Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Getting Beyond the Proofs

In the introductory program of the baal teshuvah yeshivah in Jerusalem where I was introduced to Torah Judaism, the “Proofs of God and Torah M’Sinai” was the hottest thing going. We fought over them, stayed up until three o’clock in the morning debating them, and spent weeks and months on them. Having a degree in […]

Filters and Upgrades

Rabbi Moshe Weinbeger, of Congregation AishKodesh in Woodmere, NY recently gave shiur on an essay of Rav Kook’s titled “Al pnimiushaTorah” and spent a few minutes discussing the issue of the internet and filters. One of the many things that Rav Weinberger mentioned which I found to be meaningful was that while filters are extremely […]

BBT Links for the Week of July 26th

Some lessons learned from coordinating a group purchase of Siyum HaShas tickets. Hespedim for Rav Eliyashiv z”tl from some American rabbonim who knew him. The three legs of the Superman tag line — truth, justice and the American way — are straight out of the Mishna which states the world endures on three things: truth, […]

Are You Going to the Siyum HaShas? Are You Starting Daf Yomi?

The first week of August 2012 is a momentous time. On Wednesday, August 1, 2012 one of the largest gatherings of Jews will take place at Met Life Stadium in NJ to celebrate the completion of the Daf Yomi Cycle. It promises to be an awe inspiring event. The current cycle is actually scheduled to […]

Dealing With a Tearless Tisha B’Av

“Shmuel” in Eretz Yisroel I had a pretty strange experience during davening this morning. It’s erev tisha b’av and as part of my mental preparation for the upcoming fast I cast my mind back to last year – and I remembered how I was unable to cry. It’s not that I feel disconnected with the […]

I, Rabbi (Part Three – Conclusion)

Part One of this three-post series is here. Part Two is here. It was a nice wedding. Not a heimishe wedding, despite my best efforts in that direction, but nice all the same, and kosher, too. Well, the food wasn’t kosher. Oh, mine was, as was that of the other “special kosher” diners, but it […]

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l dies at 102

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l dies at 102 and the Prime Minister eulogizes him, praising him for his ‘ways of love for Torah and love for man’. The NY Times covers it here.

What Strategies Do You Use to Reduce Loshon Hora?

In the notes from a class titled The Stunning Power of Speech a number of Strategies to Improve Our Speech are suggested. They are: 1) View Others Positively 2) Develop Humility 3) Love Your Neighbor as Yourself 4) Controlling Anger 5) View Yourself as a Soul, Not as a Body 6) Develop Constructive Speaking Habits […]

Steven Covey’s 7 Habits and Mesillas Yesharim

One of my favorite secular books is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. (Covey passed away on July 16, 2012 at the age of 79) Covey says he studied the wisdom literature to write this book. The book was recommended to me by 3 mussar-oriented friends at about the same time, […]

Finding Consolation in Cookies: Life Without the Beis HaMikdash

Before I became frum, I lit Channukah candles (I miss my purple and gold yarmulke), I didn’t eat bread on Pesach (I was stringent–it had to be bread davka) and I fasted on Yom Kippur. Even in college I fasted the whole day, and as soon as the sun finally went down (behind the administration […]

BBT Links for the Week of July 12th

Everything in a Torah oriented life presents opportunities for spiritual growth, even the rules of Shuls. In response to a popular secular article on “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”, Tzivia Reiter, the author of Briefcases and Baby Bottles, discusses “Having it All the Jewish Way”. Summer is here and the Pirkei Avos learning […]

Why is it So Difficult to Judge Favorably?

If you regularly read Jewish publications, you’ll see that there is a tremendous amount of criticism leveled against different communities. Although the criticisms may indeed be warranted, they’re often scathing, with little charitable understanding of other points of view. Perhaps people feel their criticisms won’t register if they present other point of view. Or maybe […]

Learning to Get Along with People of Wildly Different Persuasions

By Zev Gotkin There is a lot of talk these days in the media about ‘polarization,’ especially within the context of politics. Often it seems as if being a ‘moderate’ is going out of style. Being labeled a centrist is to be seen as ‘wishy-washy’ or indecisive. Perhaps going to extremes makes people happy, because […]

BBT Links for Week of July 5, 2012

Weeklu Shabbos Announcements – watching the clock as you think about what you really need to know. Confessions of a Shul Candy man. Summary of the Halachos of the Three Weeks.

Are You Comfortable Wearing Your Hat in The Summer?

The NY Times had an article on Hasidic dress in the warm weather. It reminded us of the days when David Kelsey used to comment here, and he would often voice his objection to inappropriate Orthodox dress in the summer in the non-Hasidic communities. In any case, many of us non-Hasidim do wear hot black […]

Matisyahu and His Fame Filled BT Path

Matisyahu has an interesting interview on Aish. They have a strange disclaimer at the beginning of the article where they state that they don’t endorse everything Matisyahu says and does. I never thought that they endorsed everything any writer or interview subject says or does. In answer to the question “Can we set the record […]

When the Secular Little Cousins become Teenage Cousins

Blast from the past originally published 9/17/2008. Fresh from my annual time share vacation with the secular family, I want to write for the Beyond BT readers on a topic that I think needs some further exploration and discussion. Logic says that the longer we are working things out with our secular family, the easier […]

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