Phil Chernofsky of Torah Tidbits brought down a theme of continuing the religious chain. I recommend going to the OU org and google Torah tidbits.
In my words very condensed. Avraham was pro-active leaving Avoda Zara (idol worship) and establishing a monotheistic religion. It was not new to Noach, Shem or Ever who lived during the first years of Avraham but his parents or grandparents had left the true path. Now it was time to re-establish with zeal monotheism.
Yitzchak was the first Frum From Birth or FFB (religious from birth) person since the revolution of Avraham. Like many of us today the first generation returning to the source is that of Baalei Teshuva. The second is already born Frum. Yitzchak is not proactive but continuing the religion. Rivka is a Baal Teshuva. She is pro-active with Yacov and Esav. She saw that the beloved son was as crooked and phony as can be while Yacov was Chalak (straight)
Yacov, who is not yet Yisrael, is the father who symbolizes where the Nation of Yisrael will be in Gallus with his trip and staying by Lavan. He deals with the worst kind pf anti-Semitism with Esav and his army. Finally, he comes home to Eretz Yisrael but his life is to be interrupted by a second Gallus to Mitzrayim.
This week I cover the initial prayers upon leaving for Haran in some detail. As Yacov arrives there, he performs a feat of strength to impress Rachel whom he wants to marry. He is tricked by Lavan but does end up with Rachel in the end. There becomes a sister rivalry which is essentially the foundation for not marrying a sister during the life-time of the wife. 11 of the 12 tribes are born and their names chosen with reason.
Finally, Lavan tries to trick Yacov into remaining with him through wages. Yacov is blessed and even though there are changes the contract and condition ten times, Yacov comes out ahead.
Yacov senses danger with Lavan who now has sons with Yacov’s blessing. He flees with his wives and livestock but you can only drive sheep and goats at a certain speed and their droppings show Lavan the path. HASHEM has to intervene on Yacov’s behalf in a dream to save him.
After this Yacov sees the Angels of Eretz Yisrael and those of Aram.,
28:10 And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheba, and went toward Haran.
Rashi teaches us an important lesson: And Jacob left: Scripture had only to write: “And Jacob went to Haran.” Why did it mention his departure? But this tells [us] that the departure of a righteous man from a place makes an impression, for while the righteous man is in the city, he is its beauty, he is its splendor, he is its majesty. When he departs from there, its beauty has departed, its splendor has departed, its majesty has departed. And likewise (Ruth 1:7): “And she went forth from the place,” stated in reference to Naomi and Ruth. - [From Gen. Rabbah 68:6]
11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.
The Medrash is a bit confused here. One authority says this is Har HaBeis which Rashi agrees with. Another authority says Beit El and the Pshat seems to confirm that. Remember the Mishkan was there and Shilo until David started building the Beis HaMikdash which Shlomo completed.
And he arrived at the place: Scripture does not mention which place, but [it means] the place mentioned elsewhere, which is Mount Moriah, concerning which it is said (Gen. 22:4):“And he saw the place from afar.” [From Pes. 88a] And he arrived: Heb. וַיִפְגַע, as in (Josh. 16:7):“and it reached (וּפָגַע) Jericho” ; (ibid. 19: 11):“and it reached (וּפָגַע) Dabbesheth.” Our Rabbis (Gen. Rabbah 68:9, Ber. 26b) interpreted it [the word וַיִפְגַע] as an expression of prayer, as in (Jer. 7:16):“And do not entreat (תִּפְגַּע) me,” and this teaches us that he [Jacob] instituted the evening prayer. [Scripture] did not write וַיִתְפַּלֵּל, [the usual expression for prayer], to teach that the earth sprang toward him [i.e. the mountain moved toward him], as is explained in the chapter entitled גִיד הַנָּשֶׁה (Chullin 91b).Because the sun had set: Heb. כִּי בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ [Scripture] should have written [in reverse order]:“And the sun set (וַיָּבֹא), and he stayed there overnight.” [The expression] כִּי בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ implies that the sun set suddenly for him, not at its usual time, so that he would have to stay there overnight. [From Gen. Rabbah 68:10, Chullin 91b] And placed [them] at his head: He arranged them in the form of a drainpipe around his head because he feared the wild beasts. They [the stones] started quarreling with one another. One said, “Let the righteous man lay his head on me,” and another one said, “Let him lay [his head] on me.” Immediately, the Holy One, blessed be He, made them into one stone. This is why it is stated (verse 18):“and he took the stone [in the singular] that he had placed at his head.” [From Chullin 91b] And he lay down in that place: [The word הַהוּא] is a restrictive expression, meaning that [only] in that place did he lie down, but during the fourteen years that he served in the house of Eber, he did not lie down at night, because he was engaged in Torah study. [From Gen. Rabbah 68:11] This I have heard about Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Friday night until the morning of Shabbos that he learned.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
