Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Parshas Bo — The Crossroads of Repentance

During the last days of prophetic vision, some 25 hundred years ago, the sages divided the Torah into parshios – portions, and decreed that successive parshios should be read publicly as part of the Sabbath morning prayer service, so that the Jewish people would hear the reading of the entire Torah from year to year. […]

Getting Back on Track to Torah Based Happiness

I’m trying to write a short essay explaining Torah Judaism to interest people to learn more about Judaism. In the latest draft, I’ve written the following opening paragraph: Many people realize that true happiness requires that a person lead a meaningful life of self-actualization and giving to people, community and the greater good. Torah Judaism […]

What Obstacles Did You Overcome?

Many people have overcome a number of obstacles to take the steps necessary to learn more about Judaism. Here are some obstacles: 1) Was afraid that I would have to give up too many pleasurable activities. 2) Judaism seemed old fashioned and unsophisticated. 3) Thought it would be hypocritical to do somethings without doing everything. […]

Fear Within, Fear Without: Why the Movement Could have Changed the World and Why it Didn’t

Rabbi Francis Nataf, Executive Director of David Cardozo Academy Synopsis. Many BTs in the 70s and 80s felt that the ba’al teshuva movement was going to change the world by providing the bridge to bring back the lion’s share of world Jewry to a vibrant Orthodoxy. Unfortunately many of the framers of the ba’al teshuva […]

Compulsive Greatness

One of the great enigmas in the story of the Exodus is Pharoh’s behavior. Each time a plague hits, Pharoh promises to release the Jews. Each time a plague ends and the threat is no longer imminent, Pharoh reverts to his position that the Jews must remain as slaves. Pharoh was warned by his own […]

Moving from “Miracles” to “Hashgacha Pratis” – Reflections on the Lessons of Operation Cast Lead

Moving from “Miracles” to “Hashgacha Pratis” Reflections on the Lessons of Operation Cast Lead by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis (based on a shiur heard from HaGaon Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlita, Ravad of Yerushalayim, leil Shabbos Parshas Shemos in Beis Keneses HaGra, Har Nof.) Victors in Battle The War in Gaza appears to be drawing to […]

The Torah Road to Happiness

I recently read the following on the site of Dr Martin E. P. Seligman one of the leaders of the Positive Psychology movement. So the core thesis in Authentic Happiness is that there are three very different routes to happiness. First the Pleasant Life, consisting in having as many pleasures as possible and having the […]

The Crash of the Heavens – the Miracle of Flight 1549

The Crash of the Heavens. The Power, Mercy and Wisdom of the Almighty Creator and the Miracle of Flight 1549. by Dovid Zechariah Schwartz Dovid Schwartz is writing now at the Zeh Journal The miracle of Flight 1549, the US Airways jet that had both engines knocked out by birds and safely landed on the […]

Are You Feeling It?

Imagine you bought a new car and after six months it starts to get very sluggish. You take it to the mechanic and he recommends a good wash and wax. “What? Are you crazy? There’s an internal problem,” you say. “Okay,” he says, “how about putting on some of those fancy rims?” Believe it or […]

A Palm Beach Thanksgiving: Fear and Self-Loathing in South Florida

By Adam Hilliard My family is very un-frum. I am, while very un-frum by the standards of most of the readers of these boards, what my family calls a religious maniac because I keep a kosher kitchen, daven, and manage to light Shabbat candles on occasion. My brother Aaron and his gentile wife live in […]

How Would You Succinctly Describe Torah Judaism?

We live in a world of short attention spans. To that end I am trying to write a description of Torah Based Judaism in 300-500 words. The goal of the short essay is to interest the reader into exploring more about Judaism. What would be your lead sentence of such an essay? What points would […]

Seizing the Moment in Time of Crisis

Rabbi Yakov Haber I would like to share two “war stories”. The first concerns a Yeshiva catering to Anglo students studying for their “year in Israel”. There’s an organization called “Grandma’s Packages” ( which sends care packages to Chayalim in Tzahal. Apparently they ran out of funding and couldn’t send any more. The Yeshiva found […]

Holy Sneakers

Rabbi Mordechai Rhine The tribe of Dan was a challenged one. Both physically and spiritually they did not have an easy ride. Yet somehow they managed to make it to the top. Dan, son of Yakov, the founder of the tribe, must have set a good example. Dan had only one child named Chushim. Chushim […]

Learn and Pray For A Specific Soldier

The following “open letter” was received from the Bostoner Rebbe and HaRav Simcha HaKohen Kook. It outlines a plan where soldiers are paired with people who will pray and learn for them. To participate, send an email to, saying you wish to pray and learn with a soldier and they will supposedly email you […]

If Someone Asked – Why Do You Believe There is a G-d?

If someone asked, why do you believe there is a loving and kind G-d, who created and is still involved with the world, what would you answer? There seems to be at least three approaches 1) Philosophically through First Cause (Cosmological Proof), Design, Planning and Purpose in Nature (Telelogical Proof) or one of the many […]

A Modest Proposal for Ending the Shidduch Crisis (with apologies to Jonathan Swift)

Over the past few months I’ve started going to a shidduch club. Eshewing the traditional matchmaker model, our club essentially conducts a good natured swap meet for humans, each of us describing one or several singles we know, in the hope that someone listening will come forward with their beshert. Aside from our fastitidous attention […]

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