Many things are happening but at the same time it feels like I’m living in suspended animation.
I feel so out of my element. Right now we are alone on Shabbat with no guests for our Erev meal, no Torah service, no teacher, no community oneg with no end in sight (or so it seems). Thankfully we’re out of town again visiting the community we’d like to move to. This week we plan to attend a few of the community supported classes and a couple of the shiurim at the shul we’re interested in.
This Shabbat was a weird one. After meeting with the Chabad rabbi last week and not being able to get an answer about how much we should continue in our observance of Torah until we convert, it seemed wrong to make Kiddush on Erev Shabbat. This pained me a great deal and it was heartbreaking to explain this to my wife and even harder to have to enforce it. There was no Challah, no Kiddush, no Netilat Yadayim, only dvar Torah.
Why is this necessary? Well, what right do we have to do Jewish things? How can we claim for ourselves what was meant only for the Jewish people? Surely that is what the Christians/Messianics do based on their false belief that they are a part of Israel because they “believe in” Jesus. It is a hard reality to face for former Messianics who find that their love of Torah is wrapped up in a false messiah. Once they realize he’s not the guy, what do they have left? The Noachide laws? That won’t work for me.
I want my family to take the higher ground and do Jewish things because we’re Jewish, not because we are stealing. I want to be guided by a rabbi who can make our conversion the best possible experience so that we become holy Jews who have something to offer to Israel and to be a light to the Goyim.
My wife’s question from Friday night is still ringing in my ears: “What else are you going to take away?” How can I know? We need a guide so that we do this right. I don’t want to be stripped of everything but I also don’t want to be a liar and a thief. G-d help us and may we get answers soon!
Starting today I’m home from work for ten days as the Center closes for winter break. It’s always a nice (forced) vacation. But it is particularly timely because we can finish out the rest of Chanukkah unencumbered by work concerns and can donate our attention to family time and hopefully to discussions about our beliefs and where we will go from here.
So we’re getting ready for Chanukkah IV and Shabbat; cleaning, running errands, the norm. Then the thought occurred to me: I don’t have to prepare for anybody else other than myself and my family. There won’t be a houseful of people coming tomorrow. I can actually spend Shabbat with my family! I took a very easy deep breath of relief. I wonder if we’ll visit a shul or if we’ll decompress at home? Either way it will be a welcomed change of pace from the messy life of messianics.
Speaking of that, I was able to gently force a conversation with my wife last night about the book Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe In Jesus. One small part of it touches on this scenario:
Yeshivat Chafetz Chayim in Radin
Going through this renunciation of the false messiah, alone without my wife in agreement in the matter, causes me to resonate with Chafetz Chayim‘s preface to “Shem Olam” where he quotes the verse from Yeshayah 56:3-5, “…and the childless one should not say—’Look, I am a shriveled piece of wood,’ for this is what Hashem said to the barren ones who observe My Shabbat and choose what I desire and hold tightly onto My covenant. Within My walls and My house I will give to them a hand and a name which is better than sons and daughters. I will give them an eternal name which will never be expired.” How I am childless you ask? I have a son. My wife is pregnant. I am childless because I have no mitzvot without the Torah and the Jewish people.
The Chafetz Chayim advises the barren to remedy this situation by following Hashem’s advice and to fulfill these three conditions. If he is right, my “cure” can be found because Hashem Yitbarach is the source of eternal existence. I pray my wife catches on soon. Until then I cling to מעוז צור ישועתי
My goal is to study Hilchot Shabbat, Torah philosophy, Hebrew, Jewish Law, the weekly parshah, and halachot dealing with an upcoming Jewish holiday, for two hours a day every week. Here’s my current study plan for this week based on suggestions from http://www.halakhicconversion.org/ (click on the image for more detail). Comments and suggestions are welcome!
Class Code and Daily Time Commitment
CJL-Code of Jewish Law -20 Minutes 6x a week
HS– Hilkhot Shabbat- 45 Minutes 3x a week
TT– Torah Thought – 30 Minutes 5x a week
HH– Holiday Halakha 45 Minutes 2x a week
HR– Hebrew Reading- 25 Minutes 5x a week
TP– Torah Portion- 45 minutes 2x a week