BT vs FFB

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  • #1510301

    Me12345
    Participant

    Who has it easier, a “Baal tshuva” or a “frum from birth”?

    #1510356

    MRS PLONY
    Participant

    No one has it easy.

    #1510405

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    How could anyone say BT’s have it easier?

    #1510377

    jakob
    Participant

    Who do you think? Use your common sense someone who spent his years since birth being raised in Yiddishkeit or a BT who squashes it all into one year coming back to Torah.

    #1510409

    DovidBT
    Participant

    Who has it easier, a “Baal tshuva” or a “frum from birth”?

    What is “it”?

    #1510413

    Joseph
    Participant

    What does “easier” mean, here?

    #1510431

    Me12345
    Participant

    To clarify easier can also mean less hard. And I’m referring to yiddishkeit. I think that it’s a very valid question. A FFB isn’t trying to cram everything in because he was brought up with it and BT is. A BT has the freshness to everything he learns and a FFB has to deal with complacency

    #1510468

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    FFB

    A BT has to deal with issues an FFB cannot understand. Can you imagine not being able to eat your Mom’s cooking especially if she slaved over the stove for you to make it?

    #1510597

    Avi K
    Participant

    Jakob, it is not advisable to “squash it all” into one year especially if he is coming from zero (many BTs actually come from traditional homes of varying degrees). It is too fast a change and he may leave as quickly as he entered.

    ZD, if there is good will on the mother’s side and a rav who knows all the lenient opinions and is willing to use them in the right situations it can be worked out.

    #1510603

    LAmother
    Participant

    Why was this question asked? Who has it easier a man or a woman? A tall person or a short person? Being BT many years it’s awesome there’s challenges like everything in life but the biggest compliment is when someone thinks I’m FFB. That means I am “home”.

    #1510607

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Avi K

    That was a simple one, I know of even a worse one, I know of a BT whose brother was getting married to a Non-Jew. her mother told her to attend the wedding (And be a part of the Wedding party) or else she would be cut off (This person needed her mothers help alot financially so this was not an idle threat, it was serious), Her mother never really liked her religious choices or the husband she married, so it was not something she could easily dismiss especially since she really needed the financial help

    #1510615

    laskern
    Participant

    Why are we relitigating the gemora, Berochos 34,2, who is greater?

    #1510632

    mik5
    Participant

    If we are talking about a BT whose parents or family are hostile to religion, then obviously that is a challenge. For example, as mentioned by zahavasdad, not being able to eat what your parents cooked, or being asked to do things on Shabbos that are forbidden, or being asked to attend an intermarriage r”l. Abandoning your whole way of life is obviously something that is not easy.

    On the other hand, FFBs could sort of take things for granted and may lack a certain degree of excitement that comes with doing something new. For example, repeating the same prayers 3 times a day your whole life – whereas for a BT, at least initially, davening is something new and exciting.

    #1510642

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    no q bt had way harder. R-e-s-p-e-c-t

    #1510649

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Iaskern; Maybe because in the Gemara it’s a machlokes and since it’s not halacha lemaaseh we don’t pasken one way or the other even though we usually just hear one of the shitahs quoted.

    #1510815

    Avi K
    Participant

    ZD, if we are talking about a Torah prohibition then she has to refuse. If it is a rabbinic prohibition there might be room for leniency unless there is a feeling that the mother will constantly use this. A long-term solution would be for her and her husbands to get (please excuse the language) jobs. They should also get counseling regarding living within their means.

    #1510860

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    Avi K,

    Have you ever received any help from your parents or others? If so, then get off your haughty perch. Nothing in zahavasdad’s story indicates that the husband and wife are not working. Financial independence is important, but nobody starts out financially independent, and you cannot simply flip a switch to get it. It takes hard work and time.

    #1510868

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Avi K

    They are not a Kollel Couple, actually there is a disability issue there which has severely hurt their financial opportunities

    #1510867

    TGIShabbos
    Participant

    I am an FFB. When I was in Yeshiva way-back-when there were many BTs. Many of the BTs were friends of mine and really enjoyable to be around, however I don’t think I 100% understand all of their ways. I coined the term “more religious than thou”. Many shidduch offerings were not ‘religious enough’ for them, but were somehow suitable for other FFB yeshivish guys who became engaged. Disposing ALL of their colored dress shirts (I didn’t need to go shopping those years). Not wanting to EVER return back to their non-religious home, although they said their parents were respectful and accommodating- dismissing the option of purchasing their own frozen meals and walking to their nearby Chabad on Shabbos. —- Sadly 10 years later, (according to social media) many of these men are no longer religious at all as the pictures reveal bar pictures on Friday nights, no yarmulka, way of dress, type of men/women they hung out with, treif restaurants, etc.

