Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are Baalei Teshuva better than FFBs ?


I know a young Sephardi woman running a certain kind of business in Jerusalem. She must be in her 30ies and, a few years ago, she became religious. This kind of Breslov - Rabbi Arush type.
For her, Baalei Teshuva are the greatest people ever and I usually avoid talking to her about religious matters. At least since I had a fight about Rabbi Arush with her. About his money collecting system and that most of his students are rather weird figures. In Jerusalem, Arush is well - known for his "kind of students".

However, the woman admires Rabbi Arush and I am fine with that as long as she keeps quiet when she speaks to me. Yesterday she caught a Haredi guy in a not too modest situation but a few minutes later it turned out that the Haredi was completely innocent. The particular situation had just left a false impression but when you looked closer, nothing had ever happened.

The woman started telling me how first she thought bad about the haredi guy but then got to know the whole picture. I told her that she should come to Tel Aviv and have a look how certain Haredim from Jerusalem or Bnei Brak behave there. At the public beach, for instance.
I should have known better and kept quiet because immediately the woman accused me of "Lashon HaRah - talking slander". I would only look at the bad sides and how do I know at all. Because I surely don't know anything about religion and the haredi world.

I responded that, first of all, I have been in that world and secondly, we are all human beings and thus have our faults. Also Haredim.
"Well, she said, if someone haredi is sinning, so it is just those who were born haredi. A Baal Teshuva doesn't stare at bikini wearing women at the beach because he has seen enough in his life and is now making Teshuva. There would be such incredible stories about every Baal Teshuva and a guy at the age of 39 becoming religious doen't sin anymore but only the Frum from Birth.

I told her that this is not true at all. Everyone has negative ideas and thoughts. A FFB Haredi may be curious about an unknown world but a Baal Teshuva may suddenly miss his old life and continue his misdeeds. Why should he be better than a born Haredi ?

I don't know what Baalei Teshuva are being taught by their Rabbis today but we shouldn't forget that we are human beings. And humans have their faults. No matter to which society I belong.

What I have noticed in Jerusalem is a certain kind of Baal Teshuva opinion towards born Haredim. Is it due to jealousy because most born Haredim never totally accept a BT within their society ? Could be.
I was a Baal Teshuva in the haredi society but never tried squeezing myself in. Some BTs push themselves so much upon born Haredim that they simply go on everyone's nerves. A BT should take it easy, as he is doing Teshuva to perfect HIMSELF and not in order to show other how great he is. Once you follow this principle, you will be much happier with yourself and the haredi society.


  1. If this lady is American, from a Latin American background and her last name starts with "Ch" (and her real first name with "s", but she may have taken on a Jewish name), be careful, she is NOT JEWISH but likes to profile herself as Jewish.

  2. B"H

    As a matter of fact, her first name starts with a CH but she is Jewish. A born Chalawi from Syria.:-)