I have a bit of a unique question. I am a Baal Teshuva who is currently working on Semicha Yoreh De'ah through Lemaan Yilmedu. (you can find the curriculum here if you wish).

I have spent the last few years prior to this working on general knowledge, observation, traditions, etc. However, now that I am in this program, I am realizing that I will have a lot of gaps in my knowledge. Not necessarily regarding Torah, but Talmud, tradition, etc because I did not grow up observant.

I wanted to see if anyone had any great resources for learning that would either be a bit more guided or that has a solid structure (not necessarily a curriculum, but that flows more logically than just looking things up). I want to be able to be effective as a Jewish leader and I don't like not having the knowledge expected.

As a military officer, I may be the only Jew (or the only Jewish leader who is not Reform and hates more traditional Jews--long story about being at Ramstein) and I have to support more than just my local area.

I welcome any ideas and feedback. Kasherus will be solid when I am done with the Yoreh De'ah, but I know that I am missing some key aspects of what I should know and I am not sure where to start and how to be relatively efficient.

  • 6
    I recommend connecting to a rabbi who can give you personalized advice.
    – N.T.
    Jan 31 at 3:36
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    You might be interested in reaching out to CDR Rabbi Aaron Kleinman, an active duty Navy Chaplain (and former Naval aviator) who is likewise a Ba'al Teshuva who got Semicha over a decade ago through Pirchei Shoshanim. He may have some insight into your situation from personal experience. I know him personally, and he is a very nice guy.
    – Fred
    Jan 31 at 4:23
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    Focus on learning how to learn, which your semicha is training you for. After you are done, you will hopefully know how to look up any halacha, and how to find the psak. As for general knowledge, the best things I have found are to learn the classics, do something b'kius like Daf Yomi, immerse in a yeshiva/beit midrash environment, and listen to lots of shiurim. If you love Judaism and Torah, then you will naturally pick everything up as you go. Hatzlacha!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 31 at 10:07
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    To get quality answers you might need to share more about what you know already. For instance did you once learn Kitzur Shulchan Aruch?, Mishna Brura?, Hilchot Shabbat? See also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/87250/11501
    – mbloch
    Jan 31 at 12:19
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    Wow. Kol hakavod. Many answers, but - when I became frum (forty years ago!) I began just reading through Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, cover to cover. I've always been glad I did, tried to get my kids to do it, and think everyone else should as well. It's not too long, and it at least gives you an overview of what kinds of things are issues.
    – MichoelR
    Jan 31 at 14:22


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