    Concluding, life can be very hard for a BT if they don’t maintain reasonable accommodations for themselves and appropriate goals & expectations, as I’ve seen it becomes an “All or nothing” 5-10 years later. No one is going to become the Chofetz Chaim overnight, regardless if one is a BT or FFB. Better to wear the blue dress shirts on Tuesday than to expect to know all of Shas by the summer. Thus, I believe FFB has IT easier than a BT.

    #1510920

    laskern
    Participant

    See the Rambam Hilchas Teshuva 7:4

    #1510940

    Eli Y
    Participant

    Lask: Why are we relitigating the gemora, Berochos 34,2, who is greater?

    I am under the impression that the argument put forth in the Gemara was between 2 Tzaddikim–1 who was FFB and 1 who was BT. In the case of the two Tzaddikim, the BT stands in a place the FFB cannot.

    The current discussion is clearly not referring to Tzaddikim but merely to the overall quality of life of the individual. At least that’s my judgment.

    If I am mistaken about the Gemara, please correct me–I view you as a teacher.

    #1510961

    laskern
    Participant

    I referred to the Rambam above whose view is the BT is greater because he tasted the taste of sin which makes it very hard to refrain from. If someone is sinking into quicksand it is very hard to get pulled out. Many times he has to hit rock bottom to realize that what he is doing is wrong.

    #1510970

    laskern
    Participant

    EY, Sorry I think you are making a mistake Rabbi Avihu was very great in his own right no indication that he was a BT.

    #1510989

    Me12345
    Participant

    One of the hardest things to overcome is complacency. A FFB has to deal with complacency while a BT doesn’t.
    The rule is that balei tshuva never fully adapt (there are exceptions) Any BT that’s looking to be an FFB is gonna be missing out on yeshiva years which is where the FFBs pick up hashkafa and all the small things about being mainstream (don’t wear white socks with dress shoes…)

    #1510990

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    First of all many FFB’S deal with BT problems. My parents are BT and so I deal with things with my cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunts. My children will also have these issues, so do people who do kiruv, so do anyone that makes friends with a BT can secondhandedly issue with things like how to explain things.

    In addition anyone who has a neighbor or friend who is on another plane of yiddishkeit may also deal with the same things. If your co-workers are sefardi and get upset when you can’t eat their food, or a neighbor decides to marry someone of the same gender…etc.

    BT’s do NOT have a monopoly on these different situations.

    Also many FFB’s grow up living a frum lifestyle and not a frum life, it’s all external.
    I don’t really think any of us have this life thing any easier.
    On some level, if you really think about it, it’s easy to be frum. If you act a certain way, talk a certain way, wear certain clothes and pretend to be a part of this world you gain friends, community, a spouse that is loyal, a family and so much more.

    Sure, no one is promising you all of these things, but in the secular world people have no morals and backstab each other left and right, cheat on their spouses, and much worse. Yes these issues have come to frum society to a degree, but it is all against the Torah and we all know that, we all know of this rule book, and it’s rules, and these issues are MUCH LESS rampant than in the rest of society.

    No one has it easy.
    Life isn’t supposed to be easy anyway.

    #1511009

    Avi K
    Participant

    TGI, Rambam in fact says that if one exaggerates a certain characteristic one should go to the other extreme temporarily. In fact, Shidduchim and Zivugim advises new BTs to wait until they become comfortable in a derech.

    Shopping, why can’t you eat their food? I think that you should have a conversation with a rav who can explain to you that there is only one Jewish people as well as the fact that b’diavad is also a b’diavad situation, the exceptions where people will become angry, etc.

