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How to be a Flaming BT

How to be a Flaming BT:

The most important thing to remember when trying to accomplish this nearly insurmountable task unless you happen to be a Flaming BT is, to never listen to any other opinion but your Rabbis. Even if you are doing something wrong and you know it, do not concede, instead tell everyone that you are being machmir, since the whole point of Flaming BTs is to be as machmir as possible because you are either new to the game and want to do all you can to make up for all those years spent screwing shiksas and eating cheeseburgers, or you are trying to get into one of those programs that pay you to come to Israel and learn.

You will also need to learn how to daven in a certain way, you can always spot a Flaming BT from a mile away by watching how they bow during shmona esray or borochu. During the semi bows of shmona esray, they either do deeply extended slow motion bows, or they will do a really fast one to keep up with their violent shuckel pace. At boruchu they always seem like they are trying to touch their toes or something- due to their extra extended bow. Your shuckel during shmona esray should also be one of two shucks. Either you should do a sway side to side with your arms reaching out to the heavens in a way that is saying why me God or you can do the violent shuckel. The violent shuckel is one that you can spot from a mile away because that is the distance you want to keep. Arms and torsos are flying in every direction and the speed at which the person is swaying usually back and forth can be measured in RPMs. You mst understand that I did not mention those who stand still and daven for hours- because they simply cannot be Flaming BTs yet, they are just getting brainwashed by whichever group they live near or recruited them.

You must deny that you ever did anything wrong in your past secular life. You must at all costs try and convince people that you have always been frum, or at least on the derech, and whenever one of your old buddies tries to bring up that time we got on the girls gone wild video in Cancun you must say these words: I have no idea what you are talking about, in fact you will say those words thousands of times during your Flaming BT tenure, until you make the transfer to regular old frum guy.

Whatever sex you belong to, you must drop all your old friends of the opposite sex and remember to purge your social networking profiles of these friends, if you are real Flaming and are into the whole I am better then you, because I am religious stage, then you can embarrass them as well. They do offer courses in various Kiruv programs on how to deal with family and friends when you make the switch- but real Flamers just do it the old fashioned way- through hurtful comments.

That brings me to the real test of your Flaming status, all flamers at one point or another become BT-Condescenders, which means that besides being always right, they are always better then you especially since they gave up their lifestyle to become frum, while you grew up with it and dont care as much as they do. This in turn gives a Flamer the right to bash you for your lack of devotion to something that should be so easy. This is kind of like having a backseat driver in the form of a Flaming BT who just yells at you whenever something isnt up to par with their ideals. I tend to stay away from these BTs though I do know quite a few of them.

Whichever group was Mekarev you is the best and all other Kiruv organizations have something wrong with them. Its funny, because you would think that someone who hadnt grown up in the frum community would be immune to all the nasty politics that goes on, but no, they are even worse. Flaming BTs will hate with a passion whomever their Rabbi or Rebetzin tells them to.

Backround Information:
The Flaming BT stage is just another stage in the long process of becoming a Baal Teshuva. In fact it is usually in the early stages that this happens. Sometimes almost immediately, usually there is the mekarev time, when the person is finally fulfilling their dream to actually become religious usually after thinking about it for a long time. Then they go to the ignorant stage, where they think they know everything, but know nothing at all and begin their doubts, then its time to be a Flaming BT or Wacky BT depending on who you talk to. After that they can slowly make their transition into regular old frum.

You can usually tell a BT has become frum by not being able to tel they are a BT. Which usually means they start to talk in shull, can hold their own in multiple rounds of Jewish Geography and can pronounce the regular words without that whole secular dialect. Words like Temple, references to bagels and Jewish guilt disappear, and they no longer knock old men over so they can kiss the torah before its put away.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Ahuva October 24, 2007, 12:26 AM

    Did I miss the post on “How to be a Wacky BT” or is that still coming?

  • ~ Sarah ~ October 24, 2007, 1:31 AM

    Ah, you totally managed to sum that one up. Now I don’t feel so bad about using the expression ‘Flaming BT’ about, well, Flaming BT’s.

  • commonsensejew October 24, 2007, 3:02 AM

    i checked out another video and it was better. u were ranting about “frummies” and their retard shidduch thing. would u say u get very defensive around these types or do you happily blow them off? Be honest! BTW flaming BTs piss the hell out of me, and in a strange way make me more inclined be curious about what they are covering up.

