I was not given many limits as a child and was raised to think that the world was coming to me. (I do not think that many FFBs are taught to think like that.) There are obviously many negatives to being raised in that regard, and many of them become crystal clear to me when people like the guy I work with, an FFB, pronounces his disbelief with the way I went about handling any one of many situations. “Aryeh, you can’t DO that” he will tell me. Or “Aryeh, what’s WRONG with you?” he’ll ask?
Now I don’t want to comment on his delivery…whether it could or should or couldn’t or shouldn’t be better…that’s a conversation for another time. What I would like to discuss is that often, after he points these things out I find myself saying “he’s right.”
I was raised so differently than your typical FFB. It’s mind boggling to me to think that Jews can diverge so dramatically from each other after just a few generations. I mean, somewhere back in history my relatives were frum Jews, they had to be, and they were probably raised to think like FFBs. Yet only after 3 or 4 or maybe 5 generations we can slip so far from the path we once knew.
BTs need a lot of help reclaiming the way back. It’s not easy to think like a frum Jew after living like a secular Jew for so long. Old habits die hard. Middos are hard to change. The greatest gift FFBs can give to their BT brothers and sisters is their patience, their understanding, their empathy, and their encouragement.
I have made so many mistakes since becoming frum and I have benefited greatly from the kindness and patience of those whom I look to as teachers and mentors. I have been unusually blessed with incredibly special people who have helped to guide me in an effort to become the kind of Jew I hope to one day be; the kind of Jew I know my forefathers were back when my family was frum.