Saturday, July 14, 2007

One Christian Missionary Can Ruin My Day

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Matot-Masa'ei 5767

Shuq Mahaneh YehudahIt only takes one christian missionary to ruin my day. So you can imagine what 30 of them did to me yesterday. Yeah, I know what some of you will say:

They can only have power over over you...if you let them.

That may be true to a certain extent, on an emotional or psychological level. Yet, when Jews fail to respond to missionaries*, at least in some way, then complacency, avoidance, numbness, and other manifestations of denial, of the true threat of christian missionaries, can assert a more profound and dangerous power.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the shuq (Mahaneh Yehudah) in Jerusalem, having coffee and trying to refocus, deciding what else I would try to accomplish in the city before making the long trek back to the Shomron (Samaria). Then I heard it...the singing, the guitars, and the proverbial tambourines, and I knew what was about to make its way around the corner. The volume grew louder; my nerves grew more aggravated. The over-sized Israeli flags made their appearance first, above the heads in the Thursday evening, pre-Shabbath crowd. A man with a huge, Yemenite shofar (horn) made periodic blasts, further announcing their presence.

Usually what happens to me when I encounter christian missionaries is that the weight of responsibility for the spiritual fate of the entire Jewish People bears down upon me. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. It may sound silly and irrational, but yesterday was no different. The anger can become overwhelming. I knew I had to do something. But, what? My anger can really get in the way of my thinking rationally, and has gotten me into trouble more than once. As the make-shift parade passed by my table, I was handed a pamphlet. I accepted it, then ripped it up, through it back at the stunned lady who had handed it to me, and started yelling [various epitaphs] in Hebrew. My goal was to communicate with the on-lookers, not the paraders.

Shuq Mahaneh YehudahClose by two yeshiva students were trying to explain to an apparently secular Jew what was what happening, and why it was wrong. I joined it. The students pointed to me, in a gesture for their to listen to me, as they weren't so confident speaking in Hebrew. The secular Jew said he was unwilling to talk to me, but I was too aggravated and angry. I don't know how, but I immediately calmed, and told him that was understandable. He listened after all, and we ended up having a pleasant talk. He wanted to know why their parade of singing was a problem. "They have their path; we have ours."

With an Arab listening in, I responded saying that:

The Yishma'elim (Arabs) want to murder our bodies; the christians want to murder our souls.

Torah never entered this discussion. Although in retrospect, it probably should have. My partner in this dialog and I shook hands, and I proceeded to leave the shuq. Then, I realized I had forgotten to purchase one of the very things I had come to the shuq to purchase in the first place: hilbeh**. Back I went to the second or third best place in Jerusalem to buy hilbeh, depending upon whom you ask. Sure enough I encountered the missionary parade on another pass. That was it. I could not grab, rip-up, and stomp on enough of their literature. I could not yell at them enough. I was intent on waking each and every one of my fellow Jews up from their denial, saying: These people are dangerous. Do something.

Pomegranates at Shuq Mahaneh YehudahI looked around, and was please to find that some Jews were doing something. There were various approaches. One man, who looked like he could have been from Nahla'oth or Yo"Sh (Judea & Samaria), followed the paraders, calmly explaining in Hebrew to the on-lookers the truth nature of the parade. Another young man, possibly from Nahla'oth, walked in front of the parade, singing along to the tune, yet cleverly changed the words to the Hebrew for "Here come the christian missionaries. Be careful and stay away from them." Haredim generally appeared to go about their business, yet also did not hesitate to show support for the various anti-missionary statements. Their interventions were probably too subtle for me to detect. A few may also have been quietly explaining the ultimate goals of the parade participants. A yellow-pinned, Habadniq was also warning people, acknowledging me and my actions with a nod.

Several shuq-goers were shocked by the hutzpah of the relatively straight-forward literature, and followed my example by ripping it up. Whatever actions are to be taken, I find it important, t the very least, to point out that these individuals are missionaries, and that they mean business. As an English-speaker, I am more likely to catch the key phrases in the words of their songs or literature. As an immigrant from the U. S., I [along with other Americans reading] tend to have more experience in recognizing missionaries than native-born Israelis.

