How can I talk with anyone else about God when I can’t even talk about Him with my wife?
We were discussing this news story about how when Iran says “Death to America” it doesn’t really mean “Death to America”.
We were both equally outraged at such a sentiment, and I tried to express support for Israel and how when God came back…
“Came back?” my wife queried.
I realized what I said and how she took it (and rightfully so) and tried to reorient the statement as best I could but the damage was done.
There are lots of reasons I don’t feel fit to occupy a space in the religious blogosphere, most of them having to do with my personal shortcomings, but some of them have to do with my apparent inability to talk with or about Messianic Jews and Messianic Judaism without stepping on some significant toes.
If I can’t talk about God and Israel in a positive, pro-Bible, pro-Israel, and pro-Judaism way with my wife without saying something stupid, how can I hope to talk with other Jews in Messianic Judaism without causing strife and offense?
I don’t enjoy getting emails saying that I said something wrong, objectionable, or whatever. I can’t live in the same home with a Jewish person without messing things up. How can I communicate with other Jewish people who don’t have that sort of emotional connection with me and get my point across without causing a mess?
This is my personal problem with being involved with Messianic Judaism. If I actually say what’s on my mind, even with the best intentions, it goes wrong. Some people might not care and just bulldoze their way through, but I don’t have that luxury, certainly not as a blogger, and definitely not as a husband and father.
I went out for coffee with my Christian friend last Sunday. He again strenuously encouraged me to join religious fellowship. I felt myself once again backed into a corner with no way out. If I go back to a church, I’ll be “sleeping with the enemy” as far as my wife is concerned. If I, even over the web, attempt to associate with some sort of Messianic community, sooner or later, I’m going to step all over someone’s priorities because either I have a mind of my own or because I make mistakes.
The problem is, just like in marriage, when you step on someone’s “sacred cow,” they take it personally.
That’s why I like writing about senior fitness. It may not have eternal consequences, but then again, no one gets bent all out of shape about my personal expressions on the topic either.
Yes, this is a rant.
This is why I believe my only option is to rely on Hashem alone. He’s got thousands of years of experience dealing with human stupidity. Fortunately, he doesn’t offended easily. If he did, I’d have been ashes ages ago.
If Hashem wants to take exception with me, He knows where to find me and if He choses to “consequence” me, it’s His privilege to do so, and I can’t say “boo” about it.
I realize now why so many people I know in the “Messianic” and “Hebrew Roots” space choose to be isolated in small family groups or home fellowships. A Messianic “luminary” once referred to these groups in an unflattering manner, but I think that at least some of them just don’t know who to trust, including whether or not to trust themselves.
We are supposed to trust in Hashem alone. That’s an answer that is not only appealing on a lot of levels, but one that may be the only remaining path for many of us. If we can’t trust God, we are undone anyway. If God is like people, then we have no hope.
The Torah states, “You shall trust wholeheartedly in the Lord, Your God” (Deuteronomy 18:13).
Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say, “The Torah obliges us to trust wholeheartedly in God … but not in man. A person must always be on the alert not to be cheated.”
The Chofetz Chaim devoted his life to spreading the principle of brotherly love, the prohibition against speaking against others, and the commandment to judge people favorably. Though he was not the least bit cynical, he was also not naive. He understood the world and human weaknesses.
In Mesichta Derech Eretz Rabba (chapter 5) it states that we should honor every person we meet as we would (the great sage) Rabbi Gamliel, but we should nevertheless be suspicious that he might be dishonest.
-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
as quoted at Aish.com