Abraham circumcised Isaac, his son, when he was eight days old. (Genesis 21:4)

We are not Jews by any rational choice.

We are born into a life mission we did not choose.

A male’s entry into the Jewish community is by circumcision—before he has a mind to be reasoned with.

A Jewish woman enters the covenant eight days earlier—as soon as she emerges from the womb.

As for those who join our people, they do so because something mysterious propels them from inside. The reasons and rationalization emerge only later, out of some deep and unknowable place.

And is it not in our capacity to leave. Even concerning a convert, the rabbis rule, “Even should he sin, once a Jew, always a Jew.” (Talmud Sanhedrin 44a)

And that is why it is so precious to be a Jew.

If we were Jews by the choice of our own minds and hearts, then our Judaism would take us only as far as our minds and hearts can know.

We would remain limited by our own conceptions—the futile imaginations of tiny, finite creatures grasping upward into the sky for their infinite Creator.

But our minds and hearts have no choice. It is He who reaches down, chooses us, and flicks a switch at our very core.

And it is a divine and eternal G‑d-point within us that reciprocates to choose Him. For no reason whatsoever.

So that our bond transcends reason and time, our journey is on eagle’s wings and our destiny beyond the stars.

We are His and He is ours, and nothing—not even our own minds and hearts—can come between us.

Likutei Sichot vol. 25, p. 86.

(Revised October 2021)