web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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
Part of the Gush Etzion fence near Jerusalem
Cabinet to Vote Sunday on Cutting Gush Etzion Off from Jerusalem
Latest Judaism Stories
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

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

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

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: