The Baal Tshuva Experience - Part III
Norman grows a bit more mature and finds himself disinterested in hanging around with "kids" or going to bars to drink, pick up chicks for meaningless encounters, or just hanging around and watching a ball game. He decides to search for meaning in life, and who is ready with the answers? You got it. He attends more, and voila, he is getting hooked. A half ton of kugel and several gallons of chicken soup later, he is keeping kosher, keeping shabos and spending his free time at the student center / Chabad house. He dons yarmulke and tzitzis, and is that 5 o'clock shadow?
The Rabbi suggests that he take a little detour from his studies. Noam's burnout is all over that, so he decides to go to yeshiva or a discovery program associated with or in the midst of some heavily Orthodox community for a semester to "clear his head". He is still bothered by the questions of Torah / Science and fantasy stories that the Orthodox seem to believe, but he is drawn to the ethical pursuits, the promise of mystical secrets, the meaning of life, and the family and community warmth. He fears that he never would have been happy just caught up in the legal profession rat race anyway, where most of the people are workaholic balls of tension, bouncing between marraiges and life pursuits.
Noam's talent in law school translates well to yeshiva. He shows promise.
Fast forward, Noam is now in a shul with his 7 kids. He is happy enough doing mitzvos and teaching his children how important it is that they daven from the sidur with intense kavana and do the mitzvos with great love. He tells them that their grandparents love them, though we cannot get together too much because "they lived in hard times and never got to go to Jewish school like you. So they do not keep kosher etc." He has made the necessary accomodations at work to keep a good job, where he does not work Shabbos and Yom Tov, does not shake hands with women, and is not required to go to lunch with clients or anyone else. He hasn't a penny to save and he has just taken another large loan to pay for tuition this year.
It is worth it to him though. He is having mesiras nefesh and he enjoys his frum family. Until something goes very very wrong.