Ascending and descending: Ascending first and afterwards descending. The angels who escorted him in the [Holy] Land do not go outside the Land, and they ascended to heaven, and the angels of outside the Holy Land descended to escort him. [From Gen. Rabbah 68:12]
I heard from Rabbi Simcha HaCohain Kuk Shlita that the angels were that of Asshur, Bavel, Greece, and Rome which is Esav. While those angels rose, the angel of Yacov (Michael or if plural then Gavriel etc. too) went down until the final Geula and the meteoric ascent on the rungs. Since he was a Novi and prophesized I like this Pshat.
13 And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou lie, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
And behold, the Lord was standing over him: to guard him. And the God of Isaac: Although we do not find in Scripture that the Holy One, blessed be He, associates His name with that of the righteous during their lifetimes by writing “the God of so-and-so,” for it is said (Job 15:15):“Lo! He does not believe in His holy ones,” [i.e., God does not consider even His holy ones as righteous until after their deaths, when they are no longer subject to the evil inclination,] nevertheless, here He associated His name with Isaac because his eyes had become dim, and he was confined in the house, and he was like a dead person, the evil inclination having ceased from him (Tanchuma Toledoth 7). Upon which you are lying: (Chullin ad loc.) The Holy One, blessed be He, folded the entire Land of Israel under him. He hinted to him that it would be as easily conquered by his children (as four cubits, which represent the area a person takes up [when lying down]). [From Chullin 91b]
We see where the right to the land comes from. Not from the UN or a British Mandate but rather from HASHEM. The problem is if we are deserving of it.
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
And you shall gain strength: Heb. וּפָרַצְתָּ, as in יִפְרֹץ וְכֵן,“and so did they gain strength” (Exod. 1:12). [after targumim]
Little did Yacov realize, but the spreading of the Jews all over would enable our survival throughout the centuries. One cannot destroy the dust of the earth for he can burn it, put it under water or send a wind to pick it up but it remains.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou go, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.'
And behold, I am with you: [God promised Jacob this] because he was afraid of Esau and Laban. Until I have done: אִם is used in the sense of כִּי, [meaning that]. I have spoken concerning you: Heb. לָ, for your benefit and concerning you. What I promised to Abraham concerning his seed, I promised in reference to you and not in reference to Esau, for I did not say to him, “for Isaac will be called your seed,” [which would signify that all of Isaac’s descendants would be regarded as Abraham’s] but “for in Isaac,” [meaning part of Isaac’s descendants] but not all [the descendants] of Isaac (Nedarim 31a). Likewise, wherever לִי, לוֹ, לָ and לָהֶם are used in conjunction with a form of the verb“speaking” (דִּבּוּר) they are used in the sense of “concerning.” This [verse] proves it, because heretofore, He had not spoken to Jacob.
I promise you that I will be with you and that you shall return to the land, both now and will be buried in the Machpelah in Chevron.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.' 17 And he was afraid, and said: 'How full of awe is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'
This is why we believe it to be Har Moriah and secondly, he went to learn for 14 years with Shem and Ever in the city.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
This is the Pshat to believe it was the town of Beth-el.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God,
Yacov does not pray for a Shidduch, wealth, but just enough to get by. However, the vow does show that he will pray in G-D’s house and give Tzeduka.
22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.'
Please give me the minimum and I will give back to you as much as I can.
