The Challenge & The Quest
After the closing of the small Messianic congregation’s door, again my phone began to ring. I told people that we could get together but we were not interested in forming any congregation. This time we were not just going to have the studies at my house. We rotated it between three families.
My studies along with a few of the men kept evolving. There was a short burst of a few weeks that some wanted more than just a study, we toyed with it but thanks be to God He intervened and sent us all in different directions.
Like I said our studies began to go deeper into the Orthodox Jewish realm for answers to questions we had never had before.
I had this one lady who is a dear friend to this day. But she became a bur under my saddle. Our studies were open, for the most part I would lead the study but it was always open for questions and discussions, this is how we learned. But she would throw her hand up Sabbath after Sabbath and ask one repeating question – “What about Yeshua?” I would come back with, “What about him?” – We would delve into discussions that no Christian would dare tread, it got hairy at times to say the least.
Finally one Sabbath I told her after she asked again, “What about Yeshua?” I told her I would research deep and hard and find out.
All along through the years I kept my friendship with my Chassidic Jewish friend. He at times would try to get me to go through a certain study with him but I would refuse so we did basic Torah study together and he would share other lessons with me from time to time.
But now the time was right and God sat the stage, in my research I had come across Rabbi Tovia Singer’s website www.outreachjudaism.org then I found his Let’s Get Biblical series on www.torahanytime.com – I sat down at the kitchen table for days and a it seemed for at least a month with my NKJV bible, note pad and my computer and I went through all his lectures and some of them twice.
I was now in a difficult place as the KJV Christian bible lay in shreds before me. I was shown all the twisting and tampering that the translators and the Catholic church had done to the Christian bible to give it a Christian message. I was horrified. I had been raised to believe a lie.
But that was not all. Being raised, lived and preached Jesus/Yeshua all my life, all those condemning passages in the New Testament flooded my mind and fear went up my back.
In one of Rabbi Singer’s lectures, he briefly mentions Ezekiel 18 but it was enough it caught my attention. I grabbed my Artscroll Hebrew/English Tanach and I begin to read the whole chapter and I would reread the whole chapter over and over and certain passages began to leap out at me. Then one particular one I was double checking what it said against the original Hebrew and I was blown away. Again I kept rereading it over and over until everything clicked and I caught the message God was saying there.
For you that are Christian and reading this, you will become disturbed but all I can say is quit listening to your preachers and dig into the bible and find the answers yourself. It is up to you whether you believe a lie or not and it is up to you to prove it for yourself.
I stood up from my kitchen table and went to my bed room. I faced Israel and stood before Hashem/G-d and I confessed that I was an idolater and that I had been praying to another god other than Him. I was in tears, I told Him that I did not completely understand but that I was taking on my personal responsibility for my sins and I needed help. I confessed that He was G-d and there was no other beside, in front, under or behind Him, it was Him and Him alone and there was no one between He and I. I rejected all my past false religious beliefs and gods.
I walked out of that meeting with my Creator a changed man. And the experience at the Kotel was fresh and I understood that He showed me mercy and gave me time to understand that there I was introduced to Him – the One G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. It was He who Moshe had spoken to, It was He who gave me a piece of Himself at birth, It was He the source of my soul.
I then went through everything with my wife and daughters. For days we would discuss the issue and then I took them through Ezekiel 18 word for word and they saw too, B”H.
At our next Sabbath meeting I took only my Tanach and I began to teach the message in Ezekiel 18, I pointed to the words in black and white, English and Hebrew – several asked me what was the point?
I told them that G-d was clear – He does not mix words; no one can die for your sins, every person is responsible for their own sins before their Creator. And I read the passages that tells us that if the wicked man turns from his transgressions and DOES righteousness and Justice he will live and not die – and that his sins will not be remembered against him – and that he will cause his soul to live.
Right here hundreds of years before the advent of Christianity – G-d Himself tells us how to have or sins forgiven and forgotten and that this will save ones soul from death to life. – I asked them – “Tell me, why do I need Jesus?” He has nothing to offer and if he has nothing to offer then his message is a lie – For G-d says He does not change.
Needless to say a couple of families got up and walked out and turned their backs on us and this was our last meeting.
A few months would pass and things closed with that part of our life.
I told my wife that I wanted to convert to Orthodox Judaism and thus we sat out researching that.
What we found is that Orthodox/Torah Judaism does not seek converts and they try their best to persuade you a way to keep the 7 Laws of Noah and become a righteous gentile. For us that was not good enough, I had been to Israel, I knew where I belonged and my wife has an inward draw as well.
So we began to look at the Orthodox synagogues in Atlanta, Ga. We knew we would have to move to a community and that was only 2 hrs away. We found one and began visiting; when I would sit in the sanctuary during the morning prayers, I knew again I was home and this is where I belonged, and again my wife felt the same.
We met with the rabbi twice and visited off and on for a 2 yrs. We found out that this was a Modern Orthodox synagogue. The more I learned the less we felt that shul was the place for us.
So we quit going but kept our studies up. In the meantime my Jewish Friend had moved to New York City and back. One day he asked me to take a trip to NYC with him; he had some business to take care of. We would be staying with rabbi friend of his. This is where I met my teacher.
My Teacher, Rabbi Dovid S. is an amazing man in his 70s he took me to shul with him and introduced me to the amazing Jewish life with all its own problems. My wife and I both have been drawn more toward Chassidism, and here Hashem gave me a Chassidic teacher. I fell in love with Boro Park and wanted to move there to complete our geirus/ conversion – conversion is not the best word for it but it is all we have in the English.
My new teacher had me annunciating the Hebrew in three hours and in a few days reading sentences from the siddur (prayer book). He would for a year study over the phone with me at least on the average of 5 nights a week.
During that time he also convinced us that Boro Park, Brooklyn would not be a good move for us coming from small town in the southeast. So he pointed us in a different direction
After a while my studies with him ad to stop; I was learning more than we could observe. We had no community and were not officially under a rabbis’ wing so to speak.
During this time off we have had a lot of things to happen. The temptation to remain as Noahides has been great but in the end we do not believe it is our destiny and we know that we would regret not pursuing geirus, there is a strong pull on the inside keeping us on the path. Our two daughters back us 100% and they are happy to remain walking with G-d under the Noahide covenant.
We now have a couple who is interested in our house and if Hashem wills for everything to work out, we hope to be making a move to Maryland in the spring of 2013. We have a synagogue and rabbi picked out that we want to meet with. This is in the area where my teacher was leading us.
We are excited and nervous at the same time. We made the personal decision toward geirus in 2008. We were ready to do it right then, so we thought, but G-d pulled the reins back and I have been so thankful for we have learned so much more in the meantime, we are better prepared and in a better state of mind now and our decision is more firm.
Those that understand, my wife and I somehow believe we have a Jewish neshamah, we can’t explain it but somehow we know that this is our path of return –
This is our journey home