You’ve discovered the beauty of Judaism. You are entranced and enthralled by its wisdom, beauty and depth; you want to embrace it. But how? There are so many commandments! Each one is so full of intricate details. So much to learn and do. Where do you start?

Learning is a process and a journey, and it’s going to take time to learn and assimilate the laws, customs and subtleties of keeping mitzvahs. You can’t change how you eat, work, speak, dress, and spend your time and money, all in a short time. So here are a few steps to make it easier.

  1. Have patience. As stated, there are many things to learn to do. Some you do every minute, some you do every day, some every year and some only once in a lifetime. They all have their holiness and their minutiae. While enthusiasm is a good thing, you might become overwhelmed if you try to do too much all at once. Baby steps will literally get you there faster. Even the Jews in the desert spent 40 years learning the Torah. G‑d is called ma’arich af; patient. He will be waiting there with open arms for you just like a parent does for a toddler walking tentatively towards him.
  2. Start with one mitzvah. Choose one that you can relate to emotionally, intellectually or spiritually—one that is close to your heart—and then take one step. If Shabbat speaks to you, start by lighting Shabbat candles or having a Shabbat meal and making Kiddush. If modesty appeals to your soul, start by refining just one article of clothing. Do you feel that keeping kosher will help you transform from the inside out? (It will!) Start by eliminating blatantly non-kosher foods from your diet. Ethics of the Fathers tells us to be ascareful with a “light” mitzvah as with a weighty one, for we don’t know the value for each mitzvah. There is no such thing as a small mitzvah. Each is important and precious.
  3. Learning is key. Reading an article from this site is a great choice, but interaction is the best way to learn. Take a Torah class. Learning is not only educational, it’s inspiring. A wealth of Torah classes, and courses for men and women, are available online or at your local Chabad center.
  4. Get a mentor. When you learn a new language, the best way to understand it is to speak with a native speaker. Learning about Judaism is more so because it’s not only a new language, but a whole new way of life and interacting with the world. When you have a mentor family who helps you navigate the paths of Judaism, the journey is easier. And you have role models to emulate. If you attend a synagogue or a class on a regular basis, someone will likely adopt you.
  5. Have a friend along for the ride. It’s much easier (and more fun) to take a journey with someone than alone. You support each other and learn from each other. In “Ethics of Our Fathers” (1:6), we learn: “Make yourself a a master and acquire for yourself a friend.” This underscores the point that you need both in every area of your life, especially the spiritual part.
  6. Ask questions, lots of them. Questions are wonderful! Of course, ask them in a polite and curious tone, not out of defiance or exasperation. Not only will you learn more by asking, but the answers will spur even more questions and continue your journey of learning.
  7. Don’t be frustrated if you make a mistake. That’s how you learn, and that’s why there’s teshuvah (the concept that you can improve by acknowledging and fixing your mistakes). The Talmud (Berachot 34b) teaches that the place where a ba’al teshuvah, a repentant person, stands, even a completely righteous person cannot attain. We elevate ourselves to great heights by acknowledging and learning from our mistakes. This is part of the spiritual process.
  8. Regression is par for the course. Don’t get discouraged if you lose your momentum or motivation. This is true of any change in life; you’re going to take a few steps back before you continue forward, but don’t give up. “Though the righteous one may fall seven times, he will arise” (Proverbs 24:16). It’s part of the process, part of the training and part of the curriculum.
  9. Notice Divine Providence. G‑d appreciates the efforts of those who try to get closer to Him and His Torah. And to encourage that spiritual growth, He often metaphorically winks at those people who seek Him out. Somewhere along the way, G‑d will make the mitzvah you have chosen to work on easier or more rewarding, or even funny. G‑d has a great sense of humor and irony. Look out for those Divine winks. And wink back!

One mitzvah leads to another, and with each one you take on, others will become more precious and meaningful. Pretty soon, you’ll look like you’ve been doing them your entire life.