My wife and I met with a rabbi tonight from Chabad. He had questions and we had questions. Between the three of us there were a lot of answers; and more questions.
After a brief overview of our former religious backgrounds, he asked me to consider the Noachide path instead of converting. I’m really glad he did because I was able to talk out loud with another person about my strong desire to be Jewish, to be counted among Israel (for better and for worse) and to observe the commandments according to the Sages. Explaining my motivations to him helped make me feel all the more solid about what we’re doing.
Then he explained an interesting teaching from the first rebbe of Chabad. It’s a concept about elohim acherim (“other gods” or “the gods of others”). He said that the Jewish people have a unique connection to Hashem through which they obtain kedusha. This connection between Hashem and the Jews has a very strict measure or portion of chesed and Hashem is exceedingly exacting in His dealings with His people. But there is a secondary “overflow” which Hashem allows to pass on, sometimes quite generously, to the rest of the world via these elohim acherim. Based on this, it is permissible for non-Jews to be in a secondary relationship with “other gods” such as Jesus, Allah and the like and still receive G-d’s blessings and not be counted as sinners. But for Jewish people this recognition of others gods would be considered avodah zarah (idolatry), chas v’shalom.
I appreciated the message the rabbi was sending. But I’m still casting my lot with the Jewish people. If others want to remain convinced of the lies of Jesus/Yeshua or Buddha or Hare Krishna (and according to the first Chabad rebbe not be sinning) more power to them. But I want the harder path. I don’t want to settle for anything less than the kind of relationship a Jew has with Hashem. And I want His best, which includes a portion in the Torah and Israel.
- Pintele Yid: A Rabbi meditates on the meaning of ‘chosenness’ and Jewish particularism (cifwatch.com)
- בית השתייכות The House of Belonging (lehitgayer.com)