…29:4 And Jacob said unto them: 'My brethren, whence are ye?' And they said: 'Of Haran are we.' 5 And he said unto them: 'Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?' And they said: 'We know him.' 6 And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter comes with the sheep.' 7 And he said: 'Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.' 8 And they said: 'We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.' 9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she tended them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
There appears to be some details of this story missing for looking at the Pshat, I wonder what would have happened if the Charedim saw a strange man come out of nowhere and kiss one of the local girls or some Arab family who does honor killing today? What is missing here is that he explained that he was Lavan’s Nephew and supposed to marry his first cousin.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father.
We learn that there is no before or after in the Torah but this detail must have been told before he kissed her. [We know from the 63 years of age when he left and 14 years learning with Shem and Ever that he was 79 but we have no idea of the age of Leah and Rachel other than they would have had to been over 3 or 12 depending when Yacov left which would make them 17 or 26 years of age.]
… 15 And Laban said unto Jacob: 'Because thou art my brother, should thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?' … 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said: 'I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.'
I will work for you seven years: (Gen. Rabbah 67:10, 70:17) They are the few days of which his mother said, “And you shall dwell with him for a few days.” (27:44 above) You should know that this is so, because it is written: “and they appeared to him like a few days.” (verse 20) For Rachel, your younger daughter: Why were all these signs necessary? Since he (Jacob) knew that he (Laban) was a deceiver, he said to him, “I will work for you for Rachel,” and lest you say [that I meant] another Rachel from the street, Scripture states: “Your daughter.” Now, lest you say, “I will change her name to Leah, and I will name her (Leah) Rachel,” Scripture states: “[your] younger [daughter].” Nevertheless, it did not avail him, for he (Laban) deceived him. — [from Gen. Rabbah 70:17]
19 And Laban said: 'It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with me.' 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
Serving 7 years which would make Yacov at this time 84 years old and the women somewhere between 24 and 33 which seems a bit old for those days for women.
21 And Jacob said unto Laban: 'Give me my wife, for my days are filled, that I may go in unto her.'
For my days are completed: [The days] of which my mother told me. Moreover, my days are completed, for I am already eighty-four years old. When will I raise up twelve tribes? This is what he [meant when he] said, “that I may come to her.” Now, isn’t it true that even the most degenerate person would not say this? But he (Jacob) meant [that he intended] to beget generations. — [from Gen. Rabbah 70:18]
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid. 25 And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban: 'What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?' 26 And Laban said: 'It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born. 27 Fulfil the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.'
This time he gave Rachel to Yacov in one week without playing games so that there would be no divorce. Also the family and friends were there for another week of celebrations.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife. 29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her handmaid.
From a man who hand nothing before the age of 84, he now has two wives and later on the servant girls will be his wives too.
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Now he is stuck with Lavan another 7 years.
…30:25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban: 'Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served thee, and let me go; for thou know my service wherewith I have served thee.'
At first Yacov wanted to leave Lavan in peace already after 14 years even with any payment other than his wives and children. However, Lavan wanted a cheap source of good labor and blessings - so:
27 And Laban said unto him: 'If now I have found favor in thine eyes--I have observed the signs, and the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.' 28 And he said: 'Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.'
In truth he wanted to go but since Lavan put things this way in such a nice and polite manner, he stayed for a salary this time.
I have skipped the section of Lavan changing Yacov’s wages 10 times and his fleeing. However, he is pursued by Lavan to possibly be slaughtered just as Saddam Hussein murdered his sons-in-law and kept his daughters alive. However, HASHEM intervenes and Lavan must spare Yacov. They make up a covenant with a pile of stones and a peace offering and they depart each on his way.
32:1 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. And Laban departed, and returned unto his place. 2 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 3 And Jacob said when he saw them: 'This is God's camp.' And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
This was part of his original dream but reverse, the angels of outside of Yisrael departing and the Angels of Eretz Yisrael returning or welcoming Yacov back.
