Becoming Frum... How to begin the Journey?

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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 12:08 am
If someone were to tell you they would like to pursue a religious life, becoming Frum, a desire to begin keeping Shabbos, High Holidays, Kosher, Nidda, Work on Tzniot, Pray, Etc. - What would you tell them? Where should they start? - Keep in mind, they do not have a Rav, nor do they have a kosher home or keep Shabbos or keep any Halachos.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 12:14 am
Learning with someone - always learning with someone. That's the only way anything ever sticks. One: because you can't start taking things on - or knowing why you are taking things on - without learning and Two: the relationship with the person she is learning with (you?) is the only way she'll get through the process properly.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 12:14 am
personally, I would tell them to start slowly, taking on one mitzvah at a time, and not to take on something they're not completely willing to do. Its better to move forward slowly than to move forwrd and then find out its too much and go backwards.

Start out with something totally do-able, like maybe not driving on Shabbos, or not switching lights, or "pick one".

The more they do, the more they will want to learn about, but they should DO before they find out WHY or whatever, and ask as many questions as come up.

Tell them never to hesitate to ask questions, because that is the only way to learn.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 12:17 am
Definitely I would encourage them to move slowly... let them first get a feel for what shabbos is like, going to shul is like, etc. If you know of a shiur that would be interesting for them, let them go and learn for a while. If after some time it is all still appealing, they should find a rabbi to take them under his wing and guide them on their journey.
Unfortunately when people jump right in so fast, and never find the proper guidance, it usually doesn't last very long. At least in my experience.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 12:31 am
Thanks so much for the advice and help so far! I totally agree with starting things slowly. Another point I'd like to add, they both come from Frum backgrounds, but had several unfortunate experiences. They are in a very fragile state.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 12:44 am
If they are from frum backgrounds, find out what they liked about the frum lifestyle - Shabbat meals, shul, giving tzedakah, doing chesed.

If they had bad experiences, spending some time, maybe a Shabbat, with a happy, functional frum family could be very helpful.

Kol Hakavod to them for trying to get back on the derech.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 5:53 am
It depends on their life circumstances. What is most practical and also most meaningful to them. And of course if they can get away from issurei kareis first thats always best.
Ask if they are interested in learning about taharas hamishpacha and explain the reasons behind it so it dioesn't sound like mysogony and superstition.
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Post  Thu, May 06 2010, 5:58 am
Personally I would start with what I understand to be critical no-nos, but just the basics. Do not have se- xual relations while the wife is a niddah - do the minimum required bedikos and immerse in the mikva. Do not eat treif meat or insects. Do not eat on Yom Kippur.

Then, light Shabbos candles and sit down to a family meal.

Rabbi Geisler told us he would teach people to bentch because everyone can relate to saying thank you.

A woman in my community asked me sort of sarcastically if she should buy a sheitel, but said that I'd probably tell her to stop wearing jeans first. I said, "I don't care which mitzva you do *first*."

I also learned from Rebbetzin Tehilla Abramov to encourage people with the inspiration that they already keep a lot of mitzvos - for example, if this person honors her mother in some way, she is pretty religious in that.

And stay in contact - very important.
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