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Unread 05-31-2016, 03:55 AM   #1
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Was my experience a hallucination? Rabbi Alon Anava

Hey community,

So recently I've come across a Rabbi through the internet named Rabbi Alon Anava. He has his own website Have any of you heard of him? He has an incredible testimony about a near death experience with drugs that led him to a life of Torah. After the near death experience in which he left his body - "died" - then magically woke up with knowledge of the Torah, he was transformed from a secular, non-observant Jew who despised religion into an daily practicing Orthodox Rabbi. That's the gist of his story but I recommend you visit his website to listen to the whole of it.

I'd like to compare my experience, which has inspired me to convert as well as become a Rabbi. Although I did not have a near death experience, my experience was incredibly profound and has left me spiritually awestruck.

When I was 20 years old I was deep in the throes of a drug-induced psychotic episode. I was losing touch with my reality. Like Rabbi Anova, I too was skeptical about G-d and religion - criticizing it, condemning it, despising it (most likely out of ignorance and a lack of understanding of religion).

I reached out to my friends regularly during this time for advice to help get me through the process and what I was experiencing. One of them mentioned, "Have you prayed for help?"

Desperate, I was researched down all avenues of possibility to rectify my slipping grip on reality. One of these avenues was religion (inspired by that friend), something I never knew I would ever consider. I had many friends who were Jewish and I admired all of them, mostly because their faith gave them stability and grounded-ness, something I really needed. That is when I started to research Judaism. With every video I watched, every Jew seemed nice, happy, grounded, and really was in touch with their words and what they were talking about - they were genuinely coming from a feeling of the heart, from G-d, which I felt, even through the thick cloud of psychosis I was trapped behind. That is when I began to feel a calling.

It was then that I started to entertain the idea of conversion. I knew coming close to G-d was what I needed to do. I knew it was something I wanted so I started doing research and discovered that conversion to Judaism took at least two years. I was not discouraged. If the road to being a Jew took 2 years - as I said before, I was desperate - I was OK with it, happy almost, because I knew there was an option. I was in it for the long run.

I was living in Singapore at the time. I contacted the local Chabad synagogue through email but after numerous emails and no responses, I decided to go down to the synagogue myself to talk to the Rabbi for my interest in conversion. When I stepped out of the cab and started walking towards the entrance I started to get overwhelmed with emotion and began to hold back tears. When I stepped up to the entrance I saw a man I presumed to be the Rabbi but in retrospect was most likely a member of the congregation. I walked up to him struggling to hold back tears and with a frog in my throat I asked "I need to talk to a Rabbi" The man smiled down at me and asked in a gentle voice, "Why are you crying?" I couldn't go into and explain everything I had gone through, the psychosis, the complex decision to arrive at the synagogue, so I just said, "I just need to speak to a Rabbi" He asked, "Are you Jewish?" I said, "No? Yes? I don't know" (I knew the concept that some people have Jewish souls but are born to non-Jewish parents).

That's when I looked up at the man and what I saw is what I'm writing to you about today. Like in Rabbi Anava's previous videos about his experience, describing this is like describing to a blind man what the color blue looks like.

When I looked up at the man, light poured from his eyes, and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was not a normal pair of eyes or maybe light possibly reflecting from the sun into his eyes (in fact, it was a gloomy and rainy day). It was if two small suns replaced his eyes and they were magnificently looking down at me with a divine, gentle understanding that things were going to be OK. I made sure to look for an extra few seconds to make sure I was really seeing what I was seeing. It wasn't frightening, only a feeling that I was meant to see this. I was dead sober.

The man told me to call tomorrow to make an appointment with the Rabbi and I said "Okay, I will" and walked away to go home. The experience itself anchored me in something real and I have made extraordinary leaps in recovery since. What makes this extraordinary is that before some doctors said I might have been too far to the "other side" to ever fully come back. The experience made me delve into Jewish philosophy, specifically Chabad. I've watched countless lectures and have bought at least six books on Judaism and conversion. My dream now is to go the full nine yards and become a Rabbi but I know with a story like this people might label me off as a lunatic, or that I imagined what I saw, which I didn't. Being a Rabbi is the only choice I want to make at this point. However, I really want to know what Rabbi Anava (I've contacted him already, waiting for a response) and you guys have to say. Am I crazy? Was it a hallucination? Should I give up my dreams to become a Rabbi? Please let me know what you think.

Like Rabbi Anava said, "No drug, no hallucination, no dream, no nothing, makes a man or woman change their path towards to god. Its because they believe and know within themselves that its the truth. Nobody become religious because he was convinced or pressured or because a lecture sounded good. It's only when someone is 100% sure it is the right thing." This is how I feel now.

Please let me know what you think.
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Unread 11-04-2016, 10:55 PM   #2
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No responses...

I'm curious. Why has no one responded to this? I am meeting with an orthodox Rabbi next Tuesday and happened to check this. Is no one curious about what happened? What it could mean, etc? Now my question is why has this post has not been spoken about?
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Unread 11-11-2016, 05:14 PM   #3
aaron benjamin
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Originally Posted by carter View Post
I'm curious. Why has no one responded to this? I am meeting with an orthodox Rabbi next Tuesday and happened to check this. Is no one curious about what happened? What it could mean, etc? Now my question is why has this post has not been spoken about?
I have heard of Rabbi Alon Anava. Isn't he a Lubavitcher? His story is quite interesting indeed etc.
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