s accusations against me? I was old. I tried to talk to a young girl from the community. Mortal sin! Yes, maestro, when I was threatened by the intervention of the ambassador, I responded with some frank comments. Many people might do the same when receiving such a threat. Also, I had been writing poems and weird stories on Facebook and my blog for over a year. But for my part, my impression of the van Ouwerkerks formed a quintessential example how I could not serve God within the confines of the Christian community.

Indeed, maestro, I was beginning to lose hope in humanity. In fact, the situation with the van Ouwerkerk was effectively the end of my relationship with the Christian church, and in many respects humanity altogether. You will understand later why. But so far, my inability to achieve reconciliation has greatly affected my personality and my relationship with the world. I used to be a hermit monk before all this crap, maestro. Concerning women, I’m a thousand times more single now than I ever was before, even though I have a girlfriend.

Also, maestro, I simply love Noah van Ouwerkerk. In Spanish they have a beautiful distinction between the words “enamorarse” (to fall in love, or to become enamored with) and “amor,” (to love). Falling in love is passion. An emotion. When I fall in love, I feel pleasure through another person. But that’s not what love truly is. Not at all. Love is when the other is more important than oneself. The Greeks had four words for love. Three describe love with predication, but the fourth requires no predication. Erôs describes when a person loves something or someone because of that thing or person has some magnificent quality. A woman loves a man because he is smart or strong, or a man loves a woman because she is beautiful, etc. Storgê is when a person loves something or someone because of some diminutive quality, like when a person loves a kitten or a baby. That is why the word usually refers to the members of a family. Philia is when a person loves someone because of similar quality. For example, when someone loves someone because they are both American, they both like soccer, etc. Finally, there is the Agapê : love without any predication whatsoever. This is when a person merely loves someone without having the expectation of receiving pleasure in exchange for love. It is like God’s love for humanity. God doesn’t need anything. He does not depend on anyone or anything. He gives himself completely to humanity with no expectation of anything in return.

That’s the love I have for Noah. I’ve never had a relationship with her. No history at all. I just have the idea that the songs I was listening to on Spotify meant something real. My love was never part of a relationship. Did I love Noah as a lover? Or as a niece? Or just as a friend of a different gender and generation? Sometimes I imagined myself as her Jedi master and that she was my Padawan student to me. All in my head, I know. I can only say that the upheaval of 2019 left me with a formless love towards a complete stranger. A love that does not wane, although it does harbor the odd expectation: disappointment.

Maestro, lately someone on TikTok said a very interesting thing in one of their videos: “a lot of people can hate for no reason, so I can love for no reason.” Yes, I understand that I did not really meet this woman in Israel. I only listened to her songs on Spotify. I can only say that I know her musical preferences. I interpreted possible things from her life from her songs. It could be that she had some powerful and tragic relationship with some old man. Maybe his name is Schmuel and he lives in Tel Aviv. Or it could that this fevered illusion of mine has some element of reality, and that a miracle occurred. Maybe she did have a connection to me, a person whom she never knew, but who understands her intimately and deeply. All I know is that this was happening to me, maestro. I didn’t choose it, and I can’t get rid of it either.

I have absolutely no idea what kind of relationship I could have with Noah if I had contact with her. The nature of an interpersonal relationship is determined by passion, not love. If you want sex, then you need a wife or a girlfriend. This would also be the case if you want to be something reciprocal as an exclusive partner. On the other hand, when there is a significant difference in ages, love usually takes a paternal form.

I just know that I felt a connection and a special consideration for her. At the same time, I fear that this strange affinity will disappear if there never ends up being any contact between us. I can’t feel comfortable with my life. I don’t know if I should be in Mexico. I don’t know if I should have a girlfriend. I don’t know what to do with my life.

I don’t know anything because I only had one conversation with Noah van Ouwerkerk. One in which she clearly told me that she hated me, although at no point did she feel sincere. I have never believed that the told me the truth. I think she only said it because her father expected her to. No girl would have refused to disobey her father to continue talking to an old man she had scarcely seen one time.

So contacting Noah became very important to me. There are several reasons for this. First of all, I wanted to know exactly when I had lost my mind to become an obsessive, delusional maniac who had ideas about reading Noah’s mind through Spotify. I cannot accept that the path of my life has collapsed because of the madness of the damned van Ouwerkerks. I need to solve everything to be able to continue with my life in Mexico, in the United States, or in Israel; with the van Ouwerkerks or without the van Ouwerkerks.

Yes, maestro, contact with Noah van Ouwerkerk could help me to discern the beginning of my madness. But to be honest, I don’t know if I can handle frank answers to my questions. Assuming she were willing to talk to me and overcame her father’s censure and innate fear of the unknown, and granting that she was willing to open up to let me get to know who she really was, eventually, if I could dare to do so, I would ask her if she had ever thought of me even remotely. I would ask her if there was anything on her Spotify list that had to do with me.

If, before getting to a point like that, she contacted me and abruptly responded with direct statements such as: “Yes, Jonathan, we have been talking through Spotify… I love you ” or with it’s complete opposte: “You scare me, and I think I already told you that you are a disgusting insane maniac,” I don’t know what I would do with either answer. I’m not ready to know.

I’m looking for something more than just a conversation with her to wrap things up in a few sentences. We already had that conversation. It was horrible and I don’t even know if I believe it. I want a resolution that contains forgiveness and friendship, as is appropriate among God’s servants. I already told you, maestro, this event resulted in the loss of my faith in humanity. It was the last straw for me. And at this point I absolutely cannot understand why it is so necessary for the van Ouwerkerks to avoid me, to avoid contact with a supposed brother of faith.

