Denial of drug/ Alcohol problem

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    Yossi G.

    Last week we read a million posts denying that there’s a problem and talking about chilul Hashem because of the alcohol-induced chilul shabbos crash of a yeshiva boy.

    Isn’t it time to take our heads out of the sand, and face the reality? We have created a charedi world where the pressure is so great, and the penalty for any minuscule infraction so severe, that we are driving people to seek escape wherever they can!

    Pressure to finance an expensive lifestyle, to pay huge tuitions, camps, kolels, fancy weddings, to conform in dress in every way, to attend daf yomi, every detail of our lives has become strictly regimented. Violation means ostracism from society, risking kid’s shidduchim, and more.

    When will the madness end?

    Gavra Rabba

    Yossi G. I am new to this blog and I wasn’t here last week. Sufice it to say, that there are many many Charedi communities in America where people are not as stressed as you make one believe. Stress is found where one does not desire to do that which is expected from him by the society. Expensive lifestyles as you call it, don’t exist everywhere, huge tuitions are discounted, not everyone sits in Kollel, Daf Yomi is not regimented. Stop burying YOUR head in the sand and check outside your daled amos… there’s a wonderful world out there, drug/alcohol use is not the answer and it doesn’t change the reality. Stop making excuses.


    When you move out of town! People will accept you for the frum yid you are!


    I don’t mean that Lakewood is not the best place for many people (outside E”Y, of course), but for many others, not. Meshane Makom, Meshane Mazal. Out of town has less financial pressure, as well as pressure to keep up with the latest chumra.

    There is NO EXCUSE to get Shikker or do drugs (illegal or perscription). One of my Roshei Yeshiva told a bachur he could not learn gemorah for a week because he needed to calm his nerves. Another told a bachur to take a hike once a week (not during seder). Fun and Mutar are not mutually exclusive.


    gavra at work

    I hear what you say, but my question is,

    what perpose does the rosh have to throw a boy out for a day, a week.

    what do you think he will be doing all that time not being in yeshivah, then we wonder about all these bad things frum bochurim (kinderlach) are doing

    when i was i yeshivah my rosh yeshivah would punish by making me stay later in yeshivah and chazer a few blat baal peh thats a tachlis


    Yossi you bring up a valid point, but I beg to differ you on one point. Yes there are those who have created extra stress on our communities and been un excepting of those who don’t follow the excepted norm. However, this is only half of the problem. What they have failed to do is bring out being Jewish in a positive and practical way. Many times the message is “do not do this” & “don’t do that” or “If you wear this you are a not complete Jew (or fill in whatever deragatory message appplies here). It gives of a negative, overwelming, hostile feeling and from a kid’s perspective, if he is going to Gehenim for wanting to wear jeans or whatever slight deviation he might want to do, then what hope does he have for the bigger things?

    The bottom line is, why isn’t more done to bring out the beauty of Yiddishkeit. Granted we don’t do mitzvohs because they are “fun”, but they were given to us to make us better people. If a father (as well as a mother) can make a shabbos meal enhanced where the family not only enjoys the zemiros and d’vrei torah (or whatever your family might do to enhance the meal) but feel good and positive about it, think how many generations to come will have that love for shabbos passed down to them. When they see that Tznius is a positive thing and not just a long list of what you can’t wear then how many of our daughters won’t need to feel the urge to deviate from what is right? We sometimes get so caught up with the strict adherence of the letter of the law that we forget what kedush those letters bring. Hashem is not a vengeful or angry G-d he is a compassionate and loving father up in heaven who waits patiently for us to get closer.

    Thus when religion no longer has meaning. When we follow it not so much because we want to make a connection between Hashem and ourselves or we are so afraid of punishment for every slight misdeed, then what connection are we making to Hashem. And….when we fail to pass on the “meaning” and “beauty” that is within, people look for that “special connection” (Pintle yid) else where. The look for it in drugs, alcohol, adrenaline rush highs, ostentatious lifestyles, or whatever will give them a quick pick me up.

    Gavra Rabba: I think you missed Yossi G’s point. It’s not that he was making excuses for these behaviors. Rather he was showing that the way we lead our life styles is more conducive for one to search in the wrong directions.

