The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Delving Further into the Ba'al Teshuva Syndrome (i.e. part 2)

Continued from Ba'al Teshuva Syndrome Explained

As mentioned in the previous post, by trying to submerge oneself into a world from which has for so many years been deprived of, the Ba'al Teshuva often moves to the other extreme.
On one hand this gives him an added lebedikite in his performance of mitzvos -lacking the normal problem of rote performance . . .
These all stem from a yearning to connect to Hashem, to the truth.
Good stuff.
I've noticed that many Ba'alie Teshuva tend to grow slightly longer peios then others, even more so on there children (even amongst Lubavitchers where we do not grow long peios, there still are often those extra few longer strands). Though this is by no means based on a scientific study, it might be in an effort to completely submerge oneself with in all things Jewish, to draw a connection to the alter heim -Fiddler On The Roof -shtetle of yore. To make up for what was lost to the past by trying to bring it down again in the present.
There is however, a different issue as well -the tendency to drift to the extremely machmir -stringent side of things.
There's a joke -I know its a bit cruel, but since the rule tends to be that a person may always joke about his ethnicity etc. I feel that I may say it-

A Ba'al Teshuva comes home during Sefiras Haomer. He stands by the front door
and calls out to his wife,

"Honey, what was for dinner last night?"

To which she answers,


There are certain things that are ignorance, a person can indeed make up for years of lost learning . . . then there are the inborn aspects, concepts and ideas that can only be experience by growing up in the community.
These can not be taught. That is in truth why I am so thankful that I took the leap of faith into a normal Yeshiva -despite the difficulty that it was- as opposed to attending a Ba'al Teshuva yeshiva (Not to belittle those that do . . .)
When a person becomes Frum there is a great deal of fear. How can one trust his senses? His instinct? That instinct had led him to live a certain way until only so recently . . .
how does he know that his guess is right?
The only answer, to be machmir. The Torah often draws strange connections between things, so why not make be careful.
I heard a story of a lady who became frum. She was invited into the home a of a famous Rebbetzin, who invited her for a cup of tea. The two sat down, and when the Ba'ales Teshuva picked up the milk to pour into her tea, the Rebbetzin told her (this was in Israel), "Assur!" (forbidden)
The Ba'ales Teshuva changed her tea drinking habits from thence forth. Some time later she met the Rebbetzin again and asked her why one was forbidden to drink tea with milk. What was the issur? The Rebbetzin smiled and told her,
"Why it doesn't taste good. Milk is better with coffee!"
May we all merit Yemos hamoshiach when we will no longer need teachers, but while learn directly from the highest source!

Post Script.

Due to time constraints at the Internetas Kavine (Internet Cafe)I have trouble fully formulating my ideas, writing them and then making sure that they are clear.
Just to summarize:There are (at least) two factors contributing to the 'machmir' nature of Ba'alie Teshuvah.
1.The yearning that is general inherent in the return process. This is so to speak the ma'aleh found there within. In a desire to completely submerge oneself with in Yiddishkeit there is that extra mile as it were that comes out.
2. the fear or ignorance, of not knowing to what extent different related ideas come to together . . . the lack of the innate knowledge that can only be gained by growing up in a frum environment.


Anonymous said...

i also went to a very frum school right away, and eventhough the begginings were so hard, i'm very thankfull to learn all these minor things, that they dont teach in all these baal'ei teshuva seminars.

Mottel said...

Thanks for the comment, but next time please give a name.

Anonymous said...

Very well said, and oh so very true!!!

Mottel said...

Thank you