    #1511024

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    TGIShabbos,

    “Many shidduch offerings were not ‘religious enough’ for them, but were somehow suitable for other FFB yeshivish guys who became engaged. Disposing ALL of their colored dress shirts (I didn’t need to go shopping those years). Not wanting to EVER return back to their non-religious home, although they said their parents were respectful and accommodating- “

    It’s possible that these behaviors were expressions of religious fervor, but more likely they came from a place of immaturity. Turning down shidduchim could indicate a fear of commitment, for example, and the rejection of their parents despite accommodation could have simply been teenage rebelliousness. Building a healthy frum lifestyle requires a solid foundation: faith in Hashem and recognition of the Torah as truth, a clear plan for spiritual and religious growth, and a rabbi as a mentor and posek.

    #1511030

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    Shopping613,

    I completely agree with you that there is no way for anyone to know another person’s cheshbonos and challenges, regardless of background. I must point out, however, that there is no comparison between cousins, uncles and nephews, or even grandparents and grandchildren, to parents and children. Everyone will have to refuse or explain something awkward to his non-frum relative or neighbor at some point, but that is very different from a son, anguished but knowing it must be done, having to comfort his weeping mother who realizes that he cannot come to her home for Pesach sedarim anymore.

    #1511282

    TGIShabbos
    Participant

    Avram in MD, that’s an interesting perspective I’ve never thought of. I’ve bugged my wife for a while with my question over why many BTs try to shoot up to an unreasonable point, then many fall to eating a cheeseburger in a bar on a Friday night 7 years later. Immaturity and timing very well might be part of the “bad” formula why this occurs more often than we all think. Immaturity without the added support of frum parents/siblings makes it all the more so challenging and lonely.

    A pet peeve of mine was all the vast amount of sefarim these bochurim bought and kept by their “makom” in the Beis Medrash. I always thought that 5 or 6 sidurim were a little extreme (and we aren’t even including machzorim for the yomim tovim). Better to have 1 solid siddur and use it today and in 10 years, than 6 sidurim and using 0 later one.

    {I don’t mean to generalize all BTs, as many are frum and wonderful for many years to come}

    #1511530

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    @avi K. I did ask a Rav at the time, and for that specific person I was able to mekeil, but there was other people in the area who were also involved and I was not allowed to eat their food. Even if someone gets insulted there’s a limit to be mekeil, let’s say the situation was with co-workers who claim to keep kashrut, you have no idea to what degree, how well they keep things seperate or what hechshers they use.

    @Avram, there’s plenty of crying citations too. Between brothers and sisters and families who have more frum or less frum family. There are also faily members who may have been born FFB’s like you but are not religous anymore etc…

    #1511681

    Avi K
    Participant

    Shopping, what does “co-workers who claim to keep kashrut, you have no idea to what degree, how well they keep things seperate or what hechshers they use” have to do with being Sephardi? As for hechshers, if it is an Orthodox hechsher not relying on it is only a chumra. There is an opinion, in fact, that someone who does not rely on Chazal’s heterim (e.g. ed echad ne’eman b’issurim) is a heretic as he disagrees with Chazal (Pitchei Teshuva YD 116:10 in the name of Sulam l’Mincha Klal 76 DIn 8).

    #1511682

    MRS PLONY
    Participant

    ZD, oh my gosh, that’s TERRIBLE about the BT lady whose mother blackmailed her into participating in her brother’s mixed-marriage wedding. That poor woman! Can you tell us what happened in the end?

    I need to get this off my chest: People who do kiruv, formally or informally, have a responsibility to promote independence of BT’s. If you have your little coterie of people whom you’ve ‘made frum’, but you keep them under your exclusive influence then you’re doing them a real disservice. Let them see how other observant people manage a Shabbos table or Pesach Seder; let them try a different shul or a different community. If you claim that you’re ‘just like family’ for ‘your’ BT’s, then you should be committed to caring for them (and their descendants) in perpetuity – not just that you’ll get all the honor and glamour of walking them to the chuppah and being invited to siyums, etc., but be ready to support them (financially, not just emotionally) if their families reject them or if they have other emergencies.

    I’m not addressing anybody personally on this thread, I’m just speaking in general.

    #1511815

    screwdriverdelight
    Participant

    Mrs. Plony,

    I need to get this off my chest: People who do kiruv, formally or informally, have a responsibility to promote independence of BT’s. If you have your little coterie of people whom you’ve ‘made frum’, but you keep them under your exclusive influence then you’re doing them a real disservice. Let them see how other observant people manage a Shabbos table or Pesach Seder; let them try a different shul or a different community.