Bienvenue au Canada read the sign as the frigid air pulled him into the terminal with an urgency. Passport control. Luggage. Waiting area. And there she was: Aunt Katya. Smiling, waving vigorously, and very welcoming, she eagerly stepped forward to take her 17-year-old immigrant nephew under her wing. All Misha really knew about his father’s sister was that Aunt Katya had “converted” to Christianity, but his ambiguous understanding of religion made his aunt’s choice a complete non-issue.
As they drove down the broad highways of Toronto, Misha reveled in his newfound destination. The scenery was different here; the air rich with promise. The houses were beautiful and spacious. He had come to Canada to seek his fortune, and find it he would.
There was a large pot of soup waiting on the stove in Aunt Katya’s modest two-bedroom apartment, and a bed turned down especially for her nephew. They sat down to eat and Misha became aware of keen eyes watching him. And then, gently but bluntly, Aunt Katya lay down the house rules. One rule, actually, stunningly simple:
“If you believe in and pray to Jesus, then you are welcome in my home,” she told him.
The converse was glaringly implicit.
It wasn't the belief in Christianity that was untenable, it was the demand to believe in any God at all.Misha Kapilov had a big problem. Up until now, religion had been a rather trivial chapter in his life. Russia certainly hadn’t offered him anything of faith, and his brief year in Israel had only served up a large helping of hypocrisy and cynical anti-religious indoctrination. If he found Aunt Katya’s terms untenable it was not because she was demanding his belief in Christianity, but because she was demanding that he believe in any God at all, a repulsive offense to Misha’s self-proclaimed atheism.
But free room and board was nothing to sneeze at for an immigrant boy fresh off the boat. So he promised he’d try and, like a good little nephew, he grudgingly accompanied Aunt Katya to… synagogue.
Well, at first glance it certainly looked like a synagogue, with a rabbi cloaked in a tallit and one of those arks that housed the Torah scrolls like he blurrily remembered seeing once as a child. There were congregants with skullcaps and prayer books, and everyone wished him “Shabbat Shalom” and stayed to shmooze afterward during kiddush. Young Misha was pleasantly surprised by the warm atmosphere and the after-services get-togethers where the friendly community made him feel welcome and invited him to come back again the next week.
Misha thought it was odd how Aunt Katya, a professed Christian, permitted herself the sacrilegious practice of praying in a synagogue. But her strange practice was soon resolved when he came to understand that “Yeshua HaMashiach,” abundantly referred to in the prayer texts and other parts of the “synagogue” service was none other than Jesus, father of Christianity. He was surprised and a bit aghast. After all, hadn’t Papa told him that Jews didn’t believe in Jesus?
It didn’t take long till dear Aunt Katya threw him out of her house forever, in disappointment over his failure to “believe.” But Misha continued to attend Sabbath services at Congregation Melech Yeshua on his own – if just for the sense of belonging. Very soon he became a valued member of the “synagogue.” It satisfied his craving for friendship and closed the hole of loneliness. With sincere and loving persistence, Misha’s fellow congregants demonstrated to him how Jews were meant to believe in Yeshua., bringing "proof" from Messianic texts. With time, the former atheist became a passionate advocate of these Jews for Jesus.
Parkdale was once populated by the wealthy upper-class. Today, it has the faded look of an expensive ball gown left crumpled in a garbage bin for many years, with cats and rodents nesting in its once-delicate hems. The crumbling apartment complexes tower above the dank alleyways where pursuits of a variety of illicit activities are the norm. Crime is to Parkdale as salt is to soup; a diverse landscape of immigrants, panhandlers, and a motley group of patients released from the psychiatric hospital that closed its doors a number of years ago.
Toronto’s Parkdale district was not the fortune Misha had sought. Having been exiled from Aunt Katya’s, he found himself trapped in the seedy but affordable slums. Misha wanted out, and intervention from a Power he did not yet fully comprehend obliged.
“You’re looking for an apartment?” a friend of his parents from the Old Country asked, when they bumped into each other one day. He scratched his chin. “I know someone with an apartment for rent. I’ll give you her number.” And that’s how Misha met Mr. and Mrs. Sheiner.
“You looking for an apartment?” Olga Sheiner peered at the tall, skinny boy before her with a mixture of dismay and motherly affection, her Russian-accented English thick like the fragrant smells that wafted from her kitchen on this Friday afternoon.
