Noah 5774/2013

It is an interesting Shabbat: the Shabbat of Noah, the man whom God decided to save in order to lead the humans, the animals and the creatures to “survival”. God repented because He had thought to destroy the work He had done.

I am not that certain that we understand what it means that God Himself, the Creator of All Things, could repent.

We are far from that because we barely feel humane. We need and cry for love. We are rather short of it and maybe we do cry to Him because we love on a soft and surfing mood.
I became a Christian 40 years ago. It was some days ago. The blessing I have been granted all through these years is to always be in contact with all the people and groups, communities that I had belonged to. I never cursed anyone, on the contrary. I did leave the Jewish community and my Jewish service, not for the sake of any “better”, any “more, surplus”. I joined the Church in order to respond to what I understand of a call, because of my strong belief, creed, confessing of Resurrection.

We all have to make choices in our life. I did this choice; I never intended to offend the Jewish community at a time when the Holocaust/Shoah was very real, very close to my own experience and kin. I never quit my mother tongue, Yiddish, and Hebrew.

I do not like when converts opine they are “more Jewish” than before their entering the Church. It is “churlish” (the word is strong in English, British) and ridiculous. On the other hand, being quite a survivor from the Shoah, and being left without parentage, I do understand that many survivors can feel offended that I am in the Church.

I do agree that this can be for these a terrible offence. Over the years, I did cross the way and did measure how so many Jews deeply do suffer from “being survivors”, often “children of survivors” and even third generation descents of survivors”.

Some of all these indivuals do not even understand who they are, can hardly stand and cope with the societies where they live… and, acting-behaving as “partly ghosts”, the feeling can pursue and run after them as if they were shadows of those who departed and were burnt, destroyed, exterminated.

This does not only relate to the Shoah as people would relate to it. The time has not come yet for anybody to make the point. Decades have passed. A lot of decades have to pass before it will be possible to approach the reality of what happened, in different regions – mainly in Europe – against the Jews first, then the Romas (Zigeuners, Gypsies, the GLT peoples and the communists, the disabled). At the present, the Soviet-surviving regime in the republics and zones of the ex-USSR and the local Churches simply ignore Judaism as such. It is simple, clear-cut.

In the area of the former Soviet State, the Russian Orthodox Church does not envision the role that Judaism has played in the Slavic countries and Russia, Georgia, various areas. I had the opportunity to discuss over and over in the 1980es hos the “exile” or “going, fleeing out, departure and return to Zion or journey to other countries from FSU” definitely corresponds to the spirutal disappearing of the Jewish roots of the monotheistic creed in Europe. It is absolutely comparable to the Ban that excluded the Jews from Spain in 1492, to the Nazi and manifold European countries decision of the Endlösung” or persecution leading to the disappearance of the Jewish seeds of life and vitality – the saps to be correct – that could sustain, support Christianity.

I had discussed this with late and famed Rabbi Léon Askenazi (Manitou), one of the very strong revivers of French Judaism, also prolonged in Jerusalem at Maayanot/מעינות. The man could fascinated many young people. I had him as teen and Jewish scout. He was the chaplain of the Eclaireurs Israélites de France. Incidentally, as a sign (his words and this is quite impressive), we met years ago, after the death of my mother. A publishing-house wanted him to publish a book of reflection but could not really cope with his very typically rabbinical speech and way of thinking. I was asked to work with him. I came and told him I was a Christian and he accepted me, he is also the “vector” that allowed me to ask the nad of my wife of the Sea of Galilee. He was very moved of this.

