The Hebrew word for “character” is “ophi.” It is taken from the root word “aph,” which means “face, appearance, or disposition.” The notion that one’s face, or appearance, can be an indicator of their character is alluded to by Rav Yeshua (Jesus) in Matthew 6:22 where he is recorded to have said, “The light of the body is the eye.”
At times a lot can be said of someone based on their physical appearance. To sum up the content of one’s character soley based on their outward form is a stretch. Of course there would have to be some interaction between individuals in order for a proper character assestment to be made. However, first impressions can and do say a lot about someone.
Here the life and character of Mary Magdalene will be discussed. Her story as told in the Hebraic Tradition will serve as a source in order to explore why there is so much ridicule regarding Rav Yeshua accepting her as a talmid, or disciple.
In Scripture not much is mentioned regarding Mary Magdalene. Matthew 27:56 names her as one of the women present at the crucifixion of Rav Yeshua (Jesus). She was also of the first few people to be told by an angel that Rav Yeshua was not in the sepulcher.
Luke 8:2 states that Mary Magdalene had seven devils go out of her and was one of three women that followed Rav Yeshua (Jesus) as he preached. It is even speculated that it was Mary Magdalene who anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair (John 12:3).
Being cognizant of the background of Mary Magdalene and knowing the personal trials she had to overcome can give insight and understanding into why this woman was so devoted to Rav Yeshua.
The family of Mary Magdalene was very wealthy and was unspiritual. Her father was a merchant and a trader, and her mother enjoyed the finer things in life. It is said that Mary Magdalene was a beautiful baby and an exquisite little girl, and that her beauty grew from year to year as she matured. Her beauty and grace were almost otherworldly.
Where ever she went, she was the center of attention. Mary Magdalene dreamed dreams and saw visions, and the spirits of prophets and angels visited her. But she would not speak of these things for fear of being branded a witch or heretic. Because she had no onee to confide in who might understand and she herself being confused about her experiences, her deep troubling became torment.
Mary’s father arrange for her to marry a very wealthy Jewish man living in Babylon, who was also a merchant and a trader. Under ancient Hebraic Law, a daughter could not refuse her father’s wishes and she had no choice but to marry whomever her father arranged her to marry. So, Mary Magdalene and her handmaid were placed in a caravan to Babylon.
On the way to Babylon, the caravan Mary traveled in was attacked by a band of robbers. Mary was taken, raped, and sold into slavery in Babylon. The man who baught Mary Magdalene turned her out as a prostitute for wealthy men. During this time, it is said that rage, hatred, and darkness filled her.
Due to the beauty of Mary Magdalene, she attracted the attention of very wealthy and powerful men and women, and it was not long until a prominent Babylonian mistress who was infatuated with Mary, bought her freedom. Yet she continued as a prostitute, as she could conceive of nothing else to do, for she had no love for men. At one point, she even instigated a conspiracy to have the man killed who once owned her as a slave and made her a prostitute.
Eventually Mary’s rage turned into despair and sorow. She turned to Yahweh and repented of the negativity and darkness. Yahweh heard her prayer and sent her a holy man named Qadshiel. He told her that her father had died and that Yahweh wanted her to return to Israel. “Seek out the Anointed One, for he will deliver you and heal your wounds,” is what Qadshiel said to Mary. So Mary Magdalene made arrangements and set out for Israel with a caravan the next day.
Tradition teaches that when Rav Yeshua (Jesus) and Mary Magdalene officially met, after he exorcised the seven devils from her, Rav Yeshua had two of his disciples baptize Mary Magdalene in the Jordan River. From that day on, it is said that Mary Magdalene was always in the company of the Rav and that he would take her out away from the other disciples to teach her in secret.
In the Gospel of Mary it is recorded that, “Peter said to Mary, ‘Sister, we know that Yeshua loved you more than other women. Tell us the words of Yeshua that you remember, which you know and we do not. We have not heard them.’ Mary answered, ‘What is hidden from you, I will reveal to you.’ ”
With all of he tribulations that Mary Magdalene faced in her life, nothing she faced was strong enough to snuff out that divine spark of Divinity within her. That rage, hatred, and darkness in her was gradually replaced by the joy, love, and light exalted in her by the living Word of Rav Yeshua (Jesus).
Teshuvah, or repentance, was just the first step. Mary Magdalene had to choose to “turn her face” away from the darkness that temporarily consumed her. Yosher, or sincerity, being the second step, allowed her to open her heart and mind to Yahweh. Then it was her mishmaat, or obedience, the third step, that gave her the confidence to do what the messenger of Yahweh instructed her to do in going back to Israel.
Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Be confident in Yahweh with your whole heart, and in your understanding rest not. In all your behavior consider Him, and your manner will be as upright as He is.” This is the true reward of our mishmaat (obedience) to Yahweh.Obedience and submission to Him infuses us with thee ophi elohi, or divine character, of Yahweh.
DONOVAN DAVID CLARK
Categories: Donovan Clark