Because of the huge title I gave this series I have adopted a shorter handle to place on the posts, What’s A Non-Jew To Do..is now WANJTD. If you haven’t read the preamble please go do that now. Before I go on, you can get involved simply by leaving a comment below. You can also sign up to get these posts straight into your email by filling in the box on the left. You can also sponsor and support me using the ‘donate’ button above.. now that’s said, let’s kick on.
A number of people responded to my call when I asked ‘what do you want first’ and the answer came loud and clear as ‘Clothing’. That category covers so much from actual clothes to ritual items and household items so I’ll be dividing it into 2 or 3 posts. That won’t be this post though because before we go into the external we need to quickly look at the internal. Get the train track straight and outline what’s going on regarding perspective and place. It’s not an easy subject, I hope I do it justice.
If you haven’t read the preamble (go do it) then I’ll state again here that these posts are not a ‘how to ‘non-jew’ guide. They are simply an outline of my position and thought process that I hope will act as a watermark or buffer to your own journey and a mark that says, ‘everyone has their own walk’.
Real life is an odd term, recently I’ve seen ‘IRL’ popping up as a search term on social media. We all live ‘in real life’ but because we also share ourselves so much with others via Facebook and other platforms it isn’t unusual to find other people have a different picture of what and who we are ‘IRL’. We also internalise a lot of our spiritual self. We forget sometimes, depending on our situation, that we are either ‘physical’ beings with families, jobs and friends or ‘spiritual’ beings with a soul, Torah and a Creator. Mixing the two 24/7 is a difficult thing to do and I know that personally, I struggle with it. I certainly know I can spend an hour or two just living and not having faith or religion popping into my head. This might annoy, offend or even shock some people, but that’s the case. I’ll get the housework going, do a grocery shop, drop the rubbish to the bins, listen to some music or read.. and a couple of hours has passed, just living..and I haven’t considered my spiritual faith at all.
But in my defence, there was a time when that wasn’t the case. The thing with Torah is that it’s a concrete set of controls and instructions and you will find that the more you study and ‘do’ it the more you find you are on a kind of autopilot regarding some things. At the store, you know what you can and can’t buy. At friends, you know what you can and can’t eat. At home, you know when you can and can’t-do a certain activity. ( What a non-Jew should or shouldn’t eat or do etc will come soon I promise)
So after a while, you find yourself simply getting on with it.
Some of the more difficult bits of real life are when you have to explain why you can or can’t buy, eat or do to friends, colleagues or strangers. I’ll probably write this in every one of these posts but it is NOT ok to say you are a Jew when you are not. The problem is that most people don’t have the experience or vocabulary to even understand where you are coming from let alone the interest to try and listen. I usually get around the matter by saying I observe a form of Judaism. I’ve been attacked online for stating that before but it’s true and here is why.
If you believe in the Torah. If you are a monotheist. If you believe in the basics, like the 13 principles. If you accept even the smallest part of say the 7 ‘Noachide’ laws (I’ll be covering this title and subject too).. then you are pulling from Judaism to build the foundation of your faith machine. Judaism in itself is an evolving collection of thought, practices and tradition that takes the Tanakh and delivers it to ‘real life’ today in a series of ideas, actions and rituals. Something to give to anyone who has a problem with my statement is this.
An Orthodox Jew will send a non-Jew to the ‘Noachide Laws’ to find spiritual sustenance, but those 7 laws are purely found within the boundary lines of Judaism.
Just like the Torah is for everyone one in Israel but not all the Torah is for everyone in Israel. Judaism is for anyone but not all Judaism is for everyone.
Occasionally I’ll have to expand.. say I’m not Jewish but my perception of my Creator and faith is. ‘I’m not a Jew but my faith is ‘Jew-ish’ usually get’s an uncomfortable laugh but ends that line of conversation.. the exception to this is when I’m speaking to Jews who visit the Jewish Museum I volunteer in. I get a massive ego boost from most of those guests, which is as confusing to me and it is comforting. Most Jews are delighted that I not only care for the Jew but also for the Judaism.
