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
One Yud makes all the difference. Just a small letter. The smallest of all Hebrew letters. But if you don’t pay attention to the details you could be following a corrupter instead of waiting for the Messiah.
Look at this picture. Does it look Christian to you? Probably not. There is a sefer Torah on the table, men in kippot and women with their heads covered; but trust me, it couldn’t get more Goyish or more Christian. Jesus (a.k.a. Yeshua) was on everyone’s mind that day. How do I know? I was there! It’s a snapshot of my former life and as embarrassing as it is to admit that I was there I think it’s necessary to reveal so that I can warn others about a lethal threat to Jews today.
While Christians are certainly dangerous to Jews because of their missionary efforts, Messianics are far more so because of how deceptive their lifestyle is. True, an Orthodox, Frum From Birth Jew would be able to tell right away that something was wrong but other Jews may not suspect until it is too late (read counter-missionary Julius Ciss’ riveting story). Messianics, in their lust for Jewish approval and membership, commit acts of great destruction. For example, they often intermarry wreaking havoc on the lives of their children and the Jewish community. They desecrate Jewish ritual objects like Torahs, shofars, mezzuzot and tefillin. The men show up in real Jewish synagogues and pray in the minyan; they feel that they have a right to do this because they believe that they are a part of the “true Israel” because of their belief in Jesus. They hold Pesach seders, go to their churches on Saturdays, and keep some form of kosher (although most of them do not keep Rabbinic kosher because they disdain the Oral Torah).
It’s one thing to behave kindly towards people of other religions, especially for a Jew living in galut (exile). It’s quite another to befriend them and engage in “healthy” dialogues in an apologetical way either in public or private debates and conversations. To do this is perhaps a modesty issue; private matters such as one’s devotion to G-d or how one personally relates to Him within a larger religious group should remain within the social confines of that group. Is it really a Christian’s business what Jews think of Jesus? Rav Soloveitchik wrote the following in a letter to the Rabbinical Council of America in November 1964:
…We are, therefore, opposed to any public debate, dialogue or symposium concerning the doctrinal, dogmatic or ritual aspects of our faith vis a vis “similar” aspects of another faith community. We believe in and are committed to our Maker in a specific manner and we will not question, defend, offer apologies, analyze or rationalize our faith in dialogues centered about these “private” topics which express our personal relationship to the G-d of Israel. We assume that members of other faith communities will feel similarly about their individual religious commitment.
One of the topics Rav Soloveitchik mentioned specifically in his book Community, Covenant and Commitment was the Jewish attitude on Jesus. Read More
It feels like many events are coming together. We’re beginning to talk about the future rather Jewishly. We’ve made contact with some people who are helping us. Those who are shunning us seem to be quieting down and moving on. And surprisingly we’re hearing about a number of individuals and couples who have been involved with Messianic Judaism who are beginning to question Jesus’ validity as the messiah. We have spoken to some who have left that religion and are in the process of conversion. Others are researching and struggling. But for us, the high emotional drama of rejecting Jesus/Yeshua and Messianic Judaism (which is an insidious form of Christianity and just as idolatrous) seems to be channeling into intellectual energy, personal growth, and unity.
I was listening to Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb speak on the topic of “How to Live With Questions You Can’t Answer” and he mentioned the phenomenon of swarming behavior in locusts. Apparently when the density of locusts reaches a certain value, the locusts, who prefer to live independently, begin to act as a swarm. Scientists say this behavior gets switched on by increased stimulation of the hind legs from being jostled by other locusts and through prolonged exposure (via sight and smell) to other locusts. But what gets activated? The neurotransmitter serotonin. In humans, low serotonin can lead to depression. Maybe one could suggest a correlation between living in isolation and depression. Research certainly bears that out. But does swarming just make locusts feel “happy?”
Some of my readers know that my wife is pregnant (in our second trimester now) and I can relate to this child in a different way than the first time we were pregnant. I, much like that child, am a fetus in a gerut kind of way. I’ve left my old religion, Messianic Judaism a.k.a. Christianity, and am now transforming into becoming a Torah Jew be’ezrat Hashem.
I am not fully formed but I can begin to move; my features resemble Torah Judaism now more than ever (having rejected Jesus/Yeshua as messiah), but like our fetus my eyes are functional (can see light) but the lids are still sealed; I hear sounds with my ears but I am only now building an intelligible database which allows me to recognize what I’m hearing; I am connected, albeit it very delicately, to a greater body but I cannot touch or be touched by others as I am also insulated and isolated by very organic barriers; I am alive but fragile and the future is uncertain in so far as Hashem has designed a perfect system for me to grow in but so much can go wrong, chas v’shalom.
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.