Going off the Derech

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  • #1183369

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Hudi, smc, shirafirst, Syag Lchochma, SaysMe: Thanks to all of you who are still thinking of me and my son. Every time I come to the coffee room and see that it says I started this post a year ago, I know that in about a month, it will suddenly say ‘2 years ago’. It was 2 years ago around Pesach time that this painful saga began. I actually can’t believe that I am still in this parasha, and was certain that things were going to resolve itself a few months after it all began. Boy was I wrong!

    My son is now 18, and still very much OTD. He is connected with various agencies, although he is not committed to counseling in any serious sort of way. He is trying to finish school, although he is inconsistent in his efforts, and continues to hang out with an undesirable crowd. As for me and my husband, the only progress I think we’ve made, is that we are past the shock of all this, although we have been tested many times over with various new things my son does. My husband and I are in counseling, but I can’t say that my husband and I are in perfect agreement in how to deal with this situation. This is still a struggle for us. We continue to suffer ostracism from various people in our community, not to mention the terrible time we’ve had trying to get our other boys into yeshiva. I am almost reluctant to say this, since it is not a compliment to our Torah community that we judge a boy’s potential by his OTD brother. To refuse to interview a boy bc his brother is OTD is unforgiveable! But I mention this in the hope that, if there are any RY’s reading this post, they should make sure they are not guilty of this shameful crime.

    I thank all of you in the coffee room who gave me your time and sage advice, and helped me to survive the most painful period of my life. May we never know of any more pain, and may we all merit to receive our yeshua and be blessed with good health and nachas from all of our children…

    #1183370

    Amen!!

    #1183371

    SaysMe
    Member

    ameim

    #1183373

    Speaker
    Participant

    write or wrong – I want to let you know that our KIP is getting married – Hang in there, there is light at the end of the tunnel

    #1183374

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Speaker- Mazel Tov, I’m so happy for you!! May you reap much nachas!!

    #1183375

    Speaker
    Participant

    Thank you – 🙂

    I wish you were in the US where the group will help you get through it.

    #1183376

    SaysMe
    Member

    i wish he would come home for pesach :'(

    #1183377

    SaysMe

    That’s exactly what I meant:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/the-fifth-son%E2%80%A6

    And as I wrote before, under another s/n, HaShem does not come with complaint, “a grudge” against His creatures.This nowadays phenomenon of being OTD is something HaShem knows fully about, he won’t judge you or your son beyond your capabilities.

    And just as there’s an answer to the four sons, so too there’s an appropriate answer, response to the OTD son. I (obviously) don’t know, but there is. And Pesach should be the opportune time to be mispalel, that’s the Chag of ????? ????.

    #1183379

    SaysMe
    Member

    lf- i know it was, n it was what my response to u there meant too. But not my son i’m referring to.

    First step would be him coming to the seder, literally coming home…

    #1183380

    Were thinking of and Davening for you, SaysMe, WoW and others… on Seder night. Some have issues and problems they don’t feel comfortable discussing here even anonymously. Pesach night was a very opportune time. Besides of what I wrote before, seforim write that we are visited by the Shechina and other Heavenly occupants. A certain time for effecting ??????.

    #1183381

    SaysMe
    Member

    thanks lf

    #1183383

    smc
    Participant

    Did you stop posting things about your son?

    #1183384

    write or wrong
    Participant

    smc-I don’t really have anything new to say. My son seems to be lingering in his situation without making any healthy changes. I believe he really isn’t capable of making any changes on his own and needs someone to help him. He’s still so involved with his friends. We make suggestions and have offered tons of help, but he rejects everything. I know that the yeshua is not going to come from me and my husband. I just pray that Hashem will send the right shaliach, and am wondering…what is taking the shaliach so long to arrive?????

    Thanks for asking…

    #1183385

    a mamin
    Participant

    WOW: You are still in our tefilos! Yeshias Hashem Keheref Ayin!

