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36

Get married. This gives one the feeling of פת בסלו (bread in his basket) even when he is halachikaly forbidden to his wife. The Talmud says (Yevamos 63a) that a man should appreciate his wife simply for the fact that she saves him from sin. Also, another piece of practical advice given to me by my Chosson Teacher was to go outside for a walk. It works. ...


32

I think your answer was exactly correct. Simply speaking, your religion doesn't permit you to engage in this activity. The fact that other people, who claim to follow the same religion, do engage in that activity, well, you'll have to ask them about that. You should not get into a discussion about the other person's level of observance. You can talk about ...


25

The Rambam says (Issurei Biah 21:19): וכן אסור לאדם שיביא עצמו לידי הרהור, אלא אם יבא לו הרהור יסיע לבו מדברי הבאי לדברי תורה שהיא אילת אהבים ויעלת חן.‏ It is forbidden for a person to bring himself to [sexual] thoughts. If a [sexual] thought comes to his mind, he should divert his heart from profligate and destructive matters to the words of Torah ...


24

I have faced this problem several times - sometimes a holiday and sometimes Shabbat (directly, or not having time to get home). How I handle it depends in part on whether the plans can still be changed, but the broad outline is the same. It goes roughly like this: (Name), I'd really like to be able to attend this event. (Something about why it's important....


22

First look up the sources people quote, so that you know what they're saying inside. Then, when you ask you Rav, tell him I had this question and did some research. This is what I found, what is the practical Halacha? You can tell him where you got the idea about which sources to look up, but at that point it shouldn't matter. You're not telling him that ...


21

I started preparing for conversion in 1999 during my undergraduate years, and finalized it in 2001. The hardest thing for me was to get an understanding of the legitimacy of different threads in Orthodoxy. I had a hard time accepting that Modern Orthodoxy could be legitimate, but eventually embraced what you might call right-wing MO. Finding a rabbi you ...


19

A buffet-style standing meal, or wine-and-cheese mixer, or the like, in the office: Just don't eat. No one will notice, or, if anyone does, you can explain why you're not eating. (Presumably, if you work there for more than a short while, someone will eventually cotton on to the fact that you keep kosher anyway.) (Note: I don't see why it'd be impermissible ...


19

I was in a jury pool on a winter Friday and told the bailiff that I would need to leave early. The judge brought up the issue publicly and said that she would not want me to miss out on such an important privilege because of my religious requirements. She dismissed the entire pool at 3:00. Needless to say, I was highly popular that day.


19

Sit with Jastrow's Aramaic dictionary and Frank's Practical Talmud Dictionary and look up every word and phrase until you start recognising you've looked this up before. This is the way I did it, but unlike every other person I know I enjoy finding words in the dictionary. If you have the opportunity then full-time learning in a Yeshivah would obviously be ...


19

I'm not widely traveled, but I've been to a bunch of different synagogues of all the major flavors, often as one-offs, including C and MO, so I'm answering on the basis of that experience. First visit You can just show up. Many of the factors that affect you are the same between Conservative and Modern Orthodox synagogues. The Conservative synagogue you'...


18

@H'Gabriel provided a lot of good resources. In this answer I'll try to address the conversion issue specifically. The conversion process is involved and long. You will go through the following steps, possibly more than once: Investigation and exploration: beginning to figure out what is attracting you, what alternatives there are (e.g. does being a ...


18

That reminds me of the anecdote from Rabbi Emanuel Feldman's book, Tales Out of Shul. A woman once told him, "Rabbi, I'm really not enjoying this week of mourning." Not everything in life (or Judaism) has to be enjoyable. Nor is it meant to be. At least not in the immediate gratification, self-centered sense of the word. Sometimes your enjoyment should not ...


17

You didn't say which sin you're struggling to avoid. If it's masturbation: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch chapter 151 (available online in English and Hebrew) lists a whole slew of suggestions for avoiding masturbation. My favorite is from Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 151:6: "Be careful not to sleep alone in a room." Mishnah Berurah 239:9 and Sha'ar Ha'tziyun 239:17 ...


