|Guy reading from the Congregation's torah Scroll|
Guy Cohen is the congregational leader of Katzir Asher (Harvest of Asher) and a second generation resident of the city of Akko. Guy's great grandfather, a Rabbi from Casablanca immigrated to Akko some sixty years ago. Guy's large extended family all settled in the city and growing up Guy was surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins galore. Each successive generation was a little less religious than the proceeding one but Guy was the eldest son of the eldest son and this priestly family (cohen is the Hebrew word for priest) expected him to set a tone and example for his generation. Guy was enrolled in an orthodox religious school and spent a lot of his formative years with his orthodox paternal grandparents. As his Bar Mitzvah approached Guy's heart was stirred to serve the God of his forefathers. Like many earnest young people, Guy was passionate and intense, "I was a radical, I became 'ultra-orthodox,' even more so than my grandparents. I wanted to know God strongly, to seek the Torah - to know what the Word of God says and how I can really follow ..."
Guy's youthful enthusiasm troubled his father who wondered if his son was becoming too extreme. Guy was outspoken in his new faith and could see that his family did not meet the stringent standards of his teachers. It is one thing for a young man full of zeal to find fault with others outside his new religious stream it is quite another matter when the leaders of that same stream display the same weaknesses and failures they claim to be above. Guy's faith took a jolt when on his first Yom Kippur after being Bar Mitzva'd he witnessed the leaders of his synagogue conducting an auction before chanting the holiest of prayers. Guy explained, "My heart was broken, were they saying only people with money were welcome? What about the poor?"
Like many young, sincere believers who run up against the inconsistencies of their elders, Guy began to ask questions. He was particularly puzzled by Zechariah's description of the Messiah's entrance into Jerusalem, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9) Guy wondered why the Great King would come back to His people and city riding on a donkey. Surely, He would have a motorcade befitting His stature or maybe a red carpet laid out on the tarmac below His private jet. Guy asked his Rabbi how this could be so. A clever man, adept at nuanced rabbinical hermeneutics he solved the conundrum for his young talmid. The Hebrew word for donkey is kha-moor (), by switching around two letters (the mem, and the vav, ) the word changes from khamoor to kho-mer (), which is the Hebrew word for material; a broad generic sort of word that could stand for anything, yacht, limousine, jet, helicopter. Guy need not worry about the apparent oddity of the text's description because the Messiah can return riding on or in any material He so chooses. Guy was not satisfied with his Rabbi's interpretive gymnastics. His doubt began to grow.
|Guy pointing to "the spot"|
Guy settled in to a more traditional Judaism, much like the way his father before him had chosen. Military service was followed by a job with the Israeli tax authority. It was lunch hour and he had stepped out of his office onto Akko's main thoroughfare. As is customary in Israel, a man approached Guy and offered him some religious material. Guy accepted the little book, expecting it to be a tract espousing rabbinic spirituality; As his eyes glanced at the title, he knew it was something different, something forbidden. He quickly turned around to give the book back but in the second or two between accepting the book and turning to hand it back the man had disappeared! Guy turned all around but the man was nowhere to be seen. Perplexed, Guy franticly ran down all the side streets to check if perhaps he had somehow magically slipped around the corner - he was not there either. In an instant the "man" had vanished.
|"This is where I ran after the man"|
"'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me' ... All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"" (Matthew 21:2-5)
Instantly, Guy understood the Zechariah passage that had so perplexed him as a young teenager; there was no need to explain away the text. The Messiah had indeed come to Jerusalem, riding on "a colt, the foal of a donkey." As this revelation dawned on Guy he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and he had faith to believe what he had been seeking for since his Bar Mitzvah. What the prophets predicted was not an empty promise. The Messiah had come and now had come to this young man who longed for truth - Everything changed when Guy Cohen met Yeshua of Nazareth, the King of Israel.
Guy Cohen is now the congregational leader of Katzir Asher. For more information please check out their website: www.harvestofasher.org
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Daniel Juster: Why Liberals Have Turned Against Israel|
|Moshe Morrison: Jews Do Not Believe In Jesus!|
|Isaiah 19 - On a Highway of Restoration|