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Baal Teshuva Under Attack

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.

More Questions

Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

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