He is uttering muffled chants under his breath and bobbing up and down. His gray beard is waggig under his serious eyes and his black yalmulka. His black suitcoat covers his prayer shawl with the many knotted tassles dangling below. His Hebrew Prayer Book is open as he stands facing Jerusalem. Which way is Jerusalem?
He must be guessing at the direction of Jerusalem because we are in a plane 35,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea, or Turkey, and he is standing in the very narrow isle bobbing and weaving. He must be guessing. Periodically he raises the Hebrew Scriptures to lips to kiss the Word of G-d (they never write the word “God” or pronounce it out of great respect).
People are staring at him, others ignore him as they squeeze past in the isle. But he doesn’t give a rip what anyone thinks. He is in the presence of the G-d of his fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is attemtping to obey the 3,000 year old commands of Moses and that is all that matters to him.
He just sat down. While others turn off their reading lights and cover their eyes to sleep, this Orthodox Jew continues reading his Hebrew Bible–living in the holy memory of his people and their God.
Other than my wife and I — crossing ourselves to pray when the plane took off — I didn’t notice any Christians displaying their faith openly. Maybe there aren’t any Christians on this plane; yet again, maybe there are some on board but they are keeping it to themselves. Will you be ashamed to show your faith today, or will you too live the whole day in the presence of God? We are going to do our best to demonstrate the reality and love of God–and to show our devotion to him.