Misha dutifully took a tour of the basement apartment but with disappointment he realized that his ticket out of Parkdale was not located at this particular address.
“Thank you,” he told Mrs. Sheiner, “But it’s not for me…”
She nodded with disapproving approval. He was on his way out the door. They would likely never meet again. It was Friday afternoon. He was a Jewish boy, that much was apparent. Should she reach out to him? Would he spurn the offer? Would it even matter? She wiped her hands on her apron and shrugged inwardly. It was a long shot, but so was David’s when he attempted to defeat the giant Goliath.
“Y’know, it’s Friday afternoon,” Olga said. “You’re already here in my house. Why don’t you stay for Shabbos?”
A look of surprise crossed the teenager’s face. Stay for the entire Shabbos with this obviously religious couple? Rather absurd. But how could one argue with the tempting scents that emanated from the stove, and his miserable flat in Parkdale made the modest Sheiner home look like a palace. Besides, a full Shabbos together would enable him to proselytize to these noble yet uninformed Jews about the beauty and dazzling truth of ‘Yeshua.’ Misha nodded his consent.
They almost choked on their soup, but the Sheiners contained their horror.Over golden chicken soup and crisp potato kugel, the Sheiners were treated to a fifth course – on Messianic Judaism. Earnestly, Misha explained to them how essential it was for Jews to believe in the Christian “savior” in order to be forgiven for their sins and to ensure their share in the World to Come.
They almost choked on their soup, but the Sheiners contained their horror. Calmly and patiently they explained to a surprised Misha that they were quite comfortable in their current belief system and were not interested in adding another deity to their lives. They did not berate him, engage him, or laugh at him. Misha left that Saturday night with a full stomach and an intriguing invitation to meet a friend of the Sheiners who, they said, was potentially interested in the “wares” he peddled.
Julius Ciss is a man you don't forget. The only thing more towering than Julius’ 6-foot-6 height is his gentle presence and affable love of all Jews. Julius founded Jews for Judaism, the anti-missionary organization in Toronto several years after he, himself, was saved from the clutches of a deep, five-year involvement with the very same Congregation Melech Yeshua that Misha attended. It was this gentle giant whom Olga Sheiner urgently contacted as soon as Misha left her house.
“You must get in touch with this boy,” she told Julius, “or he will be lost and bring others down with him.”
Julius was hesitant. In his line of work he had seen enough to know that true counter-missionary success only came from those who initiated contact on their own, expressing interest in hearing the other side of the story. By calling Misha directly he was worried that the young man would be put off and an opportunity would be squandered. But Olga persisted.
“You’ve got to call him,” she ordered. “He’ll never call you.”
So Julius called Misha.
The two spoke for many hours and the conversation was pleasant, and thought-provoking. Julius talked to Misha about his aspirations, his friends, and his experiences in Canada, and he took a genuine interest in Misha’s wellbeing. The two definitely clicked.
Eventually, the conversation drifted to Misha’s belief in Christianity. Julius’s approach was non-threatening and non-judgmental. He didn’t want to come on too strong; all he wanted was to push the door open a crack to ensure further conversations. He spoke with Misha about the importance of being intellectually honest about his decision to embrace Christianity. Julius talked about the paramount importance of making an informed decision in every area of life. “When you cross the street, you don’t just look one way; you look both ways! How much more so if you cross a spiritual street,” he said.
Jews who embrace Christianity seldom ask why Judaism rejects the claim of Jesus as the messiah.Julius told Misha that Jews who embrace Christianity seldom ask themselves why Judaism rejects the Christian claim that Jesus is the messiah. Misha agreed that he didn’t actually know the Jewish perspective on belief in Jesus. Julius invited him meet later that week to talk about it and to learn more. Misha was intrigued with his gentle but on-target arguments, and agreed to explore the issue further.
Before he called again, Julius embarked upon a furious mission: to find Misha an apartment. He knew that finding a healthy Jewish environment where Misha would feel nurtured and supported was key in giving him the chance to leave his messianic community.
