Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Drowning on Dry Land

Why are so many segulos ineffective? In particular why doesn’t fulfilling the Mitzvah of tzitzis transform us into spiritual supermen, as promised by the Torah? These shall be your fringes and when you look at them, you’ll remember all the commandments of HaShem, and do them; and will not [continue to] go astray [following] after […]

An Ambidextrous Theology

Why is the Sotah’s case adjudicated through trial by watery potion? Why do kohanim put their hands together when bestowing the priestly blessing? He [the kohen] will then make the [suspected adulteress] woman drink the bitter curse-bearing waters and they will begin to take effect. ~BeMidbar 5:24 Speak to Ahron and his sons, saying: This is how […]

Is Torah Everything … OR is Everything Torah II

Why is the Zodiac sign of the month of Sivan the twins? Why are we often frustrated by failure despite having put forth our very best efforts? Conversely, why does unanticipated success sometimes come our way, relatively effortlessly? … Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, say to [the Children of] Israel: ‘My children! I […]

Time, Space and Soul

What is so awful about charging interest? After all it is the lubricant that greases the gears of commerce universally. Why must even nirtza slaves, those who chose to stay on with their masters when they had the chance to become free, be liberated on the Jubilee year? When where and why is it permissible […]

So Bad That it MUST be Good

A SPECIAL REQUEST: Please do not begin reading this devar Torah unless you intend to learn it thoroughly and reach the disclaimer at the very end. To do otherwise could prove hazardous to your spiritual development and health. How can it be that a small spreading of the white nega-tzara’as rash causes ritual impurity but […]

It’s Never as Bad, or as Evil, as It Seems

How does Jewish sin differ from sin in general? Why do we read Parshas Parah only at this time of the year? I have recorded a homiletic interpretation … of R. Moshe Hadarshan … And have them take for you: … just as they took off their own golden earrings for the calf, so shall they […]

And For an Offering … I Will Sacrifice My Soul

Vayikra 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 Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When a man will bring near, from [among] you,( meekem) a […]

There Are no Lightweights or Heavyweights … Only Half-Weights

Pikudei-Shekalim 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 Everyone who is to be counted in the census must give a half-shekel according to the holy standard where a shekel […]

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 […]

Thinking Inside THE Box(es)

Terumah 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 HaShem spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the children of Israel and have them lift an offering up to Me. Take […]

If you Really Want Unity, Stop Sleeping!

Yisro 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 … and Israel camped there opposite the mountain -Shemos 19:2  וַיִחַן[the singular form, the pasuk does not say that the Israelites camped there. […]

Denying G-d and Denying Humanity

Beshalach 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  This weeks From the Waters of the Shiloah is dedicated in memory of Gitel Leah A.H. bas Menachem Mendel HY”D; Mrs. […]

When Your Teenager Asks: How Can You Daven That Fast?

Dear Beyond BT I would consider myself a very growth oriented BT and I’ve continued to progress over the years. Recently my employment situation has required me to think about work when I am at home. This is a reality which can not be changed at this current time. As a result my kavannah during […]

Blinded by the Light

Toldos 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 Yitzchak had grown old and his eyes grew dim, so that he could not see.  He summoned Esav his older son. -Bereshis 27:1 […]

It’s Summertime – Any Good BT Related Books to Recommend?

This was first published Jan 15, 2008 Any other books to recommends since this was post was last republished? Dear Moderators, I have so enjoyed and learned from your blog over the past few months. It seemed to appear to me at just the right time in my progress as a BT. Thanks for providing […]

What Ramifications Have You Found in People Having Different Spiritual Levels?

Michtav Mi’Eliyahu, Mesillas Yesharim and many other Torah seforim discuss different spiritual levels. A ramification of this idea is that different people will be effected by different degrees to various activities such as going to a busy beach, watching TV, or walking through parts of Manhattan. Some people will avoid these activities and some are […]

Some Life Questions for BTs (and FFBs)

1) Do you have a Rav with whom you can discuss life issues? 2) Does your spouse have someone to talk to? 3) For men – do you have a learning seder of some length every day? 4) Are you still focused on growing in your Yiddishkeit? 5) Are you integrated into your community? 6) […]

Major Problems Facing the Jewish People – 2008 and 2013

This post is from 11/18/2008. From the comments back then it looks like we’re facing many of the same problems. Which is not so surprising, since 5 years is not really a long time from a Jewish History point of view. What are the Major Problems Facing the Jewish People? Choose up to 3 and […]

The Pain of Being Attacked

It seems there’s a bigger cultural war going on between Torah Observant Americans and the Israeli Long Term Learning community, than there is between Non-Observant Israelis and the Israeli Long Term Learners. On the blogs and the comments we’ve been reading, the attacks both ways have been relentless and often vicious. As BTs we’re often […]

Are You Still A BT?

In common parlance, a BT is someone who became observant later in life. By that measurement, once a BT, always a BT. This usually means that we have to handle delicate situations with non-frum relatives, have lived a more secular life at some point, and we made a clear choice to become Torah Observant. Another […]

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