LESSONS OF JUDAISM

 

Special Role of the Baal Teshuvah

   Henry Ford wanted unbreakable glass for automobiles but his experts told him that it was impossible.  So, he hired scientists who did not know it was impossible and he got unbreakable glass.

   The mind works in what can be called “mind funnels.”  One’s mind has been trained to think in certain ways .  A can is metal and cylindrical not square and wooden.   Passover traditions must be done as your family did them or it does not seem right.

 

   People’s environments teach them to think certain ways.   Unfortunately, sometimes one group of Jews is taught to think of another group of Jews in a negative light.  When someone comes into the group from the outside they can bring a new attitude.

 

   When I was 7 years old I moved into a new town.  Among the kids there was a terrible “tradition.”  If Phyllis M. touched you, you had “Phyllis M touch.”   You had to touch someone else to pass it on, who had to touch someone else etc. etc.  No one wanted Phyllis M. touch.  This was done in front of poor Phyllis and it was very cruel as only kids can be.  I don’t know how it started but I remember that Phyllis M. was a very sweet girl that never hurt anyone.  When I was 10, a new girl joined our class.  She was mature for her age and when she saw what was going on she immediately befriended Phyllis.   She single handedly put a stop to practice of Phyllis M. touch by her attitude.

 

   It is too easy for the Baal Teshuvah to compare himself to a frum-from-birth, yeshivah educated person and feel inferior.  There is nothing wrong with realizing how much one still has to learn.  However, it is also important for the Baal Teshuvah to know that he also brings things to the shul that the frum-from-birth Jew needs.

 

   In the relatively modern times of the 1960’s, the blood accusation was raised against the Jews of Vilna.  They had murdered a Christian child for blood to make their matzah.  I know a man whose father was working in Vilnius alongside many gentiles at that time.  He asked how they could believe such a horrible thing about him and his people. They explained that these attitudes about the Jews were something they received with their mother’s milk.  It was part of how they were raised.

 

   It is not that people are bad.  It is just that it is hard to break away from the attitudes they are raised with. There is a list of actions “the fruits of which man enjoys in this world, while the reward remains in the World to Come1.  One of these is bringing peace between man and his fellowman.

 

   The Baal Teshuvah can bring a better attitude to his shul because he has not grown up with the old prejudices.  He is just looking for G-d.  Because of this he may be suited to be like Moses’ brother Aaron, a peacemaker. 

1. Shabbat 127a

 

TOPICS

 

Growth

Equilibrium

Find a Good Teacher

Judaism, A Religion of New Beginnings

Knowledge and Wisdom

Never Give Up

Our Greatest Teacher

Progress

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Truth; Our Most Powerful Tool

Value of Routine

Relationship: To G-d

Dishonoring Torah

Feeling Close to G-d

G-d Wants the Heart

Incomplete Offering

Time Spent

Whole and Willing

 

 

Prayer

Answers to Prayer

G-d Will Answer Your Prayers

Most Effective Prayer Offered

Purpose of Prayer

Why Prayer Services Aren’t More Entertaining

Role of The Jewish People

(Purpose of Creation)

Eternal Life

Everything is Connected

G-d’s Hidden Presence

Key to Success

My Part

Our Actions Change the World

Revealing the Concealed

Why the Animal Soul Controls the Body

 

 

Relationship: To Another Jew

Harbor No Enmity

Practicing Forgiveness

Spouses

Who Are your Victims?

The Soul’s Mission

Just Right

Leaving a Mark on the World

Perfect Family

Perspective

Repair Your Part

 

 

Relationship: To Community

Charity Given With Joy

Love Every Jew

Mitzvah of Giving Up

Single Entity

Special Role of the Baal Teshuvah

Unity From Acceptance

Whole Story

Trust and Faith

Choices

Choosing for a Purpose

Don’t Put G-d in a Box

Faith

Stick With G-d

 

 

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