PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF THE MESSIAHS
Arim, Nov.14 1997, by D. Golan
This article is a comparison of two groups, each awaiting the coming of the Messiah. Their Messiah.
On the one hand is Rabbi Maman of the Chabad Hasidim; on the other, Eitan Kashtan, a member of the Messianic “Grace and Truth” congregation and an employee of HaGefen publishing. The writer presents the beliefs of each and invites the reader to judge – or at least to be well informed before the actual arrival of one of the Messiahs.
Maman: “We trust the Rabbi 100%. There’s no questioning his word.”
Kashtan: “We worship God. There is no other authority.”
Maman: “People come with personal questions. The Rabbi , even though we can’t see him, answers every one. What happens is that the person is told to write his name, his mother’s name, and his question on a piece of paper. I tell him to insert the paper randomly in one of the 24 volumes of the “Holy Epistles” (answers given by Rabbi Schneerson to 51 thousand questions posed to him by individuals). He also gives a donation as a vessel for blessing. On the page where his letter was inserted, he will find his answer.”
Kashtan: “Our lives should honor God. Daily, this means living morally, according to the 10 commandments. We should not lie, cheat or steal.”
Maman: “Messiah will appear any day. Our job is to prepare the people.”
Kashtan: “We should live moral lives today. We shouldn’t focus too much on what will happen after Messiah appears, although everyone should be prepared and believe in God with perfect faith.”
On their ‘target audience’:
Maman: “Whoever comes is welcome, especially children and youth, who we organize parties and activities for during the holidays.”
Kashtan: “Since our highest principle is morality, we are forbidden to approach children under 16 or people with mental or psychological disabilities. If a minor approaches us, his parents have to give him permission to take part in our activities. Most of the active members of the local congregation are immigrants from Russia.”
Maman: “We promote our message through a magazine which is sold for a symbolic price.”
Kashtan: “We hand out leaflets and put them in mailboxes. Just like I receive flyers from Chabad and Pizza Hut. We also have home groups.”
Maman: “Other promotional materials are free bottles of water which have been blessed by the Rabbi, religious paraphernalia, charity boxes and pictures of the Rabbi.”
Kashtan: “We aren’t into mysticism. Obviously it’s impossible buy believers with money, because we want only true faith, not the kind that’s dependent on receiving favors.”
Relations with the community:
Maman: “When we first arrived, people asked what we’re doing and said we were a public nuisance. Afterwards they got to know me and accepted me as ‘one of the gang.’ When we first came, the synagogue was only open on Shabbat. Now it’s open 7 days a week.”
Kashtan: “I haven’t experienced attacks or violence. Sometimes our friends are warned that we’re missionaries. The orthodox consider us dangerous and a threat. When we have home meetings, the neighbors hear the singing and become interested. Israelis have a hard time accepting it. Few Israelis are willing to accept this faith.”
The Messianic State:
Maman: “The reign of the Messiah will come in 3 stages. First, the pre-messianic days in which we are living. There’re a lot of negative things in the world, which is dark with a few points of light. Messiah is
active today among the people, but they don’t recognize him. He is a great Tzadik, flesh and blood with powers given to him by God. He’ll take care of everyone – not only the Chabad Hasidim, but the whole world. He’ll force the world to behave in a certain way. The second stage will be when Messiah is revealed and rebuilds the temple. He will gather all the Jews to Israel and it will be a Messianic state. It is possible that there will be some – both Jews and gentiles – who won’t accept him. The third stage is perfect reality. There will be no evil. People will believe in the Messiah and live for eternity. In this stage there will also be a resurrection of the dead, but only for the Jews. The secular government will give way to the Messiah, and the army, police and media will all serve him.”
Kashtan: “First there will be a time of judgment, which won’t be fun. In the end the whole world will believe in God, who will have all authority. There will be no resurrection such as Judaism speaks of. The institutions of democracy will apparently still be around, but the government will be righteous and just. There will be perfect justice and a fair distribution of resources among the people. There will be world-wide justice for all people. Everything will be completely different.”
Maman: “Everyone thinks that Messiah will appear on a white donkey, but the Rabbi will come on a regular donkey. Why a donkey? Because the donkey symbolizes the material world. The Messiah rides on a donkey – that is, he is above the material. He will come forth from Brooklyn in the USA to Jerusalem. The temple will be built there and transferred to Israel. I don’t know how. We heard these things from the Rabbi and were afraid to tell anyone. We thought, ‘What, will the temple descend among the Negroes?’ Even so, the Rabbi told us to make it public.”
Kashtan: “Everyone will know he has arrived. There’s no exact description of how it will happen, and there’s no need to focus on it. We need to focus on our daily lives. It’s important to live today according to the standards which God has set. What happens will happen – it doesn’t depend on us all that much. It’s not so important whether or not he comes with lights and fireworks and mysticism. What’s important is the essence.”
