A beautiful Jerusalem most will never know

Without medication, my mind shows me a city of wonder, a revelation of the hidden that others never will see or hear

I see Down Syndrome guys on buses talking to angels.

I see ancient scripts flowing across the walls of the Old City.

I hear the most incredible music everywhere I go, coming from walls and electric lines, see near-endless moving 3D images of people, places and designs in transparent glass and on stone walls and the walls change colors to blue and purple.

I see lamp posts come to life with arms and they bend and move and spirits hang on them by their feet and hands as people walk underneath.

I see Hebrew letters appear and disappear and have no idea what they mean. Letters of green in a white square with green trim.

I hear words come from each passing car engine as each passing vehicle says a different word and traffic coming together creates sentences that somehow begin and end with red and green traffic lights as I wait to cross the street.

I see the ghost of a young seventeen year old, killed in a bombing years ago, at night in a closed hair salon playing with her hair in the mirror because she wasn’t ready to die and God allowed her to stay and play with the other ghosts who died too young.

When my mind is free, Jerusalem is a wonder of revelation of the hidden. Free of the meds they give me for schizoaffective disorder, a name they have given to a condition I am told I have that explains to them why I see and hear that which most never will – there is beauty in the world.

Rather than see people like me strictly as “others,” as the “mentally ill” in need of medication, I hope you can see the incredible world some of us also experience. This is how I experience Jerusalem with a free mind.

I see pagan symbols moving across the Kotel and ask God why they are there, to which He responds, “Why do you think, Shmuel?” And I think a moment and say to God perhaps too many people are praying for meshiach and the third Temple and forgetting what’s truly important and God says “Yes, exactly, Shmuel so you see in the Wall the symbols, you see what is becoming of the place due to the intent of so many prayers based in the belief that a man or a building will bring what is needed, rather than simply saying ‘Hello’ and talking to me. It’s just a wall, Shmuel. You can talk to me just as well in a bar. I don’t need a house there. Ishmail is using it now. I’m fine for now, I don’t need a house right now Shmuel. I just want all my little creations to talk to me, to say hello and just talk.”

I hear the ghost of a soldier killed hundreds of years ago who can’t remember his name ask me how to pray because he can’t find his grave and wants to know who he was.

I see buildings appear and disappear, from ancient times, in the landscape of Jerusalem and pyramids and buildings from Bybylon are there and then gone, and she is a living city of historical times and places coming together and I try to understand why they come and go and what it all means and I talk to God with my thoughts and sometimes he answers and sometimes not and we talk about the world.

I hear Arabs say “Hi, Sammy,” as I walk by them and see people who are sheid-humans, demons in human form, with kippot and red eyes and I walk passed like anyone else.

I see, for a split second, the Temple in all its glory appear and then it’s gone as I smoke a cigarette and look up towards it from the Arab neighborhood below.

I see so much off meds. I see huge shadowy demons turn from me in fear and go the other way. I see stone giants towering over Derech Hevron.

I feel time and space change in places that are different and energy becomes stronger in some places and dangerous in others.

I know where bodies are under buildings and see people in ancient ways and recognize those who are the descendants of Romans and now passing as Jews or Jews descended of those who became Romans and hear sheid demons complaining about people using Kabbalah books and trying to steal from God without asking him permission to even open the books.

I see angels moving about and see old people sitting on benches in need of someone who will just sit next to them and help them cure some type of ailment by simply sharing positive energy.

And some days the stones of Jerusalem all shine so bright they look like the bright white stones of the Pyramids of ancient Egypt in all their glory and she shines as every noise made everywhere in the city is also a word and I understand that God has hidden everything in plain sight and no Kaballah is needed to understand the beauty of what God keeps hidden from nearly everyone else.

If a noise falls on the musical scale then it has numerical value, I think to myself.

Numerical value can be assigned one or more letters and words through Hebrew gematria, which I know nothing of. But I realize each noise can be so many words and that is what I hear, words in nature and man’s actions as the city’s noises become a symphony of hidden meaning to be decoded by a free and wondering mind that has asked God if it can understand by simply thinking and loving all around.

I see figures emerge from Jerusalem stone walls, beings of Jerusalem stone, bending over and looking at me and then lean back and absorb into the walls.

I see shadows of stationary objects move and dance like Fantasia and jump from walls, hovering around and then coming to me for inspection, I assume, looking to see who this person is that can see the hidden and then figuring out, as the shadow beings do, if I am permitted or a thief acting without God’s permission.

I claim no moral superiority and preach no religious doctrine. I am flawed and a secular person but believe in God and that is how I see Jerusalem.

And now, on meds, I see and hear emptiness. And I fight to remember because in memory there is life and in life there is hope and one day I will not need to be on these meds and I will experience the world as God created my mind to experience it and what is written here is not even a hundredth of a percent of what I saw and heard in Jerusalem.

There are angels everywhere and people would take comfort in hearing how they go about the world. There is nothing to fear in trying to understand it. And no one, no rabbi, no psychiatrist, no scientist, has a monopoly on defining what is and is not and can or cannot be and what was or is real, and reality.

I swore on the Tanach, the Bible, to protect Israel as an IDF infantry soldier. Every other page in that book has someone seeing or hearing something and God speaking to people.

But I see all as possible with an infinite creator in a time when we are becoming more and more robotic and less and less human with the Internet and our morals bend to our interests and desires online.

Off meds I hardly used the Internet for a year, I took wonder in a world others couldn’t see.

I choose to remember my reality as I loved it and share what I learned living in the hidden.

Of course, I must say for the records, that the doctors with the power to commit insist this is all a fabrication of the mind – a mind they take no interest in understanding for the beauty it perceived.

But it can’t be real, not today, we are told by the rabbis. Today that is not possible. I have never learned Kabbalah and know little Torah. But I can accept this as my reality of the hidden and be in love with the world God tells me would be too much for most people to handle when I ask Him why He doesn’t let everyone simply see the world with such beauty as I do.

Either it was all real, it was all a creation of my mind, it was a mixture of both, or it is something else, something unkown or undefined, and none of those can be disproven.

They cannot prove that it was not real. Reality is fluid, like air and time and space and Jerusalem is always shifting in all of them.

Jerusalem is alive and in motion in ways most cannot dream. That is how I see and hear Jerusalem when my mind is free.

Even if only a creation of the mind, it is beautiful in ways that make me feel more connected to the Creator.

The meds make me feel like death walking in a world of emptiness where nothing is of consequence and I am not myself, not the person I wish to be and I must force myself to remember that things do matter and that beauty may appear again.

She is a city of gold, and much, much more.

If only you could see the beauty I see when my mind is free, what a beautiful world it would be.

About the Author
Greg Tepper moved to Israel in 1997 from the United States. He served in an IDF combat unit and completed approximately 15 years of reserve duty until he was discharged at 38. He used to write news for the Times of Israel and other publications and is now focusing on fiction inspired by his experiences in a schizophrenic psychosis in Jerusalem for the duration of a year.
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