    If you claim that you’re ‘just like family’ for ‘your’ BT’s, then you should be committed to caring for them (and their descendants) in perpetuity – not just that you’ll get all the honor and glamour of walking them to the chuppah and being invited to siyums, etc., but be ready to support them (financially, not just emotionally) if their families reject them or if they have other emergencies.

    What do the 2 things have to do with each other?

    #1511872

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    but be ready to support them (financially, not just emotionally)

    I think it’s ridiculous to say that if someone is mekarev someone, they then have to support them financially.

    #1511782

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The woman went to the Wedding. The mother is no longer living but she did get some sort of inheritance. She has some sort of relationship with her brother and (Non-Jewish Nieces and Nephews (I dont know exactly what they are, She has no children of her own)) She needs the relationship with her brother , probably more than the brother needs her

    #1511929

    Chaim Eliezer
    Participant

    All too many FFBs lead their lives along the path of least resistance. They were raised frum and stay on the derech mostly by inertia. When uprooted from their friends and family, many decide the path of least resistance isn’t the derech of Torah. Look at what happened to East European Jews coming to America, or having their lives turned inside out by the first World War. R’ Aharon Kotler, R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky and R’ MM Schneersohn had one thing in common. Of all their brothers and sisters, they were the only ones to remain shomer Shabbos.

    On the other hand, BTs find that the z’chus of teshuva gets amortized over the years, so eventually they feel very much like a stam Yid. They may still have a strong sense of bechira, but it’s very hard to transmit it to their children.

    In the future it will be very easy to tell BTs from FFBs by their tattoos.

    #1511991

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I think it’s ridiculous to say that if someone is mekarev someone, they then have to support them financially.

    I have actually seen quite a few people advocate this, which of course is nonsense, but there is a valid point there , if you are going to makerev someone you need to be aware of damages you might cause in their life, Not all BT stories have happy endings and make them aware of these damages and see if they are willing to accept them

    #1511984

    TGIShabbos
    Participant

    Chaim Eliezer, regarding the E. European Jews who came to this country during the turn of the last century- you are right that many gave up the fundamentals like shabbos and kosher, however I’d like to wonder how involved they were in Europe with their Yidishkeit. There is nothing wrong with a healthy balance of culture, arts, etc—- but for far too many Jews, the arts and theater became the Ikkur of their lives, not the side dish. We still see the stubbornness today in 2018 with non-observant obituaries where the deceased requests all charities go to the city’s art or music museum and NOT the yeshiva, day-school, or synagogues, or even the local JCC. Reform and Conservative Synagogues can’t be surprised why their funding is becoming limited, when many of their deceased members request donations be sent to the arts.

    So from cradle to grave those types of E. European Jews were more involved with culture and arts than with Jewish involvement- can we really consider them FFB?! —- Most likely I’d consider their children BTs (if THEY choose the privilege of becoming frum)

    #1512060

    DovidBT
    Participant

    I think it’s ridiculous to say that if someone is mekarev someone, they then have to support them financially.

    I think the point was that you have to provide the person with the tools needed to finish the job without your assistance, unless you’re planning on being a permanent mentor.

    An analogy would be teaching someone to drive a car, but omitting some details, such as how to turn on the headlights when it gets dark, or how to make left turns.

    On the other hand, BTs find that the z’chus of teshuva gets amortized over the years, so eventually they feel very much like a stam Yid. They may still have a strong sense of bechira, but it’s very hard to transmit it to their children.

    I’ve read that paragraph several times, but can’t quite figure out what it means.

    #1512072

    Avi K
    Participant

    CE, for most just coming to America was a rebellion against rabbinic authority. Some were already radicals in Russia, which is why they came. In fcat, Trotsky lived in The Bronx for almost three months and wrote articles for the Forverts (now the Forward).

    ZD, it’s good that she has some relationship with them. There are those who say that according to Kabbala there is a special inyan to bring back non-Jewish descendants of Jews.

    TGI, I heard that it is good for a BT get to where he feels that he is an ordinary Jew, that is someone who is comfortable in the Orthodox community rather than someone who feels like an ignorant stranger.