Ma’ariv, Nov.21 1997
“Maybe if I had lied, my life would be better.” These are the words of Andre Malish, an immigrant from the Ukraine who was expelled from the army and lost his Israeli citizenship because of his desire to obey the biblical call to honesty. When Malish first applied to immigrate, no one asked if he was a Christian. They asked about his parents, and he told the truth: his mother is Jewish and his father a Christian. After learning Hebrew at a kibbutz, he decided to join the army. It was then that he first needed an Israeli ID card. From the regional office he was sent to the ministry in Tel-Aviv. One of the forms he had to fill out contained two “problem” questions, about his religion and nationality. Malish wasn’t sure if Israelis would understand the designation “Jewish-Christian” used in the Ukraine so, true to his principles, he asked the clerk for help. With a strange smile, she told him to write Christian – then added, “now you’ll have to go back to the Ukraine.”
Malish was drafted, and became the top soldier during his elite combat unit’s basic training. Then came the security check – and again, being honest, he told the investigators why he didn’t have an ID card. They sent him back to the government offices, as well as to the Ukrainian embassy, where he was told that serving in the Israeli army would result in his being stripped of his citizenship.
An IDF security officer had him sign a statement that he wasn’t Jewish or an Israeli citizen, and that he didn’t want to serve in the army. This resulted in him doing kitchen and janitorial duties until his discharge from the army, without pay. He is now being allowed to stay in Israel with a temporary resident’s visa.
Malish said in that what hurts most is hearing of soldiers being killed in Lebanon and not being allowed to be there with them. And despite all the discrimination he’s suffered, Malish is staying fit, hoping to be drafted again into the unit he loves so much.
Yom Ha’Shishi, Nov.7 1997
When a anti-missionary activist from Yad L’Achim infiltrated – in disguise – a Messianic celebration at Tel-Aviv’s Carlton hotel, he got more than he expected. Who should he see there but a leader of the Reform movement from the USA (who didn’t recognize the “spy”). In fact, according to Yad L’Achim, the audience was peppered with representatives of both the Conservative and Reform movements, including converts. This was a shock even to the veteran anti-missionary, who claims to have spoken to some of them and heard their “confessions” of cooperation with Messianic Jews.
Yad L’Achim’s interpretation of these events is that Reform and Messianic Jews have decided to pool their resources in order to undermine the status of their sworn enemy – Orthodox Judaism. They will attempt to accomplish this by blurring the distinctions between the Jewish people and the gentiles, and by forcing their beliefs on the Israeli public, just as missionaries have tried to do.
Hadashot Mishpaha, Nov.6 1997, by E. Shulman
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister HaNegbi have informed MK Moshe Gafni that the revised anti-mission law will be debated in the governmental law committee. The new version of the law states that “Anyone who sends another (person) mail in which there is any form of persuasion, whether direct or indirect, to a change of religion – without having received the prior agreement of the recipient – is liable to three months imprisonment.”
MK Gafni stated that he has not withdrawn from the original wording of the law, which was “meant to give postal workers a way out of distributing missionary material. The original wording was too strong, and I myself said in the Knesset that it would be revised before passage.”
And here are some advertisement placed by the MAC in the Hebrew papers:
Ha’Aretz, Nov.7 1997:
Who is the Messiah?
- Johanan said: …What is his (the Messiah’s) name? … The Rabbis said: His name is ‘the leper scholar,’ as it is written, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Sanhedrin 98b, see Isaiah 53)
If Jewish tradition relates Isaiah 53 to the Messiah, who are we to say otherwise?
Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel.
Ma’ariv and Ha’Aretz, Nov.14 1997:
Who is the Messiah?
The Tanna debe Eliyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation; two thousand years the Torah flourished; and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era. (Sanhedrin 97a)
If Jewish tradition says that from the days of Abraham and the Torah until the coming of the Messiah 2000 years will pass, who are we to say otherwise?
Ma’ariv, Ha’Aretz and Yedi’ot Aharonot, Nov.28 1997:
Who is the Messiah?
“Behold, My servant will prosper….” (there follows the full text of Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12)
Jewish tradition often relates this passage to the Messiah. Why does Judaism now deny the Messiah who fulfilled these prophecies?
Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS ARE MAJOR SOURCE OF UJA DONATIONS
The Jerusalem Post, Nov.13 1997, by A. Cohen
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, based in Chicago, will contribute some 5 million dollars to the United Jewish Appeal this year, most of which has been donated by Evangelical Christians. Despite this fact, senior Jewish Agency officials have so far refused to meet with the head of the fellowship, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Agency chairman Avraham Burg went so far as to say that “he did not plan to deal with groups whose fundamentalist agenda contradicts his world view.”
Eckstein said that the group initially raised money to bring Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel, and has helped care for elderly Jews who chose to stay there. They also try to alter the stereotypes of Christians which many Jews hold.
NEWSPAPERS USED IN THIS EDITION:
Arim: Nes-Ziona weekly.
Ma’ariv: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv. Politically tends to the right, mostly objective towards believers (depends on the reporter).
Yom Ha’Shishi: Jerusalem religious weekly. Hostile to believers.
Mishpaha/Hadashot Mishpaha: Jerusalem religious weekly.
Ha’Aretz: National daily, published in Tel-Aviv, mostly objective towards believers.
Yedi’ot Aharonot: National daily published in Tel-Aviv. Attitude to believers depends on the reporter.
The Jerusalem Post: National English language daily, published in Jerusalem. Tends to the religious right, but careful and relatively fair towards believers (has a large Christian readership). Friendly towards right-wing political Christianity.