Zvi Mar/Apr 2011
Never has anyone come to our church to investigate those attending. Yet so it was recently. An elderly woman came because she had heard about me and that I am a Holocaust survivor. After the service, she sought me out and asked, “Are you the one who went through the Holocaust? Is your name Zvi?”
I told her yes, and from that point she was not so nice. “I want to speak with you!” she declared. The first question she asked was interesting. I had never been asked it before. “Tell me, please,” she demanded, “why have you betrayed your God?” Now I began to understand with whom I was speaking. She was upset because I have placed my faith in Jesus.
“I have heard much about you,” she said. “You are a survivor of the Holocaust. How could one like you betray our God? How could you do it?”
I replied, “I believe in one mighty God only, not as you. You have believed in many gods. You believe the Jewish people are the Chosen People. Yet you are among those who have left the true God to follow other gods.”
She looked at me with great surprise. “How can you say such a thing?” she asked. “Do you know what you are talking about?”
“It is not I who say such a thing. It is written in the Holy Bible,” I said.
She wanted to know where it was written, and I was happy to give her a good, clear answer. I showed her Deuteronomy 6:13–14: “You shall fear the Lᴏʀᴅ your God and serve Him….You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.”
“This is also written in our prayer book,” she said. “How do you know about this passage?”
“I know it because it is written in the Holy Bible in which I believe—not like you who believe in the many fictional stories told by your teachers. What do you do? You follow ‘other gods’ because you do not follow the God of the Bible. You are going against the will of the Lord.”
“All that you said to me, that we do not worship God according to what is written in the Bible, you must now show me,” she replied. “Can you show me?”
“Yes, I am ready to show you.” This time I gave her a Bible and asked her to read Deuteronomy 6, which most Orthodox Jews read several times every day. There it is written, “Hear, O Israel: The Lᴏʀᴅ our God, the Lᴏʀᴅ is one! You shall love the Lᴏʀᴅ your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (vv. 4–5).
“We have only one God,” she said. So I began to explain to her that many Orthodox people spend most of their time reading the stories and teachings of their rabbis. They place their faith in rabbinical commentaries rather than in the living God and what is written in His holy Word.
“I have spoken to many people like you,” I told her. “They do not realize what they are doing. Have a good look around you and see whom you are following. Are you following God, or are you following your rabbis? You are the one who has betrayed the true God.”
“But you follow This One,” she protested. By “This One” she meant Jesus. “How can you follow This One who is not received by our people? Following Him is much against our faith. Can you show me where it is written about Him in the Holy Bible?”
It was for this question I was waiting. I asked her, “Have you ever read Isaiah 53? It is a most important chapter in the Bible.”
“We never read that,” she replied. “Why do you ask?”
“Because here it is clearly written about This One. And if that were not enough, there are many other places in the Bible where it is written about Him, such as Micah 5:2, which says, ‘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.’”
After she read all the passages, she said, “This is the first time in my life I have read these things. Now I am beginning to understand about whom it is written here. How long have you been coming here?” she asked.
“I believed in the Lord according to the Bible many years ago, when I was a young man,” I told her. “This church started with a few people. And now you can see with your own eyes that we have nearly 300. We do not study stories written by men, but the Bible written by the Holy Spirit of God.”
She was very happy by the time she left our church. “This is only the beginning for me,” she said. I pray she is right.