But what do we know? We’re just a couple of guys who have lived this article quite literally. So pay attention…there may just be something in here for you.
How do you prevent a viral infection? Give a person a small dose of the virus itself of course. It’s counter-intuitive but an effective treatment nevertheless. However it only works within key parameters: the antigen must be introduced in such a way as to produce the greatest action and the vaccine must also contain preservatives in the solution to prevent infection in the delivery system. Read More
We had a nice Purim with the community in Dallas. It was a very meaningful Yom Tov for me because of the reference to the many who converted to Judaism according to the Megillah and because the holiday’s essence is that all the plans and expectations get turned upside down. It’s kind of like the conversion process–but in a good way. Hashem has His plans and His ways are not our ways. Just when you think you’ve got the next step figured out, there’s some detail to deal with or what looks like a block that is most likely a test of sincerity.
I feel like we’re getting close to moving. There may some good job opportunities on the horizon, b’ezrat Hashem. We also learned yesterday that we have to get rid of the rest of our animals–our miniature poodle and cat. Maybe even our two pet frogs? I have to ask for clarity on that one. Our Rabbi said that Orthodox Jews cannot have unkosher animals in the house, that doing so would prevent Eliyahu haNavi’s visit. This will be hard, especially for my wife and son because we already lost six of our animals last year. But this life is about what Hashem wants and not what we want. I hope we can find good homes and can do it soon so this painful step will be over.
There is nothing as comforting as getting information and having your questions answered. Well, nothing as comforting unless it also comes from two loving, righteous Rabbis like the ones we met with today.
We felt heard and cared for. We received direction and have a clearer path to the next steps towards conversion. At least for the next foreseeable future, we’ll be traveling back and forth for classes in order to get to know the rabbi who will hopefully become our sponsoring Rabbi. 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.
So I’ve found my new, living, Orthodox Jewish, intellectual hero: Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb. He has his Ph.D. in mathematical logic, was Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, and is a senior faculty member at Ohr Somayachin Jerusalem.
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
What turned me on to him? Simply because he wrote a paper entitled Coming Home and in it he said: “Teshuva is the greatest creative challenge a person will ever face: the challenge of recreating oneself. A person’s whole past – talents, training, experience, successes and failures – provides the materials from which his new identity will be forged. He does not turn his back on his past, but organizes it to fulfill its potential in a new way. It is a denial of Providence to regard any of his “unplanned” prior life as a loss. Everything which happened to him was planned so that he could fulfill his unique human potential and make his unique contribution (see Luzzatto’s Derech Hashem, Part II, Chapter 3). Later, he will see how his seemingly pointless past gave him the tools for his religious future.” These words of course are a great inspiration to me as I am definitely in the process of recreating myself.
I can understand the Christians in the Austin Messianic community who want to ostracize me and run my name through the mud under the guise of “protecting” others who may be vulnerable (some are going so far as to call as many people on their lists as they can to talk about me and my recent rejection of Jesus/Yeshua as messiah). I can also understand their huddling together like lost sheep trying to continue on with a few very green pseudo-leaders at the helm who are trying to protect and steer the “scattered flock.”
But I don’t understand and cannot excuse the cruelties they have committed against my godly wife. One of the former elders of the community is sending demand emails for his charity monies to be returned at my own personal expense. Never mind he is clueless about non-profit law–has he considered the effect this would have on my pregnant wife and child? Another elder in the community comes face to face with my wife at the Kosher Randalls in town and shuns her. All he can do is stare her down. This same man is the ring leader who has taken it upon himself to make this call-list and to get in touch with folks (to commit lashon hara) and he hasn’t even spoken to me and my wife to get all the facts. Rather than judging us fairly, he assumes I have ill intent (which is idiotic–I’m going into Orthodox Judaism–we don’t proselytize). Rather than consider that my wife is still a believer in Yeshu (a fact that he is well aware of), and treat her as a “sister,” he punishes her right along with me. There are no courtesy calls to ask for clarity. No words of love or encouragement. No pleas to repent. No offers to comfort my wife. She gets blacklisted right along with me as if she too is a heretic.