18 votes
Accepted

Going from an nonreligious reform Jew to a religious one?

Welcome and congratulations on your search and efforts! Beyond the suggestions above (first and foremost to approach the rabbi in a local synagogue or Chabad house), there are a number of websites ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 51.8k
13 votes

Becoming a Baal Teshuva

Congratulations on your efforts. You will benefit a lot from developing a relation with one or more religious Jews finding a Rabbi who understands you and can help in your search learning Torah - see ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 51.8k
11 votes

Help identifying yeshivot for baalei teshuva (men)

So there are a number of options in Israel - I will try and provide a bit of background for each one. Just an aside, please note there is no such a thing as a bad yeshiva, it is always about finding ...
Dov's user avatar
  • 32.9k
9 votes

Back to orthodoxy, can't stop violating a commandment for the sake of someone's life

A similar question was asked to the Melamed LeHoil (R' Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann): A child was being forced to write in school on Shabbos by his father, the child didn't want to (break Shabbos). The ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.5k
8 votes

What are the arrows in my siddur?

The explanation is shown in the Guide to the Reader section at the beginning of the siddur. A small arrow indicates the suggested starting point for the Shaliach Tzibbur. However, where the local ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
  • 43.1k
7 votes

Asher Yatzar on numerous occasions

The Mamar Mordechai (s.k. 3) understands the Shulchan Aruch's position is that the second recitation covers all the times he forgot, so one would never say more than two. However, the Pri Megadim (M.Z....
Jay's user avatar
  • 6,507
7 votes

Prerequisites for attending Yeshiva as a middle aged Baal Teshuva

There are many yeshivot geared specifically to both Israeli and foreign balei teshuva in Jerusalem. Admissions criteria vary, but in general their mission is to educate Jews and they are not selective....
יהושע ק's user avatar
6 votes

About coming back to Jewish practice

A Bar Mitzvah ceremony or celebration is a just a custom - a nice way of signifying the occasion of one's becoming obligated in the commandments, but it is not a prerequisite and does not actually ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 6,507
6 votes

How to have an easier time with Yom Tov?

B"H, I have solved my problem. I will post my experience here in case it could help anyone else. It turns out that what was making Yom Tov impossible for me was the fact that I lived alone and spent ...
SAH's user avatar
  • 19.8k
6 votes

Rebbi Akiva knew Torah before he turned 40?

You can see below this opinion and its two arguments. See Avot Derabbi Nathan chapter 6, you can read that Rabbi Akiva, before taking his decision to learn Torah, was at the edge of the spring, and ...
kouty's user avatar
  • 22.8k
6 votes

Going from an nonreligious reform Jew to a religious one?

In addition to the fine answer by mbloch, I'd like to touch on a few points not mentioned there. Be sure not to grow too fast. You're in a tough situation, living in a family which I assume is not ...
ezra's user avatar
  • 18.7k
5 votes
Accepted

Is there a Rabbinical argument that Hashem holds Baal Teshuva to a different standard from those born in observant households?

Rabbi Dessler in Michtav Me'Eliyahu explains that a person has a nekudat habechira at which he is tested. Anything lower than this is resisted without even thinking about it. Anything higher than this ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
  • 43.1k
5 votes

Birkat Kohanim for a Kohen who was very far from Judaism and decided to be a good Jew

Can a Kohen converted to Christianity or married with a non-Jewish woman recite the Birkat Kohanim after Teshuva? This answer is referenced, but an explicative part is based on personal reflection, ...
kouty's user avatar
  • 22.8k
5 votes

List of “essential prayers”?

This is a great question and I am surprised we don't have it already. Prayer is called the "service of the heart", meaning that kavana (intention) and understanding of the words are truly ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 51.8k
4 votes

Beginner's Steps to Keeping Shabbos

I don't have sources, but I can answer from personal experience. All of the mitzvot of Shabbat are important, but the ones they should start with are the ones that will make the biggest impact. ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
4 votes

Resources for those beginning to keep Shabbos

For a guide to the Shabbat Table Experience, try my book, Treasure of Shabbat: An Illuminated Guide to the Shabbat Table Experience: Finding Meaning and Inspiration through Shabbat Observance at Home ...
Jonathan Bressel's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Does someone who does teshuvah get answered only after he prays or even before?

