Our time was happy and carefree at the caves with lots of music and happiness. One afternoon a car pulled up to the gate, and a man dressed as a Russian Orthodox priest wearing a robe and kamilavkas, a clerical headdress, stepped out of the passenger side. The car quickly backed down the entrance drive leaving the priest behind and drove away. He walked to the gate and asked, “Is this the Rainbow?”
“Yes, we are Rainbow.” Was the reply.
“May I come in?”
Opening the gate, the guard said, “Sure! All are welcome!”
“Do you believe in the Devil?”
He then sat with us and asked questions like, “Are you religious?”
“We believe in God,” someone responded.
“Do you believe in the Devil?”
“If you mean Satan, then in Judaism, it is often understood to represent the forces that prevent human beings from submitting to the divine will,” said another.
The priest mockingly replied, “My, aren’t you clever!”
The winds began to pick up, and dark clouds started to gather, indicating a storm. We all moved inside the tipi.
The priest pressed the conversation mildly adversarially, always dialing it back before becoming too intense. The storm began to build up outside. The winds picked up, and rain pelted the tipi.
“Do you have wine here?”
“We have a small amount that we are saving for Shabbat tomorrow.”
“Good! Do you have a Bible here?” The priest asked.
“We have a Torah.”
“May I see it?”
“Fine. Do you have any smoke and some papers?”
Someone handed him a baggie and papers. He pulled out the papers, opened the Torah, poured some of the marijuana into the open Torah, and began to clean some seeds out, chanting something that sounds Russian. Then, he continues taunting people and pushing the limits of the conversation to extremes.
A Sorted Mission
“I am the king of the Rainbows,” the priest exclaims.
Everybody tries to be polite and keep their cool, but he continues to become more obnoxious until many say, “Enough. Good night.” And go off to bed, leaving the priest, Ruben, and Yosef alone in the tipi.
“Does someone here have a car?” The priest asks.
“I know someone that does,” Yosef says.
“Borrow it, and we can make the drive to Jerusalem and buy some wine, so there will be plenty for everyone for Shabbat tomorrow. Do you know a place we can get more grass?”
Ruben, always ready for a good time, knew where to get it and agreed, “Yeah, we can get there and back in just a few short hours. Let’s go!” So, Yosef talked the person into borrowing the car, and the three took off for Jerusalem in the storm, which grew worse by the minute.
The next morning, the storm was over, but they had not returned, and we were all beginning to worry. Midday, they had still not returned, and as a result, the worry continued to grow. By late that afternoon, the three of them pulled up to the gate with the priest behind the wheel. The gate opened, and he drove in, parking the car. Ruben jumped out of the car and ran to his tent extremely shakily, saying, “I don’t want to talk about it!” Seemingly in a state of shock, Yosef went into the tipi and sat quietly, staring at the fire pit. The priest proclaimed loudly, “We brought back wine and herb for Shabbat!”
Some of the sisters went to see if they could find out what was wrong with Ruben, who was usually quite animated. He would not talk. The priest called for an early start to Shabbat by uncorking a bottle of wine. Many said, “This is not how it’s done, put the wine away.” “This is not a party like that!” “As a priest, you should understand that this is a religious and cultural celebration.” The priest calmed down for the time being.
Finally, the time for Shabbat had arrived. Everyone gathered together except Ruben and a couple of sisters, who stayed in his tent, trying to console him. The candle was lit, the song welcoming the two Shabbat angels into the house was sung, and the other song praised the women for all their work over the past week.
The priest began loudly singing other songs during the two Shabbat songs. We all tried to keep calm with the antics of the priest, which were growing more intense. He would try to push his wine on everyone like a crazed and drunken party host. The priest would recite passages from the Bible that were particularly inappropriate, ie. “Ezekiel 23:20, Yes, she lusted after their male prostitutes, whose members are like those of donkeys and who ejaculate like stallions,” he called out giddily. As we ignored his antics, he lost the power to prevent the observance of Shabbat, which continued unabated. After the third star, Shabbat was officially over, yet we continued with positive feelings, oblivious to the priest’s attempted disturbances.
In the morning, the Russian Orthodox priest was gone. Someone said they saw him crawl through a small hole in the fencing late that night. The devil, unsuccessful in his endeavors, slinked away like a stray dog in the night.
With a bit of encouragement, Ruben finally came out of his tent and gradually recounted his harrowing evening with the priest. Apparently, the roads began to flood when they left in the storm. Yet, It was still possible to make it through to the other side of the slightly flooded road. The priest harassed Ruben and Yosef, berating them for going so slow in the storm on the drive to Jerusalem.
They arrived at a place Ruben knew to score some weed, and although the priest was told to wait in the car, he insisted on coming in. He then berated the contact, who told them to leave empty-handed. Ruben knew of another place. After driving there, Ruben got out of the car and went in by himself. The priest followed despite being told to wait in the car, creating even more havoc. Ruben managed to buy some weed, but at an inflated price. Next, they found a place to buy some bottles of wine.
The priest screamed at them on the return drive until they let him drive. Behind the wheel, he was apparently even more of a maniac driving wildly while laughing crazily and yelling, “This would be a great day to die!” Arriving at the flooded road, soldiers were posted to turn people away to a detour, but the priest gunned the motor driving past the soldiers, and hydroplaned across the flooded road. It was a miracle that they made it across. Ruben and Yosef were in shock. The priest continued to swerve and skid on the way back, laughing and yelling, “This would be a great day to die!”
Everyone was glad that the ‘priest’ had run off in the night, never to be seen again. Donna and I decided it was time to continue our adventure and see Jerusalem.