Daily News header

Have a Little Chutzpah

By     get stories by email

There were four rabbis who had a series of ongoing theological arguments, and three were always in alignment against the fourth. One day, the odd rabbi out, after the usual "Three to One" vote, decided to appeal to a higher authority. "Oh, God!" he cried, "I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong. Please give me a sign to prove it to them." As soon as the rabbi finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the three opposing rabbis. It rumbled once and then disappeared.

"A sign from God!" the fourth rabbi cried. "See, I am right!" But the other three disagreed pointing out that storm clouds could form on any hot day. So the rabbi prayed again: "Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. God, send a bigger sign!" This time a much larger storm cloud appeared and a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree right beside the three opposing rabbis. "I told you I was right!" cried the fourth rabbi again. "God has vindicated me." But his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.

rabbi
Unknown image

The rabbi, then and there, turned to God once again, this time to ask for a very, very, big sign. But as he began to pray, "Oh God..." the sky turned pitch black; the earth shook, and a deep, booming voice called from heaven: "HE IS RIGHT!" The rabbi put his hands on his hips, turned to the other three, and said, "Well? I told you I was right!" The other three rabbis looked to one another and then responded in unison: "So what. It's still three over two."

Within Jewish faith there is this beautiful, argumentative contrariness. It is faith, for sure, but it is never settled. Spirituality is an on-going wrestling match with one another, and especially with God. There is a Yiddish word to describe it: Chutzpah. In a Yiddish proverb chutzpah is illustrated by a young woman who wakes in the middle of the night and goes to her parents' bedroom and murders them. She is quickly arrested and brought to trial. Before the judge she pleads for mercy, if not full pardon for her actions, based on the fact that she is an orphan.

For our spiritual forefathers, chutzpah was a required spiritual ingredient for living. Moses wins several arguments with God in his desert years. Job demanded that God show up and defend his actions. Abraham bargained with God to save innocent lives. Jesus fought his Father tooth and nail in the Garden of Gethsemane. Of course the most shameless and brazen arguer of all was Jacob. He wrestled with God face to face with audacious chutzpah running out of his ears. There was sweat and blood, flying punches, kicks to the head, drool, tears, and exhaustion; God and man locked in mortal combat. But Jacob would not quit until he prevailed.

More times than we care to admit, our relationship with God is not a Harlequin romance, wrapped in a tidy package with a bow on top. It is more like a game of tug-o-war. God speaks and pulls and we pull back. He yanks again and we curse and shout across the mud pit at him. He shouts back. It goes on like this for a long time - most of our lives even - and sometimes God wins and sometimes we do.

Why is it this way? Because God isn't after blind, robotic faith, we behaving as androids receiving signals from above transmitted to our spiritual antenna. No, God is after a relationship with us, for us to genuinely know him. And sometimes to know this God we must wrestle with him. When we give up on listening, struggling, wrestling, and protesting - when we lose our chutzpah - we have given up on faith, and the only thing left is atheism or cynicism; hardness toward God or disbelief in him. The struggle means the relationship is very much alive.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me. Read more stories by Ronnie McBrayer.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

* The views of Opinion writers do not necessarily reflect the views of NewsBlaze

Related Opinions News

Congress agreed with the President's plan to lead a coalition against ISIS. We need to know where they are, stop others from joining, and stop them from moving around. A fence might do that.
There should be no toleration of any killer terrorizing Americans and burning the American flag, and the US should stop funding people who hate America.
Will future sustainable development goals (SDGs) help in improving the lives of Bela and thousands of others like her who are pushed into the flesh trade due to poverty, greed and a skewed power dynamics. It is not enough to make survivors mere bran
If we don't respect our freedoms if we don't live with respect of others and the rules of stability of guide a civil people then we have and will continue to degrade our nation's integrity into a state of shame.
The claim on any land should reside on who found it first.
Over 1000 participants, and 400 students who participated in a Shabbat dinner at USC, have all saluted to their homeland JNF to Israel: Count On Us

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site