Apples of Gold Sep/Oct 2022
We recently enjoyed a most important holiday—the feast of Simchat Torah, Hebrew for “rejoicing over the Law.” Many of the Orthodox dance in the synagogues and streets. I go to some of their synagogues not to dance, but to tell them their vain dancing does not bring glory to the Lord.
When I talk with them, I feel like I am in the lions’ den. But I am encouraged by Luke 12:11–12, which says, “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
I asked one of these fanatical dancers, “Are you sure this is what the Lord wants us to do?”
“Of course!” he answered.
“Are you worshiping the Lord according to the Law or according to those many rabbinical commentaries you read all the time?” I asked.
The man brought some of his friends to me and said, “This man asked me crazy questions right here in our synagogue.” They were happy to show me how smart they were.
“What do you want to know?” one of them asked.
“I am so surprised,” I said, “that all year long you study your books of rabbinical traditions, which are so far from the Law. Yet now you celebrate Simchat Torah, the rejoicing over the Law. How do you explain this?
“In Leviticus 26 it is written, ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain.’ What greater blessing is there than this? A blessing from the Lord Himself. What is the reason for your great joy and dancing? According to the teachings that you worship, you must take the rabbis to the middle of the room and dance around them. They are the Law you have chosen.”
“Your words are very interesting,” one said. “What are you trying to do here?”
“I am one of many of the Chosen People of God,” I said. “Our duty is not to dance but to go to people and warn them against the ways of the Devil.”
This was not the first time I had been in such a dangerous position. Since it was Simchat Torah, I thought they would be nice to me. But they had only hatred for me.
“We are against you and those like you who want to bring this Messianic teaching to our people in Israel,” one said. “You are a missionary!”
“Do you know who the first missionary was?” I asked.
“Of course! This Man, Jesus Christ,” one responded.
“You are mistaken,” I said. “The first missionary was Abraham, the father of our faith. Do you hate him also?”
“But he was not a Christian!” another said.
I had to start from the beginning with them. I taught them who Jesus was and where His name, Yeshua, is written in the Bible—not only in the New Testament but in the Old Testament too. For example, Psalm 14 says, “Oh, that the salvation [Yeshua] of Israel would come out of Zion!” (v. 7). It often takes a long time until they understand that I am speaking about Jesus.
Second Timothy 2:24 says, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.” Patience is my armor, and it is effective. Those who were unkind to me earlier became friendly as we continued to speak.
I continued to teach them all they wanted to know about Jesus directly from the Bible. They listened intently, seeking a clear explanation of how I came to believe in Him.
“Why do we study so long in the Yeshiva if none of our teachers speak about this?” one asked.
“What did the prophet Jeremiah say?” I asked. “‘Beware of false teachers.’ You can see what is written here about the Lord and what He has done for us all. I will not speak any more about Him because it is better that you read His Word with your own eyes and meditate on it in your own heart.”
Pray they will spend time in the Holy Bible instead of in rabbinical commentaries.
From The Friends of Israel archives