I'll let you learn for yourselves what we, as Jews, are ideally supposed to do in such a situation, from the Ramba"m's Hil. Avodah Zarah weHuqoth HaGoyim, chap. 7, politically-incorrect, far from subtle, but true.

Criticize my actions if you will. (I have already gotten plenty of "feedback," as you can imagine.) But, at least I didn't take another approach, like some Jews do: Deny that they're a threat, and kiss their...

...wallets.


*********************************

*Some anti-missionary organizations suggest that Jews refrain from engaging in arguments with missionaries. Contacting such anti-missionary organizations, asking them for advice, volunteering to help, or simply visiting their websites each constitutes a "response."

Anti-missionary organizations:

Jews For Judaism

Yad LeAchim (Israel)
Yad LeAchim (USA)
Lev LeAchim:
1-800-366-100 (Israel)

**Hilbeh is a Yemenite condiment based on fenugreek seeds.

6 comments:

tnspr569 said...

hilbeh- yum!

As for everything else, I don't think you were so out of line.

RWAC has some wise words about anger, if you're interested (or haven't already read them).

Oh, Mahane Yehuda, I miss it so much.

Brooklyn Habiru said...

A few weeks ago, on a day I happened to have been home a large church group came marching down my residential block in Brooklyn consisting of primarily youth under the supervision of a few adults. They were singing songs praising Cheezus, using quotes from the New Testicle, literally banging tambourines, and dragging behind them a 20 ft tall cardboard cutout of their man-god with arms outstretched that rolled along on a dolly. Behind the faux statue cruising along at a slow steady speed was a police vehicle escorting them. The majority of the residents on my block are Jewish, however this took place during the early afternoon, while presumably most people were either at work, school, or off attending to some other business. Nonetheless I heard them while sitting at my computer up in the attic, and proceeded to yell down towards them in sort of a sing-songy chanting manner “you are worshipping a dead man idol”, “you pray to a false prophet”. Some of the children started looking up puzzled, and one of their leaders a middle aged black woman began to shout back “and one day all knees will bow to him”. So I resumed my chant amended whilst she shook her head goading the children away (presumably so their precious ears wouldn’t hear the shocking truth), “Repent! One day all knees will bow towards the One True Lord”, “Repent! You worship a dead man idol!” By this point the tail end of this mini parade had arrived, and below I saw some of the youth engaged in heated discussion as they continued along, and others still looking up questioningly. The whole episode not having taken longer than 5 minutes in sum total. Later on that day, after having informed members of my family of the event, my mother argued that I was being too narrow and that “they have the right to freely express their views”, I vehemently responded with “and I have the right to freely oppose those very idolatrous views…don’t you think there was some kind of agenda with them marching through a Jewish neighborhood?”

Sabba Hillel said...

She'heim mishtachavim lahevel varil, umispllelim le-eil lo yoshiyah

Vaanachnu kor'im ...

overtherainbow said...

Joseph Atwill writes in his book Caesar's Messiah that Jesus was an invention of the Flavian Caesars in order to quell the Jewish rebellion. The Romans burned the Torahs and created a fictional messiah. Josephus confesses in his "War of the Jews" that the Gospels are a satire of Titus's military campaign of Judea. A confession exists in the Testimonium Flavinianum that Christianity was created as anti-semitism.
See: http://www.rodephemet.org

The Emess said...

B"H!

Awesome blog! I wish more Jews would stand up to the missionaries.

It's disturbing how even the Rabbi's simply mumble "ignore them".

The "ignore them" method doesn't work for the arabs, and it's not working for the missionaries either. We're allowing them to take more and more of what Hashem has given us. Our land to the Arabs, and our brothers, sisters, and children to the missionaries.

Hashem gave us a spine. We should use it more often! Fight as if they were stealing your child... because that's exactly what they're doing.

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

The Emess: Thanks. Also, check this out:

Nature Of Our War

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