Tearing of the Veil

Yesterday, I participated in a language exchange: it was my turn to speak conversational English with a small group of Ecuadorian college English students. Our topic was holidays and celebrations, and at one point I tried to tell them how we celebrate Easter in the US, and they tried to tell me how they celebrate Semana Santa and Pascua. 

 In my dream last night I was a beautiful Hebrew boy. My duty was to arrange the curtain hiding the holy of holies, making sure it fell perfectly straight and covered the entire opening. It was a quiet job, because the priests only entered the holy of holies on high holidays. But on this day in my dream, the priests were agitated, and they snapped harshly at me as they hurried through the rituals preceding entry. The high priest entered the chamber, and just as I reached out to take the rod to close the slight gap in the curtain, there was a huge lightning flash and a deafening noise, and the veil was torn in two. I stood, deafened, dazzled, and paralyzed by fear, and the priests descended on me in a rage. The interrogation and shaming which followed lasted 40 days. It was an ordeal which scarred me for life physically and mentally.

In the end, I was sitting by a dung fire with lepers, criminals, perverts, and outcasts, feeling the scars on my face and knowing that I would never be able to atone for my horrible crime. I wept at the fact that I was perfectly well-intentioned and performed my duties flawlessly as I had been taught, yet the catastrophic tearing of the veil was clearly all my fault.

I relived the event in my mind, and this time, the tearing of the veil was the opening of my eyes into the real world of wakefulness. More profoundly than realizing it was all a dream, I realized it was all a lie. Neither the duty nor the dereliction was ever real.

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