    #1183387

    MachaaMaker
    Member

    It’s not all about how much love they are getting, they have to feel like their life is meaningful that they are accomplishing things. This is true even (and probably especially) if its not things accomplished in yiddishkeit but if they have some job that they can do (whether it’s work with their hands or learning computers or something) they will feel that they have accomplished and are worth something, and will take a huge step in the right direction

    #1183388

    SaysMe
    Member

    wow- bezras Hashem, good news soon. To put a twist on perspective, bH he is lingering at this point, hopefully the bottom peak, n the curve turns up from here only! And bH he isnt declining further, like by us…

    #1183389

    write or wrong
    Participant

    a mamin-thanks

    MachaaMaker-you are right, but he is not interested in doing anything like learning a trade. He might consider working if someone would hire him , but it’s kind of unlikely given the way he looks.

    SaysMe-Hope you are right.

    #1183390

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I am not sure what you mean, Nobody would hire him because of the way he looks, but that might not be true. Someone with Long Hair, who wears T-shirts and jeans would not be a good fit for a Seforim Store, but might be a very good fit for a Music Store.

    #1183391

    Yeshivahack
    Member

    Hi I might not have alot of experince but I have 1 tip for u next x he comes in late or somthing real bad try crying and daven an let him c or over here that u crying make sure he nows its for him u r crying/davening

    #1183392

    Yeshivahack
    Member

    Be creative look out the box find a job faaaaassstt its v important

    Hatsloch gedola

    #1183393

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Zahavasdad-it’s not like he didn’t try to get a job…and it’s a bit more extreme than just jeans and t-shirt with long hair, but I get your point. The bottom line is, I don’t think he is capable right now of doing anything responsible, like getting up on time or to be at a job on time until he gets counseling.

    Yeshiahack- I did that a long time ago (uncontrollably) and it did not have the desired effect. He will just disconnect. We do get him small jobs periodically with some of my husband’s friends, but it doesn’t heal him. If he had something steady that he enjoys and wants, then maybe he’d be more motivated to stick with it, and go to counseling to work out any issues that are blocking him from continuing.

    #1183394

    Yeshivahack
    Member

    Oh well then try sitting down and asking him wat he eants to do dont push him let him tell u eg I wanna do music jone a band or cook in restarant keep crying make sure he dosnt no that you no he can here

    #1183395

    dial427436
    Member

    WOW, would he be interested in going on a program in Israel or even in the States?

    #1183396

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Yeshivahack-he has some interests, but he doesn’t have the confidence to pursue them.

    dial427436- he would only go if his friends went with him, and that’s highly unlikely. He is connected with an organization that offers some activities periodically

    #1183397

    MachaaMaker
    Member

    His confidence has to be built up by being able to accomplish something and do something with his life

    #1183398

    write or wrong
    Participant

    MachaaMaker-You’re right, but it’s a vicious circle. We try to get him small jobs and focus a lot on his talents, which are many! Maybe as he sees his friends ‘move on’ with their life, he will be motivated as well. Today’s the day to daven for it……

    #1183399

    dial427436
    Member

    keep davening he’s in my tefillah.

    I worked on an Amercian program mentoring teens off the D in Israel. Sometimes these boys aren’t motivated and don’t want do anything. It can take a very long time for them to mature and start making life decisions. Just don’t push….yet. It’s a matter of Hashem and time. Much Hatzlocha!!

    #1183400

    write or wrong
    Participant

    dial427436-how long is a long time??

    #1183401

    SaysMe
    Member

    wow- he’s a teen with a teen brain… So a long time is exactly what you said earlier- when he matures more. Hard, hard, hard! I know…

    I got a glimpse of my bro yesterday, n just cried.

    #1183402

    dial427436
    Member

    That all depends on him, days, months, even years. I myself wasn’t so on the derech growing up. I was a very confused teenager and it took me until I was about 20 to get myself into gear. Baruch Hashem I had a wonderful relationship with my parents even though I was not doing as they wished they decided to support me all the way. There is no sitting shiva for a child who goes off the D.

    Sometimes people like your son just need to feel accepted. It’s always better if he can have someone to talk to if not just be the supportive parent which sounds like you have been. Never lose hope in him.

