Modern Commentary

Torah & Spirit
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The following is an open letter from Hakham Rashi Eliyahu Marzouq, stating the official position of Universal Karaite Judaism on conversion to the faith (click here to download the original): 

 Translation of the letter from Hakham Eliyahu Marzouk, Chief Hakham of HaYahadut HaQara’it Ha‘Olamit [UKJ] to someone requesting information about conversion: 

Dear Sir, Greetings! 

We received your letter and are sorry about the delay in answering. Please, forgive us. We are happy and bless you on your choosing life and goodness, to love YHWH, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, statutes, and judgments. May it be confirmed upon you that which is written: "YHWH is my strength and my place of protection and my refuge in time of adversity, to You nations shall come from the ends of the earth and say ‘surely our ancestors took possession of a deception, a worthless vanity in which there is no benefit’ (Yirmiyahu [Jeremiah] 16:19) "Turn to Me and be delivered, all ends of the earth, for I and God and no other" (Yesha‘yahu [Isaiah] 45:22). In answer to your question "how can I join the people of Israel and be ‘the foreigner who joins himself to YHWH’ as described in Yesha‘yahu [Isaiah] 56:3-6?": It is written: "And now, O Israel, what does YHWH your God ask of you? Only to be in awe of YHWH . . . to love Him . . . so that it will be well with you" (Devarim [Deuteronomy] 10:12-13). A thing that is so much understood from these, to be in awe . . . to love — this is the relationship to YHWH that is required of all and each in order to confirm the commandments of YHWH. Whoever takes upon himself the yoke of the commandments and who desires to enter the religion of Mosheh [Moses] our teacher, peace be upon him, must remove from upon himself the clothing he wore while being a gentile because they are soiled with the defilement of the nations. And after that to bathe himself and shave the hair of his body, to immediately receive circumcision, and, should we merit it and the Temple be (re)built, God willing, in our time, it is upon him to bring a sacrifice. 

The steps which you have taken: the belief in YHWH the God of Israel and His singularity, the belief in the prophets of truth and righteousness mentioned in the TaNaKh, your entering into the covenant of Avraham [Abraham] our father, peace be upon him, [i.e., circumcision], and keeping Shabbat, make you fit, first and foremost, in regard to YHWH who rewards a man according to his ways and the fruits of his actions, for He scrutinizes heart and veins. It is necessary (for you) to continue and to observe the commandments of the Torah: 

1. to believe in the principals of faith. 
2. doing righteousness and justice, as said to Avraham [Abraham] our father, peace be upon him: "For I have known him that he will command his children and his family after him ‘and keep the way of YHWH, to do righteousness and justice’" (Bere’shit [Genesis] 18:19). 
3. keeping the ‘Aseret HaDevarim [Ten Commandments]. 
4. distancing oneself from the abominations of the gentiles as it is written in Wayyiqra’ [Leviticus] chapter 18, the entire chapter. 
5. keeping Shabbat, the Mo‘adim [appointed times], and the Haggim [pilgrimage festivals] in their (proper) time. 
6. keeping Kashrut and being very careful about not consuming blood. 
7. worship of YHWH (i.e., Tefillah [prayer]) in Tahorah [purity] and distancing oneself from all Tum’ah [impurity]. 
8. To volunteer (i.e., donate one’s time and money) to the study of Torah and the worship of YHWH. 
9. "And you shall love your fellow as yourself" (Wayyiqra’ [Leviticus] 18:18). 
10. It is written: "For this commandment . . . is not too wonderous to you nor far off from you, it is in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it" (Devarim [Deuteronomy] 30:11-14 "This book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, and you shall utter [muse in] it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it, for this you shall cause your way to prosper and thus shall you be wise" (Yehoshu’a‘ [Joshua] 1:8). 

Sincerely, Rav [Hakham] Eliyahu Marzouk HaRav HaRashi [Chief Hakham]
cc: to all the Hakhamim of the community