“I must ask something, and I want an honest answer”, Y’ exclaimed in a decisive tone, as he stood up to ensure we were all paying attention. It was during the Purim party we held for the holocaust survivors in our area. Y’ slightly slapped the table, and went on to say, “how is it that all these evangelical missionaries believe in our God? The Jews await the Messiah, and the Gentiles believe he came and will come back again, so is there a difference? And what are Messianic Jews anyway?”
There were quite a few tourists that joined the party, but I could sense that Y’ was not referring only to them. He was honestly curious about the Jews among us, who believe in Yeshua. Earlier, when the party just started, I held a (plastic) scepter in one hand, and a colorful fan in the other, and briefly explained the book of Esther to them. For the Jew, the word “missionary” carries a negative connotation with it. It is ascribed to all the Israel-hating gentiles who throughout history, as if in the name of God, were willing to force Jews to convert and even annihilate them.
A Special Tune inside God’s Heart
Among our guests was the violinist Ruth Fazal, who played several of her compositions for them. If you are not familiar with her, here’s a peek at her heartfelt creations (also, check out her website at Ruth Fazal). The Lord has given Ruth such an anointing through her violin, especially with Jewish people, and most specifically holocaust survivors.
At some point, Ruth realized they were not really paying attention to her playing. She drew near, and explained that God is giving her a special tune, never played before, for each one of them. She looked each of them in turn straight in the eye, and begun playing. They all got quiet and very attentive, as they realized they are experiencing something unique. That God has composed a special tune for each one of them individually, and sent it to them through this lady.
Ruth playing HaTikvah at A’s request
It was when Ruth was done that Y’ stood up and asked his surprising question that I shared about above. The believers among us sat with eyes wide open, and mouths gaping. We looked at each other and wondered, “Is he really asking what we think he’s asking? Did he just open the door for us to share the Gospel with them?”
Then he added, “and now I will sit down and I want to hear an honest answer!”
And so he heard (and all the rest of them with him)! I shared about the connection between the book of Esther and the hidden Messiah, so much so that we perceive him as our enemy, and how God has warned us ahead of time that if we do not heed His voice, exile and even horrible disaster (the word in Hebrew is actually Shoah = holocaust) will come upon our nation. But He also promised to eventually bring us back to our land and more importantly, unto Him, upon which He will reveal to us the true identity of the hidden One.
I shared about the special place God has in his heart for each one of them, for that is where this personal tune came from, and that we are all praying that they will foster a special place in their own hearts for Him. For that is where the healing, help, prosperity and salvation they each long for will come.
God Hidden in an Entire Book
The book of Esther provides a comic explanation of the hiding of God’s faces. In Hebrew, the name of the book is Megilat (to scroll; to unveil) Esther (something hidden). It is the only book of the Bible that does not mention the name of God, not even once. So much so, that some actually refer to the book of Esther as “The Scroll of Hiddeness.”
This is not some minor issue. The hiddeness is the core essence of this book. Esther’s relationship with the king is one of alienation and disaffection. She doesn’t even dare to approach him without an explicit invitation. And despite their official relation, she was in no hurry to expose her true identity to him.
The OT explains the importance of the feast of Purim:
“These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews – nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants” (Esther 9:28).
This explicit declaration was not spoken in regards to any other feast mentioned in the Torah, not even Passover, which is considered to be the most feast. Why is that so? Perhaps because all the other feasts represent something that has already happened in the history of Israel, while Purim hints to the complete redemption we are still awaiting for. A redemption by the God whose identity, and even name, are hidden in the story and from our eyes, even today.
The rabbis understood this, and so ordered:
“In the future, all of the feats will be nullified… but the days of Purim will never be nullified” (Yalkut Shimoni, Proverbs, Remez 944).
How Did the Survivors Respond? How Can You Respond?
E’ said, after listening carefully to my explanations, “Yes! That’s right.” And Y’ said, “Thank you for taking the time to explain it all. I now understand it.” And we all mumbled a deep “goodness gracious” under our breaths.
E’ and D’ listening to the song God gave Ruth for her
Y listening to God’s song for him
So how can you pray? This blog, in its essence, was created to equip the readers with a vocabulary that will enrich their prayers concerning God’s purpose and plan through Israel.
You can pray that the Messiah who is hidden from the eyes of our nation will be revealed to them;
That He will expose his Jewish Face to them, and His Jewish identity.
That He will no longer be as a sealed book hidden inside an ancient scroll, but will become a written epistle accessible to them.
Pray for their willingness to create a special place in their hearts for God, and for more open doors and opportunities to share His truth as we do our best to make these widows and widowers’ hearts rejoice.