A window into religious Judaism
From Karl deSouza in Paris, “We don’t often have the opportunity to sit down and open the Bible with an extremely Orthodox Jewish man like Maurice, whom I met through a Christian friend. I wanted to share our exchange with you and ask you to pray for Maurice and for many others who have a similar background and viewpoint.
“Maurice started our conversation by saying that emunah (faith) is belief without knowledge or basis, maybe an opinion, maybe just blind belief. He did not think of faith in terms of trust based on what God has revealed.
“During our meeting, Maurice often alluded to the gematria (numerological significance) of certain names and words in Hebrew. According to gematria, each Hebrew letter represents a number. Rabbis add up the numbers for each letter in a word to calculate its numerical value or gematria. The word is then associated with or linked to other words with the same numerical value. For example, Maurice pointed out that mashiach (messiah) is linked with simcha (joy) since the two Hebrew words share the same numeric value. He believed that, through the Messiah, we can experience joy. I, too, believe we can experience joy through the Messiah, but not because of gematria. I thought of Messiah Yeshua’’s words in John 15:11: ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ Maurice went on to say that the world needs joy because there is so much suffering, I responded by reading him the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. To my surprise, Maurice then reached for my Bible to read it for himself and concluded, ‘This is a good word.’
“However, he does not currently see any substance or reality to belief in Jesus. He pointed to Zechariah 8:23, which describes how the Gentiles would take hold of a Jewish person’s tzitit (fringes of a traditional religious Jewish garment) and say, ‘We will follow you because your God is with you.’ He takes that to mean that, in the end, the nations will come to religious Jews for answers.
“Maurice, like many others, believes there is a messiah (anointed one) in every generation who serves as a righteous beacon to make atonement for those who aren’t righteous. Though Maurice heartily agrees that we all sin and that sin breaks relationships, he never really articulated that he knows God has forgiven him. Please pray that Maurice would find truth, faith, forgiveness and eternal life in Yeshua, our promised Messiah.”
As seen in the above photo: Karl (pictured from back) frequently chats with Hasidic men on the streets of Paris.