A New Home
Iris and Harold Kaufman, parents of five, are legendary in the Toronto community for their hospitality, tzedakah, and boundless kindness. Their warm, easygoing personalities – not to mention their vacant, beautiful basement apartment for rent – made them ideal candidates for taking in Misha. Even better, Harold was very active with Aish HaTorah – which meant he could introduce Misha to the vibrant Aish community in Toronto.
It was not a simple decision for the Kaufmans to take in a young, messianic teenager. Far from being a tenant, Misha would become part of the family, where the impressionable minds of the five Kaufman children, similar in age to Misha, would be subjected to his devout messianic doctrine. But after careful deliberation and consultation with their rabbi, Iris and Harold gave Julius the green light and a joyful Julius notified Misha that he’d found him the greatest apartment ever. Misha soon became a well-integrated part of the Kaufman family. Misha had finally found a true home.
What ensued was a battle for truth. Misha describes it like this: “I would tell Julius what the people at the Jews for J synagogue were teaching from their proof texts. Julius would refute it. I would go back to my people with Julius’ refutations and they would counter-refute what Julius was saying. These I would take back to Julius to see what he had to say about them. But Julius had all the answers.”
Like a buoy fighting the undertow desperately trying to touch the sky, Misha fought bravely through the doctrine he had been taught and the diametrically opposed belief system Julius offered him. And like that indomitable buoy, Misha emerged victorious.
It was difficult for his friends at Congregation Melech Yeshua to see him slip away after all the time, effort, and genuine friendship they had invested in him. Especially at the hands of one of their former members! When the messianic rabbi ran out of answers with which to refute Julius’s convincing arguments, he fixed Misha with a penetrating look and warned him, “That Julius is the devil.”
“Julius is the devil,” the messianic rabbi sneered.This grim statement, intended to strike fear in the heart of the conflicted boy, backfired and had a rebound effect. Misha had come to know Julius very well – as a person and as a counter-missionary, and he was quite certain that the kind and loving Julius was far from the devil. He realized that the messianic rabbi had come up against a brick wall. And so had Misha who decided to begin a new chapter in his life.
Misha enrolled in CHAT, a local Jewish high school, and began learning more about his heritage. Today, 19 years later, Misha lives with his wife, Rachel and their two children, in the Toronto community where he is an active member of Aish HaTorah. He has helped Julius in his anti-missionary activities and speaks freely of the incredible Divine providence that brought him from a steep, slippery slope to the joyous pinnacle of observant Judaism.
For Misha, all it took was a hesitatingly proffered Shabbos invitation to launch a dramatic transformation in his life and future descendants. God’s mysterious ways often involve His creations – regular, ordinary, busy people who rise to the challenge and reach out to others. One act of kindness can forever alter another person’s destiny.
* All names, except Julius Ciss, have been changed. This true story occurred 19 years ago when the messianic congregation described in the article was under different leadership than it is today.
Julius Ciss is an Aish alumnus. He can be reached at Jews for Judaism firstname.lastname@example.org in Toronto.
JEWS FOR JUDAISM counters the multi-million dollar efforts of Christian missionary and cult groups that target Jews for conversion, by offering free educational programs, materials and counselling services. http://www.jewsforjudaism.ca/
Epilogue: Rabbi Glixman ZTZAL dealt with a similar case the mother pleaded with him to help her son. He was hooked on their propaganda. Of course it came from poor Jewish Education. (Story cut short because of my promise to the Glixman family for their book on the Rabbi)
The Rabbi tired this way and that to convince the fellow that he should stay with Judaism. Just before the Rabbi was about to give up either the boy mentioned “HIS only son” or the Rabbi hit upon it. The Rabbi then brought out a Chumash Shemos 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh: Thus says the LORD: Israel is My son, My first-born. 23 And I have said unto thee: Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and thou hast refused to let him go. Behold, I will slay thy son, thy first-born.' The boy saw this and told his missionary friends outside to go away as he knew the truth now. The fellow became a Baal Teshuva as I recall from the story.