    #1512096

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    @avi K. Sephardi have different minhagim and I am advised not to eat certain things from them.
    In Israel I’m talking about people who ae Dati Leumi or Mizrachi, or people who look yeshivish, that you don’t know enough to know what is going on in their kitchen. For example if a Dati Leumi co-worker brings in something she made, I don’t know if she only uses Mehadrin, many people here use rabbanut. Should I sit with her and go through a list of the hescherim she eats?

    Especially when it comes to Pesach many rabbanim pasken that rabbanut food is 100 percent chometz and cannot be used. It’s problematic.

    #1512101

    Me12345
    Participant

    BTs are more intense about yiddishkeit then FFBs and there is no way I can think of to get them to recognize that people around them don’t act the same way. Most FFBs aren’t so shtark in everything and they pick which areas to be lenient on. A BT can’t understand such a thing because it’s all or nothing in their eyes. I’m not saying that a BT shldnt be makpid on some things for the sake of blending in but they need to understand that to be like everyone else in the community they need to BE like everyone in the community it they will feel like an outsider.

    #1512487

    MRS PLONY
    Participant

    Screwdriver Delight, sometimes people do kiruv because they want to control ‘their’ BT’s. If you honestly want more Jews to keep the mitzvos and live a Torah lifestyle, then it shouldn’t be about you; therefore BT’s should be encouraged to build a network of their own, and not ‘belong’ to one particular kiruv family.

    Daas Yochid, my point is that if a kiruv-er promises a potential BT “Oh, don’t worry, if your family can’t accept your new lifestyle, then we’ll be your family”, then that’s a HUGE responsibility. The kiruv-er might only be thinking of the emotional factor, but real family goes beyond that.

    ZD, that’s sad, but thank you for sharing the rest of the story.

    DovidBT, thanks for the analogy.

    #1513188

    Midwest2
    Participant

    TGI –

    The majority of the Jews who came to the US before WWII came because they were poor and/or their lives were at risk. They left their homes in many cases because they couldn’t feed their families, or because the pogromchiks were destroying their communities. They weren’t involved with the arts – they didn’t have the time or money. Many of them tried to stay shomer Shabbos, but in the days of the 6-day work-week many couldn’t face the challenge of being told, “If you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t come in on Monday.” Nowadays we have all sorts of legal protections that didn’t exist then. Can any of us claim with confidence that we would stand up to the nisyonos any better than they did?

    We are a spoiled generation, and I don’t mean materially. We can argue in the CR about wearing your peyos out in the office, when fifty years ago it was difficult to find a professional job where you could keep Shabbos. We have no idea of the dedication our grandparents had to have to stay Shomer Shabbos as new immigrants to the US.

    #1513206

    Joseph
    Participant

    The Jews who came to America before WWII had a far far higher OTD rate than the Jews who remained in Europe.

    #1513251

    Avi K
    Participant

    Not true, Joseph. In Germany intermarriage was so high that demographers say that the Jews would have disappeared even without the Nazis. Reform had already made inroads into Poland and many Jews joined the Bund and the Polish Communist Party. In fact, the reason why the Chofetz Chaim and Imrei Emmet supported Bet Yaacov was the fact that Jewish girls were going OTD because there was no alternative to Polish public schools that pushed Polonization.

    #1513259

    Joseph
    Participant

    Avi, Germany was the worst place ruchniyos-wise in Europe for Jews. But despite all the points you mentioned, prewar America was much worse than virtually any place in Europe. For a frum European Jew to move to America before WWII, there was an undeniably large risk that they — or more likely their children and/or grandchildren –would r”l become OTD; much more likely than in Europe.

    #1513275

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    America was worse because most of the Rabbanim refused to go there even thought New York City was the largest jewish community in the world in 1900 , over double any other place.

    Things would have been different if Beis Yaakov’s and other Yeshivas would have really been pushed in the teens and 1920’s. At that time the largest “Yeshiva” was JTS and it almost failed and tried to merge with REITS because it was barely surviving

    Yeah I know Yeshiva of Brooklyn and Torah Vodass are also pre-world war II, but much more was needed and even earlier places would have helped alot. Torah Vodass would have been even greater had it formed about 25 years earlier

    #1513269

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    @me12345, in Judiasm you don’t get to pick areas to be lenient on.

    #1513470

    Avi K
    Participant

    Shopping, your rav does. Very often there is a conflict between two halachot and the rav must decide which takes precedence. There are also shaat hadahak, hefsed meruba, etc.

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