The Carpenter

By Ari Bussel

“Because you are a holy people to the Lord your God. Lord your God has chosen you to be to him a unique people of all the nations on the face on this earth.” Deuteronomy 7:6

I am invited to dinner with a group of people who care about Israel at a Christian pastor’s home.

The Christians stand with Israel, no questions asked. Not all Christians, of course, but many do. It started with Pope John Paul II whom Israelis will always remember with deep fondness and great appreciation.

The Christians themselves are as divided as we the Jewish people. Thus, when I use the description “Christians” I group all those who believe in the Holy Trinity. I do not differentiate between the Catholic Church and other mainstream segments of Christianity, although I clearly know better.

Here in the United States of America, the Evangelists are a fort, a refuge and a powerhouse supporting Israel. For them, to love Israel is a requirement, it is given, it is not subject to scrutiny.

I am not sure that we stand up to such trust and support, and I realize there are vocal opponents who warn us that the Christian Evangelists do not support us for our sake but for other, more selfish reasons. Be it as it may, we have so few friends today in the world that we value each hand extended toward us in friendship. There may be a smile attached, an expectation or deep sorrow in one’s heart, we value it regardless.

There is another powerhouse, a Washington, D.C., based one, called AIPAC – the Israeli lobby. Books have been written by Israel haters as well as others describing this lobby. Once AIPAC would have stood behind Israel no questions asked. Whatever the current government positions were, this is what AIPAC had advocated. These days have gone, and AIPAC like most other “old guard” very-established Jewish organizations who depend on philanthropic money for their existence, distanced itself gradually from its mission statement and from its steadfast support of the Jewish State. They still do wonderful things, but at a price.

The Christians – and here I refer specifically to the Evangelist Christians in the USA – have not wavered. They stand strong, like an insurmountable wall. Nothing will shake their believes, not even a wall of water tens of feet high following an earthquake whose magnitude exceeded Nine on the Richter Scale.

Israel’s enemies recognize the fortification is so strong that they are looking for a way to enter and conquer. They know that the devil likes to create confusion and discord, and recently they have formed an “alternative,” much like they did for the Jews.

The new – and immensely successful – creation of “J Street, pro-Israel, pro-Peace” tool against Israel is now duplicated with a similar organization to provide the believing Christians an “ALTERNATIVE.” This “ALTERNATIVE” is just the devil in disguise, and good, believing people will know to differentiate.

The Jewish community is not only divided, but is composed of very smart and successful people, all quite opinionated and full of self-worth and self-importance. They, without all their knowledge and smartness still are confused about “J Street” and its motives. Thus, hordes of them support the new creation to the detriment of Israel.

I am unafraid that the same would happen with the Christians. It would not, simply because they know better. How do I know that, some would ask? Simply, because they listen to what is being said and compare it with their Compass of Truth, and when you look at this Compass, when you hold the Holy Book in your hand, heart and soul, you will not be mislead. Goodness points one direction, evil intentions the exact opposite.

We, Jews, have distanced ourselves from the Holy Book, and so our compass of truth is not as strong, the interference is so strong. Try to talk on your cell phone or listen to AM radio under a grid of high-power lines. You will experience the same type of very poor reception.

So tomorrow I am invited to the home of a Pastor who for the decade or more I have known and worked with him has dedicated much of his time and effort to fighting for Israel’s survival.

Whenever Israel needed help and was looking for friends, he was there. He and his brethren from the Christian community. They came and demonstrated when our enemies were on the other side spreading lies. He demonstrated his unquestionable love, that of a parent to a child, at times that hatred to Israel was so strong few dared stand with Israel.

He continues to preach for Israel, to pray for the Almighty to protect His people and to extend a helping hand whenever necessary.

He is very impressive, but then most pastors I know are, both in image and behavior. They lead by example and demand of themselves first and more than the demand of others.

When asked what he does, he answers: “I am a carpenter,” and this is the story I want to tell today.

It is a legend my Rabbi told of two brothers. Their family was very well off and lived quite happily until the parents died. After some time, the two brothers, both married with children, started not getting alone with each other. The situation deteriorated to the point they decided to separate. They managed to divide the large estate. But that did not help.

They built a separation wall, or maybe planted trees that created this needed separation. Except when ill-will and hatred start seeping in, they fester and grow.

One day, a person knocks on the door of the older brother. The brother opens the door and asks the visitor to his occupation. “I am a carpenter” the stranger replies, “and I am looking for a job.”

“I have just the right job for you,” replies the brother. He lets him in, shows him a mountain of wood (4×4, 2×4, …) and asks him to build the highest wall he can, so his family will not be able to see the other side.

There was a body of water, a river, passing between the two separated estates. That was not sufficient for the brother, for one could see those bathing and enjoying on the other side. He wanted all to be hidden.

The carpenter embarked on the project. He build and build, and when he finished a bridge crossed the water, joining the two parts of the estranged estate.

The younger brother thought that his older brother instructed to build the bridge as a sign of reconciliation. His heart filled with joy, light like which he has not experienced since their parents were alive.

He hastened to cross the bridge.

At this very moment, the older brother returned to his estate. When he saw the bridge, and his brother’s silhouette starting to cross the bridge, he was livid. “HOW DARE THE CARPENER DISOBEY ME,” he was about to explode!

But then he saw the happiness on his brother’s face, his brother’s posture and his outstretched arms running to hug him.

His hatred dissipated, and, crying, he rushed toward his brother to hug him too.

Needless to say, the two brothers have invited the town’s people for a celebration, a happening not heard before or since in the history of this town. The carpenter was to be the guest of honor.

The Carpenter, though, declined. “I have to live,” he told the protesting brothers.

They implored, promising him a house, a parcel of land and salary for as long as he lives.

“Thank you,” said the carpenter, “but I have to leave. There are many other bridges I still need to construct.”

May each of us have the wisdom and the ability to build or mend at least one bridge during our lifetime. May we always see the truth and know to recognize it. And may we always stand strong in face of adversity and the temptation of evil and know to rely on what is right and everlasting.