Time For Truth: Why Won't You Date A Ba'alas Teshuva?

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    phrum: What I am looking for in a shidduch is a personal question and I don’t feel that this public forum is an appropriate way to discuss it. I have seen in all communities that there are different fears and prejudices against ba’alei teshuva. I have also seen in all communities that there are people who respect ba’alei teshuva. The shadchanim, unfortunately, don’t always suggest my name to a boy because they assume that his parents wouldn’t go for it. Many shadchanim have these prejudices themselves and do not advocate for ba’alei teshuva in the same way as they do for FFBs. They encourage us to settle and tell us to be realistic because no boy like what we are looking for would want to go out with a ba’alas teshuva unless something was wrong with him physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, mentally, etc.

    Tzvi Hirsh: Many of my friends unfortunately have unhappy family situations but there are many of us who have very supportive families. This could be revealed with proper checking. Either way, is a boy marrying the girl for her or for her parents? Would he really say no to his bashert because her parents were too difficult?

    msseeker: You mistakenly think that anyone who wasn’t raised frum was an immoral person… I am not interested in anyone who is or was immoral. I am happy to date BTs or FFBs who are and always have been moral people. I see no hypocrisy there.

    tzippi: B”H I don’t know anything about needles. I’ve never taken any drugs besides prescribed antibiotics.

    real-brisker: Just like people from any group, there are different types of ba’alei teshuva and ba’alei teshuva can end up integrating into various frum circles across the spectrum. Being a BT doesn’t automatically mean that the hashkafa is different from an FFB, it just depends which community they identify with–a BT has a unique opportunity to be exposed to every type out there and choose to become part of the community that they feel is best for them.

    Poster: Amen! Thank you very much!


    msseeker, maybe I can spare our OP the trouble, but you’re mixing apples and oranges. Someone who’s always been on the straight and narrow just may not get on with someone who’s needed some breathing room, or done whatever. I don’t see any consistency. Now as time goes on in shidduchim, sometimes people need to think outside the box and be receptive to some things they weren’t. I don’t think it’s time yet…


    Yes, people stereotype. For all of the concerns people wrote – even if they do not apply to you. Shidduchim run on stereotypes. Lists. Numbers. Labels. It keeps the process somewhat efficient; in a world with lists and lists of eligible young people we need to have some sort of sorting process.

    And yes, that means that some eligible people will lose out because of the system. But a system we need. Be nice if it was better. But it ain’t.

    As you agree, there are valid concerns with a Baal Teshuvah; true, checking could eliminate many of them (though not all). But is it reasonable to expect every mom to check every single girl thoroughly? Obviously, there has to be something to start with; and that’s going to be based on labels and stereotypes. And labels are helpful, even if they aren’t perfect.

    Yes, you’re getting a raw deal from the system. Unfortunately , you are not it’s only victim. So are boys who didn’t go to Lakewood, girl’s who’s dream sem already took two girls from her city, a child of divorced parents, and anybody who’s name sounds funny. It’s another challenge of being a Baalas Teshuvah; sounds like you’ve had others and beat those.

    Be stubborn. Keep pushing. It only takes one. Yes, and you may have “pay” for your stereotype for someone’s else stereotype, and you’ll cancel each other out.

    I was once asked by a girl from an excellent sem & family – she was redt to a boy from …an excellent yeshiva…and heard the finest things about him from his Roshey Yeshiva etc.. She was all set, until her brother vetoed it. Apparently he hadn’t davened with a minyan for two years.

    She was very hurt; – she could have been a victim of the system, too! – who, she wanted to know, who, ended up marrying these fakers?

    “The chashuveh prutzas in your chashuvah sem” I answered. She was happy. Fakers will marry fakers. Real people will marry real people. Divorces happen when they mix. Labels are labels.

    We use them to narrow down the list.

    Hashem uses them to play us like a broken fiddle.

    How many boys with excellent resumes are abusers, addicts, mental illness…bedikos are a segulah, but not a havtacha…OY!

    Stereotypes cut both ways. Hashem works out the real deal. Real things can never make it to a piece of paper; but alas, we can’t date everyone.

    Your Bashert may have had a rough family life, or some meaningless childhood disease, or some other stereotype, that will force him to see past yours. And he will be lucky that he was forced to.

