If I could speak with Ari Hershkowitz

I had never heard of this man. Not until this year. The Times of Israel had a major article about him, and his departure from his religious roots. Anything about religion, especially the Jewish religion, often captivates me. Satmar Hasidim are a subset of ultra-Orthodox Jewish people and it was from them that this Ari Hershkowitz departed, leaving Brooklyn NY 3 years ago. The article is here.

He now calls himself a "culturally Jewish atheist." And gave up drugs and many other substances about 15 months ago. He revealed much about himself to Henry Greener from Melbourne on The Shtick. I remember Henry interviewing me there some years ago. He's a delightful man with keen insights.  (The Shtick - S53-05 Seg.3)

Ari is becoming well known in his own right, and he is one of the featured 'leavers' of Hasidic life in the movie/ Netflix documentary, "One of us." 

In an interview with three fellows online (Epistemic Ep. 18), Ari says, "For the record God hasn't answered any of my questions." I wonder what those questions might be. I wonder if Ari has read any of the words of Rabbi Yeshua from Nazareth. And then I wondered what we might talk about if he were in my lounge room here in Sydney, or I were in his back in the US. 

Some points I would consider:
1) Ari, going against the parents and the religion of your youth... I get that. I did that. And it cost me. And I imagine it has cost you. Do you have any regrets about leaving?
2) You cite your earlier years, even before Bar Mitzvah, as including sexual abuse and mental illness. Do you feel you have overcome the mental illness or outgrown it, or is it still haunting you? By the way, I'm so sorry you experienced abuse at all.
3) As for those unanswered questions, I seriously recommend an honest read of the Brit Hadashah. CJB or TLV or even NASB. The version doesn't matter so much as an honest and open heart. 

And you have to know, Yeshua went through all these points, too. 

1) One day he and his family were in Jerusalem. 
Look at this little story: "Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast; and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Yeshua stayed behind in Jerusalem. But his parents were unaware of it, but supposed him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for him. Then, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.”  And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them and He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he continued in subjection to them; and his mother treasured all these things in her heart." (recorded in Luke 2:42-51)

2) Yeshua wasn't mentally ill, but some wondered if he weren't losing it. In the story recorded just before Hanukkah account "A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?" (John 10.19-21) Yeshua actually healed people of their diseases, and he is still available to bring life and health to anyone who asks. I'm so glad I asked. 

3) Finally, as for questions, and longing for answers, Yeshua knows your thoughts and your questions, and sometimes answers and sometimes doesn't so that you will ask him again and again. And learn that answers to questions don't necessarily turn into faith and relationship. Honestly, what the Almighty wants is to be in relationship with each of us. And with you. Anything that gets in the way, He wants you to remove. Listen to this story: "A ruler questioned Yeshua, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Yeshua said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.“You know the commandments, ‘aDO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”  When Yeshua heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; asell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have btreasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich." (Luke 18.18-23)

God wants to love on you today.
God wants you to love him back, today. How about now?

BTW, if anyone wants to read more about Ari here's the link to his own website: https://arih.me Shalom!


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