Last week we unpacked the observance that historically, some Jewish people have chosen to hide their identities in order to fit in. As we looked at The Barry Sisters, they did so to help them succeed in their careers. We thought about those who converted to Christianity to save their lives during various times in history. And we looked at modern day Messianic Jews who often hide their religious beliefs in order to be accepted by the mainstream Jewish community.
Although my slant was to motivate us to be more forthright about our beliefs in spite of the consequences, one of my astute readers (thank you, Mary Jo!) offered up yet another interesting observation. She cited the example of Moses who was saved by being hidden amid the Egyptians. Not only does this example greatly precede those I discussed (the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust) as she notes, it also raised for me another way to look at this interesting phenomenon – not only have Jews survived by blending in, perhaps there is a divine hand at work moreso than we realize when this choice is made.
HaShem clearly has given us free will, so it is easy to see when someone chooses to live as a mainstream Jew or as a Messianic Jew. But in the example of Moses, it was not the act of Moses, but rather, the actions of his sister and mother that saved him. And these acts of courage not only saved his life, Moses became a savior of the entire Jewish people. Not only did he rise to a stature far above most men and prophets, as a Jew within the royal household of the Pharaoh, he brought knowledge of HaShem to the Nations as the purpose of his life unfolded. Clearly these mankind changing results were as intended by HaShem, yet all stemmed from a Jew whose faith was hidden until the time was right.
Often in our Ruach community we have members who choose to participate in mainstream synagogues as well as be at Ruach. This is a challenging road, for a person can really only have one spiritual home. And yet, if they can stay true to their convictions and not put Yeshua (Baby) in the corner, at least in their hearts, some have been able to successfully navigate this road. For those Messianic Jews who have chosen not to be forthright about their beliefs in Yeshua when among Jewish people, at least the question can be asked, does doing so help our Jewish people to survive? Further, does doing so help believing in Yeshua to survive? Is HaShem using this approach to further His purposes?
For the Messianic Jewish person interfacing in the mainstream Jewish community, his or her Jewish faith can be nurtured but their beliefs in Yeshua will not, and therein lies the difficulty in this approach. Yet for the mainstream Jewish people with whom the Messianic Jewish believer interacts, there may be the possibility of a deeper “saving” of our people. Experience has shown that many Jewish people are much more comfortable discussing Yeshua with non Messianic Jewish believers. They feel less threatened that they are going to be evangelized. Being with our people creates these opportunities. Conversation leads to understanding, and perhaps more Jewish people coming to know Yeshua. Hopefully over time the hidden Messianic Jewish believer does come forward, as did Moses, at the right time as orchestrated by HaShem.
I believe it is the rare individual who can walk this fine line of non disclosure and still maintain his or her faith. My point is to not close the door to the possibility of there being a good outworking as a result. Perhaps it is HaShem’s ability to make lemonade out of lemons. Being a mere mortal, I choose disclosure and direct conversation with my Jewish brothers and sisters through the many opportunities we have socially and through tikkun olam.
Hiding to survive is clearly part of our Jewish history, and yes, as even as far back as Moses. As such a small minority, this act has been instrumental in preserving our people. But the reader’s example of Moses perhaps puts the actions of some of our modern Messianic Jews into a more favorable perspective, especially if their actions help our Jewish brothers and sisters to better understand the truth of Yeshua. And as relationships develop, as trust is built, some Jewish believers in Yeshua have been able over time to be open about their beliefs and better able to dispel misunderstandings and misconceptions about Yeshua and Messianic Judaism.
Whatever your choice this week about your faith, whether hiding or forthrightly passionate, no doubt HaShem will use it for good. Perhaps the question is what is in your heart.