Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

The Teshuva Journey

There are so many amazing, inspiring stories of how people returned to Judaism, and last week I started writing a monthly column called The Teshuva Journey in The Jewish Press chronicling some of them. The first column is about the journey I know best (my own), but future columns will be on other people. “Abba, […]

The Slow, Long Climb

On Shabbos Parshas Yisro, I came across three small mussar insights brought down in Artscroll’s Limud Yomi all of which I thought have extra meaning for Baalei Teshuva. Each of these insights are derived from the same pasuk. In the last verse of Parshas Yisro, the Torah tells us: “Don’t go up to My altar […]

Mesillas Yesharim Introduction – What Does Hashem Request of You?

In the second half of the introduction, the Ramchal brings down the posuk upon which the Mesillas Yesharim is based: This is what Moshe Rabbeinu, may peace be upon him, teaches us when he says (Devarim 10:12), “Yet now, Israel, what does the Eternal, your God, request of you? Only to fear the Eternal, your […]

Events and Links

Kiruv Training Seminar On Motza’ei Shabbos, February 24th at 8:30 PM, there will be a Kiruv Training Seminar at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel 147-02 73rd in Kew Gardens Hills. The presenters will be Rabbi Chaim Sampson and Rabbi Eliyahu Bergstein from the movie Inspired Too. I spoke to Rabbi Sampson this week and I think the […]

Orthodox Assimilation On Campus – Part 1

By Yaakov Weinstein About eight months ago there was a post on Beyond BT about life at a secular university (non-YU, Touro). At that time Steve Brizel (someone I have never met personally but have been fortunate enough to become acquainted with via the web), suggested that I also write a post on the subject. […]

The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Judge

It seems to be a consistent mantra for BTs, converts to the faith and others that we cannot, must not and should not judge others. That’s understandable: none of us can walk in another person’s shoes, or understand why they do – or don’t do – things. But if you are a committed jew, this […]

The Debate

On a recent Saturday night, a local organization in my community held what has become an annual debate. These debates are a highlight of the year. Generally, there are two debates; one serious and one humorous. This year’s serious debate dealt with the following proposal: “This house believes that the insularity of the Anglo community […]

Rav Daniel Feldman on Shaloch Manos

Rav Daniel Feldman’s shiur on Shaloch Manos can be downloaded here. Rav Feldman traces many of the disagreements in Shaloch Manos to a Teshuva of the Chasam Sofer who discusses the essence of Shaloch Manos. Is it like the Terumas HaDeshen who holds that the purpose of Shaloch Manos is to help people make the […]

Perfection as a Torah Value – Mesillas Yesharim Continued

I received an email yesterday morning which made me feel so proud to be a member of the Torah Observant community. I had written to R’ Yaakov Feldheim of Feldheim Publishers telling him about Beyond BT and asking for permission to post the English translation of Mesillas Yesharim, as we learn it here together. Yesterday […]

A Simple Guide to Happiness From a Mystical Perspective

True Happiness is a Spiritual Pleasure Every pleasure in life is a piece of G-dliness to which we can connect. The awe of a sunset, a baby’s smile, hitting a home run, and winning the lottery are all experiences that G-d created, and they have a special connection to the Infinite. The more real the […]

Links and Events

Inspired Too, Kiruv Across America will be showing at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel in Kew Gardens Hills at 7:45 and 9:45 on February 17th. In addition, we’ll be holding a Kiruv Training Seminar on February 24th at 8:30. For other showtimes and locations, please visit On Monday February 19th, at 10:15 AM the Vaad L’Chizuk […]

Mesillas Yesharim – Author’s Introduction – MP3 – Summary

As we mentioned last week, we are learning together the mussar classic Mesillas Yesharim by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) in memory of Sarah Bas Reb Eliezer Kops. We’ll be spending 3-5 weeks on each chapter and we are currently in the Author’s introduction. Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum, one of the best speakers in Kew […]

What Material Would be Helpful in a Kiruv Training Seminar?

As the film Inspired Too highlights, there are many situations where Kiruv is possible and practical. If a person is friendly and approachable, co-workers, friends, relatives and even strangers might ask a variety of questions. Many of these are easy to answer and others can be researched. In some cases a book or website recommendation […]

The Different Paths of the Tzadikim

Ruby Ginsberg Maseches Taanis concludes with a gemara that says in the future, Hash-m will make a circle of Tzadikim. The Shechinah will sit inside the circle, and the Tzadikim will point towards the center of the circle and declare, “This is my G-d, we will rejoice in His salvation.” What is the meaning of […]

I’m Back in the Middle Again

My last post is hibernating in my hard drive, still unsubmitted and unpublished. It’s pretty dark, as I was in a pretty dark mood when I wrote it. And even though I tried to lighten it up the second time through, I decided in the end it wasn’t something I wanted to post. Maybe I’ll […]

Inspired Too

I just came back from Inspired Too and I highly recommend it. This film is focused more on those doing Kiruv, with helpful ideas on doing Kiruv. It is also filled with a number of great and inspiring stories from the Baalei Teshuva themselves. There are 5 million non- observant Jews in America. The bottom […]

Helping People Develop G-d Awareness

If we believe in Hashem, Torah from Sinai and the eternity of the soul in the afterlife shouldn’t it pain us that the majority of Jews are not developing a relationship with Hashem? Some have opined that they can’t see their Aunt Rose ever becoming frum. Let me suggest that instead of targetting becoming frum […]

Without the Branch, There’s no Fruit

I became an observant Jewess about 3 years ago, when I was 17. Today, I have a wonderful schedule and I love my life and learning – I’m studying to be an optometrist in the morning, and in the late afternoon I attend classes at a Jewish Women’s Seminar. But, I have a fly in […]

Learn Mesillas Yesharim With Us

We’re starting a new project at Beyond BT. We’ll be learning Mesillas Yesharim by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal) together. We’re going to go at a slow pace and we’ll supplement the text with posts, audios and of course comments. Whether you’ve already learned Mesillas Yesharim or not, why not take advantage of this great […]

Parenting, the BT and the TV

The Brisker Rav ZTL was once asked how and why his children developed into such exemplary Talmidie Chachamim. The Brisker Rav ZTL replied to the questionner by stating that Tefilah and Tehilim were two main bases as a starting point. I think that the issue of whether, if at all, a family should partake of […]

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