Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

The Deluge of Youth

What do mankinds greatest and worst generations have to do with one another? “The Fountain of Youth” … why has mankind been searching for it from time immemorial? And HaShem said: “My Spirit shall not keep on judging man forever, for he is nothing but flesh.  His days will be a hundred and twenty years.” […]

Defeating Self-Defeat

Why do people constantly sabotage themselves? How does the scapegoat atone for the sins of Uza and Azael? And Ahron [the Kohen Gadol-high priest] should place two lots on the two goats; one [marked] for HaShem and the other [marked] for Azazel — Vayikra 16:8 And Ahron should press his two hands on the live […]

O Daddy … Where Art Thou?

Tzav-Parshas Zachor 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt. When they encountered you [lit: cooled you off] […]

Shabbos … the Great Unifying Principle

Vayakhel 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Moshe gathered the entire assemblage of the Bnei Yisrael , and said unto them: ‘These are the words which HaShem has […]

Dreaming but Not Sleeping

Vayeshev 5774-An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK  By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood  Soon thereafter the Egyptian king’s wine steward and the baker offended their master, who was the king of Egypt. -Bereshis 40:1  [Regarding] this […]

The “Absolute Value” of Middos

VaYetzai 5774-An addendum in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Conventional wisdom dictates that when taking inventory of ourselves, that we should use a bookkeepers ledger sheet as a model. We divide our […]

Don’t be Bailed Out. Be Vindicated!

An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School -For series introduction CLICK  By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood G-d’s angel called to him from heaven and said “Avraham, Avraham’!  Do not put forth your hand towards the youth (i.e. do not harm […]

UnInspired

Thirteen years ago, The NY Times ran a puff piece on the Weddings page about me. A unique angle for their “Vows” column–anti-establishment editor burns her Ms. Magazines and ties the knot in all-concealing gown. Driven by the kiruv fever that often hijacks the newly frum, I was quoted insisting that my new lifestyle was […]

Hemmed In

We train ourselves to respond to limitations on our actions — especially those of us who had once been accustomed to not having such limitations — by intoning that these limitations are what help us grow. This sense of loss over participating in something, eating something or being somewhere you might otherwise been if not […]

The Road to Spirituality: Keep That Head Bowed

Although most of my fellow students in high school were in fact Jewish,only a handful attended the local synagogue, and almost always for social reasons. Some learned the art of feeling guilty from at least one of their parents, and donned the yarmulke inside the solemn sanctuary on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Really, they […]

The Unsung Victories of the Ba’al Teshuva

David on the Lake The guest speaker was the world famous Ba’al Teshuvah Moshe (Mark) Wahrburg. Moshe’s story was so inspiring it never failed to fill halls and shuls with enthralled audiences. He had reached the pinnacle of fame and success in Hollywood and lived a life of debauchery and excess. And then he threw […]

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 […]

Going Out of Our Comfort Zone

I’m writing this when I really should be doing some work or packing some boxes, as we are moving out to the Gush tomorrow for 4 months, but what the hey. It’s purim (at least it was, when I wrote this) so let’s live a little dangerously. I lived a little dangerously yesterday (IMHO), by […]

Frummer than Thou

As Mark so subtly pointed out in his last email, I haven’t posted here in a while. Part of the reason for that is that I haven’t been feeling especially enthused about the mitzvos lately. The Lebanon war really did propel me to a higher level, particularly in my davening, but then something happened over […]

Second Chances

Tomorrow is Pesach Sheni (the Second Pesach). Pesach Sheni takes place one month after erev Pesach, the time when the Pesach sacrifice was prepared and eaten. At the time when the Pesach offering was to be eaten in the desert, a group of men approached Moshe Rebeinu and complained that they were tameh (ritually impure) […]

BT, FFB, and FWE

“I feel like I’m on a treadmill.” The expression seems to have lost its imagery now that so many have invested thousands of dollars on state-of-the-art, high-tech exercisers or dole out hundreds of dollars a month to join gyms that enable us to go steadily nowhere while sweating off calories. But back before treadmills became […]

Still At 61!?

“Still at 61!?” That’s where my “Hair Today Gone Tomorrow” post has been holding for weeks now on the “Most Commented Upon Posts” section of BeyondBT and it’s beginning to really irk me. I mean, is there no one in the whole World Wide Web to bring it up to 62? Come on people! We’ve […]

Are We Living B’dieved Lives?

In halacha there is a concept of doing a mitzvah l’chatchila, intially the proper way and b’dieved, fulfilling the requirement after the fact in a suboptimal way. On some posts here contributors will highlight their view of the l’chatchila way to live in a particular area such as listening to certain types of music, women’s […]

Who Put the Baal in Baal Teshuva?

A commentor recently asked how do we define a Baal Teshuva? In the Talmud it means someone who was observant, but went off of the path and returned. Today it usually means someone whose parents where not observant, but the child became observant. But why Baal? Is anybody truly a master of Teshuva? This year […]

Rav Eliyahu Lopian on Equilibrium

From “After the Return” – P. 112 by Rabbi Mordechai Becher with Rabbi Moshe Newman Rav Eliyahu Lopian is quoted as saying ‘Every person looks at himself as though he is on a tightrope; half the world is on the ground to his right and the other half on the ground to his left.” He […]

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