When I was about eight or nine, I started to realise that I had unusual abilities. One of these appeared to be the gift of healing. One day when I was working in the carpenter’s shop, I scraped my knuckles sharply enough to draw blood. I instinctively put my other hand over the wound to ease the pain, but to my utter amazement, when I took it away, the wound was gone. I was astounded, far too stunned to say anything.
About this time, I also started seeing angels. That frightened me. I’d be nearly asleep and I’d feel enveloped in an angel’s wings, like a big bird. It was tremendously comforting and I never felt alone, and I slowly came to realise that Gabriel was one of my special angels.
I kept all this to myself because I was unnerved. I was relieved when my parents realised that there was more going on and they started to ask. It was a relief to talk about it and think I wasn’t weird or difficult. I didn’t know why I could do these things. By talking to my siblings and my father, I slowly realised that I had abilities that other people my age didn’t have.
Around the age of ten, I had my bar mitzvah which was a special occasion celebrating a significant point in a young man’s life. I remember feeling loved, and my family and the wider family too were proud of me, and everyone treated me more like an adult.
We three boys were all circumcised and had our bar mitzvahs because our parents wanted us to have a choice as adults about which Jewish path we would take, the traditional or Essene, or a blend of both. They were wise enough to say that that it is a choice for any individual to make at any stage of their life. If we boys had been through these traditional processes, then our options were open. Some people in Nazareth embraced bits of both, and there were good bits in both.
This was when my father told me that, unlike my siblings, I hadn’t been born in Nazareth but in this special place called Qumran. I’d never questioned it before this and assumed that my parents had always been here and therefore, I too was born here.
I thought about this in the days that followed. My father and I had many a discussion about the place and the people and their Essene philosophies and eventually, he confided that he was an elder representing them here in Nazareth.