Do BTs Really Experience Spiritual Pleasure?

Dear BBT

I’ve been reading your site for a while and you often talk about happiness and spiritual pleasure. Do BTs (or FFBs) really experience spiritual pleasure? And if they do can you describe it and tell me what activities help to experience it?


10 comments on “Do BTs Really Experience Spiritual Pleasure?

  1. I am not sure I am clear about the difference between emotional pleasure that is achieved through a wholesome experience — say, a religious one — and spiritual pleasure. Perhaps they are the same thing in fact.

  2. I think one of the things that distinguishes BT experiences of pleasure in the spiritual realm from those who are FFB or not religious is that they have generally experienced both secular and religious pleasures. I have to say there is a qualitative difference. In “secular” pleasure, the pleasure fades, often engenders regret later on, and doesn’t build you up as a person. “Spiritual” pleasures are enduring, make you feel good about yourself, and build you as a person.

    Also, choosing a religious lifestyle often results in a total change in expectations from life…often consciously. Because I have lower material expectations, it is easier to satisfy them. Because I trained myself to have hakaras hatov, I appreciate even small blessings.

    In addition to all of the above, there really is a pleasure from experiencing things that are holy. Seder night, neilah on Yom Kippur, Shabbos evening, all these times and others have a special “Feel” that I remember understanding even as a child.

  3. When the Jewish People were listening to Hashem Speak directly to them how did they know it was the all-powerful creator of all life and matter ? The answer is that no one asked the question. The experience was such that everyone knew without a doubt because of the nature and quality of the experience. I think there are many BT’s who have had powerful experiences which they would describe as spiritual in nature. Certainly the same for FFB’s.

    I remember hearing some Shmuzzen from Rav Shlomo Brevda where he describes having heard from Talmidim who had periods where through there learning they achieved deeply spiritual and elevated states. Having said that I had a Rebbe in Yeshiva who said he has been working on feeling some kind of spiritual uplift from learning on Shavuos for years and only in very recently has he achieved anything.

    I think the most important thing to understand is that spirituality is beyond the physical plain so it defies definition and description. Sometimes it comes like a bolt out of the blue and sometimes with years and years of hard work and striving for perfection.

  4. Baruch HASHEM, there have been times when my prayers have been answered in a way which provided me with irrefutable evidence that HASHEM heard me.

  5. Learning Torah, performing Mitzvos and acts of Chesed mean a lot more and give much pleasure to someone who is a serious Jew-FFB or BT.

  6. People are different.

    I think when looking from the perspective of someone with “peckalech”(significant life challenges), the happiness may be in smaller and modest measures, such as small progress in overcoming a habit(Chavos Halevavos speaks of valuing small measures of personal growth). People do have eureka of discovering an insight; Avnei Nezer says that happiness in Torah is part of “lishmah”, but Steipler addressed also those who don’t see that.

    Also, as someone pointed out to me, the issue may be how to integrate ordinary happiness l’sheim shomayim, because if someone wants to be happy, despite worry, part of the means may be the exact same as a non-Jew.

    To be specific, if someone is doing a relaxing exercise from stress, he doesn’t necessarily have to use a kabbalistic meditation, or focus on Bitachon, just as when one goes swimming, one doesn’t wear a gartel, even if doing it l’sheim shomayim. However, in the general context of things, it can be part of a spiritual pursuit. This is similar to Chanoch the shoemaker(see this link).

  7. Last Shabbos I was reading the printed version of a Chumash-Rashi drasha on Parashas Yisro, given in the early 1980’s by the Klausenburger Rebbe ZT”L. This (typically for his writings) gave me real spiritual pleasure—especially his strongly made point that HaShem will personally and directly redeem us as from Egypt, no matter what our condition.

  8. As novelty and newness are an essential component in pleasure derivation it’s safe to say that BTs derive more pleasure from their avodas Hashem, at least in the early years, than do FFBs.

  9. Absolutely, spiritual pleasure is a deep feeling of peace, its an understanding that everything in the world that occurs does so at the wish of a loving, caring, and all knowing G~D. This G~D created us from nothing with the sole purpose of allowing us to recieve and earn the greatest and most perfect good, G~D himself. We accomplish this by following his will, the Torah, this allows us to resemble G~D and ultimately partake in his infinite awesomeness.

    In order to accomplish this feeling get in touch with the more beautiful parts of being jewish. I reccomend you buy some Shlomo Carlebach music and start learning some holy words from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Take long walks and really contemplate why you were brought into this world, think about how fleeting and temporary our existence is and how you can best bring light to an apparent dark world.

    Above all else, let it be absolutely clear to you what a gigantic gift life really is, what a kind world it is that you are a Jew, a holy son of holiness that has the ability to acheive a direct connection to our creator. Find solace in the fact that you are most certainly on the right road. Enjoy the drive, much blessings my brother

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