The question's focus comes mostly from a Baal Teshuva's point of view. When it comes to 'parting' with family and friends - indefinitely - for the better, what resources do a great job giving encouragement to this tough task? A few areas to address would be:

  • Longing for non-observant family/friends to become observant

  • Finding peace in memories of past life

  • Embracing change despite how foreign or the distance it creates from loved ones

  • 1
    You should definitely do whatever is humanly possible NOT to part with your family and friends indefinitely. Find yourself a Rav to help you navigate this and many other delicate journeys of a Ba'al Teshuvah.
    – Lee
    Apr 12, 2016 at 7:19
  • Agree with @Lee; you don't need to and, indeed, shouldn't abandon them.
    – SAH
    Jun 22, 2018 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


Every person is obliged to say, bishvili nivra ha'olam. The entire world was created for me.

This implies that every person has the obligation to reconcile every person in existence with their position as the centre of the special universe that was created for them by God.

This includes anyone you were ever friends with.

The concept of moving on and leaving friends behind is not a Jewish concept.

  • 1
    It's like you popped the breaker and I can see the heavens with your answer. +1!
    – Re'eh
    Apr 12, 2016 at 12:27

There are a number of publications that discuss these issues. A wonderful book, from a rabbinic giant who was also a baal teshuva, is Teshuvah: A guide for the Newly Observant Jew by R. Adin Steinsaltz. His chapters on "The Relation to the Past," "Heritage and Family," and "Social Relations" seem particularly relevant to your question.

Another take, also a personal guide from a baal teshuva, is What Do You Mean, You Can't Eat in My Home?: A Guide to How Newly Observant Jews and Their Less Observant Relatives Can Still Get Along by Azriela Jaffe.

As you might have guessed from the titles, these books do not presuppose breaking off with family and friends. In Teshuvah, the issue of separation is discussed, but so is the importance of finding ways to maintain close connections, especially with family members.

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