I get a lot of questions from potential converts and obviously this one like the forbidden cards more than Judaism. Hi everyone! I have a question. What are your thoughts on tarot within Judaism? I get missionaries, Jews for Yeshu, and some confused individuals who are like Yisro searching. They are Buddhist Sites, what-not sites and looking for the spiritual truth. Things like Tarot and male homosexuality contradict conversion as if one states “I will observe 612 Mitzvos” we do not except him or her. It is all or nothing. The others appear that they can learn and convert like the Ger who wanted to learn all the Torah standing on one foot and Hillel, the elder, told him “Shema Yisrael …love they neighbor as thyself, the rest is commentary go and learn the commentary.”
Students and Tourists to get benefits form Public Transportation Subsidies: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221433
From Dr. Rona: Growing Jaw Bones from fat cells: http://nocamels.com/2016/12/lab-grown-bones-transplant-jaws/
Public Opinion Poll shows Lapid and Netanyahu neck and neck. I don’t like Lapid but too much Netanyahu: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221166
BDE: Former Brigade General of the IAF, Ron Pecker passes away and Rosh Yeshiva of the Diaspora Yeshiva was buried on Friday. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221165
Dr. Martin Sherman the forgotten fire: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19862
After 11 dead in TN fires another 25 in Oakland: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/03/casualties-reported-in-three-alarm-oakland-building-fire.html
Iran owns billions in European Stocks and makes money every time Israel buys submarines. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4887566,00.html
Who is “Mad-Dog” Mattis? For your information: http://debka.com/article/25814/Marine-Gen-James-Mattis-is-next-US-Defense-Secy
Carpet bombing pays off as Syrian army advances. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221188
So-called right wants delay in regulation bill and the question is it justified arises in my mind. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4887623,00.html
While already some nuclear material is missing, Iran makes threats at the USA but I think like with Reagan becoming president they are just words. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221195
Garbage in journalism these days: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221224
Jobs which can be created by Trump: http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/jobs-that-may-actually-boom-in-president-donald-trumps-america.html/?utm_source=AOL_cpc&utm_medium=cpc&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl13%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D1805007730_htmlws-main-bb
You can tell that the president elect is making waves when a foreign embassy will co-host his Chanucha Party with 50 Jewish Organizations and the embassy is not Israel. http://m.jpost.com/#article=6017OTlDQURCNTRGRDE2NTQ2N0IwRDg1MjkyNzdEQjlFMzM=
Cutting bureaucratic costs. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/12/06/trump-targets-boeing-for-out-control-air-force-one-costs.html
Not so much brotherly love for Jews: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221335
The Iraqis are incapable of dealing with ISIS: http://debka.com/article/25818/Mosul-offensive-folds-waiting-now-for-Trump
Iran’s foreign legion: http://debka.com/article/25816/“Syrian-5th-Corps”-is-new-Shiite-foreign-legion
Hamas infiltration drill held in the South: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4889317,00.html
80% of the Israeli-Americans voted for Trump which was close to 100,000 votes not to count those in the States. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221379
Mentioned on IBA News but they said artillery shell: http://www.israelrising.com/breaking-news-israeli-jets-bomb-locations-near-damascus/
Pres. Elect chooses a woman to wrestle with the Small Business Association: https://www.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-trump-chooses-pro-wrestling-magnate-linda-mcmahon-211836304--finance.html
Property Regular Law will stop false Arab Claims and they will get money if they can legally prove land ownership rather than destroy houses: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221406
From Helen N. FL anti-Semitic attack: http://www.winknews.com/2016/12/06/collier-county-house-of-worship-vandalized-with-shotgun/
Boo-hoo dept. Hamas http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4889985,00.html
Terror shooters arrested. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4889702,00.html
Iran and Syria supplying Hezballah with WMD’s http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4889749,00.html and Arutz 7 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221465
A Syrian warning to Israel: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221434
Ed-Op by Ron Ben Yishai on Syria vs Israel: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4890111,00.html
Another attack resulting in a Shachid: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221429
In memorium, the last of the 7 original Project Mercury Astronauts, John Glenn passes away at 95 years of age. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221471
Senate approves missile defense for Israel but we may get more with Trump. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221470
I remember hearing this report on the news and the claim of an atomic explosion at the time. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221465
Have a wonderful Shabbos all,