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Important Moments In Becoming A Ba’al Teshuvah (Part I)

You don’t become a ba’al teshuvah overnight. There were many events in my life that contributed to the deepening of my religious commitment, including a party I attended with young, beautiful church members who tried to make me one of them, and how I met their “Jewish priest.” (I’ll discuss both experiences during the course of this continuing column.)

So Different Yet Similar

Music played loudly while the men danced. On the women’s side of the mechitzah, we tried to speak over the sounds. I leaned over the table to hear what my co-worker’s wife was saying.

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Two: Golda

Tevye took the shovel and started to dig. The earth was hard, but after breaking through the frozen topsoil, the ground became looser below. Whoever would have dreamed of Tevye digging up his Golda?

Leaving The ‘Zero’ Life Behind

I had watched my biological clock ticking away and now I wished I could live my life over again, establish a Torah home and create a family. I decided to write to you, Rebbetzin Jungreis in the hope that you’ll publish this so that others can learn from my experience and leave behind empty relationships, go under the chuppah, and live purposeful lives.

Being Enmeshed: Insights Into Concurrently Holding On And Letting Go

I once heard a story about a single man struggling to find a spouse. His main challenge was his insistence that a potential mate permanently welcome his widowed mother into their marital home. A friend suggested that he speak with the great authority, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l. The man shared with the Rav his delicate predicament. The Rav validated the man’s approach as acceptable. Sometime later, the man met his bashert, the special woman willing to live with his mom. They returned to Rav Shlomo Zalman for his blessing. Surprisingly, the Rav called the man aside and told him that they cannot live with his mother anymore. The young man was shocked. After all, on the previous visit, the Rav had supported his desire to find a woman who would accept their living with his mother.

Two Magic Words

Last week I mentioned that I’d received numerous reader responses to my series of columns detailing my experiences in a San Diego hospital following surgery for a broken hip. I shared one such note with you last week. Here is another.

Showing Respect Gets Results

Dear Dr. Respler: At the recent wedding of my best friend’s son, I arrived for the chuppah early so as to secure a seat close to the front and by the aisle. I didn’t want to miss anything.

Gila Manolson: A Response to Yitta Halberstam’s Plea to Mothers of Girls in Shidduchim

Don't worry, Yitta, I'm not going to crucify you, as you feared. I actually agreed with the gist of your article, which was obviously heartfelt and well-intended. I just want to point out where you crossed a line...

Marriage

What's more important - love or money? Let's hear what a 90-year-old woman sitting in front of two elevators in a nursing home had to say. I asked her, "If both elevator doors opened at the same time, and out of one came the richest man in the world, and out of the other came the nicest man in the world, who would you want to marry?" She thought about it for a good while and then answered, "Both of them."

Et Le’Ehov: The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy

For most physicians specializing in the treatment of infertility, the subject of sexuality - and especially the "how to’s" of sex - are rarely a subject of concern.

Are Women Obligated To Hear Parshas Zachor?

The Sefer HaChinuch states in mitzvah 603 that women are exempt from the mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to us. He explains that this is because it is not upon women to wage war against and avenge the enemy.

Shidduch Challenges: Nothing Has Changed

We have myriad matchmaking programs all over the world, from word of mouth to computerized, from well-intentioned individuals and professional shadchanim to singles organizations.

Zaslavsky’s Jews

Jewish artists do the darndest things. The Chassidic Art Institute, expertly directed by Zev Markowitz, is currently showing the works of Venyamin Zaslavsky, a Ukrainian Jewish artist who has devoted the last 20 years to depictions of pious Jewish life in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Too Many Degrees Of Separation

In my previous column I mentioned that a matchmaking initiative called the NASI Project was generating an avalanche of discussions, debates and disagreements regarding its value in effectively dealing with what is referred to in Orthodox communities as the shidduch crisis.

A Chuppah Tale

Are there any coincidences? I don't believe so. Everything that happens is preordained by Hashem.

The Golden Slippers

The long awaited wedding of her son was the highlight of Faiga's (all names used here are fictitious) life. A widow, she had never given up hope that she would one day walk her son down the aisle to his chuppah. With a mixture of fear over the long flight ahead and joy at the upcoming simcha, she boarded the plane. She had never undertaken such a long journey, but nothing could have held her back.

Little Things That Can Make A Big Difference

We live in a very chaotic world. If we stop to consider what is happening around us - all the things that are out of our control - it can be frustrating and frightening, so most of us try to bypass these situations by pretending we do not see them.

Two Mothers Celebrate

For many years now our Hineni organization has been privileged to hold High Holy Day services in Manhattan. We rent one of the hotels in the heart of the city and transform the ballroom into a magnificent shul. Our davening is always exhilarating. The sanctity of the day totally envelops us. The prayers just soar and everyone is spiritually elevated.

Respecting A Parallel Reality

It goes without saying that the process of getting set up on marriage-oriented dates, going out several times and eventually making the decision that "this is the one" is emotionally and even physically taxing. However, as hard as getting to the chuppah may be - being happily and successfully married is even more difficult and challenging. Two diverse individuals with distinctive mindsets, shaped by their unique experiences from the minute they were born, must suddenly mesh their way of looking at things and their way of reacting to them.

A Nation’s Loss

While Shylock, in Shakespeare's play, might have used the plural as a rhetorical device, his words speak to a greater truth about community and nation. When we look at a country and wonder why it behaves in the way it does - with charity, belligerence, etc. - we are seeing an entity functioning as an individual might, often driven by the same emotions, ethics and sense of justice.

The Eighth Commandment

Lo Signov - You Shall Not Steal. On the surface, it sounds quite uncomplicated. (Aren't even young children taught not to help themselves to something - anything - that is not theirs?) If we are honest with ourselves, however, we'd have to agree the myriad ways this commandment is breached render it less straightforward than the two simple words might at first glance imply.

A Downpour Of Blessings

There are many things in our lives for which we pray to Hashem. These include health, shalom bayit, nachat from our children, and parnassah. In Israel, we have been praying for rain for a while. Israel has been suffering from a dearth of rainfall for a number of years. The waterline in the Kinneret is visibly dropping, and the government has been scrambling for ways to conserve our dwindling water supply.

Purim And Yom Kippur: An Odd Couple?

On their face, there could not be two more unlikely holidays to wed than Yom Kippur and Purim. Even the youngest child knows that Purim is a holiday meant for fun and celebration, for costumes and parties. Yom Kippur, on the other hand, is the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, calling on us engage in deep, somber introspection as we search for forgiveness and atonement. How different they are!

The Lament Of The Unborn Children

I wrote a version of the poem below many years ago, before the term "shidduch crisis" came into vogue.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/important-moments-in-becoming-a-baal-teshuvah-part-i/2012/07/05/

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