Defining yourself to others isn’t easy, harder even is to define yourself. I struggle with it. It’s an on going fight. A futile one really. Who am I trying to impress or prove myself to? Me? My Creator? Silly Rabbit.
In real life we get to make a series of choices and we can choose to make those choices in line with our personal biblical convictions or simply drive forward based on our ego’s desire and want. The more we travel in one direction the harder it is to make a ‘u’ turn and start over but we CAN make that ‘u’ turn. Sometimes, and I know from personal experience, we get so far down the ‘self’ road that we believe it’s to far to turn back and to narrow to turn around in. But that doesn’t mean that road HAS to reach a destination we don’t want. We can make any journey a ‘do-over’ by simply making your current position the start point of a new route. That’s the amazing thing about real life and about the world our Creator built for us. It is a series of new starts.. every second, minute and hour. Every choice and decision. Every sunset, every sunrise. A chance for a new choice and this new start is REAL LIFE and contains your soul and physical being..
I know this rambled a little.. I’m no writer 🙂 but I hope it helped some. Next time, ‘dressing your home’.
LEAVE comments if you have questions, comments or statements 🙂
6 thoughts on “WANJTD? – Series – 1 Real life”
Shalom Jason. I like that, the idea that our Creator gives us ample oportunities to restart, try again etc. I take comfort in that because I /we have thought, “Yea, we have it now!”, then through deeper study find out we were wrong! We learn something new every day on our path with Elohim and Torah. Thanks for your input. Shalom shalom.
Another topic I’d like to have your opinion on is Jewish holidays. For those of us who don’t live near a Jewish community, how do we observe these holidays or are we even required to? We can read about them online, but what if we cannot physically get to a Jewish community to celebrate with them?
I think you are right, especially in Europe, most people have neither time nor interest to follow much of a discussion on this, but I think you said once that we can observe Judaism without claiming to be Jews
Expanding on my previous reply: we can perfectly well observe Judaism (I refrain from saying ‘practice’ but the term could well be used) without claiming to be Jews. There is ample reference in the Tanakh to mitzvahs applying to those who dwell amongst the Jews, (the observance of Yom Kippur is one such mandatory day). I accept that this applied in context to those living in Israel in those days, however the principle stands, in my opinion. I do not expect, nor want, the approval of Orthodoxy for this, even though I respect it. If you seek orthodox approval, seek Orthodox conversion, nothing else will suffice. even Reform Jews are often not accepted as ‘ within the pale’. Judaism is a world religion, and I embrace any who seek the Creator or follow Torah. I personally undertook Huamanistic Judaism conversion. Also, I was declared Jewish without ceremony by a well known earth based Jewish rabbi, but Orthodox or even many Liberal Jews will not accept this. Am I Jewish? I think that labels are best left in the back of my shirts. I follow Jewish ways and thought. I follow Torah and seek the holy One. Do I need more? No. Do other? that’s there problem
I agree with Dave regarding labels. I too, observe and do to the best of my abilities and knowledge. However, I do stand with Israel, GODS chosen. Rabbis call my observance one thing or another, doesn’t matter to me. I kneel before my GOD and KING as someone who found the Torah and am trying to do what HE says.
Mary, agreed 100%. I should have added that I too, stand with Israel. It is a sad thing that in the UK, it seems, (at least from what I read) that quite a lot of Jews and some rabbis sort of shrug their shoulders when vexed questions about Israel come up. They seem to say “we’re not Israeli, we’re British, we have no influence over Israel”. All true of course but if Jews and followers of Torah, (of whatever label) don’t stand up for Israel, who will.
I don’t mind legitimate questions of actions of the Israeli government, who are just a secular government. However those who question Israel:s right to exist, or spread lies, must bd challenged.
By the way, Jason, would it be possible to reply to the comments on here for your views, that would be interesting?