or ba'al teshuvah
, sometimes abbreviated to BT
, is a term referring to a Jew who turns to embrace Orthodox Judaism. Baal teshuva
literally means, "repentant", i.e., one who has repented
Repentance in Judaism known as teshuva , is the way of atoning for sin in Judaism.According to Gates of Repentance, a standard work of Jewish ethics written by Rabbenu Yonah of Gerona, if someone commits a sin, a forbidden act, he can be forgiven for that sin if he performs teshuva, which...
or "returned" to God. It is often contrasted with "FFB" (Frum
The Yiddish adjective frum , from the German fromm, meaning "devout" or "pious", is a Yiddish word meaning committed to be observant of the 613 commandments, or Jewish commandments, specifically of Orthodox Judaism...
From Birth), which refers to Orthodox Jews who are born into families that are already religiously observant, and who have been practicing Judaism from birth or a young age.
Historically, the term referred to a Jew who transgressed the halakhah (Jewish law) and completed a process of introspection to "return" to the straight path. In contemporary times, the phrase is primarily used to refer to a Jew from a secular background
Secular Jewish culture embraces several related phenomena; above all, it is the international culture of secular communities of Jewish people, but it can also include the cultural contributions of individuals who identify as secular Jews...
who becomes religiously observant (normally in an Orthodox fashion) later in life. (The alternative term, khozer biteshuva
(חוזר בתשובה) is more commonly used in Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....
expresses high regard for baalei teshuva
with the statement, "In the place where baalei teshuva
stand, even the perfectly righteous cannot stand" (Berakhot
Berachot is the first tractate of Seder Zeraim, a collection of the Mishnah that primarily deals with laws relating to plants and farming...
34b)." However many Frum From Birth consider the Baal Teshuva to be genetically or otherwise defective because they were conceived outside of Mikvah
Mikveh is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism...
and therefore they aren't necessarily welcomed in some observant Jewish circles.