    Or he may just rely on his Aunt who won’t stop badgering him (Aunts are good. Not as protective as Moms, but with a lot of influence).

    So yeah, it’s real. There are so many questions it’s hard to start asking unless you have to. But what does that have to do with God?



    Aishes-Chayil-in-training & mdd –

    Teshuva is fully mechaper either one equally. If the FORMERLY immoral person, did TESHUVA b’meheiro, why are you discriminating against him/her?

    Sounds the same as the complaint against discriminating against a Baal TESHUVA.

    tomim tihye


    Thank you! I couldn’t figure out how to clearly get that message across; I knew I’d be misunderstood if I tried.

    Like your style.

    tomim tihye

    AishesChayil, comfort zone plays a huge role in dating, as it does in all aspects of life.

    But there are those who don’t find the BT aspect to be outside of their comfort zone.


    Moq and Tomim tihye, your position: we have to have a system; okay, it unfairly hurts some people, but tough luck.

    I am sorry, but this is wrong. How about fixing the wrongs? By doing some research, by going on a date and checking out a ba’al te’shuva, a girl from a broken home etc. Ve’ahavta le’reyacha kamocha!


    Mdd, is there a better way? A list of twenty girls, – it’s wrong not to check out each one and not have a filtering mechanism? That’s how the world works; shidduchim are not a gemach. It’s not fair. I know. But because it’s not fair doesn’t mean it’s broken. I don’t believe things can be different. Stereotypes exist and are useful; we just need to play them as best as we can.

    Aishes Chayil-

    No, you won’t.

    IYH you will have an excellent boy, fine & shtark (from Brisk, of course), and you too will be inundated with phone calls and names. And you to will say “DAAAH! Ok, let’s, they say this seminary is excellent, these families seem great – OK, that will give me five names. And this one taught my daughter last year, and the fact they have money doesn’t hurt, and Chani told me she was really pretty, so I’m going to check into her first. And take the phone off the hook.”

    And if someone redts your gem a Baalas Teshuvah, you too smile politely and not write down the name. At best, presumably you won’t be insulted.

    You should be zoche to see my words come true; this is the way it is, and I don’t believe it can be differently.

    And it will be unfair. And it will be the only thing you’ll be able to do. Because it will be about your son, not about fair. And why not go with the shidduch without any question marks? Of course, you may feel a nagging guilt, but your son will take priority.

    Again, doesn’t mean it’s fair. It’s not. But nothing is fair; that is the nature of this world. Play the system; we just need to wary of believing in the system – and letting it define who we are. Because the system gives you a hard time doesn’t that will be any less of a wife. It’s just, well , the system.


    AyshesChail-in-Training, practically speaking, you stand a better chance out-of-town.


    “…it will be about your son, not about fair.”. For people who think like that, I can say only this: watch out! Yesh din ve’yesh Dayan.


    Aishes chayil I.T.: Let me stress that I wasn’t suggesting you engaged in any such behaviors. I just wanted to try to get in the head of people who have reservations.

    About difficult parents: when my kids were young and dating, I was especially concerned about family. There are so many challenges that I figured, if it was the right one, it wasn’t the right time; I wasn’t going to have them start off with such a challenge. By challenges I mean messy divorces with triangulation or abuse, “intact” families that would be much happier with divorce, etc. But at any point, I would have gladly welcomed a BT with a healthy family situation and good relationship with his/her family.

    I think that people are using immoral not to mean any existential issues but having engaged in risky behavior, or grown up in an atmosphere where the options were there (i.e. many public schools). And amoral is completely off track, check your dictionaries, folks.



    Please tell me what your looking for in a guy and we can work from there.

    tomim tihye

    mdd: Real life can be pretty frustrating when we try to fight it, no?


    Personal experience with accepting reality has taught me that it’s the best way to go. At eighteen, I imagined the type of husband I wanted and realized that his Mommy would have a list of 50, and chances of my being at the top were probably slimmer than me (and I wasn’t fat), so I searched for this same top bochur, but with a (moral) BT background. I certainly did not feel that I was “settling”; after all, if his parents were frum, would I have made it to the top of their list?

    What a loss of all these years it might have been had I chosen to fight the system and only now, years later, “settled” for a BT.



    You are of course correct, that life is about doing what is right, not about fair.