He had developed an idea that is not very “en vogue” at the moment but which is most important: he thought of the obligation for the Jews to return to Israel bec
In the “West”, the tendency, after a period of “idle” re-connecting”, the Churches do not really cope with the Jews and in return the Jews are right to suspiciously consider any sort of “approach” or friendship or pretense to understand the Jewish traditions from the part of the Churches. It is not fake. It is unconscious, beyond any true understanding and comprehensiveness.
It is worse with regards to the recognition on Israeli reality as a society and a State. The Christians do keep the prayers that show their hope and expectation that the Jews will convert to Christ (Good Friday i.a.). They should confess, the Churches principles state, the Lord they do confess, but in what the Christians consider as a must and even a defect if it not “substantial”, through Jesus Christ.
There is a sort of constant and lasting misunderstanding that will not pass so far, because it does not depend on us as humans, but upon the Only One God. The Son of Man, if recognized in the Person of the Resurrected, is not only Jewish, he lived and died as a Jew of the Ist century (not of any other century, and definitely not of the 20th century). I often have to explain (this is not a joke), that no Church buried the Lord… and that Jesus never knew or met with any religious authority othe than His own people and the representatives of his own people and religious group.
No substitution or superseding is possible, though we spend our days trying, especially in Jerusalem, but also in other parts of the world to “capture, rapture, catch and even “rape”” the true spirit of who the others are.
There is more: we all can be either good or bad, evil, devilish, arrogant, ready to help or to kill, open or tied-up, mean and Picsou-like or spending all over the map, be this or that whatsoever, these looks and tendencies are duly present in all religions, all the Churches and Synagogues. It has nothing to do with the very reality of the One God.
Jesus Christ or the Messiah/Moshiah does not belong to anyone, to any Church or any para-synagogue. He came and went back to his Father. No Christian prays to Him first, but as the Prayer of the Lord shows, Jesus taught to pray to His and Our Father. He taught this not because he was Jewish-obsessed: he did it because the whole of the hertiage of the community of Israel and its tribes is to proclaim the reign and return of the One God, creator of the heaven and Earth, the visible and invisible world. God repented…
And God saved.
And God called Noah and Noah saved the entire living world, at least those who had been named by the First Adam. It means that we are in this realm, reality, even as Church members. We are estranged from the One Church of Jerusalem, but we do expand largely, widely as from the very beginning of faith, from this point of the lgobe and area till the ends of the world.
The Churches are estranged in their relationships with the Community of Israel, the Klal Israel. I do not write this as longing for some unattainable target. The goal is “unity”. Not unity in diversity. There is a real misunderstanding, because then, thousands of totally different groups may claim they are better than the others and be so glad all can cope with those they simple exclude but still “maintain”.
Thousands of years may still pass till humankind may come to the reality of confessing together the life-giving One God. True, thousands of years… we do not know and cannot even imagine what it means. This is something late cardinal and great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar described in his most important booklet “Einsame Zwiesprache mit Buber”.
Pope Franciscus is undoubtedly a great man of faith, a brilliant archbishop for Buenos-Aires and Argentina and Latin America, now for the world as the head of the Roman Catholic Church and thus Bishop of Rome. He has wonderful relations with the Jews… Still he is not a Jew, has nothing to do with the Jewish faith as such and even if the Jews do recognize him – and they are right to do so – there are privileges that still depend via History, on the Jews and not on the Pope and originally “Patriarch of the West” (the title has been canceled recently). It is anecdoctic when Abp of Buenos aires lights a candle of Hanukkah. It is not truly “canonical”… it is a sign of hospitality.
When late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger was ordained a bishop at Orleans on December 8, 1979, the local synagogue was lit. I discussed the matter with Manitou, Rav Léon Askenazi. He told me that “you know, the Jews can be terrible, they can just do anything when they see that one of them succeeds in the Gentile society”. He said that with a smile, kind of irony. He knew I was very close to the late cardinal. The cardinal was precisely made a bishop because he was not a bar-mitzvah. Here is how misunderstanding raises. Indeed, the man was and always has been of Jewish origin. We definitely separated on this appreciation that a single man, definitely not in the situation of saint Paul who was a full Jew and never met any hierarch of any Church that would have split from the Jewish community of the Ist century. He had always confirmed to me that, in our time, the Church is split from Judaism and  Judaism from any Church entity. He asked that, after his death, a plaque be apposed in Notre-Dame cathedral stating that “he has always remained a Jew as the Apostles did”. No. Because, in between, mutual excommunication had occurred and these excommunications are duly still in force.

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