Converting to true Judaism is a maze of information and choice-points. You ask for advice but not allRabbis agree with each other. Communities may not warmly open up to conversion candidates because Messianics and other insincere Gentiles may have spoiled the community’s opinion of true gerim. Then factor in your own personality and preferences. Are you drawn to Sephardic or Ashkenaz minhagim? Are you going Modern or Ultra-Orthodox? Which eruv best meets your criteria for living?
In the Zombie-genre movies, the strongest people usually survive. Becoming a Jew is much more than changing your religion. It is an apocalypse of identity. Read More
With all of the travel between Austin and “home,” the Jewish community where we really want to move, it has been difficult to find time to blog. Not only that, but there has been so much we’ve been experiencing, I’ve needed some time to integrate it before I can actually write about it.
So here’s what’s been brewing in my head lately.
The Great Messianic Pretenders.
A Relief Depicting The Development Of Oral At Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv
My wife and I are amazed at how little Messianic Judaism has to do with real Torah Judaism. It is even more embarrassing how our former lives appear to us now. I also feel angry at the deception that is infused in Messianic Judaism by its adherents. Unless you’ve been through this it might be hard to understand what I’m saying. Messianic Judaism claims that it encourages Jews and Gentiles to follow the Torah but this is so misleading because fundamentally all Messianics reject the Oral Torah. This is key because in Orthodox Judaism “Torah” is Torah Sheba’al Peh and Torah Shebichtav (Oral and Written Torah respectively). Even if they run around separating meat and dairy (as we began doing years ago), keep Taharat HaMishpachah, and hold to other halachah as outlined by the Sages, if they still think Jesus/Yeshua is the messiah then they are ultimately rejecting the Oral Torah outright and are bringing tremendous disgrace to the Sages.
For example, I know of one man who has been involved in Messianic Judaism for many years. He claims that he has great respect for the Sages and is even a little familiar with the Talmud. He wears a tallit and lays tefillin. He observes some Rabbinic holidays and keeps some other halachah given in the Oral Torah but he accepts it cafeteria style. Ultimately he is an Evangelical Christian trying as best he can to mold Torah Judaism to his pick-and-choose belief system. But what he (and the others) are trying to do will never work. It would be better for him to drop Yeshu and become a Noahide under the direction of a Rabbi and learn Torah that way. It would also be better for the Jewish Community that he professes to love. Sadly, he doesn’t see the damage he is causing and because he is so lost in idolatry, he can’t even be willing to hear arguments from the Jewish side.
Bonding To My Rabbi
I am grateful that we have found a Rabbi to whom I feel so connected. We have been able to speak openly so far about everything and I always feel better after being around him and speaking with him. He treats me and my family with such respect. He is a lively teacher and very congruent in his life with what he believes. Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya says in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 1, Mishna 6) “Make for yourself a teacher…” and the commentaries go on to say that this person should be someone you can trust because he has your best interest at heart. I know my Rabbi does and I look forward to seeing him every week, be’ezrat Hashem.
Rabbi Shimon Doing Chesed for Ohev Israel
During lunch today I was listening to an audio clip by the eminent counter-missionary Tovia Singer speaking about the distortions in Matthew and Paul. He said that the author of Matthew failed to reach the Jewish people because of how he twists and outright butchers the Jewish Bible whereas Paul, missionary to the Gentiles, was able to succeed because Gentiles have such a lack of discernment and exposure to true Judaism. Tovia was brilliant!
But one thing he said really stood out to me, it goes like this. Tovia said, “Everything Jesus didn’t do, I can see. Everything he did do, I can’t see. Coincidence?” This comment really touches the heart of what brought me to my final conclusion.