    I have a certain notion.

    Perhaps it would be nice, when looking into girls, to do a “chessed checking into” for girls who suffer traditional bias. For example, a yesoma. I could see someone saying, “this idea is not worth my time, I have so many better suggestions, but I’ll spend the time to help a yesoma, and check into her”. The same could really be done for a Baalas teshuva.


    Helpful: I don’t think your arguments are logical. I hope one day you will see that there are differences between people who chose to be immoral (BT or FFB) by religious or nonreligious standards and people who were always good people but unfortunately were not brought up with Torah knowledge and never willingly chose to sin. On the contrary, when these people were informed of halacha, they started keeping it. Do you hold it against your 2 year old when he turns on a light switch on Shabbos?


    so right: You are ignoring the point that I equally would not want to marry an FFB who did those immoral things. It may make your argument convenient but it doesn’t make it right. Discriminating against immoral people is not the same as discriminating against people who were not brought up frum.


    Right, MDD, it’s a nice cliche, but doesn’t really mean anything.

    In shidduchim you suppose to look for the best you can. Nekudah.

    Yes, and it’s not fair.

    And it’s what you are suppose to do. You are suppose to prioritize in a logical way. And yes, that many will fall between the cracks. But you still need to prioritize in a logical way. These is genuinely no other way to do it. You are suppose to go with a definite rather then something doubtful. Just like when you do anything else on earth, like hirer employees. It’s not fair, maybe the guy with a degree with CUNY is better then the guy from MIT. True. Maybe MIT guy got in because he was a legacy. But we still need to live in this world. Cliches don’t help. IYH, she will marry a fine Ben Torah, and her children won’t have this challenge.

    Just because there’s a sad reality doesn’t mean there is someone to blame for it.


    You gotta be consistent Aishes. You cant be upset at others who discriminate at BT’s, when you yourself discriminate against other BT’s.


    Helpful, you have been told the teruts a number of times!


    Helpful: I’m sorry, I can’t help you. You are ignoring the facts and are refusing to acknowledge that there is a difference between moral and immoral people, regardless of their religious upbringing. I have clearly stated that I have nothing against anyone for not being brought up frum and you have not presented any logical argument to prove otherwise. If I would not date a person, it has only to do with his immorality and nothing to do with whether or not he was raised in a frum family. One has nothing to do with the other.


    Moq: from your mouth to G-d’s ears, but there’s already a thread about discrimination against children of BT’s (!!)



    In my modern Orthodox community we can’t tell the FFBs from the BTs from the gerim. I think that is as it should be. I can’t imagine anyone here refusing to date someone because he/she is a BT or a ger. We don’t have a lot of singles, though.

    Tzvi Hirsh

    A man should use the same criteria whether she is a BT or FFB or a Convert. If he a really feels that he needs a B’sulah or someone with good Midos or from a good family etc, then if a BT or convert also has his qualifications why would he not be interested!!!!!!

    A diamond is a diamond, no matter where it is found.

    In Business they say “Location, Location, Location”

    In Shaduchim they should say “Midos, Midos, Midos”


    In Shaduchim they should say “Midos, Midos, Midos

    thats what i do say


    if you were FFB, would you marry a BT?

    My wife did.

    The Wolf


    as did mine


    msseeker: Of course I would, as long as he was a moral person who shared my hashkafa and I looked up to him. I also would now.

    Helpful: Changing one’s actions is a lot easier than changing one’s character… Tzvi Hirsh has the right idea.


    Touche, wolf!

    Well, there you have it.


    My husband was and is a very moral person, even when he was not frum. His parents, likewise were very morally upright people in every way. They simply did not follow the Torah Bein Odom LaMakom. Bein Odom l’chaveiro, I do not believe I have ever met more righteous people (except for my own parents, O”H). Because of that, I had no reservations about marrying him, and certainly no regrets.

    ACIT – you raise some very pertinent issues. I wish you much hatzlacha and speed in finding your zivug. You sound like a very special young woman, from whom other B”T could learn a lesson or two. But please understand that you are unique. Many kids who come from an irreligious background or who were off the derech for some period of time, have done things that could have lasting repercussions on their health, reproductive ability, and so forth, and these are things that very much concern loving parents when looking for a shidduch for their children. You will G-d willing, be a mother some day, and you will see how you feel then.



    would marry a BT!


