Ask the Rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Mezuza

Mitzwoth and Converts


Rabbi David Sperling

Sivan 5, 5783
Shalom! I just read your thoughtful response to the Christian who wished to install Mezuzoth in their home, and it got me thinking about Mitzwoth more generally. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the following scenario: A person not born Jewish is drawn to, and learning about, Judaism. They live in a small town with no direct access to a Synagogue or Jewish community. As this person learns, they gradually begin to adopt Mitzwoth, testing the waters as it were, still unsure whether conversion is for them, yet they are sincere and reverent on their path. Should such a person remain at the 7 Laws of Noach, or are are some Mitzwoth less restricted from non-Jews than others? What are some Rabbinic views on gradual adoption of Jewish practice as a part of exploration with intentions of possible conversion?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. It’s a very good one. The path to Judaism is not easy. It is certainly a slow process. And you are absolutely correct, that the potential convert needs to “check to the waters” as it were, and not take any drastic steps until they are absolutely sure that the life of Jew is fitting for them. Here are some “slow steps” such a person might want to take. Firstly, (and of most importance) they should get in touch with a real live Rabbi (even if by phone) and get personal advice. Perhaps they could start visiting a community for Shabbat, even if it is only once a month. Then, they should start learning Torah. There are many great sites on the internet (including ours!). Daily study is a must. They should also buy some basic Jewish books – a Chumash, Siddur and Tanach. Next, there are many commands that are very suitable for such a person. Daily charity. Acts of loving kindness. There is also room to start to try out a kosher diet (or at least some major aspects of it, such as kosher meats). In the area of the negative commandments, one can begin with refraining from any forms of idol worship, theft, sexual sin etc. I hope these will be a good start – Many blessings.
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