    Since there are over 2000 posts on this thread reading it all is just too much so I do not know if any of this was said.

    Like all children or adults whom go off the D they are part of klal yisrael and no matter what they do they still need our love and support. We need everyone to bring this long galus to an end, we should adopt the policy leave no one behind.

    Much Hatzlocha!!!

    #1183403

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    This thread started a few years ago, Is he supposed to go in the Army soon?

    #1183404

    write or wrong
    Participant

    SaysMe-keep davening!

    dial427436-thanks for your well wishes

    zahavasdad-not sure

    #1183405

    mom12
    Participant

    A gutt voch to all…

    someone just told me recently..

    ‘dont worry your children will ‘come back’…

    Because you cry a lot for them, and a mother tears

    are NEVER wasted..’

    well, I am still waiting, tryng different strategies, and davening and crying..

    I have several to deal with..

    #1183406

    write or wrong
    Participant

    mom12-Oy the pain! I can relate. We never know when all that tefillah will just kick in. We pray that it will be soon, but we don’t know Hashem’s timetable. We also don’t know the tikkun of our children. We just have to do our part and daven for them, the rest is out of our hands…

    May you see reward for your tears!

    #1183407

    crgo
    Participant

    WOW – Considering that this thread has been relatively inactive you’d be shocked at how often I think about you and wonder how you guys are doing. I especially always think about your younger kids and the yeshiva k’tana issue – it seems like such unnecessary salt on a wound. But i also know so well that’s how things work around here (not to go back there and start that again). At the end of the day are the younger ones someplace? Either way, I just wanted u to know that you’re still in my mind and in my prayers.

    #1183408

    crgo
    Participant

    WOW – Considering that this thread has been relatively inactive you’d be shocked at how often I think about you and wonder how you guys are doing. I especially always think about your younger kids and the yeshiva k’tana issue – it seems like such unnecessary salt on a wound. But i also know so well that’s how things work around here (not to go back there and start that again). At the end of the day are the younger ones someplace? Either way, I just wanted u to know that you’re still in my mind and in my prayers.

    #1183410

    write or wrong
    Participant

    crgo-Thanks for your thoughts. It’s still a struggle, I have more boys that need to be placed in yeshiva and it’s a constant battle. Mashiach hasn’t come yet, so people are oftentimes very judgemental. The only thing I can say is I’m not shocked anymore, but it does still hurt. The only way to live with it is to know that everything is from Hashem, the seemingly bad and the good. I just pray that I will one day see that it was all l’tova…

    #1183411

    a mamin
    Participant

    WOW: It was never mentioned what part of Israel you are in, though we are davening for all of Klal Yisroel to stay safe.Any updates for us on any progress with your son?

    #1183412

    write or wrong
    Participant

    a mamin- I think all of Israel is affected at this point. The sirens have gone off in my neighborhood and in most of the neighborhoods I know. Keep davening!

    Nothing new on my son, pretty much status quo, although I do seem to see some tiny sparks of maturity beginning to shine…

    #1183413

    MyTurnAtBat
    Member

    I’m curious, what does your son say about all this. Maybe you mentioned it, I didn’t read through all of the posts. What does he believe about God and Torah? What does he want to do with his life?

    Has he tried other derachim such as Religious Zionist or Torah Im Derech Eretz? For many today, the entire definition of Torah observance is Gemara study. This doesn’t work for many people.

    #1183414

    TheGoq
    Participant

    I commend you wow for not discarding and shunning your son because of his alternate lifestyle like so many have done to their “former” children, siblings etc.

    #1183415

    write or wrong
    Participant

    MyTurnAtBat-I try not to bring up the subject bc I don’t want to take a chance at unleashing his defenses, since even without me voicing my opinion, he knows what it is. But I think he believes in G-d and that the Torah is emet! Not sure what he wants to do with his life.

    The Goq-No matter what, he’ll always be my son, and I’ll always love him.