  • Hesh October 24, 2007, 3:35 AM

    I actually love frummies, I just love to stereotype and judge because I am so damned good at it.

    Its funny because I find that being dan lcav zchus is one of the best ways to improve oneself.

  • flatbush gal October 24, 2007, 4:16 AM

    my mom is a bt but i dont know if shes quite flamin…she may have been on this side too long becuz her skirts have been rising…that may be due to my influence- i am a terrible person!

  • Sheva-Liraz October 24, 2007, 5:32 AM

    I have most definately knocked over an old lady or two just so I can kiss the Torah before it goes to the guys side. Not only because I am over zealous, but because I’m 6 feet tall and haven’t yet come to terms with being taller than most men at my shul, and that I am still uncordinated.

  • commonsensejew October 24, 2007, 6:20 AM

    yo hesh i posted this b4 but i’m not sure if u got it-check out meteorology as a career- u actually get paid to view natures beauty. i know a frum meteorologist-he’s always going to wild places to do his thing. the guy has a family and everything, but he gets to do what he loves.

  • Hesh October 24, 2007, 1:10 PM

    I am what they call a torah kisser that waits until its resting at the bima. I keep all my strength so I can knock over people in my way to get to the cholent.

    I know all about all the careers to get me into the outdoors. There are several reasons why I have not taken that step yet, #1 my degree has not one iota of natural science to it and my long debate has been whether to get a second degree in environmental science or the like- the big issue with that is I do not do well in natural sciences- unless I am just reading or actively taking part- I have trouble with coursework that is fact- I need to debate- thats why I went into politics in the first place.

    I am working on something that would be great opportunity for me at the moment and will know sometime in December if I got it.

  • commonsensejew October 24, 2007, 1:15 PM

    i also like debating-but there are few intelligent people to school, at least from where i’m sittin’. thats why i took the lsat and am applying to law school. have u ever been to california? whats your opinion on the populace?

  • Hesh October 24, 2007, 1:44 PM

    I liked and disliked California at the same time. I really liked north Central California, I love San Francisco- because it feels like a friendly more outdoorsy version of NYC.

    You are talking to the wrong person, I severely dislike Los Angeles, spent 4 days there and it was more then enough. I also dislike the way the cities in the west are built in general, they use up so much land for no reason, so that they become enormous suburban developments.

    The populace were not my kind of people, it was kind of like a more showy NY.

  • Yochanan October 24, 2007, 6:14 PM

    Maybe you could do a post on kissing the sefer torah. My one flamer moment was when I tried to act extra pious and kiss it directly without using a talit or a siddur.

  • Hesh October 24, 2007, 6:32 PM

    Hey Yochanan did you try and get a little tongue in as well to show how much you loved it?

  • Yochanan October 24, 2007, 9:24 PM

    How could you forget this flaming BT symptom?:

    Your music collection undergoes a serious degoyishization. It doesn’t matter what message the music had or what it made you feel, anything besides a bunch of old farts going “oyyoyoy ” or “yumdadididi” must be buried at a nuclear waste site.

  • Ben-Yehudah October 24, 2007, 11:13 PM

    B”H What’s the difference between a flaming BT and a BT from hell? …or are you just being nice.

    Call me evil, but when a BT wants to do my heshbon nefesh, etc., like tell me that THE halacha is this way or that, I ask him to show me where it says that, or what’s the source. Then I get up from my seat and bring back the SA (or MB, or MT, or your choice) and ask him to show me. Then when he can’t find it, turn to the page for him. You get the idea. Of course, it’s important to do this only if others can’t see or hear what’s going on, so he shouldn’t be embarrassed. Seriously, though, I ‘m not that evil. I’ve done this, but only in a very subtle and nice way, to get the point across about tochahah is and isn’t, etc. And how HaShem created the midah of patience, and how I have to be patient with myself. Then I mention a mistake I have made, indicating that it’s OK to be imperfect, and it’s all about working on ourselves and trying to improve oneself. IOW, chill out, in a nice way.

