Would You Consider Praying for Your Fellow Baalei Teshuva?

From Derech Emet

Most Baalei Teshuvah do not have relatives to pray for them.
But they can pray for each other.

Why not pray for Baalei Teshuvah as a group or as individuals?

Every weekday Shemone Esrei includes a petition on behalf of righteous converts.
So why not pray for Baalei Teshuvah also?

Pray that Baalei Teshuvah should be happy and healthy.
Pray that Baalei Teshuvah should have success in parnassah, shiduchim and everything.
Pray that Baalei Teshuvah should continue to ascend in Torah and not fall.

Pray for Baalei Teshuvah, not only for their sakes, but for the sake of the Name of G_d. Making a comparison to Tehillim 115:2 (Why should the nations say: Where is their G_d?) Why should the relatives of Baalei Teshuvah say, or even think:

Why does their G_d not help them with health?
Why does their G_d not help them with happiness?
Why does their G_d not help them with marriage?
Why does their G_d not help them earn a living?
Why does their G_d not help them with _______?

18 comments on “Would You Consider Praying for Your Fellow Baalei Teshuva?

  1. Mr. Cohen #17: Please please keep on praying and reciting Tehillim for all BTs. We definitely need it!

    To paraphrase R’ Aryeh Levin, as quoted in A Tzaddik in Our Time, by Simcha Raz: After 120 years, you will be amazed to discover how many evil Gezerot (decrees) against BT’s were nullified by your sincere prayers on our behalf.

    So keep praying!

  2. Gary said (in message 15):

    “My preference would be to recite something special for an INDIVIDUAL BT.”

    Gary, your idea to pray for individual BTs is excellent. Please implement your idea as soon as you are able to; you will surely be rewarded for doing so.

    As for me, I continue my practice [blee neder] of praying for all BTs and reciting Tehillim for all BTs :-)

  3. Perhaps those who really need our prayers most are the parents of special-needs children.

  4. Re: Mr. Cohen, message #12:

    Gary in message 11:

    “I never suggested that Jews should make an addition to the Amidah. Please re-read my messages.”

    I picked up from some of the posts that you were suggesting an insertion in the last paragraph (i.e., before the second yehi ratzon). I am not taking issue with your practice, i.e. “additional requests at this point: some for myself, some for specific people, some for specific categories of Jews, and some requests for all Jews.” I assume that among the categories of Jews you include baalei teshuvah.

    My preference would be to recite something special for an INDIVIDUAL BT in Elokai Netzor L’shonai MiRah/My G-d restrain my tongue from evil, or during Shemah Koleinu/Hear Our Prayer, but for the entire “movement” I prefer the general brachot/blessings of the Amidah.

  5. One prominent Rebbetzin said, “G-d is not a waiter to whom we can give orders.” We can pray for a refuah for a sick person or for a specific yeshua, and it might be the Will of Heaven that it not be granted. There was a much beloved rabbi who was dying of terminal stomach cancer. Everyone poured out their hearts in sincere prayer, but Rabbi Plony was niftar all the same. As stated in a prior comment, “No is also an answer to our prayers.”

  6. It’s remarkable how timely and topical the Shemoneh Esrei has been in all eras. As with Tehillim, we can see our own situations in it.

  7. The contributor writes:

    “Why does their G_d not help them with health?
    Why does their G_d not help them with …etc.”

    I don’t presume that our non-observant relatives categorically think of G-d as “somebody else’s G-d.” They may wonder why we don’t always get “answers” to our prayers, but don’t we wonder the same thing? Do we contribute to this by telling people that we have found the path to happiness, while we ourselves don’t know if our teshuvah and the tefillot that we recite will have a “happy ending?”

    To quote my rabbi, (I don’t know his source), all prayers are answered. We need to realize that the answer is sometimes NO.


    Regarding prayer for baalei teshuvah as a group, I don’t see a need to make a general addition to the Amidah. The Teshuvah/Repentance blessing and the Modim/Thanks blessing cover much of the ground. If we know of individuals who are having difficulties with their teshuvah, or another part of their lives, we could include them in one of the special insertions.

