Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

A Life-Changing Moment

Some people can accomplish more in a single moment than the rest of us do in our entire lives. The Baraisa (Avodah Zara 17a) recounts the story of Elazar ben Durdaya who dedicated his life to empty pursuits and pleasures. One day, a chance comment caused him to realize how meaningless his life had been. […]

Do You Have a Rav?

Pirkei Avos says that you should aseh lecha rav – make for yourself a Rav. What do you think is the most important aspect of a Rav: – Answering Halachic Questions – Teaching you Gemora and other aspects of Torah – Giving you Hashkafic Guidance Do you have a Rav for all these categories? What […]

No Easy Way Out

Dear Rabbi Brody, I’m not religious, but I get a kick out of your column and your broadcasts, even though I disagree with you plenty. One thing I particularly don’t like is the fact that you’re always hounding Jews about keeping all of the 613 commandments. So what if I’m Jewish? Why can’t I just […]

A Chatzi Yarchei Kallah ( How We Spent Our Winter Vacation)

Last August, we said good bye to our daughter, son in law and granddaughter as they embarked for a year ( at least) in Israel at YU/RIETS’s Gruss Kollel. We kept in touch via cellphone and pictures. However, we decided to spend two weeks in Israel between the end of December and the middle of […]

Why Do We Have to Learn So Much Gemora?

It’s a question often heard around the halls of Yeshiva High Schools and many Baalei Teshuva also ask “Why Do We Have to Learn So Much Gemora?”. High School Boys have to persevere but many Baalei Teshuva reduce their Gemora learning greatly. How do you answer the question “Why Do We Have to Learn So […]

What I Would Tell Every New BT

1. Listen to the wise advice of Pirkei Avos. Make yourself a rabbi and acquire yourself a friend. It’s essential to have a reachable rabbi who has a good brain, a good heart, a sense of humor and lots of practical good sense. It’s also important to have an understanding and patient friend whom you […]

Learning from Our Friends

My Rav says that often people learn more from their friends than their Rabbeim. The Rabbi will suggest a course of action from the podium (more Torah, better Tefillah, more Chesed) and we can easily dismiss it as, “that’s easy for the Rabbi to say, after all he’s the Rabbi – but us little guys […]

The Special Challenges of the Baal Teshuvah Marriage

The Orthodox Union has just released the findings of their Aleinu Marriage Satisfaction Survey conducted online from January 15-March 31, 2009. The full report can be read here and Ezzie has posted the video here. Amongst the various findings is a section entitled Challenges to Baalei Teshuva. It states: “The survey made clear that baalei […]

Question of the Week: Is Different Always Better?

Rivka writes: I have, thank G-d, children of varying ages. I often find that I’m placed in a situation where I have to approve/disapprove or allow/permit certain activities that my children’s friends are engaging in. For example, we do not permit our children to attend movies. From time to time, my 11 year old will […]

A Good Book on The Good Book

In the past we’ve solicited advice on and discussed various books here on BBT. See, for example, Introduction to Judaism Books – Are There Any Must Reads?, The Most Important Sefer to Learn, and Beyond BT Survival Kit – Pick Six Books. I’d like to hear your thoughts, recommendations and advice limited to Parsha books […]

Why Does it Matter How We Dress?

I think I was fifteen that summer. I got all dressed up in the nicest dress I had with me. Actually I think it may have been the only dress I had with me. It was a sleeveless blue one, and I was even careful to wrap a crocheted shawl around my arms. Our counselors […]

How to Stop an Intermarriage

Link Updated. Rabbi Kalman Packouz’s “How to Stop an Intermarriage” is perhaps the best known of all writings on this tricky subject. It contains excellent advice for anyone trying to convince a child, relative or friend to break off a proposed intermarriage. The complete text is now available for free online here. Does anyone have […]

Question of the Week: Spiritual Travel Advice

Yaakov asks: I have a non-religious friend that is visiting Israel for the first time. He has asked me for some travel advice. What advice would you give him that might pique his spiritual curiosity?

Making Sure the Slow Path Remains a Path

Reading this great advice from Friedman’s Get Deeper Into Torah Without Going Off The Deep End raises the question that perhaps at some point we no longer have our sight on a goal and we’re basically content with where we are holding despite the fact that we have much room to grow in our Torah […]

The Roots of Chabad Outreach

What are the roots of Chabad Outreach? Perhaps the best way to understand it is to hear how the Rebbe himself describes it (from his collected talks, Shabbos Parshas Behar-Bechukosai, 24th Iyar, 5740)… (The words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe…) In certain segments of the Jewish community, the expression ‘Kiruv Richokim’ — drawing close those who […]

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