Education has always been of prime value in my life as a Jew. Jewish education has been even more important. It is my deep rooted Jewish heritage and traditions that have helped me withstand some of the tempestuous tribulations of my life. It is also what has kept the Jewish people resilient and alive throughout some dark chapters in our history.
And education is what I believe will keep our future as Jews and a Jewish nation alive.
Recently, these values and traditions have again been put to the test. Attempts have been made, some successfully, by foreign elements, guided and camouflaged by declarations of love and unrelenting support for Israel and the Jewish people, to infiltrate through some of the cracks in our few millennia old sanctuary of the Jewish Spirit. I am referring to the vicious efforts launched by Christian Missionaries and their collaborators, those that I refer to as the Eleventh Plague. In our desire to accept anyone who would love and support us, we, Jews and Israelis, have allowed them to fill every available void that our sometimes neglected Jewish education has created.
It is time to repair the cracks, restore our glorious tradition, educate and train our youth to fight this invasion and prevent further spiritual larceny of our Jewish identity. It is towards that end that I, as a Jewish teacher in Eretz Yisrael, spend a fair share of my time.
Two days ago, as I was sitting in my home thinking of ways to reach that goal and supply ammunition for young fragile and less knowledgeable Israeli Jews to counter any attempts made at luring them into the false promise of foreign creeds, I suddenly saw it. It had been staring at me many times as if saying, I am one of the means, I am one of the tools, I am just another one of those pieces of ammunition that you are looking for.
I am referring to a memento given to me by a Hebrew class of Bnei Noach which I volunteered to teach in Houston Texas in 1992. One of the students was Trace Guthrie, a Texas Sculptor. He sculpted Zechariah 8 verse 23. It reads “This is what the G-d Almighty says: ‘In those days shall ten people from all languages and nations take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that G-d is with you.'"
Now, for those of you not familiar with Hebrew, the original language of the Tanach, the Hebrew Bible, as opposed to the twice removed English translation of it, let me present an important fact. The word meaning “with YOU,” “Imachem,” which appears twice in this verse is in the plural form. The reference is to “with you JEWS,” NOT one Jew.
We hear much about the Book of Isaiah, mainly Chapter 53 of it quoted over and over again by followers of Jesus/Yeshua as “proof” of his being the messiah. Not much is heard about the above verse in Zechariah which is proof of the opposite, meaning that he (you) is not one, let alone THE One.
Why, you may ask?
Considering that the book of Zechariah was written about 200 years after the book of Isaiah, why would Zechariah not reinforce the view that Christians believe is so clear in Isaiah? Very simply. For us Jews, the Messiah has not come yet. It is this strong message of Zechariah that I believe we Jews need to stress; the message that G-d is with us, that He has never forsaken us and any Jew who wants to be with G-d needs to remain with the Jews for G-d is with us!