* Nissan Levron
Only recently I became aware of the extent of a beautiful phenomenon: the increasing number of baalei tshuva and Jewish converts from around the world, whom we have the honor of having in our Nation.
So many are expressing a very strong commitment to Torah and to what really matters in Life. It is heartwarming and greatly appreciated.
I also am a baal tshuva, but I had a shortcut handed to me. It was easy for me to come back to Torah Judaism, being very accessible while growing up in a traditional Israeli family, Hebrew as my mother tongue, much of my childhood spent at walking distance from the Walls of Jerusalem. Upon making tshuva I had the privilege of studying in Kollel for many years, which also makes it much easier to connect to the Why & How of our religious practice.
But when I look at those coming from afar, raised on foreign shores, living in a culture with all its non-Jewish influence and material comforts – what tremendous dedication and self-sacrifice it takes for them to go that path! Many of them are willing to end their successful careers abroad and make Aliya to our small country whose main benefits, for now, are spiritual, not material. To me, they are an admirable example of the stature of the Jewish soul within each of us, and of the greatness of our Torah. I am quite sure this phenomenon causes much "advocacy" in Heaven for the entire Jewish People. True, there is no better thing then our Torah, but still what a great merit it is, to choose it out of one's free will. And it is a privilege to witness this.
I would like those dear ones to know that though we may never meet in person, I feel we have a partnership in essence, them being the most beloved sons and daughters of The One Above. Within us is the same unblemished Jewish soul. With our capabilities, each one of us could easily have been somewhere else, following a different path. But it is our love of Him that brings us to do we are doing. Our love, which is actually echoing His unending love of us. His love, that at some point we all became aware of inside of ourselves.
This world is sometimes not an easy place to live in, but it is good to remember that it is Hashem's world. And thanks for that. He is the only "Director", a very loving one, and He is on our side. We are doing the best we humanely can to make our surroundings a better place, each in his own way and as far as we can reach around us.
We are promised a time will come – and it can be the next instant – when the whole World will be illuminated with a new light, never seen before. Every good choice we make today, however small, every good thought, even just a thought – paves the way for that day to come. Then the Jewish People will fulfill its job of being Light onto the Nations and the key factor in finally making this World the place we really wish it to be. Then, the Torah tells us, a smile will be seen on every Jew's face, realizing the immense value of all we have gone through in the past.
May you be blessed
to pass the test of life
(Ken Burgess, a Jewish Convert and a brilliant Musical Author)
photo credit: CC BY http://www.retardstrength.net