“Bubbe, please shake hands with Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah.
“I’m honored to meet you, Mrs. Levy,” said Ben as he extended both his hands and warmly grasped both of hers.
Jenny Levy appeared to be in her mid to late 60’s. She was tall and had an athletic build and striking facial features. Her thick iron gray her was arranged in a French twist. She wore a dress that was attractive yet modest. Airs of pride and arrogance seemed distinctly absent. Inner strength and dignity were clearly present.
“Please, call me Jenny.”
“I will. And please call me Ben. Josh and Matt are also here today. They are two of Sarah’s classmates. How are you today?” asked Ben as he guided Jenny to a comfortable chair with a small table next to it that held a glass and a pitcher of water.
“I’m not so good today, Ben. My husband Isaac died suddenly a few weeks ago. We were getting ready to celebrate our 45th anniversary,” said Jenny as a tear ran down her right cheek.
“Is there anything that we can do for you Jenny?” asked Ben.
“Possibly. I need peace, personal peace, and I don’t have it. I’ve never had it. But I’ve never needed peace like I do now, since Isaac’s death,” said Jenny.
“I’m so sorry to hear about Isaac. Would you mind telling me about your family?” said Ben.
“I had two children. Barbara, Sarah’s mother, is alive and well. I had a son, Bradley. He died 20 years ago in a car crash. He was 21 years old. I miss him terribly and I have tremendous guilt in my heart concerning him, Ben,” said Jenny.
Tears were now streaming down Jenny’s cheeks. She was sobbing softly.
“Could you tell us why you have this guilt?” asked Ben.
“Brad lived at home with us. When he was 19 and at college he was suffering from depression. He was even thinking about suicide. He told me that he had no hope for himself. He didn’t know why. We sent him to see a psychiatrist but that didn’t help. Our Rabbi even met with him a few times to counsel him. That didn’t help either. Then he went to a Jews for Jesus meeting on campus. A few weeks later he accepted Jesus, Brad called Him Yeshua, as his Lord and Savior. The depression lifted. Brad seemed to be transformed. He was full of joy. He had been having trouble at school. After he accepted Yeshua he was able to focus on his studies and he became a “A” student,” said Jenny.
“It sounds like good things happened to him after he accepted Yeshua,” said Ben.
“I agree. But then trouble started, a few months later. Brad joined a Messianic Jewish congregation and he was baptized. He told Isaac and me that baptism represented an outward sign of an inner change. He told us all about his new faith and Isaac became enraged. Isaac told Brad that he was a traitor to his people and that he was no longer a Jew, that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. He called Jesus a mamzer and he called Brad an anti-Semite. He ordered Brad to leave our home and to never come back. Isaac told Brad that if he ever came back he would kill him. Brad left and I never saw him again,” said Jenny.
“Mamzer means someone of illegitimate birth, a bastard, in Hebrew. It’s translated as misbegotten in Deuteronomy 23:3,” Ben explained to the group.
Deuteronomy 23:3 No one misbegotten shall be admitted into the congregation of the LORD; none of his descendants, even in the tenth generation, shall be admitted into the congregation of the LORD1.
“Jenny, how did you feel about what happened?” asked Ben.
“Terrible. I didn’t agree with what Isaac did but I was afraid to stand up to him. He was a very inflexible man and he had a terrible temper. He changed our phone number and made it unlisted,” said Jenny.
“Jenny, what’s past is past. What do you want to do now?” asked Ben.
“I don’t know what I can do. I know that I want peace. I’m afraid of dying. And I want to see Brad again. I think he’s in heaven,” said Jenny.
“Jenny, what do you know about Yeshua?” asked Ben.
“Brad shared a lot with me after he was baptized but that was a long time ago. I know that Yeshua was Jewish and that those who follow him believe that He was the Messiah and equal to God,” said Jenny.
“Do you have any thoughts about why Brad changed after he accepted Yeshua as his Lord and Savior? You said Brad seemed to be transformed,” said Ben.
“I don’t know why Brad changed but I know that the change was miraculous. It was as if he had hope, irrepressible hope. I remember wondering at the time what power could have caused it. It had to be a good power,” said Jenny. “Ben, I want that hope, the hope that Brad had.”
“Jenny, what do you know about sin?” asked Ben.
“Sin? I know that none of us are perfect,” said Jenny.
“Do you believe in God, Jenny?” asked Ben.
“Yes. My parents believed in God and they taught me that He is real and that there is a heaven and a Book of Life. My father sometimes read Bible stories to me and we celebrated the Jewish holidays,” said Jenny.
“Jenny, God is real. He is alive today. His Son Yeshua who is our Messiah is also alive today. God loves you, Jenny. He also loved Brad. He sought Brad out and rescued him. That’s why Brad changed. God wants to do the same thing for you, Jenny,” said Ben.
“Ben, you asked me a moment ago if I know about sin? Does sin have something to do with this?”
“It does, Jenny. Do you know about the Ten Commandments? Would you mind if we read them now?” asked Ben.
Jenny looked nervous. She was clenching and unclenching her hands. The color had drained from her face.
“It’s OK, Ben. Go ahead.”
“Matt, there’s a Jewish Publication Society Tanakh in the bookcase behind you. Would you grab it please and show Mrs. Levy where the Ten Commandments are?” said Ben. “Jenny, would you please read the verses?”
Jenny read: 2
Ex. 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying:
Ex. 20:2 I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: 3 You shall have no other gods besides Me.
Ex. 20:4 You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, 6 but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Ex. 20:7 You shall not swear falsely by the name of the LORD your God; for the LORD will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.
Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
Ex. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you.
Ex. 20:13 You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Ex. 20:14 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house: you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female slave, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
As Jenny finished reading tears were streaming down her face. She was convulsed with sobs.
Ben got up and stood in front of her. He took her head and shoulders in his arms and gently hugged her.
“Bubbe, why are you crying?” asked Sarah.
“Because I’m guilty of breaking those commandments. I don’t think I could ever keep them all. Ben, I think I understand what sin is now. Is there any hope for me?” asked Jenny.
Ben went back to his chair.
“There is, Jenny. There most definitely is. Jenny, you’ve just read the Ten Commandments. You’ve confessed that you have broken them. Moses said that righteousness or salvation can only come through the Law if you obey the Law perfectly. Nobody can do that. We are all guilty of breaking God’s laws. The penalty for that is death, eternal separation from God. That’s why we all need a Savior. Jenny, you need a Savior. That Savior is Jesus, Yeshua, the Lamb of God,” said Ben.
“Ben, I know that I need a Savior. I’ve known that for years now. Now is the time. If Jesus can save me so that I can go to heaven when I die, I’m ready to accept Him and follow Him as my Lord and Savior,” said Jenny.
“He can save you Bubbe. He saved me and Josh and Matt and Dr. Kaplan. He is the Jewish Messiah,” said Sarah.
“I believe that now, Sarah,” Jenny said as she smiled through her tears. “Would you take my hand and kneel down with me?”
Jenny and Sarah knelt together with their hands joined. Kneeling behind them, Ben, Josh, and Matt put their hands on Jenny’s and Sarah’s shoulders. Jenny prayed.
“Yeshua, I know now that you are my Messiah, my Savior, and my Lord. Thank you that you died on the cross for me. I know that your blood paid for my sins and I know that I can never repay you for what you did for Brad and for Sarah. Please save me now. Thank you Lord.”
Joyful hugs and shouts of Hallelujah followed!