What’s the Halacha for the order of what Torah study a baal teshuvah should do? If a Jew has little to no Talmud Torah background and they become religious in life, what should they prioritize learning? Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud, commentaries, Halacha, etc.?

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    I would assume practical halacha would be the first priority so such a person would know how what to do. That and also something that keeps them engaged in their yiddishkeit weather that be chassidus, mussar, or something that is inspiring in general. This would cover what to do, not do, how to do it, and why
    – Dude
    Mar 1 at 21:32
  • There is no set order. Speak to a rabbi to see what makes sense for you.
    – N.T.
    Mar 1 at 23:08
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    Not directly an answer, but Rav Moshe Shternbuch (Teshuvos VeHanhagos, Vol. 1, p. 241, Siman 350 Orach Chaim) writes that just like with a baby, there are small steps, so too with a baal teshuvah, nothing should be forced and too much at once. Take it easy, and don't do too much at once. here.
    – Shmuel
    Mar 2 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


This is going to be quite dependent on the personality and level of the baal teshuva (some of them are quite learned even if they only start to practice now, others have little or no knowledge). The following is my personal opinion based on my own situation (30 years ago) as well as learning with a number of baalei tshuva over time, some of them for years.

Overall I believe one needs to balance the practicality of halacha (required to practice properly) with enough inspiration and fundamental knowledge to show the rationality of halacha. Thus, I would learn along two parallel tracks.


  • Laws of daily living, starting with a broad overview of all laws (e.g., using Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, or better R Zeev Greenwald's Laws of Daily Living (Shaarei Halachah) or R Aharon E. Marcus's Halacha 24/7/12
  • Then moving to laws of Shabbat, holidays, kashrut, family purity, etc.
  • There are also very good overviews of overviews which might be useful, e.g., R Berel Wein's Living Jewish, R Mordechai Katz's Understanding Judaism

Fundamental content

  • Starting with the parasha of the week (e.g., using the Stone or Steinsaltz Chumash) and any commentary you like in addition (e.g., R Sacks for someone more intellectual)
  • Musar or hasidut (e.g., Ramchal's Mesilat Yesharim or Derech Emuna, or simplified versions such as R Ben Tzion Shafier's Stop Surviving, Start Living: The Shmuz on Life
  • Whatever else will be interesting for that particular individual, e.g., Jewish history e.g., R Ken Spiro (Aish HaTorah)'s Crash course in Jewish history or philosophy

Getting familiar with Hebrew reading and learning prayers in parallel is also obviously key.

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