Torah For Its Own Sake

The Talmud teaches (Psachim, 50b) “Right action for the wrong reason leads to right action for the right reason.” I’m noticing an uncomfortable feeling creeping in. Although my wife is coming along and asking questions and being open to talking, being caught in this “no man’s land” is difficult because it is hard to stay motivated to keep doing all of the rigorous observances of Torah with no community, no rabbi, and no friends to provide chizzuk.

A page from a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manusc...

A page from a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript. Found in the Cairo Genizah.

I’m aware that in the past my observance of Torah was motivated out of love for G-d and I’m becoming aware of motivations that are more “down to earth” so to speak. I have derived satisfaction from my actions in the past. I’ve felt a sense of pride because I have belonged to something greater than myself.  I have enjoyed the sense of belonging that “doing Torah” creates. The social aspects of Torah life are virtually absent for me right now and it is getting more difficult to sustain on my own.

I’m not worried about becoming an apostate, chas v’shalom. I’m just noticing little things that I’ve taken some leniency on that I wouldn’t have before. Part of this is waiting to be under the direction and care of a rabbi. But it’s also true that doing Torah in community is helpful and rewarding for me.

Am I alone in this too?

5 comments
  1. Almoni said:

    Since the Messianic communities in Israel are more Christian-like and less Torah observant, I have found myself not obeying Torah like I should be doing due to the lack of support for it in my Messianic community. For instance, I use electricity and spend money on Shabbat, and I don’t wear Tallit or Yarmulke. Things I personally believe in, but do not do because of my peers. It’s hard to obey Torah without the community support.

    • Indeed.I wonder if others experience this as well. How is your research coming?

    • Raine McLellan said:

      My family went through the same thing when we were members of a “Torah based” Christian group (I guess what you would refer to as Messianic) and did not feel fully supported in moving further into the life of Torah observance. There were those who were supportive with words, but it made it very difficult for my family to move forward in observance when those around were not doing the same. This is when the Yeshu thing began falling apart for me. This is when I began to realize that “messianic Judaism” doesn’t mean anything because it has not been honed, and varies from one place to another. Lack of consistency breeds the lack of credibility.

      • Isn’t it more than just a lack of honing though? Isn’t the whole foundation of Messianic Judaism flawed and therefore no matter what refining processes the religion allows itself to go through, any subsequent iterations will be just as fractured, if not more, because its constituents are trying to do Jewish practices in a very non-Jewish belief system?

  2. Are you a Jew? If so, why not return to your people? Jesus is a broken and misunderstood chapter in Jewish history past. He is not the messiah and will never be. But if your are a Jew, you will always be one and your people will always be a nation. Come back, the Torah can be yours and your true community can be yours. The self-confliction you feel is a result of trying to be a Jew in a non-Jewish religion.

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