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Jewish Soul in a Non-Jewish Body?

Jewish Soul in a Non-Jewish Body?

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Question

Sometimes I feel like I am a Jewish soul born into a non-Jewish body. I have always been surrounded by Jewish friends and loved the Jewish religion, and after years of study, I’ve finally fulfilled my dream and converted to Judaism. My family has no Jewish roots whatsoever—I am of Scandinavian descent on both sides. Can you offer any explanation as to why I am drawn to Judaism in this way?

Answer:

Many people from different walks of life have reported feeling an affinity towards Jews and Judaism. Most people leave it at that. For those who make the choice to convert, however, their connection toMy family has no Jewish roots whatsoever Judaism is deeper than a simple appreciation for Jewish culture or taste for kosher food. It is rooted in their soul.

Kabbalah offers a metaphysical explanation as to why non-Jewish individuals are drawn to Judaism to the point that they choose to join the Jewish people.1 Each time a husband and wife are together, a soul is born. Sometimes that soul comes down into a physical body and is born as their child; other times the soul remains in the heavens.

Abraham and Sarah, the first Jewish couple, were married for many years before they were blessed with a child, but their union generated many spiritual children. Kabbalah explains that the souls created by Abraham and Sarah—and the souls created from the unions of other righteous couples—have been distributed among the nations of the world, and it is these souls who become converts to Judaism.

This is why a convert is called the son or daughter of Abraham and Sarah. In a sense, his or her soul stems directly from our first patriarch and matriarch. When a non-Jew feels a pullTheir union generated many spiritual children towards the Jewish faith and a desire to belong to Jewish people, it may be a latent Jewish soul wanting to return to its community of origin, a long lost child of Abraham and Sarah reuniting with its family.

While many people feel attracted to Judaism and respect its traditions, few make the choice to undergo the long process of conversion and begin keeping the laws of the Torah. You felt a deep calling to join the Jewish people and made the difficult journey to do just that—it must have been Abraham and Sarah calling you home.

FOOTNOTES
1. Shelah Ha-Kadosh, Sha’ar Ha-Osios, “Kedushas Hazivug,” 402.
Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (35)
July 28, 2014
jEWISH SOUL IN A NON-jEWISH BODY???
B"H A Jewish body? Isn't that really considering the fact that the Bris is a marriage contract with G-d and His people, I find it odd that we speak of having a Jewish body at all. Perhaps we are actually talking about the Jewish People as a whole, similar to calling the US Congress, a 'Governing Body'? If one is not staying Kosher, and not circumsized (males), and not keep and remembering Shabbat and living the annual cycle set forth in Torah, how can they be considered as having a Jewish body? If they are not keeping their Marital obligations are they even married (spiritually) to HaShem? Therefore as it is written in the Book of Hosea chptr 8 vs 8; " Efraim has become as an unclean vessel among the nations." a Jewish soul in a non Jewish body then IS indicated here, for a Jewish Soul Longs for her husband, but remains blinded by desire. (Chava Saw the fruit of the Tree of knowledge that it was good to eat thereof) Chva (Eve) is the Body(and desire) and Adam is the Soul.
Anonymous
Pasadena, CA
July 27, 2014
Duration of study to become a Jew
This only answers a very small part of Penny's question, but, in christianity claiming your faith in the Trinity is what it basically boils down to, in order to be accepted (although I assume the length of time differs somewhat among various denominations). It is mainly a mental/spiritual process.
On the other hand if one was to convert to Orthodox Judaism , you also need to learn how to be a Jew, from the moment you wake in the morning till you go to sleep at night, and throughout the year. It is about deeds as well, as Michelle has explained.
Anonymous
July 27, 2014
I started to keep the candle lighting, and that was many years ago. Now things have moved on, prayers were added as a regular attendance at the Orthodox Synagogue, what next? I would love to Convert it would make it complete.

This was over many years, at one stage I was a little unsure, but my feelings on the faith returned again, even stronger.
Helen Dudden
Saltford
July 26, 2014
Study to become Jew
Penny,
Before offering my answer to your question I want to say that conversion differs within different movements of Judaism and I dare not speak for all movement, but rather as it related to my own experience.

