Baal Teshuva: What Comes First
Rav Moshe Shternbuch: Shabbos Or Kashrus, Where Does A Baal Tshuva Start?
Rav Moshe Shternbuch says (1:350) that a Baal Tshuva is like a small child. He needs to start slowly and learn first how to lie down, than sit, and then walk. During this process the Baal Tshuva is still not complete and the person guiding them will need to choose wisely what they are ready to accept. It should not depend on the stringency of the aveira but rather on the ability of the Baal Tshuva.
Rav Shternbuch says that it is easier to start with Kashrus although it is only a Lav rather than Shabbos whose violators are Chayav Misa, capital punishment. The reason is, that finding alternative kosher food is relatively easy whereas keeping Shabbos is not. He cautions that burdening a Baal Tshuva with more than they can handle at each stage, is counterproductive and you may lose them altogether if they buckle under the load.
The main thing, he says, is to strengthen their Emuna that Hashem created the world and that there is reward and punishment. You need to ignite the spark and move forward judiciously.
The Chazon Ish says that an ehrliche (upright, Torah observant) Jew should actually help his competition and realize his success will not be hurt by theirs.
Wishing everyone a sweet, healthy, propserous and joyous Rosh HaShanah
The retrospective glance reveals that my undignified past and willful transgressions are not only consistent with, but they have actually propelled me toward, a future which I had not imagined. Actions I thought had most distanced me from G-d now bring me close to Him. Refined by the image of my ideal self, my past misdeeds, reclaimed as my own, shape my present so that they now have the power to help me realize an ideal future. I am no longer stuck with either obsessing about my past or abandoning it – both are choices of the nonintegrated self. Moving toward the future, the past recast in its light, my present is transformed. Through the power of teshuva transgressions become good deeds: they are the source of a new and altered life, and only through them, in the words of the prophet, do we live.
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As far as I know, to the furthest extent of my memory, I never harmed anyone, nor did I ever hurt a person’s feelings
Rabbi Zeldman, the head of Aish HaTorah’s Kiruv, tells his story. Great video, spread to your friends!