    #1183416

    Satmer101
    Participant

    to write or wrong

    I just noticed your post. I had a son who went off the derech 2 years ago, became a mechallel shabbos and basically slept all day and hung out all night…. we took him from therapist to therapist and he refused to open up.

    One day I decided that I would spend every Friday with him. I took him to the Zoo, the planterium, Jewish museum, etc etc..

    He would be totally silent and refused to communicate with me. It was very very uncomfortable as you can very much imagine.

    He would smoke pot day and night!

    One Friday, I decided that I couldnt take the silence anymore and i didnt want to go anywhere with him.

    We used to leave around 9:00 Am every Friday for our trips.

    This particular Friday, he suddenly texted me around 2:00 PM, (Im in the same house) and asked, are we going anywhere today? That’s when I knew I had him… and so we renewed our Friday Trips, even though it was very difficult for me to take off from work. On our trips I would put on the CD’s called “Carlebach Stories”, and he would tell me that these stories never happened, trying to get me into an argument, but I was thrilled since he started actually conversing with me…. and I told him, that he doesn’t have to believe the stories, its not Torah, but its entertainment, and so slowly we would start talking about Hashkafa, with him questioning the Existance of a Higher Being, and you cannot imagine the pain that I had, but he was talking, and i would validate what he said, and I would give him politely my answer.

    Slowly but surely I asked him to come shabbos to shul, not to daven but for kiddush, for kugel etc… and he came…

    I am a magid shiur in my shul, and you cannot imagine how I felt when he would show up to shul for kiddush with his open shirt to his navel, but when he showed up, I would run to him and put my arm around his shoulders and thank him for coming, eventhough I wanted to strangle him…

    He then asked for a car, and I said I would lease him a brand new car on 2 conditions, A) that he passes a drug test. and b) that he doesnt drive the car on shabbos…

    He waited 6 months took the drug test and passed and he got a car…

    once he was off pot, I noticed small changes for the better every day

    To make a long story short,

    Today he learns in Israel day and night, he is a masmid and doesn’t even possess a Kosher phone. The only way I communicate with him, is when he borrows a phone every Friday to call me..

    So be Strong, I had actually given up on him and withing 1 year, things did a 360 degree turn…

    if you want to contact me, ill be happy to discuss in more detail what we did…

    But don’t give up

    #1183417

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Satmer101-thanks so much for your inspiring story! You are a role model in chinuch. Can I ask you what age he was when he went OTD? And did you ever find the ‘reason(s)’ he went OTD? What would you say was the most important ingredient that prompted his return (ie was it something that you did, or something else?) And once he got the car, what do you think helped him to continue to improve? May you continue to reap only nachas! Thank-you for sharing.

    #1183418

    MyTurnAtBat
    Member

    Remedies depend a lot on the type of kid this is. Sometimes, you get very intelligent, independent minded kids who get turned off by all the dogma that is common today. They can be directed to the numerous people who encourage a broad minded Judaism: R’ Joseph Soloveitchik, R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch, R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky. Sorry no links

    Some kids are not intellectually inclined. This doesn’t mean they are not intelligent, just that they don’t find themselves in books and ideas. They are people of action. This whole one-size-fits-all model of an entire childhood sitting at a desk destroys them as does the view that Judaism = learning and davening. Kids like this often need a parnassah that gives them a sense of purposefulness and independence. They also need a different kind of connection to Judaism, perhaps one that emphasizes the value of mitzvos, including chesed. Some find this in moving to Israel and being a part of the activity there in running a country. The key is action, not thought.

    Some kids have been abused and need to work out the damage and regain their sense of dignity and worth. A good therapist can help there. Try ASCASupport.org for support groups.

    Some kids are so wrapped up in drugs or general junk culture that they can’t think straight anymore. Usually Jewish kids have a special instinct that they aren’t going to do well in the long run like that and have a special strength to extricate themselves. Drugs have a powerful hold on the brain and body. Shmuel Gluck’s organization can help there – areivim I think it’s called.

    Some kids just need a change of derech. The MO kid becomes more charedi. The charedi kid becomes MO. It would help if he knew that you were open to that.

