Apples of Gold Nov/Dec 2017
We often say in Israel, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” Every Friday night, Orthodox women go door to door, trying to convince people to observe the Sabbath.
Recently, several Orthodox women came to my home. “If you keep the Sabbath, all of your sins will be forgiven,” one told me. “You must also read from a holy siddur [Jewish prayer book] three times a day.”
“If this book is so holy,” I asked, “of what value is the Bible? After all, many different people wrote this prayer book, but the Holy Spirit of God wrote the Bible. Do you think this prayer book is more important than the Psalms, the book of prayer in the Bible?”
They looked at one another. Then one said, “Of course, Psalms is very important.”
“I will read you something,” I said. “Then give me your opinion.” I read to them Psalm 118:8, where it is written, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
They became angry that they had stopped by my house. “Have you studied the Bible?” one asked.
“I read the Bible,” I said. “And I believe what it says. Do you know what the writers of the siddur believe concerning the value of women? Have you prayed the morning prayer?”
“How can you ask us that?” one replied. “We are religious women.”
I opened their prayer book and read for them the prayer from the morning service: “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast not made me a woman.”
“Is a woman a lesser human being? Did not God create both men and women?” I asked.
“We have talked with you long enough,” one answered. “We will ask our rabbis that question and return to answer you. Where have you studied all of this?”
“I have placed my faith in the Lord,” I replied. “I read the Holy Bible—not the many fictitious stories you read. I do not boycott Scripture.” They told me they were unaware they had boycotted any portions of Scripture. So I read to them Isaiah 53:
We hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (vv. 3, 5–6).
“About whom was this passage written?” I asked.
“We do not know. We have never read this,” one replied.
I then read other Scriptures: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14). “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5:2).
“Did you just read to us about This Man?” one asked. The Orthodox always refer to Jesus as “This Man.”
“How did you know it was written about Yeshua?” I asked.
Then they asked if I was a Christian. I told them the Bible is for everyone, but the Lord will give eternal life only to those who believe in Him.
“We are saved because we belong to the people of Israel,” one retorted.
So I read to them from King Solomon’s prayer to show them they were wrong: “If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and return and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel” (2 Chr. 6:24–25).
“We can be saved only when we turn to Him,” I said. We must read the Bible, written by the Spirit of God, and not depend on a prayer book written by men.
—The Friends of Israel Archives,