Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. I feel rather conflicted, I want so much to honor my Jewish heritage, but I wonder if I am not just looking for a panacea for my problems. I long to connect with my past. I believe in a collective unconscious, and believe that some of it is genetic. In some way I long for a connection to my roots. Can I be satisfied with knowing about my ancestor’s religion and celebrating a few traditions? Or do I need and want more? I feel lost.
I read a statement in one of the books that I am reading, it said that if we must continually find or invent meaning for ourselves, we will never have time to make that meaning very deep. Thus, meaning rooted in tradition, ritual, and time have deeper and more profound meaning that is better explored.
This exploration of my Jewish heritage has begun to help me to turn toward God, and to see my own nothingness before him, not in embarrassment, but simply as a fact. I am not as useful, nor as capable as I would like to be, but I am also not as awful as I sometimes believed either. The deep meaning behind the Day of Atonement, of acknowledging that I am an imperfect man, of realizing that God loves me, and seeks after me despite my failings has been a beautiful blessing for which I am deeply grateful.
What is it that I want from seeking out my heritage? I think I long to find belonging, to find myself, to find the place that I fit in, but I am not all Jewish. Will I fit in there any better than in the Mormon community? I worry that I am trying to sell my soul again, just to feel comfortable. I worry that I am going overboard. But then I must also ask myself if this is because I am getting that feedback from others around me, or from my own internalized guilt? I ask myself what I would do if I were alone, and without a family. I think I would try on the Jewish way of life. I would go and see if it fit, however, where I am now this has the potential to be met with a lot of resistance. What I would do on my own should not be the ultimate question in my heart because I am not alone. I have a wife and family. I must do some things for and because of them, if they are willing to go along with this then I am okay, but I think that there will come a point where my wife will want to draw the line.
I question myself also as to whether I really could try on the Jewish Faith. I cannot deny my testimony of the gospel, nor give up the perspective that it gives me. Indeed, I think it gives me great insight into what I have learned of the Jewish Faith. I want both, but how can I have this? The ideal I suppose would be for me to be able to convert to a very liberal form of Judaism. This might allow me the freedom to have my own beliefs even though they differ from the mainstream. Then I could honor both in my own heart and my own way. I need to resolve this enough to put it on the shelf for a few months until I actually have time to study it out more. Perhaps I just need to do a little research and find out if Jewish/Mormon conversion/existence is a possibility. Then I will know what is possible and have time to decide.
I am frightened by my new view of religion; I am less certain about everything, and more certain of the mystery. I do believe, and yet I question. I long for the ability to have faith and calmness and peace once again, but I do not want to give up myself. I am frightened, and religiously paralyzed by the changes that have taken place in me. I have been sitting on the fence wondering what to do. Now I have recommitted to build a relationship again with God. I really felt that during the Tashlich ceremony. But I am frightened because I don’t know how things will turn out. I am afraid. Sometimes, maybe even moving in the wrong direction is better than being paralyzed by fear. Maybe I should follow my heart and see what I learn. May the Lord guide me and keep me from harm.
Master of the Universe, if you are listening, I am trying to listen also. Perhaps we can meet in the middle.