    Some kids struggle with mental illness that may or may not be in the genes. But a person can have a satisfying life even with mental illness. Like any illness they need to learn about it and work with it.

    One of the really tricky things about the halacha is that it can be very difficult to work all of this out while single – not that a highly confused person can necessarily be successfully married. Forgive the bluntness here but the tivas and loneliness can really make a young person crazy where they can’t focus on anything but that. It’s a real Catch 22, a conundrum. But tying together the hope of getting married with getting one’s life on a track can be helpful.

    I can’t imagine that giving him a chance to talk would hurt the situation. Main thing is not to argue with him, just let him talk and unburden his heart. He’s probably had people talking over him his whole life (not you, but plenty of others). Many young people never think about their future, so asking him about his future may spark the idea that he needs to think about and start working something out. And deep inside he wants to. Many people don’t even know that they are allowed to build their own vision for a life and to formulate their own thoughts about Judaism. Amazing things can happen when a person is allowed to think. Just ask him questions, not in a nagging way, not in a judging way, but in a way where you are interested in his point of view. Let him know that you want to help him. A mother’s love goes a long, long way.

    If I read the prior posts correctly you are living in Israel. But you seem to be a natural English speaker so perhaps you are originally American. Was he raised partially in the USA? That can complicate matters some if he now finds himself in a very restrictive community.

    There are many options and I have seen all kinds of kids go from OTD to frum. But I must stress that frum doesn’t mean masmid yeshiva man necessarily. Too many people have that picture, that the kid will turn himself around and never again look away from the Gemara. Frum means Shomer Shabbos with a connection to God. There are many forms of this. A white shirt is not obligatory.

    #1183419

    sm29
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing, and baruch Hashem for his return to Torah so his neshema can be nourished again.

    We need to remember that even though we want so much to help them, what they need from us is love, understanding, and patience

    #1183420

    Satmer101
    Participant

    To Write or Wrong

    He went off the derech at 18, I never found out why…. but he was in Israel learning and he had told my wife that he has Hashkafa problems, also he was telling her that he even felt bad for the Palestinians. I took the next plane out and told him, if he has Hashkafa issues, he can have them in the USA, I packed his bags and took him back with me….he didn’t say one word on the 11 hour flight…

    but I now believe that he got in with some bad kids, and I believe it was the pot that screwed up his brain. When I told him that, he would say that pot is safe… but as he got weaned off pot I saw a complete change, both in his return to Hashem and to us….I also think that the time that I gave him on Fridays showed him that I cared very much for him.

    Giving him the car was a way for me to find out how bad his addiction to drugs was, the deal was that I would have him tested randomly, and I found out from the lab that he was only on pot…. but believe me once he was off pot because he wanted the car so much, he changed..

    Also, after our Friday trips, I would drop him off at Ohr Samaich, and told him to just hang out there for an hour and I would then pick him up. He met a Rebbi there by the name of Switiczky that was learning there on Fridays by himself and he took an interest in my son, and my son became very attached to him…

    my son says that the trips and R’ Switizky saved his life…

    but I think it was his stopping the pot…

    I would advise you to have him tested for drugs…

    The way I did it, the very first time, was to tell him that the Insurance Compny requires a checkup, and I called the Doctor and told him to check him

    #1183421

    write or wrong
    Participant

    MyTurnAtBat-thanks for all the great advice. We are definitely not the same parents we were 2 years ago when this whole thing got started, and we definitely have different expectations at this point. B’ezrat Hashem, we are still hoping and praying that we’ll merit a yeshua.

    sm29-you are right!

    Satmer101-So glad to hear your story had a happy ending! I see that in addition to all your hishtadlus, you had a lot of Siyata D’shmaya. I will keep your suggestions in mind, and B’Ezrat Hashem, I pray we too will see a yeshua.

    #1183422

    a mamin
    Participant

    WOW: Just to let you know my thoughts and tefilos are still with you…..

    #1183424

    vayoel moshe
    Member

    Send him to r yoel roth

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