Each morning I receive from Merriam-Webster a new “Word of the Day.” It is a helpful and challenging activity to broaden the horizon of learning. This morning I received the word ‘Meshuggener’ (noun – muh-SHUG-uhner). My spell-checker is going a little crazy with this word but it is a real word. Merriam-Webster explains: “From bagel and chutzpah to shtick and yenta, Yiddish has given English many a colorful term over the years. Meshuggener is another example of what happens when English interprets that rich Jewish language. Meshuggener comes from the Yiddish meshugener, which in turn derives from meshuge, an adjective that is synonymous with crazy or foolish. English speakers have used the adjective form, meshuga or meshugge, to mean ‘foolish’ since the late 1800s; we’ve dubbed foolish folk meshuggeners since at least 1900.”

Whether you recognize the word meshuggener or a foolish person, the Bible mentions a lot of meshuggener. The poet David said a man who does not believe in God is a meshuggener. A hard lesson for meshuggeners is that wealth has no value in the grave. Those who live all their lives gaining the wealth of the world leave all their stuff to others. That is meshuggener. The way of a meshuggener is right in his own eyes because he believes he knows everything. A meshuggener is counted wise when he holds his peace and when he shuts his lips, he is considered discerning. The book of Proverbs is filled with lessons for a meshuggener.

Jesus parable of the ten virgins is the greatest tragedy of those who do not believe in God. Five of the virgins were wise and five were meshuggeners. The wise women prepared and were ready no matter when the bridegroom came. Five of the women did not make preparation and while the bridegroom tarried, all fell asleep. Without warning the shouts rang out the bridegroom was coming. The five wise virgins trimmed their lamps and joined the wedding party. Caught unawares, the five meshuggeners hurried and sought out those who sold lamp oil. By the time they had found the oil and made their way to the wedding feast it was too late. The door was shut and would not be opened for anyone.

The lesson of the five meshuggeners is parallel to the coming of the Son of God. So many people are slumbering in the cares and riches of the world taking no thought of their eternal life. Jesus explained in the sermon on the mountain the majority of people will be found to be meshuggeners. Few will be saved because only few are ready. If you are not ready to meet the Lord when He comes – you are a meshuggener. And whatever you call it, the end is still the same. And that is a sad story.

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