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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Do, then learn

Here is an email conversation I had with my rabbi this morning. I’ve been struggling a little with feeling like I’m faking it as a jew. (Yes, I know, I’m not a jew yet…)

Rabbi,

I’m off to Colorado tomorrow morning, so I just wanted to touch base. I’m enjoying the class, but not feeling too strong about speaking up. Which is weird, because in college I was always a vocal student.

After I did the readings for class, I was thinking about why I choose to put up the mezuzah, light shabbat candles, bake my own challah–especially when so many of the jews I know don’t do any of the above.

What I realized is that these are the easy mitzvot for me. Simple things I can do on my way to living a jewish life. It is easy to light the candles, hang a mezuzah, commit to going to temple. What isn’t easy is the shift that is taking place inside. I struggle to use the words god, prayer, blessing–even though these are increasingly important to me. I am seeing the power of prayers and intentions, but struggle to put it into words without feeling like a charlatan.

I guess I do the material/physical jewish things, so that I might learn to be a jew inside. Does that make any sense?

Have a good shabbat, a safe trip to New York, and I’ll see you next week!

Leah

and my rabbi replied:

Not only does it make sense, but it is also historically teh Jewish approach. To wit: it os easier to act one’s way into right thinking than to think one’s way into right acting.

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