In 2007, I received a lot of emails regarding Matisyahu. Three e-mails have stood out for me and I wish to just lightly touch on them right now. All three were written by Baalei Teshuvah and people now raising their own children in a frum environment. They each wrote about the struggles they face in determining how much they allow their children to be exposed to from their past.
I think a lot of what Baalei Teshuvah deal with when it comes to their own parenting is the extreme disconnect many “BT’s” feel dealing with “FFB’s.” What they may not realize is that once they start raising their own kids in a frum community, sending them to frum schools, frum camps, their own kids become FFB’s.
There is something inherently different about a Baal Teshuvah and a Frum From Birth. A BT has something that is so pure and divine in what they have done that it often produces actions and feelings that a FFB will or struggles to have. When you discover something amazing on your own, after having experienced something else, and decide to embrace that something special, it changes you. Changing your whole life from top to bottom for the sake of your spiritual soul is something that an FFB cannot relate to.
As I have written before, I am a product of a two parent Baal Teshuvah home. My parents were there for me, they tried to help me but I knew that I would never see Yiddishkeit through their eyes. In some way the spiritual journey of an FFB is that much harder then a BT.
I remember when I was 15 I was getting a ride to Yeshivah with a family friend who had just become frum. He was asking me different questions about what Yeshiva is like because he was thinking about going to a BT Yeshiva. I will never forget that gleam in his eye. When he talked about his spirituality and how he wanted to learn more and become more, there was just something in his eyes. It was like he just “knew” what he wanted. He just “felt it” on a level that I feared I would never experience.
As I got older I had my own personal spiritual struggles. By the time I was 20 I had reconnected. Thats an experience I’d rather not share here, but it was special and in many ways I consider myself a FFB/BT hybrid. With that said I understand how many BT parents find is so difficult to raise their own kids in an “Uncle Moishy” world when they themselves feel more like “Maitisyahu’s.”
One of the BT’s who wrote me, spoke how he never gave up Rock ‘N Roll. At first he wanted to hide it from his growing children, but eventually it became something in the house where the kids knew this was the fathers thing. It’s not easy to strike those balances. How can I listen to Pearl Jam, but only let my children listen to Avraham Fried and Yaacov Shwekey.
There’s much to think about regarding this topic.
Originally Posted in 2007