Zvi Apr/May 1992
We recently experienced something we have not seen in Israel for many years—a storm that produced 16 inches of snow! The children were delighted that they had a few days off from school and could romp in the snow and build snowmen. But the older people were not so happy. Many had to stay at home since public transportation was almost at a standstill. Also, there were many traffic accidents resulting in downed power lines and loss of electricity, and it was very difficult for repairmen to get to the senior citizens.
I live in the center of my settlement, and most of the people there know me. Some know me as a good man who will come to their homes and make various types of repairs without charging them. But others know me as an apostate and accuse me of trying to lead them away from the faith and preaching the gospel of Christ. During the snowstorm, the Lord performed a miracle by bringing to my door someone who I thought knew me only as an apostate, but apparently he was aware of my other reputation as well. I must say that I was surprised when a well-known rabbi came to my home, not with a sour face as on the other occasions when he had visited me. No, this time he came with a pleasant expression, and in a kind voice he said, “Well, Zvi you have won the war. I need you now! I think that you can help me.” I asked, “What do you need? I will do my best to be of service to you.” He replied, “We have no electricity in our home. From what I have heard of you, I am sure that you can bring back the light.” “Of course, let’s go,” I said, as I picked up my toolbox, which is always at the ready, just like a doctor with his black bag.
As we approached the rabbi’s home, I remarked, “Now we are going into the darkness, but hopefully we will soon bring back the light to our eyes and, more importantly, to our hearts.” After only a few minutes of work, I was able to restore power to the home, and the light came on—and with it came great joy to the rabbi and his family. I then recited a verse of Scripture to the family: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isa. 9:2).
Because I was a guest in the rabbi’s home, and not only a guest but someone who had performed an invaluable service for him, I felt the liberty to speak about a subject I had never mentioned in his presence—faith in the Lord. In his own home! In the presence of his wife and children! And, what’s more, they even invited me to sit and drink tea with them as we talked. Such an opportunity comes along perhaps once in a jubilee, and I prayed within my heart that the Lord would enable me to speak in a way that was honoring to Him.
I sensed that this occasion bore fruit. Although the rabbi is far from being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he was so grateful for what I had done that he vowed never to speak against me or call me an apostate, telling people that I distribute poison and want them to leave the faith of their fathers. The same God who brought about the miracle of the snowfall also did a work in the rabbi’s heart that had before seemed impossible. Truly, the blind can see and the deaf can hear.
As I was about to leave, the rabbi asked what my fee was for the work I had done. I replied, “There is no fee. In such situations, we must do as the Talmud says: ‘In times of distress, the children of Israel must be responsible for each other’s well-being.’ Because I believe in God, He has put a great love in my heart for my neighbors. That is not what I say; it is written in the Lord: ‘thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lᴏʀᴅ’ (Lev. 19:18). And you are my neighbor.”
At this the rabbi jumped up and said, “No! You believe what the Bible says?” “Yes,” I replied. “As a matter of fact, the Bible is the foundation of the faith in which I believe.” Then he said, “As you know, I am a respected rabbi and no one has ever had the courage to say such a thing to me. You have the greatest chutzpah [impertinence] I have ever seen. But now your own tongue has trapped you. Show me where it is written about this man Jesus in the Bible. Prove it to me before my entire family.”
I responded, “First, I want you to know that I am happy you have asked this. I am not trapped, as you believe.” Then I read to him Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” “Ah, yes,” he replied, “but this one in whom you believe never ruled Israel. He was crucified on a cross.” “You are right,” I said, “and everyone stared at Him as He hung there. But you forget that it is also written in Zechariah 12:10, ‘they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.’ It is also written in Ezekiel 39:29, ‘Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.’ I could go on and on, page after page, showing you where the Bible speaks about this one whom you ridicule. If you want to hear more, I can stay as long as you like.” He then quoted Jeremiah 12:1: “Why doth the way of the wicked prosper?” I asked, “Who are the wicked? Those who believe in the living God? Or those who worship a false faith and dance around the golden calf?” After this, our discussion became very heated, but also very interesting, and I was able to tell him things about the Lord that I could never say before.
I know that this encounter will produce fruit someday. Please pray with me that I will have further opportunities to speak to this rabbi trusting that one day he and his family will be brought out of spiritual darkness into spiritual light, just as they were brought from physical darkness into physical light during the storm.