Thoughts on going OTD

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    Burnt Steak

    To the general Orthodox Jewish population,

    I rarely come on this site. Lately I have been thinking a lot about stopping being religious. I don’t really care about the religious part anymore. Too many bad experiences with supposed “Religious” Jewish role models have really turned me off.

    All of these role models were very sure to give off an outward vibe of being religious while at the same time they treated people terribly. It is a major issue when these fake people are placed in roles where they are educators or impact young people.

    As a teen, I could tell that these people were scum. They were in a highly visible position and I was being told to make them my role model by others.

    The Mashgiach that cares more about money than Middos.
    The Av Bait that insults students to wake them up to Shacharit and then uses that same mouth to pray to G-d.
    The Step Father, that happens to be a Rabbi, who Physically and Emotional abused my Mom until I helped her escape to a different city. (Side note: I remember early on in their marriage when my Mom told me to use their relationship as a guide to how to have a relationship with my future spouse. Thanks Mom I’ll do the exact opposite!)

    Compounding this issue is that I am in New York. I work in a role where I speak on the phone with people from all backgrounds. I work in retail and whenever I see a Jewish sounding name from Heimish New York areas I feel a sense of dread. Most of these people are nice, but a large percentage of them are rude and downright nasty. They cause a Chillul Hashem and I know its not fair to judge, but if you represent the Jewish people act like it. I have found New York Jews to have a much higher emphasis on materialistic values and it makes a mockery of the spiritual side. Its a different style of Judaism than what I was raised on and I dislike it. It feels fake.

    Maybe I just need to get out of New York and find a good community to help heal. I still keep shabbos and kosher. I put on tephilin a few times a month. I still try to learn a bit each day. I just don’t care anymore and thats the problem.

    Rant over, just some incite into my mind and to give people an idea of what I feel is a big contributor to young people going OTD, Jews in prominent places with poor Bein Adam Lachavero skills. I don’t know of any fixes, but hopefully my post can help one reader work on those skills and help stop Sinas Chimun which coincidentally is why the 2nd temple was destroyed.

    Peace out,

    Burnt Steak


    May I remind you of your first ever first post:
    I am a highschool kid also and have faced depression (different reasons) what works for me is just talking to Hashem and asking to help me get through it. Also you should just act as yourself you shouldnt care what the other people think of you. For all you know they will like you no matter what. It would be a big mistake to ditch the shabbos, cause you will just regret what could have been. You cant go through life without getting hurt. You should just know that you are a child of Hashem and that you will always have Someone to turn to.

    Beautifully said. Hopefully some wise posters will come forward to give you chizuk.


    Hi Burnt Steak

    I have never posted before, but I felt I must share my thoughts with you.

    I am a normal ‘frum’ guy. I learned in Yeshiva for a few years and am now studying and continuing to learn. I’m not a rabbi nor have I been involved in Kiruv, so I cant offer much specialist advice on the points you raise. However, I have tried to figure out my own approach and understand why being observant and growing in ruchniyos is important, and where I fit in in the Jewish world.

    For many years I made the same observations as you. I looked at many parts of the religious world and struggled to understand how the attitudes and activities where what HaShem wanted. Worse still, like you mentioned, these seemed to result in more chilul Hashem. And certainly one can always find actions of individual supposed ‘role models’ as very problematic, both halachically and morally.

    However, in spite of all that I still know that HaShem created the world and gave us the Torah (a separate but worthwhile investigation). As a result I reflected on all the things about the Jewish world which made me uncomfortable and realised that does not need to define my Judaism. I work to develop my own relationship with HaShem and grow in ruchniyos personally. I have wonderful rebbeim, who understand me and with whom I can discuss all these matters and encourage me along my path. As a result I do not worry about what the latest controversy is with a Rebbe or Rov somewhere else, the latest Kol Koreh, Macho’oh or how other people act in ways which I feel show Klal Yisroel and Judaism in a bad way. I cant control these things, and they do not affect me. I build my relationship with Hashem around what goes on in my life. I daven and learn, and work on my own middos and Hashkafa so my own life will be a Kiddush HaShem, because this is why he put me in this world.

    This is not to say I don’t care about the Jewish world. I have a great circle of friends and am involved in my community. I care deeply about the Jewish issues worldwide (I guess why I read Yeshva World) and strive to be able to overcome my reservations over attitudes to react positively to all people and help where I can.

    Basically, being able to look at the Jewish world and automatically feel warm and fuzzy and connected to HaShem is not possible. HaShem is hidden in this world, and yes unfortunately sometimes even the Jewish world, and it is up to us to find him ourselves and make decisions in our life based on what we know what is right, regardless of what happens around us.

