Zvi Jun/Jul 1993
As it is written in Proverbs 19:21, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lᴏʀᴅ, that shall stand.” I recently took my wife to the hospital for treatment of an ongoing condition in her left eye. Having been there many times in the past, I estimated that the treatment would not take more than an hour, and I then planned to go to my neighbor’s home to make some electrical repairs. Yes, that was my plan for the day, but the Lord had other plans for me.
When we arrived at the hospital and saw the many people in the waiting room of the eye department, my own eyes grew dim. I said to my wife, “It looks like we may be here all day, so let’s find a good seat.” Most of the other people seemed prepared for the long wait. Many of them had brought newspapers to read, and the more religious people had brought the Talmud or other books of commentary. I, of course, had in my sack the small Bible I take with me wherever I go.
Shortly after my wife and I sat down, an elderly man and his wife came in and sat next to us. As soon as they were settled in, the man produced a copy of the Talmud and put it on the bench beside me, so that I could see it. He then said, “This is the most interesting part of my life, the Talmud! What do you think about it?” I asked, “How many years has this book taken from your life?” He replied, “For many years it has consumed most of my waking hours.” I responded, “For my part, I would not devote even one hour of my life to that book.” He was very unhappy at my remark and asked, “Are you a Jew?” “Yes, I am,” I replied. “Then how can you say such a thing about a great book like the Talmud?” “I will tell you how,” I replied, opening my sack and taking out my small Bible. “This is the book to which I have devoted my life, and it is nothing like the Talmud, which can be changed at the whim of men. The Bible was written by the Holy Spirit of God, and you cannot change even the smallest word in it because, as it is written in Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O Lᴏʀᴅ, ‘Thy word is settled in heaven.’ And so, you can see the great difference between our two books.”
He was quiet for a few moments and then asked, “Where did you come from?” “Poland,” I replied. He said, “I am from New York. I have been in Israel for 15 years, and all that time I have studied in a yeshiva [religious school]. I also belong to the Chabad group, which supports the Lubavitcher Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.” Then he asked, “Which rabbi do you favor?” I replied, “As rabbis, I do not have a special preference for any of them; but as human beings, it is my duty to love them because we were all created in the image of God, who is the greatest example of love. We must therefore love one another, as it is written, ‘by love serve one another’ (Gal. 5:13).” He said, “Well, I am glad to see that we have some common ground.” Then he asked, “Do you believe that the Messiah has to come now, according to what is written in our newspapers?” “My dear,” I replied, “I want you to know that I believe the Messiah must return. I believe that one hundred percent, and I believe that it could happen at any time and that it may happen very soon.”
“Aha!” the man said. “Now I know who you are. I left the United States and came to Israel so that I would not have to listen to such statements from the goyim [Gentiles]. And now I am hearing the same thing in Israel from a Jew!” I said, “There are many people like yourself here in Israel. They left the countries of their birth to avoid hearing about the true Messiah, the one about whom the Bible teaches. Answer me truthfully, do the Jewish Scriptures state that the Messiah will come from New York or from Jerusalem?”
I gave him some time to think; however, the answer to my question did not come from him but from others in the waiting room who had been listening in on our conversation. Several men started to discuss the question, and then one spoke up and said, “One of the most popular verses in the prophets is Isaiah 2:3, ‘out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ from Jerusalem.’” Although these men realized that I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, they did not attack me. In fact, they continued their conversation about Christ with the man sitting next to me. They seemed like very scholarly men, and I could tell from the way they spoke that they were true believers in the Lord. I was so happy that, for the first time I could remember, I was not a lone person witnessing about the Messiah. Now I was sitting back listening while other believers spoke about Him, and they were faithfully sticking to the subject of the original conversation.
By now the man next to me was very confused and could not believe that so many people disagreed with him—and right here in Jerusalem, no less! Finally he remarked, “I can see that you have great convictions about this matter. How did you arrive at such conclusions?” I spoke up again and said, “In Deuteronomy 16:20 it is clearly written, ‘That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live and inherit the land which the Lᴏʀᴅ thy God giveth thee.’ That is the law of God, but you have perverted it with your superstitions.”
Although this conversation lasted for more than four hours, it seemed to pass very quickly, and not only for me but for most of the other people in that waiting room. I am sure that even those who were not there to see the eye doctor personally had their eyes opened to the truth about the Lord, our Savior. I plan to return there again because it is a good place to witness for the Messiah.
In closing, may I ask you to pray for my wife as she undergoes further treatment and possibly more surgery on her eye. Thank you.