Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

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 […]

Rebbetzin Heller on Approaching the Viduy on Yom Kippur

Adapted from a recent newsletter article by Rebbetzin Heller Keep in mind that Hashem accepts you with all of your faults and broken pieces, you needn’t act as if they don’t exist. Review the viduy before Yom Kippur in the machzor. Don’t fall into any of the usual traps when you read the list of […]

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 Ramchal and How the Shofar Draws Down Mercy

The Elucidated Derech Hashem is an amazing work in which Rabbi Abba Zvi Naiman brings down many footnotes from the other works of the Ramchal to explain the concepts in Derech Hashem. In regards to the mercy invoked when the Shofar is blown, Rabbi Naiman explains, based on Derech Hashem and other works of the […]

You Don’t Desire? Then Yearn to Desire!

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 For the Mitzvah that I am prescribing to you today is not beyond your grasp or remote from you…Rather it is something that is […]

Back to School: Rosh Hoshana’s Coming!

There’s a famous segulah from the sefer Nefesh HaChaim that one who is in danger should intensely concentrate on the pusuk “Ein Od Milvado”. If he does this and thereby thinks, without interruption, how Ha-Shem controls every situation, he will merit help from above. (There’s an equally famous story with the Brisker Rav about this.) […]

Post YK Reflections

By Jak One of the strangest things that hit me this year leading up to Yom Kippur, was that this was only the 3rd Yom Kippur where I would be defined as “shomer shabbat”. Only 2 years ago I started? It seems like forever that I’ve been “frum.” It’s amazing how in such a short […]

Kesiva V’Chasima Tova

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our contributors, commentors and readers for writing and reading Beyond BT. A Kesiva V’Chasima Tova to all!

Ten Ways to Help Your Children Have a More Meaningful Yomin Noraim

1. Explain to your children how Hashem actively seeks ways to forgive, and will forgive them – even if the best they can do is want to do teshuva. 2. Remind them that Yiddishkeit is not all-or-nothing – that their aveiros do not invalidate their mitzvos or diminish Hashem’s love. 3. Model the virtue of […]

Rosh Hoshana: Committing to the Plan

Rosh Hoshana is almost here and the focus of the day is on the creation of the world and on Hashem as our Melech or King. How is this different then the creation we recognize every Shabbos? Secondly, how are we to understand this concept of Malchus or Kingship, and how is it different from […]

Before “Beyond”: Home for the Holidays

This essay was originally published before blogging existed or almost anyone had ever heard of the Internet. It was the first installment in what was a regular column called “On the Road… Back” in what turned out to be a short-lived weekly newspaper called the New Jersey Jewish Post. This column was entitled, “Home For […]

A Sukkale a Kleine – Meaningful Succos Music

By Gershon Seif When I was in elementary school back in the 60′s, Jewish music was a bit different than the kind of stuff that you hear nowadays. On an album called The Rabbi’s Sons, there was a an old Yiddish song about a Jew who built himself a simple little Sukkah that can barely […]

The 60 Second Guide to Yom Kippur

While Rosh Hashanah is focused on G-d’s existence, authority and supervision of the world, Yom Kippur is focused on our role in G-d’s plan for the perfection of humanity. We’re created half-spiritual and half-physical with a strong ego, so we’re conflicted between doing what is good (spiritual) and what feels (physical) or looks good (ego). […]

Poetry of Repentance

Only when I began to study Paradise Lost, John Milton’s epic re-writing of Genesis, did it to occur to me that being religious was not a sign of neurosis or flaky otherworldliness. In graduate school at Oxford and later at Columbia, for me and many of my fellow Jewish students, Milton was a safe way, […]

Get Moving

Sometimes you hear something short and to the point and it motivates you. My daughter sent me an email with the following short moshel: There are a group of boys playing in the street. A bus pulls up and stops. The bus driver honks his horn because he needs to get through. The boys don’t […]

The 60 Second Guide to Rosh Hashanah

The foundation of Judaism is that all existence is dependent on G-d who created, supervises and influences both the spiritual and physical realms of the universe. In addition G-d created man who was given the tools and instructions to perfect and unify the physical world and connect it back to its G-dly source. Every year, […]

The Ramchal (Derech Hashem) on Yom Kippur

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal) From Derech Hashem. The significance of Yom Kippur is that God set aside one day for Israel, when their repentance is readily accepted and their aveiros (sins) can easily be erased. Kapora actually erases aveiros, which is way beyond waht Selicha (forgiveness) and Mechila (pardon) acommplish. Yom Kippur is the […]

Taking Back Last Year’s Neilah

One Yom Kippur, in his drashah right before the Neilah prayer, our rav gave a short but powerful speech. He started off with a tragic narrative of a family that lo aleinu lost a child in a fire. Then he spoke about “taking back last year’s Neilah.” If someone had been through a painful year, […]

A Must Read for Rosh Hashana

I think this is one of the most important articles to read in preparation for Rosh Hashana: Why Judgement – By Rabbi Noson Weisz An excerpt: INVESTMENTS VERSUS REWARDS The very first point that must be emphasized is that contrary to popular belief, Rosh Hashana is not about reward and punishment. The Talmud informs us […]

As Rosh Hashana approaches…

As a sometime contributor to BeyondBT, I’ll let you in on a little secret. From time to time the administrators send out emails with suggestions for written submissions. Usually these suggestions are great springboards for someone with the patience and time to write to actually come up with something meaning, relative, and thought-provoking. And then, […]

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