Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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Colonel Tom, U.S. Army (retired)

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths


     Colonel Tom is from Texas. He graduated from West Point, and served in the U.S. Army for 30 years before retiring as a Full Colonel. He has two children, one a lieutenant, and one a captain, and they went to West Point, too. When he came up to me at the Kotel I would have bet that he was not Jewish. He was a Bible reading ch-ristain, married to a non-Jewish woman, living a military life all of his years. He let me know that he was very unhappy (to put it mildly) with the surrounding Arab countries where he visited, which I attributed to his evangelical leanings. 


     But after we talked for a while, even with that thick Texas accent, it came out. "Yes Sir, my mother is Jewish."


     That changed the whole scene. After asking him several times, to be sure, I told him that since his mother is Jewish, then so is he.


     He objected, "But it says that G-d is the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It doesn't say anything about the mothers determining whose G-d it is."


    "If I give you a good answer will you agree to put on tefillin?" I pointed to the tefillin since he had no idea what I was talking about. He nodded, and I told about Abraham and Sarah having Isaac, and Abraham and Sarah's Egyptian maid-servant, Hagar, having Ishmael. So, if he was right, and the people went by the father, then both boys would have been Jewish. "They both had the same father!" I told him that the people go by the mother, just like way back then, and since his mother is Jewish, so is he.


     "That's the best answer I've ever heard," he told me, as I slipped the tefillin on his arm.


     After he read the Shema in English, and prayed for his family, I explained to him how important is was for him to teach his children not to worship a limited god. I asked him, "Where is G-d."


     He answered, "I never thought of it, but isn't He everywhere?"


    "You're absolutely right. But the ch-ristain bible says that the guy who was crucified went to heaven, and was no longer in the grave." He agreed that it says that. "Then, he is not everywhere! Don't worship him. And if you love your kids, you won't let them worship a limited god, either."


    Tom is a Jew who has lived his entire life as a ch-ristian. He said, "I knew I came to Israel for a good reason."

1 comment:

  1. Howdy! I live in Texas too (but I'm not Texan). Yasha koach on your explanation To Col. Tom about deriving Jewish inheritance from one's mother. When I've been asked about this matter, I have provided the same explanation, even though I've never heard or read it from another source. I'm glad to have validation on this subject from a qualified rav.


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