The Jew who came home from Ramallah

by Leah Rosenberg

Sometimes, people feel a connection to something, and they don’t know why. For Machmud Ibn esh Sharif, it was the Jews and a Sabbath song.

Jewish Identity

Machmud Ibn esh Sharif was from Ramallah. He felt a connection to the Jewish people, but he did not know why. Despite growing up being taught to hate the Jewish people, Machmud did not take that path.

He was thrown out of his house by his father and secretly returned to grab his things. That is when his mother revealed to him his true identity. Machmud, in fact, was a Jew. And that is how he ended up in a synagogue on a Friday night – the Sabbath night. He was finally going home.

From Ramallah to the Sabbath Table

Machmud’s journey led him to a synagogue. A man then invited him to a Sabbath dinner. That is what the Jewish people do. They open their doors and invite people in. Although the Jewish man who he met that Friday night did not know Machmud, he still introduced himself and brought him into his home.

Throughout the meal, the only song Machmud wanted to sing was the famous Friday night song that Jews sing as they bring in the Sabbath – “Lecha Dodi.” Although it is not customary to sing that song at the meal but rather in the synagogue, the family hosting Machmud continued to sing it.

Why did he feel such a connection?

To his host’s amazement, he discovered that Machmud was a descendant of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz – the author of Lecha Dodi – that famous Sabbath song that Machmud wanted to sing continuously. That is why he felt such a strong connection to that specific song.

Sometimes the connections we feel are beyond explanation. But just like Machmud, it is important to seek the truth.

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