“My father was a wandering Aramean…” not having his own land or house, not knowing his place or the purpose in life…This passage from the Bible very much reminds me of the life I used to lead.
Before I joined the congregation, I was an ordinary atheist, a native of the Soviet union – just like my father. I didn’t know who I was, where I was from, and what my purpose in life was. I wasn’t raised in the Jewish tradition, and by no means was I instructed in my Jewishness. And when I reached a certain age, in truth, I lost my Jewishness altogether. Naturally, praise is to the Lord, He arranged everything amazingly. Though I wasn’t taught these things at home, the street and school made it impossible to forget of my Jewishness.
But only when I found this family – my congregation, where I met God – I discovered my true, innate identity. I started feeling myself a Jew, and realized that for one – it wasn’t bad at all, even worthwhile. And my people are significant in the history of mankind. The main thing is – thanks to my joining the congregation – I got to know God. I learned He was a living and loving Father. And His Word reveals His will, which I can grasp and fulfill in my life.
This knowledge is of great value. Since before, my life didn’t have purpose. I was going with the tide; I didn’t bother with making the most of my potential. But, when I met the Lord, I realized I had character, strength from God to be doing something important and useful for many people. In my humble opinion, every Jew (no matter how self-sufficient he may seem to himself) needs a family, needs God, and needs some important purpose to live for.
As I have already said, before, I didn’t understand what it meant to be a Jew. I was reading the Bible, looking closely at the Apostles, at Yeshua, to understand how He behaved, how He felt. I wanted to grasp the essence of Jewish character. And from my point of view, the essence of true Jewishness is revealed, of all others, in Yeshua: there is no one else among the Jews who as accurately embodies God’s true Jewishness. Not emotional, fanciful, or religiously cultivated, but genuine God’s Jewishness.
I believe that the bottom line of Jewishness is its spiritual part, rather than character traits, demeanor or emotional and cultural peculiarities. And the true Jew - who is such by Spirit. The one, whose homeland is beyond this perishing world.