Another Meeting with the Ineffable Presence
I have had yet another confrontation with the Al--Powerful Divine Entity.
If you haven't been following the fun over at Dov Bear, I'll catch you up: Basically, my struggle with sleep apnea led me to an episode of massive oxygen starvation in my brain, upon which I actually encountered **G-D**. And He was not a Happy Camper, being that it turns out that He is apparently a fundamentalist Orthodox G-d who was, shall we say, a little disturbed about my life choices.
(Well, the Doc told me that sleep apnea can really mess with your REM sleep.)
Despite the Divine threats to cast me into Gehenna, I got the better of Him, and all He could do was let this slippery fish go. I guess He thought He could deal with me after I was 120, so why bother now. Anyway, Ms. Apikoris woke me up, and was upset that I was talking in my sleep about the "Bray of Fundie." I swear, she seemed so pissed off, I think she thought I was having an affair! Of course, she has nothing to worry about on that score, at least not with the Bray. She was also more than a little pissed off that the CPAP machine was taking so long to arrive, and her sleep was being interrupted by my snoring and arguments in my sleep with G-d and the Bray of Fundie, and G-d knows who else.
Well, the other day Central Medical Supply finally got their act together, and my CPAP arrived. After a short briefing, I strapped on the nosepiece and, looking like some sort of bizarre high altitude test pilot in pajamas, I soon fell asleep, cool, moisturized, pressurized Terran air smoothly flowing into my lungs. Well, before long, my neurons were bathed in an excess of oxygen molecules, my serotonin production shut down, my eyes were rolling about in their sockets, and I was experiencing, for the first time in a long time, NPT. It was in this state that I noticed a generalized glow which soon resolved itself into a shining sapphire blue Entity that I realized at once was You-Know-Who. Oy!, I thought. Just what I need, that Divine Nudnick is finally going to get me.
"Hey, baby," a pleasant voice of indeterminate gender spoke, "Wazzup?"
"'Wazzup?'" I replied, "Last time I saw you, you were ready to cast me into the fiery pit of Gehenna, now you're calling me 'baby?' I might not have appreciated what you wanted from me, but I do appreciate a little consistency in my Deities."
"'Deities?"" The Abishter cocked His/Her head-equivalent in puzzled inquiry, "Oy, CA, I knew you were an apikoris, but I didn't think you had fallen so low as to start taking up polytheism.
"Anyway, you can disregard that previous vision you had. You see, your brain wasn't functioning properly because of the oxygen starvation. In truth, I, G-d, am not a right-wing fundamentalist Orthodox G-d, I am a laid-back feminist egalitarian pluralistic G-d. And One who doesn't mind if you call me 'God," either. It always amazes me how those frummers can pronounce that '-', by the way. So where was I? Oh, yes, don't worry about going to Gehenna, even the biggest rasha only stays 12 months, and I don't think your puny and unremarkable sins put you in that league anyway. And as for the short time you are in Gehenna, it's really not much worse than your weekly staff meeting, so I'm sure you can handle it."
Well, what do you know. Ms. Apikoris was right, she's always right. What else can I say?
"But, still, CA, you know you really need to do teshuva. I mean this whole apikorishe shtick, the heretical comments in DovBear, the rushing to find the pork and shellfish entrees at the lunch buffet, the arriving at shul late, just in time for kiddush (and the kiddush at your shul isn't really worth leaving the house for, if you ask me), it's all foolish. "
"And this business you just wrote about how even when I win, I lose, that's just the final straw. Besides it's bogus. Do you think I give one flying f*** about whether you observe the mitzvos? Or even whether you observe the mitzvot? And I mean the ethical ones as well as the ritual ones. Hey, man, I'm GOD, you know. Your lack of observance doesn't affect me one bit."
I found that that to be rather unconvincing, and told the Holy One, Blessed(?) be He/She about the passages in the Torah that seemed to imply otherwise.
"Ahhh, fuggedaboutit," He/She waved His/Her hand-equivalent in dismissal, "Those ancient Israelites who wrote that book just misinterpreted things when I caused Santorini to blow its top. I mean, I didn't really want to, but what could I do, the underground pressure in the magma chamber was building up and I needed to do something to relieve it. OK, I miscalculated, and the damn thing caused a disaster all across the eastern Mediterranean, so sue me. Being Omnipotent means you can make mistakes, you know. How was I supposed to know that those meshugganer Israelites were going to connect the chaos to that stupid golden calf they were worshiping?
"The point is, my fine apikoris, the mitzvos, or even the mitzvot, are for your benefit. Observe them and you can get spiritual peace and your society will work well. Mess around, and you'll all be at each other's throats. 'Pray for the welfare of the government, for without it people would eat each other alive.' Come to think of it, how could a nudnick like Ayn Rand come up with her BS 'philosophy,' being that she was from a Jewish background? Oh, yes, that's right, she grew up in a non-observant family. At least your family, CA, did some stuff, like Friday night dinner and seder, and went to shul on the holidays and most of the time on Shabbos and kept pork and shellfish out of the kitchen, even if they ate out. And both your parents were lifelong Democrats, a point in their favor. So why don't you get on with the program and become more observant, just like you wanted to do 15 years ago?"
The miztvos are for our benefit?" I replied incredulously, "I can't believe that. I live around frum people who take mitzva observance seriously, and all I see is how stressed out they are from having to observe the mitzvos, and how much they don't want to admit it. It's not just keeping the ritual stuff, spending more than they need to on food with overpriced hekhshers and mehudar etrogim, running themselves ragged with their crazy schedules of shiurim, davening zemanim, preparing for Shabbos and Yom Tov, carpooling their 50 kids each, and so on, but also the ethical stuff, being intimidated with taunts of "lashon hara" whenever they try to criticize the leadership of the community. Heck, you can't even do comparison shopping for price, a rabbi once told me that it's unethical to ask a merchant for the price of something if you don't intend to buy it! And besides that your choice is to either learn full time and sponge of your father-in-law, or work 3 jobs so you can pay the yeshiva tuition for those 50 kids. All those rules are bogus! You can take your 'da'as Torah' and shove it!"
