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Jewish Perspective

It's been good to be back in classes again this week, though that may sound strange to some. 🙂 As great as Bible Conference was, there's just something nice about the regular routine too. I've been ruminating on what I heard last week as I seek to make applications to my own personal life. I just discovered that, not only could people listen to the conference messages as they streamed online, they can also listen to or download .mp3s of all the messages at http://www.bju.edu/campus/events/bibleconf/2008.html

Although all the speakers were very good, a personal favorite of mine was Craig Hartman. He's a completed Jew, that is, a Jew who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and hence, as Messiah. I love Craig automatically as a person because he's just himself - a man with a highly developed sense of humor and a unique style of speaking. But I love him also as a speaker because of the interesting perspective he gives as one who is totally familiar with the Jewish perspective. Here's something he told the audience at the beginning of his second message of the week, a message where he explained some of what was happening in the John 7:37-43 narrative: "If you want to understand the Bible, don't go back 300 years to Europe. Go back 2,000 years to Israel. That's where the answers are! Opinions of people 300 years ago in Europe may be interesting, they may be challenging, they may be convicting, but to be perfectly honest, in many cases they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, because many of them had never taken a moment to look into what did the Jews think back in the days that Jesus lived." He went on to tell what the Jews did during the Feast of Tabernacles, and how that explained some of what happened in the event in John. I'd like to encourage you to listen to this message. If you'd like to learn more about Craig's ministry, go to http://shalomnyc.org

We went to Living Gallery this afternoon at 4:30. What a powerful message, and what a focus on Christ! Wow!

As I thought about the Jewish perspective, as described above, I looked in my files for something to post. Enjoy!

Yiddish Proverbs and Rules of Life (many have been attributed to Jewish grandmothers)

If you can't say something nice, say it in Yiddish.

Always whisper the names of diseases.

If they give you, take; if they take from you, yell!

Charge nothing, and you'll get a lot of customers.

Don't spit into the well - you might drink from it later.

Do not worry about tomorrow, because you do not even know what may happen to you today.

You can't chew with somebody else's teeth.

If you spit upwards, you're bound to get it back in the face.

Had you gotten up early, you wouldn't have needed to stay up late.

When a fool is silent, he too is counted among the wise.

One who has the reputation of an early riser may safely lie abed 'til noon.

For dying, you always have time.

Silence is the fence around wisdom.

If it tastes good, it's probably not kosher.

No one looks good in a yarmulke.

Why spoil a good meal with a big tip?

WASP's leave and never say good-bye. Jews say good-bye and never leave.

Pork is forbidden, but a pig in a blanket makes a nice hors d'oeuvre.

If you don't eat, it will kill me.

Anything worth saying is worth repeating a thousand times.

Where there's smoke, there may be smoked salmon.

Never leave a restaurant empty-handed.

And what's so wrong with dry turkey?

Spring forward, fall back, winter in Miami Beach.

A bad matzoh ball makes a good paperweight.

Before you read the menu, read the prices.

There comes a time in every man's life when he must stand up and tell his mother he's an adult. This usually happens at around age 45.

No meal is complete without leftovers.

If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. But if you can afford it, make sure you tell everybody what you paid.

Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?


A few centuries ago, the pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Rome. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the pope won, the Jews would have to leave.

Being outnumbered, the Jews realized that they had no choice. They looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer. It was too risky. So to represent them they finally picked an old man named Moishe who spent his life sweeping up after people. Being old and poor, he had less to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one addition to the debate. Not being used to saying very much as he cleaned up around the settlement, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. (A strange debate indeed! Sounds like some of our political debates - where they say so little they're really saying nothing! Enough editorializing....) Reluctantly, the pope agreed to this odd debate format, yet confident that he could win using strong symbolism through hand gestures alone.

The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger.

The pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head.

Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple.

The pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good! The Jews can stay."

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the pope asking him what happened. The pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.

"He responded by holding up and waving one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible! "What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here."

"And then?" asked a woman.

"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine."


A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has been given a part in the school play.

"Wonderful," says the mother, "What part is it?"

The boy replies, "I will play the part of the Jewish husband!"

The mother scowls and says, "Go back and tell your teacher that you want a speaking part!"


"It's amazing how much time we waste that we could have spent in prayer." - Dr. Greg McLaughlin

=^..^= =^..^=

For every credibility gap, there is a gullibility gap.

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2 Comments on “Jewish Perspective”

  1. #1 Lara
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 11:27 am

    “If you want to understand the Bible, don’t go back 300 years to Europe. Go back 2,000 years to Israel. That’s where the answers are!”

    Amen to that! Many good things may have been coming out of the church in Europe hundreds of years ago, but there was also a lot of anti-Semitism and even a discouragement of understanding what the Bible might have meant to the Old Testament Jews and those first Jewish followers of the Way.

    I’ve had the privilege of going to one of the local synagogues this month for a lecture series on Judaism and Christianity. The person leading the series is Dr. A. J. Levine, an Orthodox Jewish professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University. (Take your time to figure out all that.) It was worth every moment, and I wish I could take at least one of her classes. A lot of difficult questions and unusual situations in Scripture suddenly made sense as historical information and cultural assumptions were laid out and put into place. She was very fair in her descriptions of beliefs of both Jews and Christians; and she gave the lectures with a delightful mix of intellect, class, and humor. If any readers get the chance to attend events of this kind at a local synagogue, I recommend it.

  2. #2 Sherry
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Oy were those funny! Hartman was one of my favorites, too. I had the privilege of meeting him backstage in the hospitality room where I was working. He’s a genuine, on-fire man who never ceases to inspire me. I hope we have him back many times! Thanks for posting all of this.