Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Responses to It Hurts

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

(Oh G-d it Hurts)

- May you find strength in the situation that you have… I, too have my fears and do not wish to post here.

Thank you.  We are all afraid for our youth, the next generation.  But because it’s being treated like a contagious disease, not much is being done about it on a communal level – unfortunately.

- How sad. All the sacrifices and this? Makes me angry. Makes me think G-d is cruel. How can I serve such a G-d?

His ways are not our ways, His calculations are not our calculations.  Many a young child declares his hate for his parents who sent him to bed (on time), prevented him from eating all the candy, or preventing him from jumping off the roof at risk of serious injury.  And the teen who raged against his parents for moving him away from his friends to a new neighborhood that the parents had to choose for job or cost reasons.  We do not understand, but we have faith that G-d’s plan is for the best.

- I was very saddened by your most recent post tonight, even before I knew one of the stories was yours.  I just want you to know that I will be praying for you and your family (and also for the other families).

Prayer is good, but also consider taking some action.  It’s time to support organizations and people addressing these problems, helping the children and helping the parents.

- Is this one of the tests before the coming of Moshiach? I certainly hope so, because nothing else makes sense.

As I said at the top of my article, neither did the horrors of the past (from our limited perspective).  Is this more painful than losing children to disease, to progroms, or to the Holocaust?  Thank G-d, I don’t know.  How do we make sense of the pains and troubles of this world?  That’s the place of Emunah (faith).

- In my humble opinion, one of the real tragedies here is that the parents (with all the right intentions) relied on rabbis with the long, grey beards to help their children rather than EDUCATED, TRAINED and PROFESSIONAL psychologists. The charedi world simply doesn't contain all the remedies for the complex maladies of this generation. This is no criticism, it's the reality!!!

Plenty of parents are using professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, etc.  The yeshivas are very quick today to refer behavioral problems to the professionals.  Over 10% of boys in the average yeshiva are on ADHD medications, others on various anti-psychotics and anti-depressants.  Some have found such things to help, others… no.  You can safely assume if there were solutions with a good percentage of positive outcomes happening, the charedi parents would be flocking to them.

This also includes the “trouble” and “recovery” yeshivas – which today are being run by rabbis with long grey beards and degrees in psychotherapy, addiction counseling and behavioral counseling.  If they reach 50% success, they’re thrilled.

- Only one of them is you?  The first three examples are ME!  I am seriously ready to give up.

Hang in there, we’re rooting for you!  I know exactly how you feel, and if “giving up” was a guaranteed solution plenty would try that as well.  But since our children have moved into dangerous behaviors, I can’t imagine “giving up” is going to create a context that would help.

- May Hashem send a spiritual refuah for your precious child. We had one thrown out of yeshiva, thought it was the end of the world, cv"s, however 3 years later, he is slowly coming back. Us giving him the freedom to go to university gave him the freedom to start finding Hashem on his own terms. May we all be blessed with Yiddishe naches from our kinderlach.



  1. I'm very sorry to hear about these problems. But isn't part of the problem the unhealthy (and historically unprecedented) demand for total conformity within charedi communities? What if the gedolim and Rebbes were to say, don't ostracize someone if their child is having troubles or goes off the derech, and treat everyone with kindness even if they are having troubles? We can't always control our children, no matter how good a job we're doing of raising them -- some will join a different stream of Orthodoxy, such as dati leumi, some will leave observance permanently, and some will leave and come back. Heaven help us.

  2. Shlomo said...
    I want to just thank you for your post. This writing was to me, a perfect example of what comes from the heart, goes to the heart.
    It's nice to know someone else feels the same way. Thank you for posting it.