    This approach may also help your stated indifference. Even if its hard to care, surely we still care about our own lives and therefore must consider what we are here for and what is true. With this as a starting point, it would hopefully lead to come to care about Hashem, the torah and Am Yisroel.

    Two more points;
    1. I must mention that your experiences at home are deeply upsetting. I really empathise. But as I have b”H not experienced anything like that, really cannot say more. All I can say is that I’m confident that you will figure life out and build a happy and pleasant home which will be wonderful environment for all who live in it and visit it.

    2. I have acknowledged the fact that there are problematic aspects within the Jewish world. Nevertheless, I want to emphasise that there is so much more goodness. If one looks beyond all the noise there is so much that is impressive and unique to the Jewish world, and so much positive bein odom l’chaveiro that it is clear we are the people of HaShem, even when there is room for improvement.

    I hope my comments help, like I mentioned I don’t have any professional knowledge in how to answer these questions. I just care too much to let you float away from HaShem because of the actions of others.
    I wish you the best of luck in figuring life out, and re-establishing your personal connection with HaShem.

    Reb Eliezer

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Look at others who do good and feel good because they are doing the right thing and if you do good, you will also feel good. People who don’t do good, don’t really feel good. They may look like they feel good, but you do don’t know how they feel in their inside.


    In my opinion, you have a neshama that is so holy, and sensitive to spirituality, that you are physically repulsed by a lacking of kedushah in your enviornment.

    The torah was given to humans and NOT angels, perfection should not be expected because of this.

    Because of your gauge for truth and willingness to not except status quo, you have the rare opportunity to have a real dveikus and not a relationship limited by the materialism of this weak generation.

    I pray that, whether you go OTD or not, you can contribute the positivity that you see missing in Klal-Yisroel and the world.


    Move out of town – far out of town. Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Denver, Memphis. Not Lakewood or Monsey, they’re still basically NYC. New York is a strange and difficult environment for many people (and not just frume yidden). Out of town people in general are much less materialistic, more into bein adam l’chaveiro. When your community is small, there are no disposable people.

    As a friend of mine says, “The Torah is perfect but Jews aren’t.” There are also many fine Yidden in NYC, but the general environment makes it difficult.

    Don’t give up – get out. There’s a whole different Jewish world out there.

    (And yes, maybe I’m stereotyping New Yorkers and making lashon hara on a community, but in this case I think it’s pikuach nefesh for a yiddishe neshama.)

    Eli Y

    I’m Baal Teshuva and studied outside of congregational Judaism for many years. Only 8 years ago did we join a Chabad shul and move into the “shtetl”. The selfishness I’ve seen is staggering for people who are supposedly “frum”. Typically the entire family including children are affected. Luckily the worst of them are about 25%.

    The middle 50% are probably like us–working on conquering our Yetzer Hara with varying degrees of success. We at least recognize and repent of our evil behaviors although we may do them over and over.

    The top 25% have changed their character sufficiently to be called decent folks with the top of these role models. I thank G-d for them.

    I will tell you that you can move wherever you care to and never get away from this unless you care to live like a hermit. Even going OTD will not bring you peace since these behaviors occur throughout humanity.


    `Dear Burnt Steak,
    Let me first start that you have an extremely valid point. I can personally relate to you, at least in yeshivah. I had, to put it mildly, an extremely disappointing experience their with all of the hanhalah. however, I soon came to realize that you cannot judge a religion by its practitioners, rather by its creed. If its creed itself is the one that call for amoral behavior, then you can call it corrupt, if however, the religion in itself is not, rather some of its practitioners are, then it is not an issue with the religion, rather with the population.
    I would strongly encourage for you to learn seforim such as Chovos Hatilmudid and Hachsharas Avreichim, for a glimpse into what the real world of Judaism is all about. It may change your life. I know it did mine.
    Wishing you the best and clarity of mind to make the right decisions.


    Just want to point out another point.
    I think the reason you feel so turned off from Judaism is because you (rightfully so) expect a higher standard from our community.
    The non Jewish world is empirically so much worse in all aspects it does not even come close.
    it’s just that you don’t connect with them and you sort of expect it so your radar does not even pick it up.
    People usually only sense anomalies.
    So its actually a positive sign on the whole that you are so bothered.
    But please don’t become turned off
    Just from a pure logical position, what’s your alternative?
    As another poster wrote
    The Jews may not be perfect but the Torah is


    ” Its a different style of Judaism than what I was raised on and I dislike it. It feels fake.”

    True and again true. So why look on the bad side?
    There are many true role models you can learn from.

    Lets keep it simple, the non-frum world out there is by far NOT better.
    Whatever you are looking for – you will CERTAINLY not find by going elsewhere.
    Truth and Emes Yidishkeit is NOT defined by ones dress-code etc, you need to work on it.

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