Ibn Ezra on Yeshaya 65:24 writes: לפי דעתי כי טרם כמו עוד, ואם בא בתוספת בי״ת כמו קודם I understand that טרם means 'while', but if it is preceded by a ב, then it means 'before'. So, if Rambam ...
Joel K's user avatar
  • 43.4k
4 votes

Books for beginners

Here are a few books I really like in this context Torah: the brand new Koren Steinsaltz Humash has a simple commentary inserted in the English translation as well as additional explanations which ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 51.8k
3 votes

what can be done for a person to get married that doesn't have their parents kesuba?

The Gemara says (Yevamos 47a): ת"ר מי שבא ואמר גר אני יכול נקבלנו ת"ל אתך במוחזק לך בא ועדיו עמו מנין ת"ל וכי יגור אתך גר בארצכם אין לי אלא בארץ בח"ל מנין תלמוד לומר אתך בכל מקום ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.5k
3 votes

Beginner's Steps to Keeping Shabbos

Since the number of laws and minhagim that pertain to Shabbat are so large and so varied, it is easy for a beginner to feel overwhelmed and to focus on all of the mistakes that they are making. While ...
Shimon bM's user avatar
  • 18.9k
3 votes

Rebbi Akiva knew Torah before he turned 40?

Rabbi Yisrael Salanter writes about this story in Or Yisrael, letter #10. He notes the word "chazar - returned", but also that it was said that Rabbi Aqiva hadn't studied Torah until he was ...
Micha Berger's user avatar
  • 9,658
3 votes

Practicing Binding Tefillin at Night

The Shevet Hakehasi 6:15 writes that one may try on teffilin for practice if one is not having in mind to fulfill the mitzvah . He brings a proof from the gemara in Menachos that the only issue is ...
sam's user avatar
  • 41.8k
3 votes

Help identifying yeshivot for baalei teshuva (men)

Machon Meir is a Dati-Leumi (Zionist Religious)-type yeshiva situated in Yerushalayim and headed by its founder, Rabbi Dov Bigon. Most of its student body are BTs, but there are also born-religious ...
Harel13's user avatar
  • 25.7k
3 votes

Can someone become Chabad?

"Can" as in "is it possible", or "is it allowed?" Possible? Sure! Plenty of people who were not raised Chabad or of Chabad-Lubavitch ancestry have switched over to Chabad....
Shalom's user avatar
  • 133k
2 votes

What books/resources discuss moving on?

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 ...
Aryeh's user avatar
  • 11.6k
2 votes

What books/resources discuss moving on?

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 ...
pcoz's user avatar
  • 2,020
2 votes

Should a crippled jew leave his non-jewish providing wife?

This is such a complicated issue, both emotionally and fiscally. Marrying a non-Jew is forbidden (Chinuch, 427:1). However, relations with a Nidah is worse, as it carries the weight of Kareis. ...
Tzvi's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes

About coming back to Jewish practice

One expression, bar mitsva has many significations. In halacha to be bar mitsva is to reach the majority according to the Jewish law. There is a custom to give to the young major man to take some ...
kouty's user avatar
  • 22.8k
2 votes

For how long must a Jew keep Shabbat before he can be considered Shomer Shabbat?

Lechorah I would answer your first question with the standard definition of a shomer shabbos, ie someone who is not mechalel shabbos befarhesiah, in open. That's the only way we know if he's a shomer ...
guy's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes

For how long must a Jew keep Shabbat before he can be considered Shomer Shabbat?

One can say that the question is how to know if someone did Teshuva. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 25b) says ואימתי חזרתן משישברו את פיספסיהן ויחזרו בהן חזרה גמורה דאפילו בחנם לא עבדי מלוה בריבית אחד המלוה ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.5k

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