    Gavra at work: I think that we all agree that there is no excuse. However, like I mentioned above when you are searching for meaning, and despite how wonderful Yiddishkeit is supposed to be but you are not feeling it, (and sometimes feel that you are the only one who doesn’t) then it is much easier to look for an escape. Plus for those who have been exposed, a walk in the woods will not substitute the feeling of pleasure one has (as well as inhibitions to say and do what they want) when he’s drunk or high on drugs. Plus when our kids see many grownups indulge in excessive drinking, what message does it give to them?

    fardaiget: I agree with you so much! We need to look for every excuse to keep a boy (and girl) in Yeshiva not keep them away. What message are we giving to the boys who are asked to leave? You made a mistake so now we don’t want you any more?

    Think BIG

    fardeiget: “thats a tachlis”?? Just to show you the other side of the coin, if you “punish” a bochur with extra time in yeshiva or extra learning, he will come to associate the yeshiva with punishment. You can bet he will not develope positive attitude towards yeshiva and learning.

    I once heard from R mendel nissel (author of rigshei lev, an english sefer on tefillah for women) that he lectures in all the seminaries in EY, and always at the end of his talk the girls line up to buy his book. Once, in one seminary, none of the girls wanted to buy the book. he was mystified about this as it was so strange. He later found out that that seminary punishes the girls by making them say kapitlach of tehilim. So they natuarally developed anegative attitude towards tefillah, and no matter how well he spoke, they were not interested in the subject.

    I agree with gavra. Sometimes a bochur just needs a break that will refresh him and renew his energies. The Rosh Y did not “throw” him out in gavras example. Rather it seemed to me that he was concerned that the boy will crack under the strain and needed a break! people are human, and humans need to recharge their batteries on ocasion, some more often than others.

    Is gavra rabba and gavra at work the same person?


    I wish I were a Gavra Raba, but as you know, even the Gemorah is not sure who that is!

    To clarify, the bochur was not asked to leave C”V! He stayed in the dorm and learned seder, just with much less stress learning what he chose.

    The point is much of the stress mentioned by Yossi G. is a product of being in town, and if young couples moved out of town it could solve many of the problems we discuss/try to find solutions (as someone else mentioned on a different thread).

    Yossi G.

    Gavra Rabba: You’re of course correct, and I know that- I grew up outside of NY. However, dealing with the reality means that the bulk of the community still lives in NY/ NJ, and can’t/ won’t move for many reasons, right or wrong, and thus a way needs to be found to ease pressure in a kosher way.

    Bentzy: You’re right about the home atmosphere being far and away the single most important factor in raising frum, happy, and normal kids. No one questions that. But how does one do that? Your suggestions are obviously good, but just as obviously many homes do not or cannot function well in that way.

    I would suggest that classes in “having a happy home” should be a part of the yeshiva & BY curriculum, along with classes on “ehrlichkeit in business” and “dina d’malchusa”.

    Still and all, the pressure is tremendous and many people cannot handle it, as we see from the many news reports we hear of people cracking under the pressure. When a big gvir gives money, do you not think that many ask him for more no matter how much he gives? I am sure we have all experienced being asked to raise our donations, imagine how much more of that a wealthy man gets, and thus it becomes easier to understand why he might look to drugs for escape.

    The same for a typical young fellow today. The wife and in-laws want him to buy a house, multiple kids and tuitions, the minimum the average young guy NEEDS today is a number older people cannot even imagine, and is far above the median income in the US. How can we alleviate this situation? Of course these young guys look to kiddush clubs and the like, they need a way to escape the pressure, and this is a “kosher” way, comparatively.

    We pay lip service to this by making “takanos” about weddings and banning things, but the real problem is festering. Censoring the news in the name of lashon hara helps us feel better about not doing anything. Hiding the tragedies in the name of not hurting future shidduchim also has the effect of helping us ignore the reality.

    Something has to be done, and killing the messenger hasn’t worked.


    Suggestion 2: see post on education.

    Yossi G.

    And today, erev shabbos, I open the paper to see that a Bais Ribka girl died of an overdose, and a quasi-famouys NY “aguna” has gone to jail for insurance violations at her nursing home!

    How about this: On Tisha b’Av, let’s replace the lashon harah lecture with a lecture about ehrlichkeit, avoiding chilul Hashem, and how to watch our kids for drugs.

    I’m not pro-lashon hara, but we need better priorities!

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