16

You are to be commended for taking on a socially-challenging mitzvah. It's not always easy to be Jewish and be seen as different, whether it's through dress, food, or how you spend your Friday nights and Saturdays. With any observance that sets you apart from others, take care in how you talk about it. It's about you, not about them, especially for your ...


16

Like many things in life, this will obviously depend on the specific situation. For example, if the relevant people understand your lifestyle and why you would be sensitive to this issue before it came up would be a very different question than if they are militantly opposed to your zealous bigotry. I had a close relative marry a non-Jew, and I actually ...


15

I am a white male, and I had this happen to me recently, where I met a woman in a business setting who politely told me, "I don't shake hands for religious reasons". I had never heard this before, but it did not faze me in the least. She was polite in every other way that she treated me. No Problem!


15

I just read this super-inspiring post "Jury Duty: A Piece of Kugel". In short, talk to the judge...


15

Not a complete answer, but the first step is to truly learn about Moshiach and the Messianic era. Understanding the fundamentals about why Judaism necessitates a belief in Moshiach in the first place. Yoel Kahan wrote a Sefer (book) explaining why Moshiach and the Resurrection of the Dead are two of the Rambam's 13 principles of faith. Why does he consider ...


15

First things first, You're human. You can't help being attracted to women, Gd made you that way. Only the whens and wheres are your responsibility. Also remember that this area is a very difficult one to conquer, so don't get down on yourself if you fail to climb Everest the first few, or dozen, or hundred times. Getting a warning beforehand helps, so you ...


15

I always heard of people taking off their glasses. I had pretty good vision until recently, and just last week I was able to try that trick, and it actually (somewhat) worked! So for men who have impaired vision, that can be used to their advantage to some extent - blurry women are not as attractive. This isn't practical for all occupations. If you're a ...


14

If you use pornography, see "How do you quit a pornography habit?". Otherwise: Guard Your Eyes puts out a 75-page-long book called The GYE Handbook. It discusses all sorts of ideas in depth. Different ideas from the book will be most useful for different people. It's targeted at pornography users, but it's useful even for people who have never used ...


13

This is awkward, particularly if you have behaved differently in the past (so people who knew you then will be confused by the change). I would not send pre-emptive email; I don't think it will reduce the face-to-face confusion and it risks seeming to make a mountain out of a mole-hill. You're also going to be leaving early on Fridays, not eating the ...


13

If I were staying in a non-frum or non-Jewish home, the foremost thing on my mind (outside of all the more common halachos that you mention) would be the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, and the issur of Chilul Hashem. Remember that you may be an uncommon sight for them, in some cases even the only orthodox Jew they've ever observed up close. As much as we'd like ...


13

I have seen some shuls that actually have people sign a formalized contract not to talk during davening and then post that near the entrance to the shul. I think that whatever the approach, the most successful way would be to get wide-spread buy in from everyone first. Any approach that singles people out, even with halachic basis, will have a hard time ...


13

I once visited the Kemp Mill Synagogue and IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY this was the deal they had made: the congregartion agreed not to talk at all during services, and in return the Rabbi agreed to give his sermon after all the prayers had ended (ie after mussaf), thus allowing for those who did not want to stay for the sermon to leave. The vast majority of ...


13

(This answer has been moved from the comment section and reworded a little bit.) I would recommend going to a Saturday morning service over a Friday evening service for a first time experience. Friday evening is very sweet but short, and you won't really be able to get a good sense of what a service is all about. Plus, you get to see the Torah Reading ...


13

After Sukkos is over (and you don't need them for mitzvah purposes anymore), collect your leftover aravah branches that you used for ד' מינים and הושענות. (You may also want to collect other's branches, because many people just leave their הושענות in shul when they're done with them -- that's another 5 branches per bundle!) Place the branches in ...


13

(1) Compare it to an intellectual pursuit they already know. And (2), show don't tell. I've never had the benefit of full-time learning in yeshiva, but I've participated in some shorter programs that were also more beginner-friendly but no less engaging. Here's (approximately) how I explained the attraction to some non-Jewish friends who are geeks about ...


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