The Almighty shook His/Her head-equivalent sadly.
"What makes you think that what the frum do, or even what the Orthodox do, is what I want them to do? Or what I want you to do?"
Oy. The Abishter had a point. Maybe I've been hanging around these frumboys too much lately. For all I that I mock the pomposity of my Conservative rabbi and the way he brown-noses the rich members of the congregation and pretty much lets us shoot at the side of the barn and then paints the target bullseye around whatever we hit, he would never condemn the members of his community to endure what the frum Orthodox are forced to do. Heck, I think he'd be happy enough if I just showed up early enough on Saturday morning to help make a minyan for Pesukei d'Zimra. So what's so bad about improving my mitzva observance, according to the Torah as taught by my rabbi? Why should I let the frum Orthodox set my standards? I'm not of their community, and what's the evidence that their path is the only way to God?
"Wow. That was powerful, Hashem. Thanks for telling me that." But my apikorsus had not completely disappeared, of course. "So what is it that you want me to do?"
"Well, for starters, let's just sit here and contemplate the greatness of My creation." HaMaqom had guided me to a grove of pine trees that overlooked a meadow with a view of distant snow-capped mountains. We sat down, made ourselves comfortable on the pine needles.
Then the Elohim, the KBH, took out a bong from the folds of His/Her cloak-equivalent, proclaimed, "Let there be a Light!," and before long a scent that evoked the college dorms of my distant past wafted across the meadow.
The the Lord turned to me, gave me the bong, and spoke these words saying, "Here, take a hit. This is some good sh*t."
Well, who was I to disobey a direct command of YHVH, the Eternal? So I did, indeed "take a hit" and found our God is, indeed, a G-d of Truth.
As my cranial neurons were rapidly having their functionality altered by the THC that was starting to bathe the intersitial fluids, I asked, "This is good .... 'stuff.' Where'd'ya get it? I haven't smoked anything this good for years!"
"You minuval, you haven't smoked anything at all for the past 25 years!" The Al-mighty laughed at me. Well, it was true. Once Nancy Reagan said "Just say no," and I realized that I could get in big-time legal trouble, smoking cannabis became a much, much lower priority in my life. Not that I didn't miss the buzz. But not so much to risk being arrested.
"But you insult me, CA, why should you think I'd give you anything but the good stuff? I created it, after all!"
We sat through the afternoon trading bong hits getting more and more stoned until the sun started to set over the mountains. And then in the soft twilight, I saw a vision worth seeing.
She was perfectly formed and had the most inviting expression on her face. She was clad in a flimsy gauzy garment that revealed enough to attract my attention, yet technically met the rules of tz'niyus, as established by my rabbi. It left to the imagination everything that the imagination needed. My attention was indeed attracted as she came, sat down next to me and started to cuddle up. I was starting to respond in the normal manner when Hashem motioned for her to move away.
"Sorry CA," the Divine voice was a little apologetic. "If I let you have her, I should have to kill you. But I should introduce you. CA, I'd like you to meet the Heavenly Hostess. She's part of the reward My faithful servants get when their life on this world is over and they enter Olam Haba. You are aware, of course, that in the next world the rules of the Torah don't apply."
"All right," I said. "This is almost as good as getting 72 virgins, and I don't have to get myself killed in a jihad to get it. I guess I can wait until You think I'm ready. Uh. But I don't think my wife is going to be too happy about this, especially if this is her 'reward,' too."
"Silly apikoris," The Abishter smiled. "Your wife gets the Heavenly Host. At least, I'm pretty sure she does, our records indicate that she's exclusively heterosexual, but you never know."
"And I'm glad you're willing to wait. Some fools can't, and commit suicide. That's definitely a no-no, and you don't want to find out what happens."
Well, that was welcome news. I had read somewhere that even the most frum Jews were exempt from all the mitzvos when they got to the Olam Haba, and this was pleasant confirmation. I imagine that the Jewish Heaven must be some sort of wild mixture of a yeshiva and frat party. But while that sounds interesting, I guess I need to take the KBH's warning and wait for my number to come up.
But Hashem was continuing. "You know," He/She said, "I'm pretty sto---oned.. How about you?"
"Yeah," I replied, "I'm about ready for the munchies to come on."
"In fact," said Elohim, the L-rd of Hosts (and Hostesses), "I'm so stoned, I think I'll make an exception to the rules, and let you and the Hostess get in on. that is..." He/She turned and gestured inquiringly to the Hostess, "if she's still interested..."
"Of course, I am." She had a really sweet voice. "I've been a fan of Live Frei or Die since it started coming out, and I'd love nothing better than to be with its famous author and do this..."
...and she demonstrated what she wanted to do with me.
Wow. It was great.
And then I heard an bloodcurdling shriek.
And I was back in my bedroom staring at my beloved, Ms. Apikoris.
"Sorry, CA, but when you turned over in your sleep and grabbed me, I woke up, and was looking at something that bore a remarkable resemblance to the Borg in a bad Star Trek movie."
"The mask, stupid. Take it off."
"oh>' So I took off the mask and embraced my bashert.
Which is when we both discovered that my therapy, which had restored my REM sleep, also induced NPT.
As to what happened next, you minuval, go get yourself your own wife and find out.