    Dedicating some of our “supplemental” prayer and our Torah study to the success of baalei teshuvah as a group would be meaningful to the one praying/learning and to the group to whom the prayer or study is dedicated.

  8. baalei teshuva face certain very difficult challenges, to be sure. and yes, they/we need our tefillos. as Bob Miller pointed out, our tefillos are written in the plural so that our prayers would include concerns other than those that are strictly for our own personal interests.

    it’s interesting to me though that the poster would suggest BTs need our tefillos more than anyone else. yes, it’s tough – very tough – to be a BT. but this situation, like everything else in my life, was designed for me by Hashem. and i’d be fooling myself if i thought that FFBs as a group have fewer challenges. each of us as an individual has been granted whatever growth opportunities we need to get where we need to go.ffbs have problems too, and pain, and frustration, and real choices.

    if we do not see ourselves as one and the same thing in this regard, i’m afraid we’re getting trapped in what my kids like to call “shevet Baal Teshuva”. :) no one likes to be labeled. that’s because labels hedge a person in to a very narrow definition, and we are all so much more than that. part of being a BT must, i believe, include understanding that the unique prescription of my life was designed for me, just as everyone else’s challeneges were for them. bts do not have a monoply on that. it’s inherent in the human condition, in the tzelem elokim.

    let’s pray that all of kllal yisrael have yeshuos.

  9. We should pray for each other using our own words, Tehillim, or whatever suits. I feel FFB’s need our help as much as BT’s do.

    There is also room in the silent Shema Koleinu beracha to insert relevant personal prayers. Examples of insertions are shown in Hebrew in some siddurim.

  10. Singles looking for their zivug and infertile couples hoping for a yeshua frequently organize tefila or Tehillim groups with lists of names to pray for each other. Women in the act of candlelighting prior to Shabbos usually utter short personal prayers for the well-being of their families. Someone who is in need of refuah before surgery or medical treatment can ask Yeshiva bochrim to learn in his/her merit, even for five minutes. This is all based on a specific need of a specific person at a specific time, rather than a general prayer for a large group. Of course, we all daven that everyone in Klal Yisroel should have continuous Divine blessing, ample parnasa, good health and Heavenly protection from our enemies.

  11. Bob Miller, I was not attempting to suggest a new formal tefillah.

    My intention was that Baalei Teshuvah might recite Tehillim for each other, because if Baalei Teshuvah do not pray for each other, then nobody else will.

    My other intention was that at the end of Shemoneh Esrei, in the paragraph that starts with the words ELOKAI NETZOR, it is permitted to insert additional requests in any language. I often recite additional requests at this point: some for myself, some for specific people, some for specific categories of Jews, and some requests for all Jews.

    When I recite the paragraph that starts with the words AL HATZADDIKIM, I do not explicitly mention Baalei Teshuvah, because no person alive today has the authority to change the text of the Shemone Esrei prayer. But I always THINK about Baalei Teshuvah when I recite that paragraph.

  12. Babylonian Talmud, tractate Baba Kamma, page 92A:

    Our Rabbis taught: He who prays for his friend, and also needs that thing, will be answered first.
    To receive quick quotes from Jewish holy books and short true inspirational stories of Rabbis, go to:


  13. I am in the interesting position of being 100% in agreement with Bob Miller on this one. Excellent comment, Bob!

  14. Our standard tefillos are typically in the plural, on behalf of and for the benefit of all Klal Yisrael.

    The definition of Baalei Teshuva is elastic. I once heard a sermon from Rav Moshe Gorelik making the case that all Jews should all consider ourselves Baalei Teshuva and strive to improve.

    So I don’t see the need for a separate formal tefilla here, since all the necessary bases are already covered.

    Informal tefilla also has its place, as emphasized in various sources (e.g., Breslover). Surely, we should pray for anyone we know who is striving to improve but is facing adversity.

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