Oct 18, 2009

Respond at Will, Please.

I am thinking of joining a gym. I have a free gym membership on campus, but the joint is a mess and it's full of ski bunnies and that's not how I roll. It would be worth the price, I think. It's motivation.

I shipped off an application to the Rabbinical Council of America's beth din wing. Yes, I have spoken out against the process in the past because I heard horror stories of women across the internet -- waiting months, sometimes years for rabbis and interviews and hoops. After considering my options, and having various batei din organized, and after careful, hard, difficult, and frustrating consideration, I have decided that the RCA way, while not perfect, is the best route for me at this current juncture. B'ezrat haShem, maybe I'll be converted by the time I go to Israel in late November. Please daven for me! And if you want to read my 11-page-long "Journey to Orthodox Judaism" ... let me know. It's a real crowd-pleaser and tearjerker (maybe?).

I'm feeling incredibly disenchanted about school right now. My head just isn't in it. I've realized that having a "real life" and trying to have a "school life" is a mess. It's even messier when you have three Shabbos meals to prepare, 250-page novels to read over a period of a few days, and paper topics to come up with on the fly. If I hadn't been at my Ulpan this summer, I don't know what I'd do because I'd also be having to worry about Hebrew. I find my mind wandering to lists of "what to buy" and "what to do" rather than "what to read for class." I'm in Suzy Homemaker mode these days, and I can't figure out why. I think my mind is on the conversion, my life in the community, my future and possibly impending life with Tuvia, and everything therein. I know it's possible to double, triple, and quadruple duty everything, but I'm not use to the multi-tasking and responsibility outside of my own personal bubble.

I've been pondering a lot of questions, but I'll just pose one here. It relates to prayer. I know I read in my b'racha book that a b'racha said in the head and not out loud means it is as if the b'racha wasn't even said. I know that this is equally try with the Sh'ma from the Midrash. Does this apply to all prayer? Or just blessings (b'rachot)? In my mind, this is where all of the mumbling in shul comes from, but I know there is a precedent for the lips actively moving (without sound in the case of all davening with the exception of those things that *must* be said aloud, like the sh'ma). Am I crazy here?

I'll leave everything at that for now. I have some interesting things to write about from my Midrash class, but I just don't have the energy to grab the book and my Tanakh and type it all out right now. Stay tuned!

14 comments:

ilanadavita said...

I'd love to read your 11-page-long "Journey to Orthodox Judaism". My email is ilanadavita@orange.fr

Mottel said...

Prayer must be vocalized - the shemona esrei included.

Daniel Saunders said...

I was taught that all prayer has to be verbalized, but it doesn't have to be loud enough for anyone else to hear, and in some cases shouldn't be loud enough for them to hear.

Naamah said...

I'll be interested to see how it goes with the RCA Bet Din. The formal nature of the process has me petrified frankly, but one rabbi I spoke to assured me that it wouldn't be so difficult. I'm not sure who Ivanka Trump's bed din was, but I figure if they would convert her, the rest of us should have no trouble!

Mottel said...

I think bed din is correct in Ivanka's case.

Shlomo said...

Id love to read the paper just don't want my email on here. How can you get it to me?

Shlomo

M said...

I can relate to your disenchantment with school. I am really looking forward to living a 'real life'. Law school is sucking my soul dry, if I wasn't throughly enjoying my conversion process, my spirit would be completely malnourished at this point.

I have no idea what to tell you on that point...but I can completely sympathize.

Plus, if you need another person to read said paper, I would happily do so. I'm sure you have no idea who I am, I'm just curious as to what it says....I also don't really want to just put my email address on this website, perhaps there's another way to get it?

Melissa said...

Chavi,

I would like to read your "Journey to Orthodox Judaism" if you're willing to share it with the world. I've been following your blog off and on since you were in Chicago and I came across it via an old acquaintance of mine on your blogroll (Carah @ Lift up your Head, Child). You're a great writer and though my journey into Judaism has been a little different, I often relate and definitely appreciate hearing about your experiences!

Melissa

Chaviva said...

@Ilana I'll send it your way!

@Mottel/Daniel That's what I thought. Thanks :) But do you know where I can find the base text for this halakah?

@Naamah It will most definitely be an interesting experience ...

@Shlomo Hope you got the paper!

@M It's not that I *need* anyone to read it. I already sent it to the beth din, but I was just offering it to those who might not have been here since I started blogging in 2006 and know my story. But I'm glad you're with me on this real life thing. It's hard to balance. I'm a Libra, shouldn't I have this down!?

@Melissa Thanks for commenting and for the kind words :) If you want, email me at kvetching dot editor at gmail dot com and I'll send it your way!

Mottel said...

kitzur shulchan aruch 18:6

Daniel Saunders said...

But do you know where I can find the base text for this halakah?

I was taught that it comes from Chana praying inaudibly, but moving her lips, in 1 Shmuel/Samuel 1, as discussed in Brachot 31 a-b, but I don't know if that's the only relevant text.

I'd also like to read your Journey to Judaism. Do you still have my email address?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you have a better chance of winning the US Open than converting before November. I believe they now formally require a minimum of 2 years. I was shomer shabbat when I started the conversion process several years ago, and it took me more than 2 years.

Chaviva said...

Not true, Anon. Every case is different, and I've been studying with a rabbi for a year. I was going to convert through his private beth din, but opted to go RCA, so my situation is different.

Never fear :)

Chaviva said...

@Mottel & @Daniel Thanks for your source references. I'll send you my essay, Daniel! I think I still have your email ...

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