Posted on | February 11, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | 21 Comments
A Baal Teshuva is usually introduced to authentic Judaism by learning Torah. Different people are exposed to different topics, but the first stage is usually Torah with little or no mitzvah observance.
After some time learning Torah, the observance of mitzvos begins. The time frame can vary greatly dependending on the person and the environment. The first mitzvos are usually between man and G-d like Shabbos, Kashrus and Davening.
After a period of learning and mitzvos the BT approaches integration into the community which is mainly focused on mitzvos between man and man.
The FFB goes through roughly the same phases. Early childhood and schooling is focused on learning Torah. As the child reaches chinuch they focus on mitzvos between man and G-d like Shabbos and davening. As the FFB breaks into the teen years and becomes a young adult they integrate into their Yeshiva and community involving mitzvos beteen man and man.
In a broad sense, these three stages mirror the three foundations of the world, Torah (learning), Avodah (man and G-d) and Gemilas Chasadim (man and man). When spritual maturity is reached, all three are in focus but in the early stages they proceed from Torah to Avodah to Gemilas Chasadim.
The BT however advances through these stages at a much faster pace then the FFB and often does not get enough exposure in the Torah phase. BTs who are more exposed and conversant in Torah have a much easier time in the community integration phase between man and man.