Apples of Gold: Jan/Feb 2018

One day as I left home, I ran into a few Orthodox men who were trying to sell commentaries. “Do you want to know the true faith?” one asked me.

“I know the true faith,” I answered. “It is you who are far away from the truth.”

One replied, “You are lucky our holy rabbi did not hear you say that.”

I told him, “Only God is holy, and I know where to find the full truth.”

“Have you read these books?” one asked me.

“If you gave me those books for free, I would throw them away,” I replied.

They were not happy with me and looked as if they wanted to fight. “How do you know the books written by our rabbis are not good?” one demanded.

Where is the truth? In the Bible, or in the many stories of rabbinical tradition?

“It is clearly written in Deuteronomy 6:13–14, ‘You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him….You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the people, who are all around you.’ Of course, you have not read this. But this is a very important chapter. So I want to ask you, Where is the truth? In the Bible, or in the many stories of rabbinical tradition?”

A passerby who was listening to our conversation chimed in with the answer. “Of course, the Bible!” he declared.

“How do you know all of this?” one of the Orthodox men asked me. “Are you one of those who believe in This Man?” (The Orthodox always refer to Jesus as “This Man.”)

I replied, “I believe in the living God. I believe what is written in the Holy Bible.”

“Where is it written in the Bible about Yeshua? Can you show us?” one asked.

Now we had arrived! I had been waiting patiently for this moment. I quickly opened my Bible and read to them the “forbidden chapter,” Isaiah 53:

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. 4–6).

“About whom is this written?” I asked.

“This is written about our Messiah, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson from New York,” one replied. Then they showed me brochures that claimed Schneerson, the ultra-Orthodox rabbi who lived in Brooklyn, New York, and died in 1994, was the Jewish Messiah.

“You are blind to follow such a false belief,” I replied. “I can go to the cemetery in New York and find his body in his grave. So how could he be the Messiah?”

“You and many others who believe in This Man refuse to serve in the army!” one yelled. I was happy he had brought up this subject. I showed pictures of when I served in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973.

“I fought in all of these wars,” I said. “Now one of my sons serves as a high officer in the navy. The other serves in the air force as a paratrooper, and my daughter serves in communications.” Then I asked the men, “Have any of you served in the army?” I knew none of them had.

Some knew some verses from the New Testament, so one of them asked, “You believe in Yeshua, and He said, ‘You shall not kill.’ And what have you done in the war but kill others?”

They were not happy with me and looked as if they wanted to fight.

I told him, “You have not read what Jesus said in Matthew 22:21: ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ I am an Israeli citizen, and it is my duty to serve in the army.”

“This is not the end of our conversation,” one replied. “You will have to speak with our rabbis. They will show you how you are wrong.”

“Speaking with them would bring me great joy,” I told them. Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” I am ready and waiting to bring them the light.

—The Friends of Israel Archives,
September 2004

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