Forefathers

I don’t live a Torah life. Until about six months ago I didn’t even live a Jewish life.

Then G‑d saw me hiding in my secular little corner and decided I’d been there long enough.

He created this emptiness within me, a longing that I didn’t understand. Then He showed me that the emptiness was actually His home within me but that I never came to visit. That what I longed for was to know Him.

I started out small. A mitzvah here, a mitzvah there. That inauspicious yearning began the transformation of me. I still work slowly; there is so much to learn as a Jew. Some things I remember from my childhood. Shabbat candles, Hanukkah, Passover. But we weren’t Torah Jews. Just Jews.

So I vowed to add one of the ten mitzvot from the Rebbe’s teachings, within my ability and circumstance, each week.

I now say Modeh Ani, the blessing upon waking, and the Shema, the foundational Jewish prayer, every morning, and the Shema again at night. I say blessings in the morning; I put up a mezuzah. I say blessings for using the restroom, for traveling, for eating. Jews have a blessing for everything. I light Shabbat candles. I wash as G‑d has commanded. I have a long way to go, but I am getting there.

All of that being said, I can now get to the point.

This morning started like any other . . . ritual handwashing, blessing for the lavatory, walk the dog, brush my teeth. Same old, same old. But today was different.

In the midst of saying the Shema I realized that these are the same blessings and prayers our forefathers said. I stood in utter amazement. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob said these very words to the Almighty. That lowly, insignificant me was saying the same words that the greatest people in our history have said. I just stood there, in awe.

That’s when G‑d told me I wasn’t insignificant.