From the time he was a young child, David Kavanitzky had a love for King
David. His mother remembers him at the age of 3, driving her crazy,
clapping his hands and singing over and over again, "Dahveed melech Yisrael,
chai, chai, v'kayam..." (David, king of Israel, lives, lives, and
lives forever.) Any bedtime story was acceptable as long as King David was
in it. Though it seemed at times excessive, his family couldn't
complain about his choice of a role model.
The Kavanitzkys were faithful Jews; they went to the synagogue every
Sabbath as a family. After his bar mitzvah, David attended a private Jewish
high school, intending to study in a Yeshiva after graduation. During his
teen years, his studies only increased his love and respect for King David.
There was much to admire in the life of this godly, warrior poet who,
though he had feet of clay, was a man after God's own heart.
After two years studying at the yeshiva, David had done well in all of his
courses and he excelled in ancient Near Eastern languages. But he was
restless and uncertain about his future. He decided to travel to Jerusalem
for Shavuot, something he had been longing to do for years. This festival,
coming 50 days after Passover, celebrates the wheat harvest and
commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Jewish tradition says
that King David was born and died on Shavuot. Perhaps this was a
subconscious motivation for David's timing; he probably would not have
admitted it, but David hoped that while he was in the land of Israel,
somehow David, the king of Israel might have something to say to him.
On Shavuot, religious Jews stay up all night reading portions from every
book in the Bible, the Mishnah, and other significant Jewish texts. David
chose a small synagogue in the Jewish Quarter for the nightlong reading. He
left at around 4 a.m. to pray at the tomb of King David on Mt Zion. The
area around the tomb was packed, but David squeezed himself into a corner
and quietly read psalms for about an hour. He pondered the paradox of
Psalm 16, standing at King David's tomb while reading the king's
words about not being given over to the grave and decay.
As David left, he heard loud singing from an outer courtyard connected to
what was known as the upper room, a Christian holy sight above King
David's tomb. "Dahveed, melech Yisrael, chai, chai, v'kayam." The
words made him smile, but he was surprised to see that it was a group of
Korean pilgrims doing the singing. Why were they singing "his" song? Did
they know something about King David that he did not? He continued to mull
this over as he approached the "Wailing Wall" for the morning service.
By the time the service ended, David was exhausted. He headed for the exit
that would take him back up through the Jewish quarter of the old city.
Suddenly he felt compelled to walk over to the southern steps of the
Temple. He had been there once before and they certainly were interesting,
being for the most part, the original stairs worshippers climbed up to
enter the Temple 2000 years ago. However, the former entrances had been
sealed up for centuries. Even if he could walk through those bricked up
gates, David would find himself in the courtyard of two mosques. Why his
feet were carrying him there now was a mystery, but he didn't have the
strength to fight it. The area was empty, for which David was grateful.
He sat down on the top step, still wrapped in his tallit. Sitting in the
warm June sun, David fell asleep.
It was the noise that woke him. There were sounds of voices shouting, the
commotion of a crowd, the pounding of sandaled feet - and the sound of the
wind. A wind like he had never heard before overpowering every other
sound. David was literally swept up in the throng of people running to the
Temple entrance - now somehow open. Everything around him had changed.
The mosques were gone; in their place stood the awesome sanctuary of the
2nd Temple. Stretched out in front of him were the courts of the Temple
filled with thousands of Jews, worshippers from all over the ancient world
gathered to celebrate Shavuot. Each one was dressed in the manner of their
adopted lands of exile. David also recognized many ancient dialects from
his linguistic studies.
This was impossible. Where was he? Who were these people? How did he get
here? And what was going on? Was this a movie set? There seemed to be
clusters of people gathering around certain individuals who addressed each
cluster in a language they understood. Some listened intently, others
mocked. Someone shouted something about the speakers being drunk. He
glanced at his watch and saw it was only 9 a.m. A man standing next to him
noticed and commented in Aramaic on his strange bracelet. David drew his
tallit up over his arms in order to cover his obviously different clothing
- not that anyone was paying any attention to him.
The wind had stopped and one very rough-looking, dynamic man was speaking.
Flanked by 11 of his associates, his voice boomed over the crowd, like the
voice of God from Sinai. He seemed to be speaking in Aramaic and biblical
Hebrew, but there was something very strange about it. Judging by the
faces of those around him, David knew that they all were hearing him and
understanding him quite clearly even though for many it was not their
mother tongue. David had a reasonably good grasp of Aramaic and ancient
Hebrew, but he was amazed that he could understand this man as clearly as
if he were speaking English. David was familiar with the tradition that
God spoke 70 languages from Mt Sinai simultaneously in order for everyone
to understand what he was saying. Was that happening here also?
The speaker (someone said his name was Shimon Kepha*) quoted the prophet
Joel, promising that the Spirit of God would be poured out, bringing about
supernatural signs and wonders, dreams and prophecies. David understood
that he was experiencing a supernatural sign. Somehow he had been brought
to the time when the Temple still stood, and whether it was just in his
mind or also in his body, he needed to hear what Shimon was saying.
Shimon began to speak of the crucified one and David was sure that this
crowd of Jews would tear him apart for mentioning that name in this holy
place. But they continued to listen with rapt attention. Then it
happened, as if King David stepped out of the even more distant past and
spoke to David personally. Shimon was quoting from the psalms but David
knew it was the king's voice.
"I wrote those words," he seemed to say, "but they're not about me.
I'm not the one who was raised up and freed from the suffering of
death. It's not me that death could not hold. I have been given over
to the grave and decay. You visited my tomb just a short while ago and
wondered about these very things. These men are witnesses to the
exaltation of a greater king, my descendent, Yeshua the Messiah. Hear
Thousands responded to the invitation that followed, "Turn from sin, return
to God and be immersed in the name of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach** and receive
the gift of the Holy Spirit." Shimon stressed that the gift was for those
near and far. David thought surely he was the one who had come the
farthest - 2000 years. Suddenly, aside from the 12, there were over 100
individuals that began guiding about 3000 people to the mikvot***. David,
with great joy stepped down into the mikvah. His beloved King David had
brought him here and opened his eyes to the truth of Yeshua. The last
thing he remembered were the waters closing over his head.
David woke about noon. He found himself leaning against some stones by the
ancient mikva under Robinson's arch at the southwest corner of the
support wall of the Temple mount. Surrounding him was the rubble from the
Temple's destruction 2000 years before. He slowly got to his feet.
The memory of it all was crystal clear, but had it been a dream? His
tallit had been folded up and placed in its velvet bag neatly by his side.
When he picked it up he felt something hard inside. He opened the bag and
found an ancient silver half shekel, required to pay the obligatory Temple
tax. David had seen these coins before in museums and private collections.
However, they all looked as if they had been around for 2000 years.
This one looked as if it had been minted last week.
*Hebrew for "Simon Peter or Cephas"
**Hebrew for "The Messiah"
*** Plural for the Hebrew "Mikvah", ceremonial bathing pool for
Moshe Morrison is also the author of a number of fictional short stories
with humorous, supernatural and spiritual themes. This story is a sample
of his work.