Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Can a Jew Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time?

As we mentioned on Friday, Daf Yomi is learning Arvei Pesachim, which deals with issues of Brochos and whether you have to say a new brocha when you change from one place to another. R’ Moshe Schwerd, the maggid shiur in Congregation Ahavas Yisroel in Queens on Sunday asked the following classic halachic question, “Can […]

Good Press for BTs

Over a recent Shabbos, I was shmooozing with a friend. (Those of you who know me personally, and especially my wife, won’t be surprised about that!) This friend is a voracious reader and he always checks out what I’m reading and often recommends books to me. On this particular Shabbos, he showed me a parsha […]

Some Torah Links For Your Pre-Shabbos Reading Pleasure

Beyond BT contributor, Ilanit Meckley brings to our attention a website called where people can register to be either be Shabbos hosts or Shabbos guests. Here’s the link for Rabbi Goldson’s Aish article on Mishna 2.2: “Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Yehuda the Prince said, Torah study is good with a worldly occupation, […]

The World Stands Upon Three Things

Yossie from New Jersey Al Sh’losha d’varim ha-olam omeid: al ha-Torah, v’al ha-Avodah, v’al Gemitut Chasadim The world stands upon three things: on Torah, and on Divine Service, and on acts of kindness. (Avot 1:2) There is an amazing Maharal on this Mishna, in his brilliant commentary to Pirkei Avos, Derech Chaim. He writes that […]

Rabbi Dilbert

Perhaps it’s because Shema Yisroel is imprecisely translated as “Hear, O Israel” rather than “Listen, O Israel,” but we Jews have a lot of trouble listening. We didn’t listen to Moshe in the desert. We didn¹t listen to Shmuel when he warned us about the responsibilities of accepting a king. We didn’t listen to Yirmyahu […]

Of Earrings and Kippas, The Sequel

Of Kippas and Earrings, The Sequel Previously, I posted Of Earrings and Kippas. There is a postscript to the story that punctuates the power of sharing our experiences, a lot of what this blog is about. My Father-In-Law was a member of an amud yomi chaburah (a group of people that jointly study one side […]

A Mother’s Story

My name is David and I became religious a number of years ago through JAM at UCLA. From my exposure to traditional Judaism I was inspired to share what I found and developed My family reacted in a rather unusual way to all of their kids becoming religious and I wanted to share that […]

The Plan – An Open Letter to Yeshiva Bachurim – By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Dear Yeshiva Bachur: With the start of the new z’man, I would like to encourage you to properly plan for this zman – and for your future life. For those of you who may not have the patience to read this open letter in its entirety – or for those of you whose parents placed […]

Internalizing Tzinus

I was talking to someone the other day about the topic of tznius. She is newly observant and she asked me about the halachas of dressing in a modest fashion – now that the weather was getting warmer, she wanted to know what she could and couldn’t wear, and in observing others, she was a […]

Being Proud of Your Past

I become orthodox in high school. I actually had the opportunity to go to a yeshiva high school after 8th grade before I was frum, but that would have meant a one-hour commute on the train in each direction. So, to my 8th grade rebbie’s chagrin, I opted instead for public high school. Given the […]

Facing the Realities of an Orthodox Conversion

Rishonah recently posted this insightful comment on the Upgrading a Non Orthodox Conversion post. For 10 years I lived as a Reform Jew (although I didn’t officially “convert” until I was 20 years old). It is one thing for a single ger/giyores to “upgrade” to a halachaic conversion and yet another thing when there is […]

Iggeres HaRamban and Anger

The following entry is Zecher Nishmas (in memory of) Rochel Bas Aryeh. Although I did not personally know her, a friend of mine relates that she was a very caring, thoughtful, altruistic and modest person – and an awesome listener. Even when she was very sick she continued with the same level of altruism, caring […]

Identity and Aircraft Carriers

From a recent comment by Yaakov Astor: A wise man once told me identity is like being a jet on an aircraft carrier. You need the aircraft carrier to get you to a launching point but then need to be able to take off yourself. Too many get on the aircraft carrier and never take […]

Fabricating Focus and Pruning your Personality

By Jade Topaz Teshuvah-medicating your soul and medicating your personality have got to be two of the most complicated concepts around today (other than the Lakewood internet ban :) ) They are, though, sort of related in the higher scheme of things. The warnings, side effects ,issues, questions and annoyances that often accompany experimenting with […]

Why I want to go to Yeshiva, Part 2 – Answers

A few months ago we posted and article Why I want to go to Yeshiva, Part 1 the Question. Today we bring you the sequel – Why I want to go to Yeshiva, Part 2 – Answers. Now that the question’s been cleared up in my own mind, I think I can start to put […]

Helping Baalei Teshuva Be Themselves

A few years ago Rabbi Ben Tzion Kokis, the Mashgiach Ruchani of Yeshivas Ohr Somayach of Monsey, and Rav of Congregation Zichron Mordechai wrote an article in the Jewish Observer titled Helping Baalei Teshuva Be Themselves. Here is an excerpt. Please read the whole article and let us know what your impressions are. This is […]

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz – One Week Later – Time for Some Questions

By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz It is almost exactly one week after the chilul Hashem in Boro Park where fires were set in the streets and a police car was torched after a respected 75-year-old man was roughly treated by police officers while being issued a summons. I spent this past Shabbos in Boro Park celebrating […]

Chag Kosher V’Someach

We just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everybody a Chag Kosher V’Someach. We will be posting on Chol Hamoed. Here is the link for the Beyond BT Guide to the Seder. Here is the link for all the Pesach posts. Have a great Pesach!

Is it Possible to Really See Ourselves as Leaving Mitzrayim

We are taught in the Mishna in Pesachim and in the Hagaddah, “In every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had come out of Mitzrayim”. The question is how can we fulfill this obligation if we didn’t really come out from Mitzrayim. Are we supposed to trick ourselves into believing […]

Nirtzah (Step 15) – Bringing it all Home

Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz is a guest contributor and commentor on Beyond BT. Rabbi Simenowitz uses all his resources including his Organic Farm and his smoking electric guitar to bring Jews closer to Yiddishkeit. Chazal teach us that the overarching theme of the Hagada is “maschilin b’gnus um’sayem b’shevach” -we start off ignominiously and conclude with […]

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