web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Tasting the “Heat” of the Torah


Heat-Peppers-110411

As a Baal Teshuva who discovered the “emes” about eight years ago, I am often asked by my FFB friends in my very FFB neighborhood to describe what inspired my wife and I to take the plunge and more specifically, what it feels like to lead a Torah observant life after so many years of living on the “other side.”  After enlightening them with our story, which I must admit never seems that awe inspiring to me, I can almost always predict where the conversation will go from there.  “You are so fortunate” is usually how the next sentence begins followed by something along the lines of  “I can never feel what you feel” or “Having grown up this way we just do what we do because that is what we were taught.”  On cue, I feebly attempt to describe the feelings I have when I daven, learn, celebrate Shabbosim or Yomim Tovim, or take our children to yeshiva.  I use words like “inspired,” “true happiness” or “fills a void” yet in each instance I feel like I failed to appropriately and adequately capture the true essence of what it feels like to be a novice at Torah observance.

I am always struck by the irony of this exchange.  After all, I would give anything to have been brought up frum from birth!  The thought of never having to ask, “What page are we on” during davening or learning, or have my best friend translate a yeshivish colloquialism during the rabbi’s shiur would be shamayim on earth.  Yet those who can easily answer these questions somehow envy my position, since I am able to feel something they simply cannot.

This past Shabbos I finally had the chance to help my friends experience the sensation I feel in regards to yiddishkeit.  I will admit that it occurred, at first, inadvertently, but it played out like a charm…

Like many communities in the frum world, ours is passionate about food, and specifically, a tasty post-Shabbos morning davening kiddush.  In the rare instance when our shul does not have a community simcha kiddush planned, a few of us rotate hosting a kiddush in our homes. What began as a few men getting together for chulent and a l’chaim has, baruch Hashem, blossomed.

One of my weaknesses, or perhaps it is a strength, is my appetite and passion for extremely spicy foods.  So much so, in fact, that I dedicated almost an entire garden this summer to growing jalapeno and habanero peppers.  Most are familiar with the green jalapeno and the punch it packs when added to salads, sauces, or served on top of nachos and cheese.  Well the habanero is the stronger, meaner and much more intimidating “big brother” to the jalapeno.  In fact the habanero packs 10 times the heat level of the garden variety jalapeno…with just a morsel of this pepper causing even the most experienced “hot foodie” to recoil.   I have found that a tiny slice of habanero adds an incredible edible kick to a chulent and decided to share my discovery with my chevra last Shabbos.

Almost lost on the large table of cakes, kugels, herrings and bowls of chulent was the small plate of finely chopped bright orange habanero peppers, courtesy of yours truly.  In response to the many, “hey, what are those” questions I received, I let my friends know what was on the plate, where they came from and attempted to describe the powerful punch they pack when added in miniscule doses to the chulent.  I stood back as the initial daring few took a small pinch and added them to their plates.  The even more courageous, despite my warning, popped a small portion directly onto their tongues!  Slowly but surely the plate of peppers disappeared, and the shock induced tears increased.  Yes, my friends were experiencing a “sensation” they never experienced before.

About the Author: David Gruber lives in Wesley Hills with his wife and three children. He can be reached at magazine@jewishpress.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tasting the “Heat” of the Torah”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range.
Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself Muslim-Free Zone’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Ba’al Shem Tov: “Hashem, too, is crying; as much as He is looking for us, we rarely look for Him.”

Rabbi Sacks

When we cry from the heart, someone listens; When we cry on Yom Kippur, God hears us.

Duxvielfalt_2011

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

More Articles from David Gruber
Heat-Peppers-110411

As a Baal Teshuva who discovered the “emes” about eight years ago, I am often asked by my FFB friends in my very FFB neighborhood to describe what inspired my wife and I to take the plunge and more specifically, what it feels like to lead a Torah observant life after so many years of living on the “other side.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/judaism-101/tasting-the-heat-of-the-torah/2011/11/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: