I am leading a Torah Class with the book Restoration by D.T. Lancaster. I have a question regarding "immersion" on page 94. In the next-to-last paragraph, it states, "The Gentile proselyte who undergoes immersion to become Jewish accepts upon himself the yoke of the commandments at the time of his immersion." Is it about the mikveh? I was thinking baptism before. Could you explain in more detail?
The next question arose when we were on the subject of circumcision for all Jewish men, but what about women? What requirement did they have to do to fulfill their Jewish conversion? Was the mikveh required for this? — I.W.
Shalom, I. — Mr. Lancaster was talking about the immersion that takes place during the conversion process in which a Gentile becomes Jewish.
This is not the same as baptism in that we aren’t talking about becoming a disciple of Yeshua in the example stated. The conversion process requires a convert to undergo several rituals. A potential convert must study and show that they are dedicated to the new life they will take upon themselves. Then they must be circumcised if male. Finally, they must be immersed in the mikvah (ritual immersion pool). When they come up, they are considered reborn as a Jew. In the days of the Temple, it was also a requirement to bring a sacrifice.
Obviously, circumcision is omitted for a woman, but she is still obligated to go through the rest of the steps. Only rabbis who are very knowledgeable in the laws of conversion, whether for a man or a woman, can officiate the process. As part of accepting the yoke of the Torah upon themselves, a convert must forsake any foreign worship (idolatry). Today, sadly, the broader Jewish community often includes faith in Yeshua under that designation, and a convert is often required to renounce Yeshua.