Kaddish in France

“There used to be a joke in Paris . What is the difference between the Chief Rabbi in France and the Cardinal of Paris ? The Cardinal speaks Yiddish!”

Jean Marie Cardinal Lustiger was buried yesterday. He died this week of cancer. He was born almost 81 years ago to Polish parents who ran a dress shop in Paris . When the German army marched into their city, his parents sent him and his sister into hiding with a Catholic family in Orleans . Their mother was captured and sent to Auschwitz ..

In 1999 as Cardinal of Paris , Jean Marie Lustiger took part in reading of the names of France ‘s day of remembrance of Jews who had been deported and murdered. He came to the name of Gesele Lustiger,paused, teared and said, “my Mama!” The effect in France during a time of revived anti-Semitism was electric.

He was just 13 and in hiding when he converted to Catholicism, not to escape the Nazis he always said, because no Jew could escape by conversion, and not of trauma, he said. Among his most controversial observation , I was born Jewish and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyem. That is my hope and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it.

There were a great number of Rabbi’s who consider his conversion a betrayal, especially after so many European Jews so narrowly escaped extinction. Cardinal Lustiger replied, “to say that I am no longer a Jew is like denying my father and mother, my grandfathers and grandmothers. I am as Jewish as all other members of my family that were butchered in Auschwitz and other camps.”

He confessed to a biographer that he had a spiritual crisis in the 1970’s provoked by persistent anti-Semitism in France . He studied Hebrew and considered emigrating. He said, “I thought that I had finished what I had to do here and I might find new meaning in Israel .” But just at that time the Pope appointed him bishop of Orleans . He found purpose in the plight of immigrant workers. Then he was elevated to Cardinal, the Archbishop of Paris .

Jean Marie Lustiger was close to the Pope. They shared a doctrinal conservatism. He also battled bigotry and totalitarianism.. For years, Cardinal Lustiger’s name was among those who was considered to succeed John Paul. Without putting himself forth, the Cardinal joked that few things would bedevil bigots more that a Jewish Pope. They don’t like to admit it, but he said, “What Christians believe, they got—through Jews.”

The funeral for Cardinal Lustiger began at Notre Dame Cathedral yesterday with the chanting of Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

Sometimes there are profound inconsistencies in our world.

Vezi și aici

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1 reply

  1. Shalom U`Vracha !

    Am citit ceva mai demult despre destinul cardinalului Lustiger, si evident intrebarile au inceput sa curga inspre mine. De pilda , stiind cat de scrupulosi sunt fratii mei evrei in ceea ce priveste inchinarea iconica, cu greu mi-as fi putut inchipui o alta Biserica pentru un evreu , decat cea protestanta.
    Si totusi Jean Marie Lustiger nu este singurul caz, in Romania numai, aproape toata lumea stie cine a fost Nicu Steinhard. Cu cativa ani in urma, inainte de-a muri , marele istoric evreu Alfred Harlaoanu se converteste la crestinismul catolic.
    Pana la urma – sunt sigura – intalnirea unui evreu cu Yeshua este , oricum providentiala , si tine de o minune. Pentru mine, nu este atat de importanta confesiunea pe care si-au ales-o ( uneori tine si de cel care li-L vesteste pe Mantuitorul ) , cat intalnirea lor inedidita cu Mesia, si faptul ca si-au pastrat identitatea evreiasca . Desigur nu o religie ne confera globulele sangelui, asa dupa cum un suedez este si ramane suedez chiar daca el devine evanghelic sau musulman, tot asa evreul ramane evreu – chiar daca fratii mozaici ne numesc apostati, noi le sounem ca-i iubim si ca le dorim din inima sa li se sfarseasca chinul, si sa-L gaseasca odata pe Adevaratul Mesia – forever.
    Ma bucur ca s-a rostit Kaddish-ul…Asta , inca o data, ar trebui sa spuna tuturor ca Yeshua- Isus Christos, Lumina lumii, a fost…EVREU.

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