S ome people have their midlife crises in midlife. My husband, Baruch, and I had ours much earlier. We had been married for several years, we had a baby, and we were both working full-time, he as a computer programmer and I as a speech therapist. Life was easy — but it didn’t feel good. We kept the mitzvos. We believed in the Torah. But our observance felt ritualistic and hollow. One fine day, we looked at each other and said, “Is this all there is?”

All around us, in our Modern Orthodox community, we saw our friends sinking spiritually. When one of Baruch’s pals came to shul on Shabbos jingling change in his pocket, we knew it was time to move on.

At around that time, someone introduced Baruch to the books of Rav Avigdor Miller, which he devoured. When he shared these books and ideas with me, I was very skeptical. If Rav Miller’s approach was correct, then my whole life had been a diluted version of what it could have been, and how was that possible? I had grown up religious, after all.

Yet I had never seen or experienced thirst and passion for doing mitzvos — a passion that was riveting, and addictive.

Before long, Baruch began attending the shiurim of Rav Avigdor Miller and his son-in-law, Rav Shmuel Brog. The two of them opened our eyes to a Yiddishkeit we had never known, one that had significance and breadth and affected every aspect of how you think, feel, and behave. Listening to the shiurim of these two Torah giants, we began to understand that there is a purpose to our every experience and interaction, and that everything Hashem does is for the good, whether or not we perceive it that way. We also started to become acutely aware and appreciative of Hashem’s many gifts to us, which spurred us to want to give back to Him in some way.

Slowly, we made the shift from keeping Torah to living Torah. We moved to Brooklyn so that we could join Rav Miller’s kehillah and so that Baruch could attend Rav Brog’s Gemara shiur for beginners.

Many of the attendees of that shiur were single baalei teshuvah who had returned from Eretz Yisrael newly observant and could not return to their nonkosher homes and irate parents. “Come to us,” Baruch offered. And they did.

We became big brother and sister to these bochurim, hosting 10 to 15 of them every week for Shabbos meals and opening our home to them during the week as well.

Our family was growing, and we were growing in Torah and hashkafah as well. It was an amazing time in our lives. Baruch shifted his work schedule so that he could learn a full seder in the morning and work in the afternoon and evening, which meant that I was alone with the kids from the time I returned from work until they went to sleep, but that was what we wanted. It was almost like kollel life. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 669)