I’ve been dating a young woman for the past two years and we are starting to think about marriage. The problem is that she is not Jewish. I would want her to convert, but in a way where there would be no doubt about its validity, so that we and our kids don’t have problems later on. How do you recommend that I proceed?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
I appreciate your desire to resolve this in an authentic, non-contentious way. Unfortunately, it is going to be quite difficult for your friend to go through a real conversion.
First she has to believe that Judaism is the true religion. not just accept it by default.
This means that she believes that there is a G-d who gave the Torah to the Jewish people.
Then she has to study what it says in the Torah.
Then she has to commit herself to observe all the commandments in the Torah.
Once she gets to this point, she is ready for a real conversion.
Ironically enough, If she ever did get to this point, she may never want to marry someone like you, who may lack this level of appreciation and commitment.
My advice is to try a separation from your friend and ask yourself this question: "Do I need to be married to this person to find happiness in life, and is it worth all the trouble of converting? Or would I be better off looking for someone else to marry?" Until you have done that trial separation, you do not have clarity about the right thing to do.
Another key step should be to find out more about your own religion. I can see that you are an upright fellow who wants to do the right thing. So find out what's been driving the Jewish people to greatness for the past 3,000 years. I suggest attending a Discovery seminar, an excellent presentation of Jewish history and philosophy which is given in hundreds of cities throughout the world. For the current schedule, visit www.aish.com/dis/
Have Her Convert?
Today in Jewish History
In 1273 BCE (Jewish year 2488), Moses completed his farewell address to the Jewish people, and God informed Moses that the day of his death was approaching (Deut. 31:14). Amazingly, the anniversary of Moses' completing his teaching coincides with the date in 1482 of the first printing of the standard format used for Jewish Bibles today: vowel signs, accents, translation (Targum), and Rashi commentary.
Today's Daily Lift
Sweet Talk Your Kids
Your tone of voice when speaking to your children sets the tone for their way of speaking, even when they speak to themselves. If you have an abrasive way of speaking to them, practice speaking pleasantly.
Professional singers spend countless hours practicing for their audiences. All parents are professional communicators and all children are entitled to be spoken to pleasantly.
Today in Growing Each Day
[Solomon] was wiser than all men (I Kings 5:11), even wiser than fools (Midrash).
What does the Midrash mean by "wiser than fools"?
A man of means was once a Sabbath guest at the home of the Chofetz Chaim. He insisted upon paying the sage in advance for the Sabbath meals - an insulting demand. To everyone's surprise, the Chofetz Chaim accepted the money.
After the Sabbath the Chofetz Chaim forced the guest to take the money back. He explained, "Had I refused to accept the money before the Sabbath, the thought that he was imposing upon me might have distracted from the man's enjoying the spirit of the Sabbath. Although it was foolish of him to feel this way, I wished to put his mind at rest."
Not everyone thinks wisely all the time. Some people have foolish ideas. Yet if we oppose them, they may feel they have been wronged. Insisting on the logic of our own thinking may not convince them in the least. In such instances, it may require great wisdom to avoid offending someone, yet not submitting to his folly.
By accepting his guest's money, knowing that he would return it to him after the Sabbath, the Chofetz Chaim wisely accommodated this man's whim without compromising on his own principles.
A wise person may be convinced by a logical argument, but outsmarting a fool truly requires genius.
Today I shall...
try to avoid offending people whom I feel to be in the wrong, without in any way compromising myself.
With stories and insights,
Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...