I converted to Judaism nearly 15 years ago. Prior to that time, I spent two years learning about and living a Jewish life. Why? One must know how to live a Jewish life and experience living as Jew on a day to day basis. Not only this, a lot of people would love to see our complete annihilation and Antisemitism abounds everywhere. So why does one need to know all of this? On the most basic level, when a person has lived their entire life up until that point as a non-Jew, and the convert is not fully grounded in living a Jewish life nor knowledgeable on what that means it is so easy to abandon Judaism altogether and live as one did before the conversion. Transitioning from a non-Jew to a Jew is no small task. Look around on the Chabad website...it gives all the information regarding koshering your kitchen, keeping kosher (although I'm not sure it goes into detail about the different kosher food labels), keeping Shabbos, etc. You will see the magnitude of it all and I hope through that you will realize why one needs to study for so long and live a Jewish life for so long before conversion. For the non-Jew who begins this journey, at first it is confusing, difficult to keep track of everything, you don't know what you are doing, you forget this, then forget that, and you feel like you can't keep up. It is complete culture shock...at least it was for me. I'm sure there exists those who have converted and all that was required was a few basic classes and a ceremony. Even worse, the Rabbi may not have been Torah observant himself or may not have even believed the Torah. This is a serious problem for the “convert” in that some (very important) authorities will not consider the conversion valid and the one who converts under these circumstances will never be able to return to Israel under the law of return. This person could still go to Israel but as a second class citizen. For me, it is only through following the teachings of Torah that I can bind myself to Hashem. It is only through living an observant life that I can continue to remain tied to Judaism and to Hashem. This means living a Jewish life every single day. It is impossible for one to understand how to embrace a different way of living, of being, of thinking and continue to do that long term after only a couple of weeks of study. I hope this helps.
Michelle Weizmann
Alabama
July 15, 2014
Historically, Abraham was the first Hebrew and the first to believe in a single Deity, Hashem. As a point of Jewish History, Jews were not designated until the giving of Torah.
RJ
June 21, 2014
Jewish Souls
Dear Aron: There is another answer. I believe it is the case that in some parts of mystical Kabbalah there is an acceptance of reincarnation. From the standpoint of reincarnation, we have had many lifetimes and retain, largely in our unconscious, those impressions. So for someone in your position, and there are many others, they have had recent or last life Jewish incarnations, and this results in the pull toward Judaism in this lifetime.
Ken Lux
June 21, 2014
I came here to read some advice. This religion is so, so beautiful.
Olivia
Budapest
June 20, 2014
With all due respect, it is interesting that one must go through years of study to become a Jew. To become a Christian in a Baptist church takes a couple of weeks without study. Can someone comment on this? I'm not sure at the moment where I'm going with this thought. (I am not Jewish.)
penny
June 20, 2014
Two reactions
1) I'm wondering about the reverse - what about the many Jews I know and read about, including, to my great pain, close family members, who are utterly contemptuous of Judaism, violate every commandment they can, and deride me and my wife for being observant? (We're "fanatical" or "extreme", as Modern Orthodox. What would they say if we were frum?)

2) Once again, I hear the pain of those who are sincerely trying to convert to Judaism and are being thwarted by a foot-dragging establishment that demands frummer-than-Moshe standards from converts, despite the rules set down by Rambam. If it were up to some of these people, Sarah, Rivkah, Leah, Rachel, and Ruth could never have converted. And after you converted, particularly if you aren't white, some people will glare at you, as they glare at my wife, who is more observant than 90% of born Jews.

Oh, HaShem - it would be so much easier if Judaism were a religion, rather than a covenant...
Anonymous
Southeastern PA
June 20, 2014
Lost Souls
What about the ones that have always felt the pull towards Judaism but have went for lots of different sectors of religious groups? Is that what is meant by the saying a lost soul?
Beth Soto
Tulsa
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