A couple weeks ago I was Rochster for shabbos and decided to hang out with a random fan of mine who goes to U of R, mid conversation I found out that she speaks fluent Yiddish, amazing simply amazing. We had loads of fun, anyway I got her to do this rant in Yiddish and then she sent me an email which I am posting here. By the way I love chilling with random fans, so hit me up with an email or something. The rant is in Yiddish- but below is a thorough rundown as to what she is talking about.
Something that makes me crazy, is that you never know when you can call yourself a baal tshuva. When is it okay–where is the line? How frum must you become to be a BT, and how unfrum do you have to start before you can call yourself a BT? You know? it’s very easy for people who do nothing, they don’t keep kosher, they don’t keep shabbos, “i’m don’t do anything, and now i’m pretty frum, ohh lala i’m a bt now!” you can see it, they wear skirts, they keep shabbos, they won’t eat in nonkosher restaurants, very easy to see. fine. but what about me? i started out, my parents keep shabbos, we keep kosher–we ate in nonkosher restaurants, but vegetarian, you know he deal, whatever–um, but now, I started to think about it, and now it’s more important to me, and I’ve started doing more things, I’m still wearing pants, I’m still eating vegetarian out, but there’s other things, like I bench after I eat maybe, or, you know, or I say brachot, or…it’s just like my relationship with God is a little more….deep. it means something now. you know, and i think that in a way, I’m a baal teshuva, but I can’t say that i’m one, because they’ll think I’m like totally frum, and I started out not knowing anything– I went to day school! I went to solomon schechter and then a MO high school! what’s up with that??
I don’t know, I don’t understand it, it doesn’t make sense. but I decided in the end not to call myself a BT. i know what I am. I know what I do. I don’t care what other people…….want to call me or not……..that’s a whole other story…okay. bye.
-How do i stop this?
-It’s the shutter.
ALSO something I forgot to mention is that if any jew is constantly examining things in his or her judaism and working toward being a better jew or a better person and doing lots (or a little) mini-teshuva’s for specific things, isn’t that person a BT? and isn’t the point for everyone to constantly be self improving? then wouldn’t that make any jew a BT? WHERE IS THE LINE???