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We are not Jews by choice. We are not circumcised by choice—they do it to us before we can be asked. Neither did anyone ask us if we would like to be obligated in all these mitzvahs—not since Mount Sinai. Even the one who joins us does so because something propels him from inside.

If we were Jews because our minds and hearts told us so, then our Judaism would take us only as far as our minds and hearts can know. But we are not. And so, our journey is on eagle’s wings and our destiny beyond the stars.

From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. To order Rabbi Freeman’s book, Bringing Heaven Down to Earth, click here.
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Discussion (31)
March 30, 2015
What about those who are propelled from the inside? I understand what you say, and it is not poetry, but the question remains, what about us?
May 4, 2011
comment to: So I am/will be a Jew?
Thank you for sharing. If it helps you, when I finally confirmed my Jewish roots and attend the synagogue now, I discovered something else new -- this is not like changing from one religion to another. What I discovered is adding, not removing myself from, ut having the ability to expand and grow and share and "be". Do not be lonely for there are many synagogues and there is much sharing to be yours. This web site proves it! We are all part of the same family and therefore, you are not an outsider. Welcome and Shalom!
Faith Savitt
New Hope, MN/USA
April 26, 2011
So I am/will be a Jew?
Thank you for this timely piece. for two years Ihave been researching Judaism and I have felt that it is nearing time to make a decision. To leave the faith of my parents and friends (I am 62-years of age) and convert to Juddaism, or to remain and share my found love of the mitzvah and commandments. You have added another dimension to my decision. Do I forsake those that I have worshipped with for years, who know not the glories and rewards of the mitzvah and the loving-kiondesses and caring tendernesses of the law, or to join myself with a new (to me)nation,people and faith. Perhaps the decision was never really mine and I should follow my desires. Perhaps I am not selfish if I should be for myself for if I am not for myself, how could I be worthwhile to any other. Perhaps that is the meaning of the wisdom piece attributed to Hillel. It is a l one ly place I am in now. I do not fit in where I have been all my life and I am an outsider, albeitwelcome, at "my" synagogue.
Steven McClean
seabrook, tx/usa
April 23, 2011
not by choice
right. However those of us who still are jews are such also by choice and by conviction as much by heart as by reason.
Eric jacob Belhassen
Montreal, canada
April 23, 2011
Cool !
Beautiful inspiration.

Many times have wondered, what were the odds i was born a Jew ? After reading your words, the odds are a mystery, incalculable and an unnecessary exercise. Same goes for the question why was i born a Jew ?

Thanks for getting those two nagging questions out of the way.

Better and simpler to latch on to our heritage and ride the wave with joy.
April 22, 2011
Beyond Mind and Heart
If we were Jews because our minds and hearts told us so, then our Judaism would take us only as far as our minds and hearts can know. But we are not. And so, our journey is on eagle’s wings and our destiny beyond the stars.

Rabbi - Can you please clarify this statement? It really is confusing.
April 22, 2011

Very poetic. Poems don't get us there; they're great for starters, though. Transportation by Wings of Eagles will never get us to the stars. Very poetic.
ny, ny
April 22, 2011
Jew by choice?
Can a bird choose to be a fish and swim in the sea? Can a horse fly through the air?
Of course not!
Then how can a Jew who chosen by Hashem to be part of a holy nation, crawl in the mud, eating insects?. Our nature and destiny is to be holy. We can fight against it, and drown like the bird who tries to swim, or fall like the horse who tries to fly. It is far better for a Jew to be what they are supposed to be, and not try to live a life of confusion and folly!
Dr. Harry Hamburger
Miami, Fl
April 22, 2011
Not by Choice
How True!!!
Monty Pogoda
Efrata, Israel
April 22, 2011
on eagles wings...
I am a Jew by Choice.
So, in the first moment I thought, this is not
ment for me, what you wrote. But the most beautiful sentence was the last one and I belonged to all the others anyway.
Our destiniy is on eagles wings and behind the stars!!! That is true for me also.
And there are times I really "feel it".
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