Had Yeshua told me in advance about his intent, I think that I would have refused the offer.
For numerous months, I have been engaged into an active internet war , in Hebrew and in English against Ron Kobi. I admit to have hated the man with passion. I truly hoped for the Almighty to punish him. I was angry because of the noisy tayelet and because of his constant wars against the Haredis, and the fact that he was breaking Shabbat with pride, starting Shabbat buses since his election in November 2018.
I have strongly wished from the Almighty's hand a severe punishment against the man because he was going against HaShem in my opinion.
I used to tag many of my facebook posts and videos against Ron Kobi and I also invaded a few of his live chats to notify him in Hebrew what I thought of his actions and that he should come back to Teshuva.
I am a disciple of Yeshua, but it seems like, for a few months, I have been seriously blind and deaf to some of his most important teachings about compassion. What characterizes Yeshua's specific teachings of Torah is the dimension of sympathy for the sinner instead of condemnation.
Well, Yeshua would teach me an invaluable lesson by placing the man on my path several times.
The following story starts before Kippur and ends on the last Shabbat. Enjoy.
I arrived to Tveriah early in the morning after spending a week in Jerusalem, just before Rosh haShana. I joked with a friend from Tsfat just before the holiday began, that I prayed never to cross the Mayor's path, that it would probably end up into a huge fight between the two of us.
On the next Shabbat, October the 5th, just after the Shabbat office at the synagogue, I decided to have a walk near Baal Ness tomb.
As I reached one of the numerous surrounding beaches, I decided to bathe my feet into Kinneret. It was already very hot, so I decided to return home. On my way return, I see some man jogging into my direction dressed in a yellow t-shirt. Can't believe my eyes, he looks exactly like Ron Kobi...I glance at him and he gives me a bad glance, which seems to confirm my bad opinion of him!
I angrily yell his name: 'Ron Kubi, Ron Kubi!' and as I leave, I start singing a song in Hebrew for him to repent.
I keep joking about him with some friends and then the big day of repentance arrives: Yom Kippur.
It starts on October the 8th at sundown. I decide to join the nearby synagogue. Will I fast? Fasting has been a challenge for me for 4 years. My body lacks iron, which makes it especially difficult for me. Yet I want to try the fast despite all. I succeed.
I participated partly to the synagogue's prayers partly on the next day. I went quite early in the morning to recite the slichot , the Jewish prayers for forgiveness. At some point, my body didn't feel comfortable because of the cold from the air conditioning, and I had to step outside. I walked for a small walk to the center of Tveriah that was deprived of any car-and any inhabitant, besides a few tourists and two Israelis who did not seem to care about the fast. But to the great majority, the day was observed.
I went back home, resting inside of the backyard and listening to the prayers ( I had two synagogues next to the house I was renting). I read a few prayers myself, and went back to the apartment; where I fell asleep for over an hour.
The rest of the day was spent between reading and meditating, and trying to forget about the hunger.
I had to drink, though, because of a certain weakness in my body.
I succeeded in fasting for 25 hours and felt renewed.
After a short trip to Kafr Kanna on the following day, Friday the 11th would arrive fast and it was time to prepare Shabbat. I had the firm intent to go pray on Friday evening, but to my greatest surprise, I found the doors of the synagogue locked.
I found people outside, wishing me 'Shabbat Shalom'. I was very disappointed and decided to wake up early, so I could attend the Saturday morning office.
Believe it or not, I also found all doors closed again( both synagogues), on Saturday morning! I asked some orthodox lady: 'Do you know when the prayer starts?'
She replied! ' between 8;30 and 8:45 am'
I was there precisely at 8:45 and the doors were kept closed. I waited a little bit, and became very much discouraged. In truth, the Gates of prayer had been locked for me from Above.
So I decided to grant myself a walk on the way to rabbi Baal Ness tomb.
I had a specific beach in mind where a few people, including fishermen, are present.
I bathed my feet into Kinneret. I went out, and on my way return, it became very hot. So I decided to rest a little bit on a bank.
After ten minutes, some man approaches, running his race. It is Ron again. I glance at his face with intensity and he glances back...and gives me an immense, big, nice smile! I gave him his smile back...and started crying heavily. In this instant, I realized my huge fault.
Ron had been greater than me, because he had forgiven me at first.I was the one who was supposed to forgive in first place, but he did it...I then understood a great lesson: even if I completely disagreed with the man's actions, I had no right to loathe him! And I had hated Ron with passion for months, writing bad words in Hebrew and in English.
I wept bitterly before the Almighty and promised to repair my bad deeds: tomorrow, before Sukkoth, I would find Ron's grandfather's tomb and pray there.
Machluf Kobi, Ron's grandfather used to be a great tzaddik in Tveriah.
I'd like to point out here that I did not go to pray to a dead person. I went to pray that, through the merits of the tzaddik, Ron came back to Teshuva.
The tomb was very difficult to find and the workers at the cemetery were unable to help. I walked through many alleys...at some point, I found two tombs with the name Kubi, but no trace of the tzaddik. I started praying: 'Lord, please help me find the tomb, this is the reason why I came here.'
Our Lord made me understand that it would cost me an effort. It was probably the price to pay for months of anger and hatred, but in his mercy, he eventually allowed me to find it.
I deposited a few stones on the tzaddik's tomb, ask for forgiveness for what had done and prayed for Ron's soul.
As I departed, I said to myself! ' never again will I hate this man!'
And an immense weight was lifted from my heart. I started blessing Ron.
|Machluf Kobi's tomb in Tveriah©2019|
Well, yes, I had to make Teshuva at first before I was even entitled to pray for somebody else's soul. I had been the hypocrite Yeshua is talking about during all these months.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
I would meet Ron again on another feast day of Sukkot. I would greet him with a smile and ' Shalom Ron' and he would answer back. The ice was broken and I kept praying for the man.
The last Shabbat in Tveriah would be filled with great surprises. I had a mystery guest on Erev Shabbat whom I will never forget, but this will probably be the topic of another article.
On Saturday morning, the 19th of October, I decided to go back to the path of Baal Ness. There were no chances to meet Ron again, because it was much earlier-or so I thought.
I had brought a bottle of water with me and a book of Tehilim.
Actually I wanted to pray for Ron's redemption. I knew of a specific verse in Tehilim 29 that is aimed at all the persons losing themselves on their path.
יהוה למבול ישב וישב יהוה מלך לעולם
The LORD sat enthroned at the flood; yea, the LORD sits as King for ever.
I started singing the verse intensively, concentrating on Ron and calling upon Heaven's mercy.
At some point, somebody running in the same direction as me greets me. It is Ron.
I think to myself: 'I probably won't see him again, as he is usually running the 5 kilometers, but I will keep praying all way long until I reach the beach I want to go to! There I will pray inside of the water!'
At the precise moment I was about to reach the intended beach, Ron is turning back!
He has a big smile on his face and says' chag sameach!' to me.
I felt happy.
I then went into the water with my book of Tehilim and started pouring out praise for the Almighty and requested mercy upon Ron's soul.
Miraculously, nobody else was present on the beach: it was just the Almighty and me. I could sing and speak out loud and let the joy spread all around me.
The act of compassion for another person can be hard. It is often easier to hate and to ask for punishment, and to curse an individual, because it satifies our ego. But our Lord wants compassion. Let us be as merciful as our Father in Heaven!
I will never forget Kippur in Tveriah where I have been taught how to forgive with all my heart.
©2019 by Isabelle Esling, all rights reserved