middot responsibility besorah age and adaptability

age and adaptability

Written by  rabbi russ resnik

art-directorHe not busy being born is busy dying – Bob Dylan

The other day I had coffee with Hal, the father of one of our chavurah members. He had just written his second novel, this one based on his amazing experiences as a Jewish-American soldier fighting the Nazis in World War II. We got together to talk about his book, but Hal wanted to know a little about my religious background, since his son had gotten caught up in our crazy brand of Judaism. I told him my story of encountering Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah, and the differences that encounter had made in my entire life.

The conversation moved on and I got Hal to sign a copy of his book for me, and then gave him a copy of my book, Creation to Completion: A Guide to Life’s Journey from the Five Books of Moses. As we were about to leave, Hal said, “I don’t know if I can really get into your book. I was raised as an atheist. I’ve never read much about Judaism; I don’t even know what the Five Books of Moses are, and I’m getting pretty old to change now.” I didn’t argue too much with Hal; he’d just celebrated his 90th birthday a couple of months earlier. 

But that evening, Jane and I watched “The Quartet,” a great movie about a group of retired musicians in England who put on a gala performance to help finance their retirement home. Sounds pretty tame (although some of the language and humor definitely isn’t tame), but it all comes together through a supply of brilliant acting, under the equally brilliant direction of Dustin Hoffman, who debuts as director at the age of 75.

So, Hal, I know you have 15 years on Dustin Hoffman, but perhaps age isn’t such an impediment to adaptability. In fact, Hal, you wrote your first novel after you turned 85!  

Hal does make an important point, though. To genuinely consider the reality of God, let alone of Yeshua as Messiah, isn’t just an intellectual exercise, but a matter of profound adaptability. If there is a God, and if this God has deigned to reveal himself to human beings, that’s going to demand from us changes across the board. We’d be like the merchant that Yeshua talks about, who is “on the lookout for fine pearls. On finding one very valuable pearl he went away, sold everything he owned and bought it” (Matt 12:45-46, CJB).

Perhaps in resisting this possibility, Hal had a better sense of the implications of the message than many who glibly claim to accept it and then fall short of adapting their lives to the new reality. May Hal—and all of us—find the adaptability it takes to genuinely buy the story of Messiah Yeshua!

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