This is an issue I have been dealing with since I first began my studies and conversion. I am really hoping that those of you that might have been down this road before can offer some advice.

I never expected it to be an easy process to bring my children to faith. For the past 18 years I failed to instill a love and respect for YHWH in them. Granted, I just learned of my Father’s name within the past year, but I have always believed in Him. Everyday when I say the Sh’ma I am reminded of that failure. A parent really only has 1 job, 1 measure of success. Did you or did you not teach your children the Torah? Obviously I have not.

When we gather together on friday evenings for Shabbat, I see the disdain in their faces. I can almost feel their contempt for the Torah and it is slowly tearing me up inside. When my wife and I awoke this past Shabbat morning I went to both of them and told them to get ready, we would be leaving in about 45 minutes. They balked and stalled and basically tried anything to get out of going. Instead of caving in, I stood firm and made them attend services even though it resulted in us being late and walking in after services had already began.

As our minister was concluding service she asked for anyone that wanted to receive a blessing to step forward. Normally she would just do the priestly blessing but today she offered an individual blessing in addition to the priestly blessing. I felt like she was really trying to reach out to them, possibly because this was the first time in awhile that all 4 of us were there. Everyone went up. That is, everyone except for my children. They just sat there with a spiteful look on their faces. Finally, after all had been blessed she specifically called out to them and asked them to come up. It was like pulling teeth to get them to go. I sat there ashamed, hurt, dejected.

How could I have taught them so much and yet failed to teach them the only thing that truly matters. Now they’re 18 and 16 and entering adulthood completely unprepared. My heart aches so greatly right now. I have davened many times that YHWH would turn their hearts of stone to be filled with a love for Him. I ask that He send His messengers to rebuke any unclean spirits that trouble them, to remove any stumbling blocks from their path. I would lay down my life right now if it meant that they would come to love YHWH and obey Him.

I understand that sin leads to punishment. No good parent would fail to discipline their child when they need it. YHWH is no exception, He is our Abba, our Father. I have erred, sinned. I failed my one duty as a parent and I am rightly punished. I know this, I’m not trying to appeal this conviction. I simply ask that He would spare my children and punish only me.

Is this a lesson for me to see how He himself must feel everyday? Everyday His own children hurt Him and break His heart. So many don’t even know they have a Father, so many don’t know His name. I sit here depressed, confused, tired, hoping that someone will read this and reach out to me. If you have been down this path please let me know. I am asking all my Jewish brothers and sisters to please help me with this.