The following morning I entered his chambers. He was a gentleman who greeted everyone who came to see him. He bowed to me and offered me a seat. My words poured forth, as I told him that I saw truth and meaning in his religion and that I decided to adopt it if he would accept me.
“Where are you from,” he asked me.
He looked at me. “Are you Jewish?”
“Yes,” I replied.
His reaction surprised me. His expression turned from friendly to puzzled — with even a tinge of anger. He told me that he did not understand my decision, and that he would not permit me to carry it out.
I was stunned. What did he mean?
“All religions are an imitation of Judaism,” he stated. “I am sure that when you lived in Israel, your eyes were closed. Please take the first plane back to Israel and open your eyes. Why settle for an imitation when you can have the real thing?”
His words spun around in my head the whole day. I thought to myself: I am a Jew and an Israeli, but I know nothing about my own religion. Did I have to search and wander the whole world only to be told that I was blind and that the answers I was seeking were to be found on my own doorstep?
But this story has a double down even odder element to it
“You are quite right, but in this case I am not the matchmaker,” she replied simply.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll tell you. Anat came to me and showed me a piece of paper with a name in it. She asked me to introduce her to the person whose name was written there. She knew nothing at all about that person, but said that she had been given his name by someone she trusts completely… It was your name.”
After the engagement party, Anat and I went for a walk.
“Tell me,” I said, “how did this shidduch come about? I want to know who gave you my name, so that I can pay him.”
Anat smiled. “You will have to travel to India to pay him.”
Before I had a chance to react, she continued, “I haven’t told you yet that at the end of my wandering, I went to the Dalai Lama. I was very impressed by him and all he embodied and I decided to join his religion. When I told him he said, ‘Anat, since you are Jewish you should not settle for silver if you can have gold.’ He told me to return to my roots and then in a whisper, he asked one of his assistants to bring him a piece of paper. The Dalai Lama then copied the name that was there onto another piece of paper, and handed it to me. ‘This is your soul mate,’ he told me.
“When I returned to Israel, I joined a religious seminary. And you know the rest. You know, at first it was because of the Dalai Lama, and only later the much stronger light of Judaism that attracted me. And only after a year had gone by did I begin to search for you. I approached many shadchanim, matchmakers, but no one was able to discover you in the various yeshivas for ba’alei teshuvah. Finally someone contacted your yeshiva, and — I found you!
“From the very first date I knew that the Dalai Lama was right.”
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