Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

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 […]

Elul: The Rambam on the Message of the Shofar

The Rambam writes in Hilchot Teshuva 3:4: “Although Shofar blowing on Rosh Hashana is a divine decree, there is a hidden message of the Shofar. The message is for those who are spiritually asleep to awaken, carefully examine their behavior, perform Teshuva, and remember our Creator. Those who forget the truth in the course of […]

The Season of the Spiritual Growth Mindset

The secular world has recently “discovered” the growth mindset: Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard […]

Beat the Rosh Chodesh Elul Rush – Start Thinking About Teshuva Today

Rosh Chodesh Elul is coming which means that the Teshuva season is about to begin. If we want to have a successful Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur, seforim strongly advise us to start early in the month. It’s a tremendous opportunity for growth and we’d be foolish not to take advantage of it. Most of […]

Beauty may be Skin-Deep but Some Hideousness is to the Bone

Today, 29 Adar Sheini is the yuhrzeit-anniversarry of the death of the great Polish Chassidic Master Reb Shloimeleh Rabinowicz; zy”a, the first Radomsker Rebbe, as well as other tzadikim and talmidei chachamim-Torah sages. The following Devar Torah is adapted from his work on the Torah and Holidays, Tiferes Shlomo, and is dedicated l’iluy nishmas –for […]

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 […]

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 […]

Let’s Get Away (From it All) … With Murder!

Mishpatim 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 If he (the killer) did not hunt and trap to murder, but Elokim brought about involuntary-manslaughter through him, then I will […]

Living with Regrets

I happen to enjoy and appreciate that fluid flow of online information. A friend (as in, I had meet him years ago and then we were ‘friends” online, and I actually met him recently over Sukkos) recently posted a link on Facebook to an article published in July of 2013 in the New York Times. […]

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 […]

Keep the Change

As the Neilah service on Yom Kippur reaches its crescendo, the congregation cries out in unison: “Hashem Hu HaElokim” (Hashem is G-d) seven times. We can probably still hear this cry echoing in our minds. At that precious moment, we have reached the peak of the spiritual heights we have been climbing since the beginning […]

To Feast or to Fast… THAT is the Question!

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  It (Yom HaKipurim) is a Sabbath of Sabbaths to you and a day when you must afflict your souls. You must keep this Sabbath […]

Teshuva, Kiruv and BTs

By Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky This wonderful group is devoted to discussing issues that are important to ba’alei tshuva. And we are now in the season when everyone should be attempting, each in his or her own way, to grow to higher levels through teshuva. There are two Halachoth that the Rambam includes in the laws […]

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 […]

The Two Types of Prayer and the Two Types of Teshuva

According to Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik, Chazal saw prayer as a an audience between the King and a prominent individual thus requiring us to stand straight, dress in good clothes and address Hashem directly. Hashem has given us this special privilege to approach him three times a day, only because we have a precedent from […]

Elul – Some Resources for Motivation

Elul is coming which means that the Teshuva season is about to begin. If we want to have a successful Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur, seforim strongly advise us to start early in the month. It’s a tremendous opportunity for growth and we’d be foolish not to take advantage of it. Most of the current […]

Sacred Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)….

An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For the series introduction click By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz Behold I have set the Blessing before you TODAY First Pasuk in Parshas Re’eh -Devarim 11:26 There is an inverse relationship between our age and the quantity and […]

Two Paths To Rosh HaShanah and the Yomim Noraim – Which Will You Choose?

As a person enters the Yommim Noraim there are two, possible paths and feelings that they may experience: Path #1: The teshuvah process starts with our supplications during Slichos the week before Rosh Hashannah with prayers such as “To us Hashem is shame-facedness; unto You is Tzedukah”. The days of Slichos pass with deep introspection […]

Why Haven’t You Given Up on Fixing the Last Mile?

As BT’s we’ve made some pretty amazing changes in our lives. And we all know it was very difficult. But if you’ve been Shomer Shabbos for 10+ years, you know that teshuva becomes more difficult. The changes have to go beyond behavioral and deep into the character. So what keeps you going? What tools and […]

The Joy of Repentance

Do you know anyone who relates to the idea of repentance with joy and happiness? Looking forward to that sore tuchas from sitting so long in synagogue? Can there be trepidation for the Day of Judgment and awe for the Day of Atonement and also an uplifted positive spirit? You bet your sore tuchas. It’s […]

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