The Rabbi and Me!
Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, "These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: 2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. 3 Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day."
Have you ever thought what life would be like if we still lived under the law? How would this scripture apply in the year 2007?
I hope the story I tell you today will intrigue you about the old ways as well as grow your gratitude for grace.
I love my neighborhood. We are an eclectic group of people thrown together by God’s design to “do life.” We enjoy community BBQ’s and Christmas parties. We have our resident gossip, teenagers that drive too fast, and families that help each other out.
One of my favorite neighbors is a Jewish Rabbi. He lives a few streets over with his wife and six children. Their home is also the local Synagogue where the worshipers in his faith gather to observe Holy Days.
Several years ago my husband and I were invited over to the Rabbi’s home. It was one of the coolest experiences ever. Our particular visit was on a winter evening and on the Sabbath or Shabbat.
I remember entering the Rabbi’s home. The first thing I saw was the opulent and beautiful wooden cabinet sitting front and center in the living room. It was massive stretching from floor to ceiling. The cabinet held the Torah when not in use. That evening the Torah was lying open in front of the cabinet on a beautiful table. This particular Torah was a single scroll, perhaps the size of two overly-large rolls of paper towels put together. It was hand written in the original Hebrew language and beautifully ornate. The Rabbi told me he paid $50,000 for it. He handled it tentatively. You could see in his eyes how extremely valuable it was to him.
It made me wonder if I would pay $50,000 for my Bible.
Needless to say, I was Wowed!
As we sat down in the family area I observed many things about this family and their home which mirror Old Testament teachings. The Rabbi’s wife told me the food on the table was prepared from scratch according to the Levitical laws. I wish I could remember some of the names of the pastries. Delicious!
After visiting for an hour or so, I went into the garage to retrieve something the Rabbi’s wife needed for the kitchen. As I returned to the kitchen, I flipped the light switch off. --My mother always told me to turn out the lights when I leave a room.--
Before the door shut from the garage to the kitchen the Rabbi gently said to me, “I cannot ask you to turn that light on.” Now, I knew immediately what he was referencing. To light a fire, turn on electricity, is forbidden.
If I did not turn the light back on, it would remain off until dawn. Therefore, anyone needing to go into the garage would do so in complete darkness. Needless to say, I turned the light on. For a Christian this is not a sin remember we live under grace.
I will never forget this "light switch" encounter.
Since that evening I have visited with the Rabbi on several occasions. I love to pepper him with questions about Israel and the Old Testament. His responses are absorbing and his intelligence is obvious. His zeal for God is undeniable.
I do not hold any judgment in my heart over his beliefs but I see him as one of the many who are yet to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. In this regard he is the the same as my unbelieving spouse. I have hope for them both.
I believe God allowed me to see the Old Testament laws lived out in our modern day society. He wanted me to understand grace in a whole new light.
I do. I am thankful.
Please visit me at: Spiritually Unequal Marriage.