Thursday, November 25, 2010

// // 3 comments

What, are you nuts?

image005by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     This has to be one of the strangest cases that I have ever had the privilege to straighten out.

     A group of non-Jewish Americans walked into the Kotel area yesterday. Judging by their appearance, they had to be evangelical x-ians. I was surprised to see two or three Jewish faces among them. It is pretty rare, but sadly, sometimes we do see a confused Jew drawn into that religion. So I assumed that these Jews were also trapped in that idolatry. I was wrong.

     I pointed to one of the Jews and said, “You’re Jewish. You certainly have a Jewish face.”

     “Of course I’m Jewish, through and through!” he happily confirmed.

     “Come, put on tefillin.” He did not know what I was talking about. “We’re going to take your Jewish blood pressure,” I joked. I took his arm and started to put tefillin on him.

     One of the other Jewish-looking men leaned over and said, “He was baptized this morning!”

     “What!” I yelled, “Are you nuts? You’re not a x-ian. You’re a Jew!”

     It turned out that the entire group was on a tour that was organized in their hometown somewhere in Florida. Except for the three Jews, they were all x-ians. That morning they had gone on a tour to the Jordan River, and the evangelicals had all baptized each other. As usual, they love to spread their particular brand of confusion, so they tried to lure the three Jews traveling with them into being baptized, too. X-ians believe that it is a huge victory to convert a Jew to their beliefs.

     They had a sales pitch: After all, this was the actual Jordan River; the very river where yashka (Yiddish slang for the x-ian deity) himself was baptized 2,000 years ago. (At least that’s how the story goes.) When they tried to coax the Jews into joining them, two of the Jews had enough brains to refuse, but this nice old guy was up for the adventure. Wading out into the river with your clothes on was certainly something that he could tell his friends about when he got home, so the friendly old Jew agreed to join them, and he let them baptize him!

image006

     “Listen to me,” I insisted, as I continued to put the tefillin on him. “You are a Jew. Baptism is not for Jews. It is what goyim (non-Jews) do when they accept that false religion. You didn’t accept anything. You are not a x-ian, you’re a Jew.”

    I wanted him to be able to defend himself when they later tried to convince him that he actually became a x-ian, G-d forbid!

     I told him that Jews are a people and not a religion. “But if you want a religion, then we have our own. We do not need theirs.” I told him that their religion contradicts our beliefs. “They worship their god, which has three parts, a trinity. Jews worship the one G-d Who is everywhere. G-d does not have parts.” I told him that the baptism he went through did not mean anything, that he did not accept any of their religious foolishness, and that he was not going to follow that religion.

     It turned out that he is 81 years old, and this was the first time in his life that he had ever put on tefillin! I told him that it was his bar mitzvah!

    (Actually, bar mitzvah means that a Jewish boy has come to the age [13] when the Torah says that he is old enough to begin to be responsible for his own spiritual life. One of the first things that he can then do is put on tefillin.)

     I made sure that he had pictures of himself wearing tefillin to remind him that he is a Jew. “X-ians have baptisms. Jews have tefillin and bar mitzvahs.”

     He was very happy, and he has absolutely no intention of joining any x-ian religion. And they are not going to be able to fool him into thinking that he became a x-ian.

     Thank G-d that he met us, or who knows where he would have ended up.

3 comments:

josh said...

Wonerful!
There is actually a nice tradition to do a second bar mitzvah at age 83.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi your a true rabbi you should be commended by the Creator the highest honors for saving jewish souls in your job . In this case you literally saved a soul and showed all your readers who may have been tempted by that carpenter from nazareth what a real rabbi stands up for .Many jews are confused between the idea of God as ain sof with the competing concept of trinity. I feel because of all the propoganda were fed in america in a daily yearly bombardment because of massive assimilation and because of the lowliness of our souls receptivity to a monotheistic God as crucial to us and for that matter to them !the xmas holidays Hashem knows are no help in our daily struggle to break through the chains of the idolatry of the nazarene. The most vulnerable the elderly like this man , the ill , students , mentally ill these souls are preyed on , and amalak attacked the weak and infirm and those who straggeled behind . And yes they are repeating history again ! Only kudos Yoav and his father Pinchas and brother Yaakov from USA.

Crazy Smade said...

The problem with Islam? We're all tzelem Elokim and chelek Elokim mima'al (part of G-d above). Isalm rejects the notion that we're Children of HaShem and maintains that we're only Children of Adam; hence, we'll always be less than G-dly.

However, the Baal Shem Tov taught that one should treat one's fellow creatures with the attention and respect that one affords to G-d Himself, because in this reverence for ALL life ... one keeps HaShem before one's eyes at ALL times. At least, that's my understanding of his teaching. Please, correct me if I'm wrong!

The problem with Xianity? Most Xians think that only one guy is HaShem Himself. So, regardless of whether or not this man was a historical person, be he a heretic or a Torah-observant Jew, or simply a work of literary fiction or a mixture of both, Xianity seeks to limit the Infinite One.

How nuts is that? Pretty nuts, if you ask me and I know, because I use to be one of these nuts. :(

Oh well.... Eventually, we'll all get with the Infinite One's program. It's just a matter of time and experience moving us toward a maturing of the soul -- not that I'm even close to being mature and/or sane, but I'm working on it!

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