For instance. Imagine a moment when the craziest thing in the world happens, that a doctor called me and told me that Harold van Ouwerkerk had been in a car accident and that he compulsively repeated his name backwards every minute, and that the only thing that could cure him of this macabre habit was for me, Jonathan Bailey, his staunch enemy, to maternally read Beach Boys lyrics to him twice a week for three months. I’d read the fucking songs to him!

Yes, maestro, for me, Harold exemplifies severe problems with the human condition. But God commands me to forgive my enemies, and if for twenty minutes a week I could heal someone from serious affliction, I would. In addition, it would be an opportunity to demonstrate the meaning of the words of his holy lord in the New Testament.

You cannot understand, maestro, the depth of my disappointment over what happened with Noah van Ouwerkerk. During the last year I have tried two or three times to contact her without any results. I’ll tell you about that later.

Only the present situation remains. I can’t forget something that happened. I also don’t have the opportunity to figure out exactly what happened. I have not had the opportunity to give or receive forgiveness or friendship. I have had no sign of God, like Gideon’s fleece. I don’t know if I’m wet or dry.

In the end, I just can’t accept that the supposed purpose of my life would be something like this. I mean, I didn’t know exactly what the purpose of my life was. I had hoped to go to Israel and find The Promised Land there , but I found the van Ouwerkerks. As in real life, everything ended in disaster. I really have no connection to the Holy Land except for nightmares and uncertainty.

I couldn’t accept that lack of connection, this ending to a dream that felt like a massacre, a holocaust. So, I bought a connection. I hired the services of a rabbi.

I found this guy on Facebook. He had a website and a Facebook page connected to his site. He was a Hasidic rabbi of the “Chabad” organization, as well as a Kabbalah teacher. I tell you, maestro, the Kabbalah is a very interesting body of thought to contemplate, especially if you are entering psychedelic states with methamphetamines, in which case it is common to lose connection with reality (and your sanity) like flakes of snow melting in the desert.

Initially we had a random discussion on Facebook, in which I acted like a bastard. I do this often. Facebook is for me a means of expressing myself in a frank, honest and rude way. At one particular point, he asked me, “Why are you acting so much like a son of a bitch?”

I replied: “They all attack me. This is how the world treats me, so I return the favor.”

His response was: “A lot of people attack me too.”

He had a long beard and the black coat and hat traditionally worn by the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews. When he said that many people attacked him, I imagined a scene of Nazis gassing Jews in Auschwitz. From this moment I could not fight with the man.

Not long after, I got a message from the rabbi on Facebook Messenger. I didn’t ask him why he had texted me. I assumed that he had read my comments on Facebook and that he thought I would be an interesting client. As I’ve mentioned before, my Facebook posts are often quirky, but they often have to do with theological or philosophical topics, and my perspectives can be enigmatic. Maybe he was interested in seeing what I was about.

Beyond his personal motives, the rabbi convinced me to converse with him every week about the Kabbalah. We have continued this for over a year now. The relationship is interesting. Sometimes he teaches me fundamental concepts about Kabbalah. Sometimes we discuss generalities on various philosophical topics. Occasionally I pay him for the opportunity to teach him my philosophical ideas. A couple of times I paid him for the chance to hear about his personal life!

Basically, I bought a kind of friendship with another philosopher. In a way it was pathetic that I bought someone to talk to, but he was a good influence on me. Don’t forget, everything in my life was a matter of angels versus demons. White against black. Typically, for Christians there is a simple way of differentiating between good and evil: if someone loves Jesus Christ, they are good; if not, they are bad. But this rabbi was very confusing. He never spoke against Jesus and always had respect for him and his apostles. He never told me that he believed that Jesus was the messiah, but he would see the similarities between the New Testament and the writings of Judaism. Furthermore, he was quite wise in many situations. That is, specifically, his theology was not especially advanced in general as far as it came up in our talks. We weren’t hashing out dogmas. Nevertheless, I felt that his perspectives were coming from a source that was leading me toward enlightenment. I regularly marveled at the way this Jew worked as an instrument of God.

I can tell that it seems to me that our conversations, in a year, had gone from being complicated to simple. From the articulated to the fundamental. We were talking about the spheres of the tree of life, itself a fundamental concept in the Kabbalah. Kabbalah concentrates a lot on the idea of ​​one becoming many, and Kabbalists imagine a tree that has ten spheres of divine attributes that permeate all worlds and also the human soul. The primary and primordial sphere is called “crown” or “reason” and describes the fundamental “impulse” of all things, especially living beings.

During that time in my life when the concept of my purpose on earth was collapsing, when I was undergoing various challenges to my sanity, it was surprisingly difficult to determine what was really leading me. In other words, it was not exactly easy for me to identify what my primordial impulses were. I had always believed that my life had a purpose. But then I went to Israel, no further destination materialized. I asked God for a sign, and no sign appeared. Everything was like a perverted version of the Bible: “Moses was pasturing the sheep in the desert and he saw a burning bush that said to him: Moses! Eat a bag of dicks!”

That spawned a paralysis in my life. Apparently, the primordial sphere of the tree of my existence, my crown, my reason, is a Dutch girl named Noah van Ouwerkerk, a person whom I have never really met. She was the key to my sanity and destiny, and I needed to know about her. For more than a year I have not received any news from her. For more than a year. This is not a good situation for a neurotic man like me to be in.

Hey. I gotta run. My daughter is calling. Clicking “send” now.

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