Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Rabbi Zev Cohen Sets the Torah Mesorah Convention on Fire

I had the pleasure of spending May 8th through 11th at the Torah Mesorah Convention at the Split Rock Resort in the Poconos. I get to spend most of the time talking to Mechanchim/Mechanchos (teachers) about education at my InfoGrasp Education Software Booth, but on Shabbos my wife comes up and we get a great […]

From the Waters of the Shiloah – Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School

Many veteran Chozrim B’Tshuva grapple with the problem of “plateauing”. The epiphanies and ecstasies of our journeys beginnings become ever-fading memories nearly lost in the mists of time. We yearn for those tempestuous days when every Torah thought was revolutionary and every insight was likely to generate a paradigm shift wherein one conceptual world view […]

We’re All Broken Vessels – The 17th of Tammuz

Based on a lecture By Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller which can be found here. The first major tragedy in history was when Adam ate the fruit and internalized confusion. Prior to that sin, confusion was external, but after the sin the confusion was internalized. Man went from an objective reality of true and false to an […]

The Limits of Inspiration

One of the most popular articles in the last Klal Perspectives Issue, focused on the crisis of spiritual connection in the American Orthodox Community, was Rabbi Moshe Weinberger’s titled “Just One Thing is Missing: The Soul”. BTs might particularly appreciate Rabbi Weinberger’s reference to a line from an old song “Something inside has died, and […]

NCSY and the Sweet Sounds of Gratitude

It always happens to me during mussaf of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. On a good morning it will hit me during Hallel. On a recent Shabbos, I thought about it while an excellent baal tefillah was davening the kedusha of mussaf. What plagues my mind at these odd times? Basically that I am thankful […]

Feeling Inspired is a Means, Not an Ends

By Yakov Spil I heard a story last week that touched me and helped clarify an aspect of our avodas Hashem. The maaseh occured in the days when Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zl was the Mashgiach of Ponovezh. There was a talmid chochom who was close to death and a few talmidim went to be with […]

What mourning taught me

My father A”H passed away in early June. It wasn’t sudden-sudden, but it was sudden enough. He wasn’t young, but he was certainly not old enough. We loved him and we let him know it, and that we were going to be okay, and he shouldn’t worry about us as he approached his end . […]

Embracing my Own Intrepid Spirit

By Varda Branfman Varda blogs at Where I walk The angels fear to tread At three a.m. I’m alone On East 2nd Avenue While junkies climb The fire escapes I pull all-nighters When others sleep Safely in their beds That’s not The half of it I push the limits Riding stick-shift For three days […]

Mind Your Step

Looking on the bright side, I’m fortunate to have made through nearly half a century of life without breaking a bone. I’m fortunate to be in good enough physical condition to hold my own on the racquetball court, even if don’t usually win. I’m fortunate that it wasn’t my left ankle, so I can drive […]

A Cure for Troubled Times

A Teenage Beyond BT Fan As we all know the world that we live in has gone out of control. To start with, the recession we are in now is just terrible. Thousands of people have been laid off this past year. And that’s just the least of it. We are in danger regarding North […]

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 […]

Writing an Inspirational Story

By William Kolbrener – First Published at I re-connected with an old friend last week. We had been in high school together (though not in the same class), and when a mutual friend let me know that Justin (not his real name) was going to be in town, the two of us set up […]

Inspiration in Everyday Life

When I was a Yeshivah student, one of the rabbis brought us to a meeting with Rav Shlomo Wolbe. A question was raised in that meeting by a married student, which I didn’t really grasp. “How can someone deal with the spiritual letdown of being involved in mundane affairs? After a day learning in Kollel, […]

What the Ba’alei Teshuva Do for Us

By Jonathan Rosenblum Jewish Media Resources The theme of this year’s annual convention of Agudath Israel of America is the necessity to “Wake the Sleeping Giant” by involving all members of the Torah community in efforts to reach out to non-Orthodox and unaffiliated Jews. We are fast approaching the point where intermarriage and assimilation will […]

Focused Inspiration

Esti recently commented on the Uninspired post. (Shout out to Shayna, we miss you.) Just thought I’d comment on your great post. I watched the women’s Inspired video and was mesmerized. But I admit that I laughed all the way through as I knew most of the women interviewed. As such, I was interested to […]

You’re the Inspiration…

My oldest child recently turned 4 years old. I’ve been thinking about her growth in life, and my own growth in observance. And this refrain from a Chicago song kept repeating in my head: You’re the meaning in my life you’re the inspiration. You bring feeling to my life you’re the inspiration. Wanna have you […]

Lessons from T-Shirts

Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv (the Alter of Kelm) is quoted as saying that the whole world is a house of Mussar (ethical instruction) and that each person is a mussar sefer (book). If we look around there are lessons everywhere. Here are two T-Shirt slogans that contain mussar vorts. Shirt #1 I once was on […]

The Race

By Gregg Schwartz After reading David Linn’s “The Monster”, I felt as though I also had a story and lessons to share. Many of you might remember me from the shabbaton as the guy who was going to be running the New York marathon. Whenever I would tell a person that I’m training for […]

Is Your Turkey a Holy Bird?

Although my wife Chava is working at the hospital Thursday night, she’s still making the turkey, stuffing, orange/cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie with marshmallow fluff, and pumpkin pie. America has its pros and cons, but Thanksgiving is definitely a good thing. Eat, and thank G-d. Even atheists and agnostics seem to appreciate the spiritual nature […]

A Big Anniversary

Yasher koach to the researcher of the recent post The Chofetz Chaim’s Obituary in the NY Times (1933) and the administrators for putting it up. Here’s another important anniversary to mark, which I saw mentioned on a YahooGroups email list in Hillcrest, NY: This Friday November 10th, is the 100th anniversary of the completion of […]

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