How did I get to this point? Of not only wanting to have a kosher kitchen, but actually having it koshered?

A year ago, out of the blue, a woman from my Parshah class gave me a book about faith in Judaism. She said she thought I could use it (or something like that). When I got home, I realized that it was the same book recommended by a new friend I met at last year’s International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos). Call it Divine Providence.

Another woman from that class told me that I’m on a “beautiful journey,” and I thought to myself, “A journey?” The word stuck in my head. Is that what this was? And how did people know that before I even felt it? Was I really on a journey?

“So it must be,” I said to myself. A journey, or the way Was I really on a journey?to becoming more observant. Some years ago, I read a prayer for my son and came across the sentence, “May my children be committed to Torah.” I thought to myself, “I’m not sure that this part applies to us. Do I want my children to follow the Torah?” That just wasn’t our lifestyle, but I finished the prayer anyway.

They say be careful what you wish for—or, in this case, pray for. Here I am today, praying for nothing more than for my children (my son and daughter) to follow in the Torah’s ways. For them to be spared the emptiness of a Torah-less life. I want only the best for my children; why else am I doing this? For them, and for G‑d. I know that doing His will is the best feeling in the world.

Over the past few years, I have learned to see that G‑d’s hand is in everything. I have learned how to read His messages through various messengers, such as when friends casually suggested that if I felt so strongly inclined towards Judaism, then why don’t I start keeping kosher? After all, I was the one who did the shopping and cooking. They were right; why did I keep complaining that my husband was “just not feeling anything”? Why was I using my husband as an excuse for things I could do easily without his involvement?

So I acted. My friends and I were part of a Shabbat Club, and we took turns hosting Friday night dinners. So when I next hosted a Shabbat Club dinner, I challenged myself to buy only kosher food. It proved to be a piece of cake; I was blown away by how easy it was to get all the kosher products I needed. If one item I picked up wasn’t kosher, the next item over was. I proudly announced to our club that all the food that night was homemade and kosher!

Six months later, we were eating only kosher food in my house. I asked my husband if he had noticed a difference. He had no idea what I was talking about.

How did I manage to come so far? I can pinpoint the moment the spark was ignited, that pintele Yid (essence of the soul) my rabbi speaks of. It was on the night of Shabbat Shuvah dinner, the first Shabbat dinner that my husband agreed to after six years of my rabbi and his wife inviting us over. It was after that dinner that I experienced my neshamah (soul) doing cartwheels. Yes, I now can tell you that that’s how the soul feels when it’s ignited; it rejoices and does cartwheels. I was physically moved—moved in this direction, the direction of Judaism, the way of seeking out G‑d and clinging to Him.

And that’s how it’s been ever since—a strong pull to move forward. And yet, after the rabbi left from the preliminary walkthrough of my kitchen and the examination of all my utensils, my yetzer hara (evil inclination) suddenly surfaced. What was I What was I getting myself into?getting myself into? Why was I doing this? Who said there was even a G‑d? And yet, the thought of putting all this on hold seemed unbearable.

The weight on my shoulders was lifted when the wife of the rabbi who was set to kosher the kitchen offered to help me prepare before the big day. That support gave me the energy to keep going with lifted spirits.

Now it’s done. The kitchen is koshered. I feel like a new mother. I feel like the rabbi and his wife were like a doctor and midwife helping me deliver the future. I open the drawers and look at them with pride and pleasure. I very carefully do a little reheating of kosher takeout, thinking through every move (like feeding a baby for first time). I’m happy we did it; everyone in my family is also happy and eager to learn.

And what could be more reaffirming than seeing my son put the cereal bowl and milk glass in the right sink? We’ve come so far! He’s actually doing it without being told. I can’t go back now; I owe it to my family to continue moving forward.