If you’ve recently decided to embrace your Jewish roots (I’ll try not to say ‘return to G-d’, because every Jew’s soul cleaves to his Creator), you may be wondering how to begin performing mitzvot. Reading about various halachos and practicalities isn’t always as inspiring as tales of other’s good deeds, and it can be very overwhelming to a newcomer. It can feel as if one day you’re eating trayf, watching television and driving on Shabbos, and the next you’ve got to start kashering your kitchen, studying Torah and lighting candles at a prescribed time you don’t quite understand. Concerns are plentiful. What about my not yet observant family? How will they feel? How on earth am I going to stop eating non-Kosher foods? And why exactly must I start wearing these weird skirts? Sometimes, it can feel as if becoming observant is the least logical thing to do. It goes against some- maybe most- of your beliefs. You feel confused and intimidated. And yet, despite this, you feel a strange longing to be like those people you saw at your first Friday night dinner last week. You remember the beautiful melodies, the delicious food, the wonderful atmosphere… This is for me, you think.
You have a Jewish soul.
That’s why, when a million things- your family, the Internet, fashion magazines, your peers- are telling you “no”, all you can think of is “yes”. Yes to embracing beautiful traditions. Yes to taking an entire 25 hours off from your hectic job and schedule. Yes to being valued for who you are, not what you wear. Yes to finding a compatible marriage partner and starting a Jewish home. But wait. How exactly can you start making headway on this? How can you start replacing not-so-holy elements of your lifestyle with spiritually superior ones? How can you ever fit in? Your mind can’t quite comprehend the thought of being one of “those” people with the long skirts or the black hats, the people who scurry around in the supermarkets on Friday afternoon, and walk to Shul with six children in tow the following day. It’s all so foreign, and yet it’s like coming home (that’s your Jewish soul speaking). And it’s because of this that I’m starting a new series of articles; how to perform mitzvot. In no time at all, you’ll be learning how, why, where and when to perform deeds and actions which will help you feel closer and closer to your Creator. And what’s more, you’ll be learning something in the process. Please keep an eye out for these articles if you’re on your way to being observant, or if you just want to learn more about performing mitzvot!