    A friend of mine senses these BT’s a mile away and purposefully asks for lemon, so he can squeeze it on his fish (on Shabbat) to see what reaction he gets. 😉

  • Dofan Akuma November 4, 2007, 6:24 PM

    I’m curious if you have any research on the 15 years after the flame. this is when the BT will go back and start watching movies again, buys the old albums he threw out, maybe stop keeping cholov yisroel, etc.

  • Hesh November 5, 2007, 12:20 AM

    Well I think that is also likely to happen when the BT goes from being a newly frummed out dude to a guy that people think is an FFB.

    Those people you meet and would have never guessed they were BT’s

  • JJ March 17, 2008, 11:54 AM

    Psychologists and rabbinic leaders are warning about the prevalence of Honorifics and Frum Idiom Confusion Syndrome in the Jewish community, bli ayin hara.

    Over the past several years the number of honorifics and superstitious idioms added to the frum vocabulary has been increasing exponentially, k’niyna hara. This has caused some confusion to
    occur, baruch Hashem, especially to those with more simple minds, kein yirbu.

    Typically the syndrome starts with overuse of the terms, b’chasdei Hashem, then quickly turns to usage of the terms in the completely wrong place, shlita. In more advanced cases, nisht auf Shabbos geret, idioms foreign to the frum world, l’havdil elef havdalos, are used as well, praise the L-rd. In addition to the number of such terms, zy gezunt, the prevalence of usage of such terms has increased exponentially as well, yasher koach. For example, 20 years ago, mamesh, the term “baruch Hashem”, was limited to a portion of Maariv that most people did not say, gezundheit. Today it constitutes 23% of a typical frum male’s spoken word and 27% of a typical frum female’s, im yirtzeh Hashem by you.

    It has been added to most kosher menus, thank you – come again, and has replaced “all of the above” on standardized tests given to yeshiva bochrim, lo aleinu.

    Family and friends of those afflicted with this disease, chas v’shalom, are advised to use caution when asking simple questions such as “How are you?” This may cause the afflicted person, zt”l, to reply with a stream of unrelated frum idioms that usually have nothing to do with how they are doing, yishtabach shmo.

    The best option, in the opinion of the professionals, Hashem yinakem damam, is to stick a tehillim in front of them, ad meah v’esrim. This should keep their mouths busy until such time as a permanent cure is found, rachmana l’tzlan.

  • heshman March 17, 2008, 1:21 PM

    Hey can I may post this hilarious comment on the main page sometime in the near future. Great stuff, but unfortunately not many people go and read my older posts.

  • theknish.com June 16, 2008, 2:46 PM

    Originally published here

  • Leeba May 3, 2009, 10:07 AM

    I am laughing so hard at JJ’s comment.

  • Wendy May 5, 2009, 9:45 PM

    You forgot the name changes- like “Stacy” all of a sudden becoming “Malka Esther” and the amount of Im Yirtza Hashems, Bli neders, bli ayin haras and Baruch Hashems (especially BH) really can pinpoint how flaming someone is.

  • cool yiddishe mama May 6, 2009, 6:11 AM

    I have a new thing to add to the list. They insist on “bishul yisrael” chocolate chips! I kid you not.

    Last Shabbat, some friends and I were having lunch at someone’s house. The hosts are quite proud of the fact that they blindly listen to their rabbi, a charedi nut-job who can’t give a worthy psak to someone with sekhel. My friend made this wonderful chocolate mousse, while quite proudly proclaiming he won’t use “frummy” brands except when forced to during Pesach. His year-round choice? Trader Joe’s semisweet, marked OK Pareve. The wife motioned to the husband to stop eating the mousse immediately. At the end of all this, she gave the mousse back, insisting that she can’t keep it in her house because everything she and her husband eats HAS TO be bishul yisrael.

    By the way, the person who made the mousse is FFB and has such a strong kashrut standard that his next-door neighbor (also a charedi rabbi) willingly eats from him. Even the “frummy” brands are not marked “bishul yisrael”, so I wonder where she gets her elusive chips?

  • frumgoth March 17, 2010, 2:04 PM

    This post is hilarious. Many years ago when I was becoming frum, my BFF, who was also becoming a BT, and I, used to secretly make fun of the FFB’s who used the BH term too much – we called them “Baruch Hashem queens”. I hope you follow up with a post about the “wacky BT’s”

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