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  5. I agree with Yishai. As painful as it is to see a child abandon thousands of years worth of traditions and some times basic morality as well, the charedim asked for it! What the hell do you expect if you create a culture where it matters more what the neighbors will think. Where basic common sense gets so perverted that a whole generation of youth is taught that the ideal for a man is to sit in kollel and accept charity. Where externals matter much more than internals and ones every move is watched from a young age. Where other groups of Torah observant Jews are looked down upon. And all in the name of God !!!??? Oh boy, had i grown up charedi I would've been far, faaaaaar away from all semblance of Judaism now. Sure glad I didn't grow up this way, so I can still find it meaningful to cling to my ancestors' traditions.
    These kids are rebelling because they have a darn good reason to rebel. Unfortunately charedim have created a culture which in many ways is the opposite of life. These kids simply want life! Give them Judaism that doesn't deny or pervert life and common sense but rather channels it in a healthy way, and they'll have nothing to rebel against.

  6. Some Dude - Thank you, you said it much better than i did. Yes, many times the kids who leave are more of heroes rather than losers. Years back when i used to see a kid abandon Judaism i would think oh what a nebach. now i say you did the right thing given the environment you grew in. Just too bad you had to throw out literally thousands of years worth of traditions that your ancestors had to sacrifice for (and most of them weren't even charedi).

  7. Sometimes I just want to go up to Jewish people and shake them and say, "Hey. You. Wake Up." Probably asking nicely if they would like to put on tefilin would be more effective. Yeah?

  8. Unfortunately, this is on spot:

    "I am not blaming you, I am blaming our exile that has totally confused us with an impossible environment. The exile is so deep and sick that we actually think that aspects of the torment of the exile are what Hashem wants! .... "

    This is what the re-entry of Israel to world history is meant to achieve. To reenergize Jewish observance in all it's forms.

  9. As a parallel aside:

    "Hareidi politics have led to a form of communal dependence on elections results, he continued. “And then the ends justify the means… As a community activist put it, ‘Fraud is allowed for the sake of Torah.’”

    Ultimately, the problem is an “exile mentality,” he suggested. “The exile mentality according to which the Jew may trick oppressive (Polish) authorities in order to survive has continued even in the land of Israel, with the state of Israel and its institutions in the role of oppressor,” he wrote.

    Another problem, he added, is that “the formalization of halakha [Jewish law] has led to a certain dulling of senses regarding the place that innate human morality has in the system.” He linked the issue to that of hareidi army service, arguing that “the moral question, and awareness of the desecration of G-d’s name” caused by a refusal to serve “are not a significant factor” in the hareidi debate.

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  11. I think that part of the issue / challenge might be our large families. I have many kids, baruch Hashem, and while my wife and I truly believe that this increases the love in the house and promotes chesed and good environment for kids (and parents) to grow, I assume that statistically, it means that there is an increased risk in one going off our derech.

  12. I deleted all my comments because I am afraid of causing people harm in case I am wrong.

    Just saying. I don't hate anybody, and I certainly don't hate the Haredi community. I don't jump for joy if a parent starts crying when their child leaves their tradition, that kind of thing breaks my heart totally. I don't think someone losing their culture is a good thing, and since that seems to be the impression I gave, I deleted my comments.

  13. Some Dude:
    I didn't get the impression that you hate haredim, and neither do I. I am in fact to a certain extent STILL part of a charedi community, as there is one thing that I find in it that makes it still worth it to stick around. I'm talking about the standards of tzniut - where women and men dress modestly and boys and girls don't socialize, they wait until they're ready to get married and date with this purpose. With all the retarded things that go on, I find this one thing to be very healthy. (And one thing I disagree with you is what you wrote about this - I don't find that any charedi boys suffer from lack of communication with the opposite gender (and most of them do communicate in fact - big families are loaded with sisters, cousins, nieces, but there isn't this competitive "survival of the fittest" environment which always exists when you put boys and girls in the same classroom.)) At least that's my impression. As to the other things that go on in the community, as they say, it would've been funny if it weren't true... Very very unfortunate.

    BTW, I really liked your ideas about a yeshiva that would teach real skills including farming, wilderness skills, self defence, horse back riding, shchita, what else did you mention...? Yeah, that's life! Who would want to rebel against living a full life combined with moral teachings and deep national traditions?

  14. @david

    I don't think Haredi boys are worse off in gender than "normal" boys. I think they are a lot healthier.

    That's why I took down my comments.


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