Becoming Jewish Is Like Falling in Love Rabbi Allen S. Maller
The transition from not being Jewish to feeling and thinking Jewish is a gradual one. In Islam and Christianity God comes first. The proclamation that “Allah is God and Muhammad is his Prophet” makes a person a Muslim. Accepting Jesus, the son of God as your savior, makes a person a Christian.
But for most people who become Jewish; God is at the end of the process, not at the beginning.
This follows the pattern established by Ruth, one of the most famous non-Jews to become Jewish. She states, “Where ever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people, shall be my people. Your God, shall be my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Why does Ruth list God at the end of the process, and not at the beginning?
Judaism does not teach that everyone needs to become Jewish to be saved or to go to heaven.
Judaism does not teach that everyone has to believe in monotheism in the same way Jews do.
For Jews, behaving like a Mentch is more important than believing the correct theology.
For Jews, feeling love for the Jewish people, Jewish culture, Jewish music, and living a Jewish life is more than believing the correct theology.
Most Rabbis would
agree with the above teachings. Most Reform and Progressive Rabbis
would add that the desire to study and discuss Torah; combined with
the desire to do both ethical and ritual Mitsvot, is more important
than believing in God, because studying Torah and doing Mitsvot lead
people to God.
Thus, love of God is the goal, not the starting point, for Jews and all those who choose to join us on our path.
When you fall in love, you meet the person first and go out. Then you start sharing your life and living together. When you marry you become part of another family and with children create another family.
When, after living a loving life with your partner and your family, you at last you die, you will know that you have in truth lived a life blessed by God. As Ruth says, “Where ever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people, shall be my people. Your God, shall be my God. Where you die, there will I die. And there will I be buried.” So help me God. (Ruth 1:16-17)
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