Baal Teshuva Under Attack

September 1, 2011 | by

I recently became a baal teshuva and on my first trip back home, my friends and family started peppering me with questions: Why do I do this, and why do I do that? I'm really new to this, and I could not answer many of the questions. So now I am having doubts about whether all of this is really true.

The Aish Rabbi Replies

You are not the first to experience this. But there's a simple method to help you handle it.

When someone asks you a question, it is important to distinguish between a question which merely addresses a detail of your observance (e.g.: “Why do you salt the bread at the Shabbat table?") versus a question that attacks the very foundation of your observance (e.g.: “How do you know that God spoke at Mount Sinai?").

In the first case, the proper response is: "Judaism is so rich with customs and traditions, and I haven't had the opportunity to learn the deeper reasons behind everything. But that’s a great question and I am going to do some research and get back to you – and then we'll both know the answer!"

In the second case - a foundational question - if you don't have a decent answer, then perhaps you may want to sit with a rabbi and discuss the issue in-depth. For although "evidence" is not a prerequisite for belief in the veracity of Torah, in today's day and age, with so many people trying to attack religion, it is wise to have a solid intellectual basis for one's belief. And given that Judaism is very, very solid in the area of rational basis for belief, it's a good idea to have that knowledge clear.

I hope this helps.

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