Yom Kippur at Sdot Yam


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Mon., Oct. 9, ’89/9:30 p.m.

Kibbutz Sdot Yam

Today was Yom Kippur, so I begin to write on a “clean slate,” beginning with synagogue services (2 1/2 hrs.) last night to usher in this holiest of Jewish days.

I mainly went for the experience, as well as spiritual solidarity with my people (God’s Church & the Jews) around the world. I read & sang only about a tithe of the service – amazed that I could keep up in Hebrew I’d never read before.

With me were other ulpanistim [Hebrew students] who elected to fast – mainly, I believe, for the experience or test or show-off of will-power. God alone knows. I scanned the faces of all those assembled in the make-shift synagogue with mixed emotions and an alien distance.

Tradition – even empty, hollow, shallow – has assisted Jewry to preserve this Day, however imperfectly; yet I also couldn’t help but think of God & Kahane who might dismiss such “worship” as vain and such “devotions” as void. Liberal, Hellenist, humanists who have nothing to do with God and are ignorant of or deny His Word as a general rule, as hypocritical & unacceptable as professing Christianity on the pagan days of Christmas and Easter – temporarily becoming “religious” or sickly kind…Nevertheless, may we all ultimately worship the One True God and His Son, in spirit & in truth. G’mar hateemah tovah! [Be inscribed for good in the Book].

During this relatively easy fast today, I laid in bed & read & read The Good News magazine, meditated on life, my past, present and potential future. I prayed & asked for forgiveness and clarity of mind & purpose with patience to overcome sins and achieve success in this spiritual struggle, resolving to start again to abstain from alcohol and stop going to our kibbutz pub on erev Shabbat [Sabbath evening]. Today I really missed Church services and fellowship with the brethren, remembering our divine camaraderie.

My goals were to spend 3 wks. in Florida with Steve & Bob, also to change my name to David Ben-Ariel, 18 days in Europe with Mom & Lisa, make aliyah to Israel and join an ulpan (intensive Hebrew language course]. So far, so good. Now I must decide – God help me – to continue immediately the ulpan in ketah bet [class b – next level] somewhere, or temporarily suspend Hebrew to earn money on a moshav… Presently I’m reading Hannah Senesh – Her Life and Diaries. The first 50 pages I found so boring and forced myself to read what seemed like fabricated Jewish propaganda – the girl seemed too good to be true, nauseatingly a goody-two-shoes. Now I’m enjoying it more since she’s mentioned historic events, like Hitler, etc.

I’ve wondered if perhaps the helplessness and hopelessness I’ve experienced in returning to God is part of His punishment to cause me to think twice before going astray again – not that He’s ever forgotten or forsaken me, just letting me wallow for awhile in my own mire. Thank God I’m convinced of His Calling, Purpose & Interest in my life or I would have died ages ago. Mrs. Corpus once commented on how God had given me that gift of FAITH.

I must fulfill my personal destiny as a Son of Jerusalem, publish my poems, chart called PRIEST-KING – The Twin Pillars of Israel, & book THE GRAND DESIGN [since published as Beyond Babylon: Europe’s Rise and Fall]. I must, Lord-willing, RESTORE our Jewish-Christian presence in Jerusalem & Israel, significant since I’m of Bet David [House of David].

We received our first official rain the other day.

Hannah S. wrote: “When anyone in Hungary spoke of Zionism five or even 2 years ago, Jewish public opinion condemned him as a traitor of Hungary, laughed at him, considered him a mad visionary, and under no circumstances heard him out.” Reminded me of how I too, subject to ridicule or suspicion, am a pioneer for God’s Church here in the Mideast. Mr. Fiedler [one of my former ministers in the Worldwide Church of God] had said once about my “activist” activities (of writing to The Blade, my beliefs & actions) that I was so “unorthodox” – I countered so was Mr. Armstrong, and like him, would go it alone if necessary, convinced of the rightness of my convictions. Later, somewhat angry or frustrated, he said, “Why can’t you just be like everyone else who goes to the Mideast for the Feast [of Tabernacles], is satisfied and returns? Why do you have to always make inroads?” I said what he called “inroads” I considered “open doors” that I never sought nor pushed open, but walked through in faith, and that I simply believed what the Church taught, that I’m descended in part from Bet David & therefore choose to return to my ancient Homeland of the Jews – Israel. He said he was German but didn’t feel he had to move to Germany. I said that was his prerogative.

Earlier, he & Mr. Gilbert [his associate pastor] gently cautioned me not to appear so Jewish that I’d give people a wrong impression of the Church – like saying Shabbat Shalom, etc. I thanked them for their concern, commented I was already aware of the need to be balanced, but also that God had used my understanding of the Mideast to become all things to Jews & Arabs, more so than others in the Congregation. Then when H.Q.’s forbade my Mideast Feast attendance indefinitely, fearing I might misrepresent the Church (as a homosexual) [due to one complaint about me during the Feast in Jordan that contradicted the biblical procedure of Matthew 18:15-17, as Mr. Gilbert noted], it further encouraged me to think a separation was due [like the US was driven to separate from England after a series of injustices], a different work to be accomplished [with a God-given focus on Jerusalem and the Jews].

Years before I was sent back home from Israel, strongly encouraged to do so, and was to await a minister resident in Israel to “supervise” my “activities.” [Church elder Carl Fields commented to me, “Are they setting a precedent?”] I’ve waited 7 years, Grandpa has now died, I’ve received my inheritance, toured Europe and now, almost 30 (potentially significant), am living in Israel studying Hebrew! I have felt drawn to Israel, desire to become a part of this ancient but young nation’s history, and fulfill, ultimately, my destiny in Jerusalem.

write by Engelbert