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Unread 10-13-2010, 11:46 PM   #1
simplysearching
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Getting More Religious

Hi,
I grew up in a modern orthodox (to the left!) home. I am 15 years old. Now, I'm finding that I want to get more religious. The only problem I am having is that I am scared of what my friends and family will think. I'm worried about how they will react to me changing (wearing tzitzis, talking and thinking less about girls in the way they do, acting and thinking more Jewish, etc.) in such an abrupt way. I'm sure some of you on this forum have gone through this... can you give me some encouragement or help?

Thanks so much!
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Unread 10-13-2010, 11:57 PM   #2
chossidnistar
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Do you have a chabad rabbi?
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Unread 10-14-2010, 12:01 AM   #3
noahidelaws
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Perhaps these posts will help. Much success!
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Unread 10-14-2010, 10:59 PM   #4
MahTovChelkeinu
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Its very important to remember the mitzvah of kibbud av v'em. If your newfound religiousness is coupled with a flippant or defiant attitude toward more 'relaxed' family members, then they will likely resent the change.

If your decision to be more frum means that you put more emphasis on having a good relationship with your parents and siblings and generally recognize the importance of ahavas yisroel, then I think the change will be viewed as a good thing.

On the same score, if your family sees that you are a happier, more confident person as a result of your frumkeit, that will also encourage them to support you. If you are defensive or antisocial, then they will not.

I don't mean this to put pressure as much as to help you see things from their perspective. I hope it helps.
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Unread 10-14-2010, 11:30 PM   #5
noahidelaws
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Establishing friendships with several strongly religious boys around your age will help you work up the courage to be different from your family and peers from the past.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
ktonton
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A not to put down your family members, but "not wearing tzitzis" is not at all condoned by ANY modern orthodox rabbanim, and "girlfriends" not without many scruples, hesitations, stipulations, etc.

My suggestion is that since you come from an "orthodox" home (put in quotes for the amei haaretz out there, and here refering to a house that presumably observes shabbos, kasherus, and teharas hamishpacha according to whatever opinion they happen to have received), speak to your local modern orthodox rav first. The modern orthodoxy with which you have been raised seems, based on what you have written, to be but a shallow representative of what the movement has to offer.

First find yourself, within the full richness of your families traditions, and ONLY if that does not work, then you should start looking to be an adherent of another stream of yiddishkeit.

I would strongly suggest getting the books of harav halevi donin, also the sefarim put out by ktav "the concise code of jewish law" (two volumes) there is also a good sefer haminhagim put out by ktav, as well as other books such as "shema yisroel" by dov rosen.

Oh, and since we're chassidim, bear in mind that the rebbe was adamant that people NOT change their minhagim (where justified by halacha), or segment of judaism in order to become his chassidim. One need simply learn his maamarim and chitas, and to follow the advice written there.

But please, do not, in your zeal, simply abandon what you already have, and under all circumstances, DO NOT abandon your childhood rav. (and if he has semicha from reits, he infact is a rav, and likely far more knowledgable than your local shliach, unless you live near a major chabad community, or out in the total boonies such as in india.) Find yourself first, and only if you still find that lacking you should look for something else. (chabad is a good first (and often final) stop.) (and in our biases, best... but thats for us, for you something else may be best.)
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Unread 10-17-2010, 09:56 PM   #7
noahidelaws
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He said he wanted to become more religious, he never said he wanted to become a chossid. It's odd that you thought it necessary to bring up that topic on your own.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 10:38 PM   #8
MahTovChelkeinu
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Well it is a Chabad forum...
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Unread 10-18-2010, 10:17 AM   #9
mosheh5769
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I really think that while getting more religious, you shouldn't forget the Mitzvah of honouring one's parents. It doesn't mean you should compromise your Torah observance, but it means that you should live by Torah standards in a way that is acceptable and respectfull to your parents and family members (as long as you live under the same roof). You can take time to explain to them the meaning of what you're doing, and acting in a way that doesn't give them the impression that you're trying to impose them anything. I know what you're talking about because I don't come from a religious background and I was in the same situation 10 years ago when I joined Lubavitch and began living by the Chassidic standards of life. The more important is to avoid arguments and quarrels as much as possible, and to be honest with your parents or whoever questions your new religious standards (if you are too closed-minded and avoid discussion and do things in secret, get easily angry, etc., people can come to believe that you fell into a cult or they may believe that you are under influence to cut ties with your family, and so on.)

All these are several tips that I received from my Chabad rabbi when I was in that situation and B'H, everything went very well. Try to always be kind with your parents and your surroundings. The more kind and respectful you are, the more easy it is for your parents and surroundings to accept your new path (and to accomodate you at home, etc.) Seeing my positive attitude and the fact that I wasn't trying to impose them anything (at home my tzitzis were tucked in and I always wore a cap over my yarmulke in front of my parents, for Shabbos I was to my Rabbi's home for the Seudas Shabbos and I came home only to sleep, etc.) my parents decided by themselves to make all the necessary accommodations so that I could feel at ease at home (and B'H, through it, they became a little more religious).

R' Dickstein on his personnal experience related the following:

Quote:
I started making some changes in my life but my parents did not look kindly upon my new interest. When I learned of the importance in growing a beard and I wanted to grow one, I met up with a wall of opposition. When I began wearing a hat to yeshiva, I would take it off and hide it in the fuse box before walking into the house. They gave me a hard time about the way I conducted myself on Pesach, following the standards that I had learned were mandatory according to the Rebbe and Chabad custom. Nor were they happy with my insistence on buying Chabad tfillin. My mother bemoaned the black yarmulke I began wearing. Whats wrong with a knitted kippa? she wanted to know.

My parents and my immediate community werent trying to pick on me. They were sincerely concerned about my well being and thought I was heading in the wrong direction. My mother would fret about what the neighbors and relatives would say about me wearing my tzitzis out of my pants. It wasnt at all easy to change into a Chabad Chassid. It was only later, when they were exposed to the power of the Rebbe and the power of Chabad that they changed their minds.
{...}

Quote:
He had a lot to contend with from his family and friends but that didnt stop him from pursuing his interest in the Rebbe and Chassidus. When he heard that R Tzik was flying to the Rebbe, he asked him to give the Rebbe a letter from him.

It was my first letter to the Rebbe. I was so naïve and my questions reflected that. I had three questions. The first was whether, after I had gotten a taste of Chassidus, I could continue going to the Bnei Akiva Zionist youth group. The second question was whether I should wear my tzitzis out despite my parents constant harassment. The third question was whether I could continue going to the beach and the movies. I was a young kid in tenth grade and these were the questions on my mind.

To my great excitement, R Tzik brought back an answer for me from the Rebbe. The Rebbe said that what is forbidden according to Shulchan Aruch is forbidden. As for the tzitzis, when I was in school I could wear them out and when I got home I should respect my parents and tuck them in. Ill never forget the joy I felt when I got this response and guidance from the Rebbe. From then on, I constantly received special kiruvim and clear answers to everything I asked.
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