Messianic Judaism

The Turkey Prince and the Redemption of Yeshua

Since the fall of humanity in the garden of Eden, humankind has lost its right standing before HaShem. Our Master Yeshua came to the earth to restore that relationship, and to teach people the proper view of themselves and how to serve God.

A story told by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov parallels the work of our Master Yeshua. None of the illustrations in the story should be taken literally but only as analogies that help us see certain concepts in a new light:

A prince once became mad and thought that he was a turkey. He felt compelled to sit naked under the table, pecking at bones and pieces of bread, like a turkey. All the royal physicians gave up hope of curing him of this madness. The king grieved tremendously. A sage arrived and said, “I will undertake to cure him.”

The sage undressed and sat naked under the table, next to the prince, picking crumbs and bones. “Who are you?” asked the prince. “What are you doing here?” “And you?” replied the sage. “What are you doing here?” “I am a turkey,” said the prince. “I’m also a turkey,” answered the sage. They sat together like this for some time, until they became good friends. One day, the sage signaled the king’s servants to throw him shirts. He said to the prince, “What makes you think that a turkey can’t wear a shirt? You can wear a shirt and still be a turkey.” With that, the two of them put on shirts.

After a while, the sage again signaled, and they threw him some pants. As before, he asked, “What makes you think that you can’t be a turkey if you wear pants?” The sage continued in this manner until they were both completely dressed.

Then he signaled for regular food from the table. The sage then asked the prince, “What makes you think that you will stop being a turkey if you eat good food? You can eat whatever you want and still be a turkey!” They both ate the food. Finally, the sage said, “What makes you think a turkey must sit under the table? Even a turkey can sit at the table.” The sage continued in this manner until the prince was completely cured. (Rebbe Nachman—The Turkey Prince) [1]

In light of Yeshua’s work in the Gospels, we can give the parable a new perspective by assigning roles to the various characters of the story. Let’s view the king as God, the son as humanity, and the wise man as Yeshua. Created in the image of God and holding a divine soul within, humanity carries a deep purpose. However, when Adam sinned, mankind came under the law of sin and death, and we lost our right standing with God. The king’s son represents a humanity who has lost its right standing with HaShem and who views itself incorrectly. The wise man represents Yeshua, who came to earth to restore humanity to God and “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).

In the story, the wise man lowered himself to the level of the son to help him reclaim his true position as the king’s son and not a turkey. Likewise, Yeshua came to the sinners and tax collectors and saw their humanity buried under their guilt and shame. These people were looked down on in society much the way the king’s son was. He came offering redemption and forgiveness to restore them to their rightful place. We see this play out clearly in the stories of Matthew and Zacchaeus. Both individuals immediately realized their sins and repented as soon as Yeshua gave them the opportunity and identified with them at their level.

Likewise, in the parable of the prodigal son, Yeshua lifts our identity from the mundane mire of this world to the elevated status of a father’s son. The prodigal realizes his true position as his father’s son and is able to come out of rock bottom. The son knows that he can find kindness in his care even as a servant. Yet in the story, the father goes even further and restores the son to his rightful place. Through these teachings and parables of Yeshua, we can see the same concepts present in Rebbe Nachman’s story. We see Yeshua as the wise man of Rebbe Nachman’s parable continually reminding us of our innate holiness and what it means to be children of God.

Nevertheless, there remains a problem for humanity and the king’s son. Although the wise man taught the son to behave like a human, the son still suffers from the mental crisis of believing that he is a turkey. This ridiculous allegory is comparable to humankind’s innate nature of being under the law of sin and death. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even if we are taught how to live proper lives as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, without the sacrifice of Yeshua, we would still need to face the consequences of our sins. Yeshua helps restore us not solely in how we see ourselves, but he has fully restored our relationship with HaShem through his death and resurrection.

The story of the king’s son is much like the story of our own lives. Yeshua came and restored us both physically and spiritually. Now it is up to us to live out the reality of being a new creation. Though we will not live perfect lives in this world, we still must strive to view ourselves correctly and hold to the standard of living that our Master Yeshua set for us. No matter what your current situation is or whether you have made some mistakes. It takes only one moment to remind ourselves of who we truly are. We are children of God made in the image of God and disciples of our Master Yeshua ingrained with the Holy Spirit as a pledge until the day he returns to redeem the world.

Footnotes:
  1. Https://breslov.org/rebbe-nachmans-story-the-turkey-prince/

Source: First Fruits of Zion

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