    Oomis1105,if a person was given fair consideration, his/her case was looked into, and r e a l problems were discovered — I fully understand.

    Helpful, the question is if the standards are justified and y o s h e r al pi Torah. Because some of them are plain ga’ava and lack of ahavas Yisroel.


    The situation never came up, but if everything was there (middos), and based on certain things (at what age he became frum/how long hes frum/moral person), if everything fit, whats wrong with a BT? I know of a girl who grew up in a super frum house, and at the top of the list was a good learner and a very frum person. After years of dating FFBs, she married a BT who best fit her criteria.

    ACIT, firstly, the SN you chose speaks volumes. And I have great respect for someone who completely turned their life around. Secondly, some advice if I may, maybe stick with the “people who know people” shadchanim instead of the big names. The good guy from down the street probably knows more people who would date a BT, and will be more willing to “work” for you since he doesn’t have a list of people who will leave.

    Lots of Hatzlacha!


    Princess Razal

    whats teharas hamishpacha?


    Princess Razal

    From http://www.mikvah.org/article/the_three_mitzvot_of_the_woman

    As a woman, the potential giver of life, you hold the power to elevate your home and family from the physically mundane to the spiritually sublime. The adherence to the Laws of Family Sanctity and Mikvah give you the opportunity

    to invite G-d into the most intimate area of your life, bringing G-dliness to every aspect of your lives and impacting the soul of any child conceived. Your observance brings holiness and blessing, not only to your most physical self, but sanctifies your entire family and your entire home. Immersion in the mikvah is a Biblical commandment of the highest ordinance.

    The Jewish marriage sanctifies husband and wife. Taharat Hamishpacha (Family Sanctity) observance introduces times of intimate separation and reunion as part of a cycle in married life. Separation begins with the onset of the menstrual flow. It is a time when the depth of the husband-wife relationship is expressed without physical intimacy. It is a period of anticipation and preparation for mikvah immersion. The reunion which follows holds the highest potentialfor sanctity in marriage.

    Princess Razal

    so why wouldn’t someone take a BT for teharas hamishpacha reasons? Its not like theres a sapheik geirus involved…



    There are generally levels of pgam in a child born out of an illicit act.

    The most serious is mamzer, which according to us is only one born out of a chayvei krisus.(The gemara makes an exception to this for a child from a nidda. Yevamos 49b)

    There are lesser levels of pgam for lesser sins. According to some (all?) opinions, the child of a nidda is pagum.


    There are heterim for the ben nidah shaila — a way to say a BT is not a ben nidah. A big sign– midos. A true ben nidah has a strong proclivity to bad middos(especially, brazenness(azus)). Many BTs have very good middos. THERE MUST BE A GOOD REASON FOR THAT.


    Well, many people marry someone thinking they have good middos, who turn out to not have them. How are you to know?

    (I am not suggesting this is a reason not to marry a BT, I was merely explaining the notion to princess.)


    I would even say that the proportion of “nice” to “not-nice” among the BTs is, at least, as good as among the FFBs. And it is even, probably, better — because frei Yidden who have bad middos are not likely to become frum.


    Some BTs are clearly nice, eidel people. Those who deal with them can see that. And it is clear they were born that way — and it’s not that they just supress their evil natures.

    minyan gal

    “and it’s not that they just supress their evil natures. “

    An evil nature has nothing to do with whether or not a person is frum – either FFB or BT. People with evil natures may be found in all walks of Jewish life (and non-Jewish) and “good” natures may also be found in all kinds of people. Luckily it seems that there are more people with good natures – in all kinds of Jews. This is not exclusively found amongst the frum.


    Frei people do not have evil natures. ALL people have evil natures (see Breishis where it tells you that the nature of a man is “ra m’neurav.” It is up to us to overcome the evil side of our dual nature, which Hashem gave us for a reason, and choose the tov.


    minyan: I think he was responding to the idea that a ben nidda is supposed to be brazen. He was saying that the BTs he knows are not brazen, hence, there is reason to suppose that they are not a ben nidda.

    I suppose the mother could have not been a nidda if she had gone swimming in the ocean. chatzizta b’miut is only drabanan, and we only require kavana lechatchila.

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