October 29, 2014 5:40 pm at 5:40 pm #1183425stanleycParticipant
Satmer101-“he had told my wife that he has Hashkafa problems, also he was telling her that he even felt bad for the Palestinians”
Maybe there is something that I don’t understand. Of all the “problems” that he had, the one most egregious was feeling bad for the Palestinians?October 29, 2014 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #1183426a maminParticipant
VYoel Moshe: I hope you were joking????October 29, 2014 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #1183427
Nope he works with off the derech kids so that’s my suggestionOctober 29, 2014 8:48 pm at 8:48 pm #1183429
Are you in his yeshiva?October 29, 2014 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #1183431
Nope but I know those who areOctober 29, 2014 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #1183432
Not sure that those boys are off the derech….October 29, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm #1183433
They are just because they have chassidishe levush doesn’t mean they aren’t. Off the derech but he really helps them I know of one graduate who moved to kiryas yoel and previously he barely DavenedOctober 29, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm #1183434
Not sure you know what off the derech means…If he moved to Kiryas Yoel does he automatically daven?October 29, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm #1183435
No, only if you go bnei yoel or zaloinim shul in kiryas yoel do you davenOctober 29, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #1183436
That’s what I recommend for chassidish otd kidsOctober 30, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am #1183437
To daven by bnei yoel?October 30, 2014 6:51 am at 6:51 am #1183438
a mamin- What dedication! Thanks for thinking of me.
My son’s levush does not resemble anything religious and he would never go near a yeshiva of any kind at this point. He is still very ‘anti’. Not that he doesn’t maamin! He says he does, but he goes by his own interpretation of the Torah and anything organized or preachy just turns him off.November 4, 2014 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #1183440a maminParticipant
A yiddishe neshama…… he WILL come back , I am sure of it…its just taking much longer than we hoped…November 23, 2014 5:57 am at 5:57 am #1183443
hows he doing now? i feel soooo bad for him:( i cant believe his still not frum:( i almost went otd but b’h im very yeshivish now and wanna marry a kollel guy:) and this has been going on longer than it took me to almost go off and b back on and super yeshivish so i feel terribly sorry for u and him:( i really wish i could help?!November 23, 2014 8:11 am at 8:11 am #1183444moi aussiMember
I haven’t read all 43 pages so I don’t know if Avi Fishoff was mentioned. Apparently he does wonders with OTD kids. His approach is called “Twisted Parenting”. He has almost 100% success rate. Google him.November 23, 2014 5:31 pm at 5:31 pm #1183445
i dont kw how to help pple bc frum or go back on the derech so i cant really help sorry but what i try doing is when im at college i try to figure out if so is jewish and if they r i try teaching them stuff:) thats my kiruv:) it really works:) i taught someone about kashrus:)November 23, 2014 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #1183448secretagentyidMember
Write or wrong–how is your son doing?
I havent read through all 43 pages of this thread, but does he do drugs? If that is the case, an enormous step towards coming back is stopping that. Even if it is something as relatively innocuous as marijuana( I am not saying it is not bad, and in fact am very anti it, but comparatively) completely changes ones outlook. It is near impossible to take life seriously if one is using drugs.
Also, just an idea, show him some of the “cooler” sides of the torah. I.e, the juggler and the king, Maharal’s beer hagola. Seeing torah as something enjoyable can really change it around completely. This obviously depends on his personality type, what he is into intellectualy, and if he is even willing to read something “jewish”.
Also, I know this has definitely been said multiple times, and it is obvious from here that you are a loving, caring parent, but he needs to see that he can be open with you. Show him yourself as anything other than an authority figure.
I wish you the greatest hatzlocho, that Hashem should bless you abd your family, and should help your son through this patch of his life. I hope that what I said can be of some use to you, if not, just know that there are many of us thinking of and davening for you and your son. May we hear only besoros tovos.November 23, 2014 7:11 pm at 7:11 pm #1183449
is he bcing any more religious?November 25, 2014 3:30 pm at 3:30 pm #1183450
Forgive me, please, for being presumptuous, and for projecting my own feelings and biases on your situation…
What emerges from your posts, write or wrong, is that you’re a particularly intelligent and articulate person. My guess is that you have an advanced secular education, either from schooling or your own efforts (or both). Even your screenname contains a clever pun that bespeaks a love of (not necessarily exclusively Jewish) learning, curiosity and intellectual development.
I would also guess that your son, being your son, has inherited a lot of these traits.
I haven’t read all of your posts, but it’s apparent that you live in a Yeshivish community (you cited your son’s continued wearing of “black and white” as a positive sign of frumkeit.) For better or worse, allowing one’s curiosity about art, science, letters, history, etc. to take hold — the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake –is not exactly a cherished value in the Yeshivish world, particularly if such learning comes at the expense of limudei kodesh.
There are those who find such an attitude — a repression of one’s natural capabilities and curiosity about the world — to be exceedingly stifling. I have never in my life been Haredi/yeshivish, but in the very brief period of time I spent in a Haredi yeshiva as a 17 year old, I felt that the sense that any activity other than learning was frowned upon and deemed bitul zman was choking me. Because I had been raised in a more modern environment, I knew that this “no-learning-other-than-Torah-learning” attitude was not the only way one could live his Judaism. But I imagine that for what I assume is an intellectually gifted and curious teen like your son, to equate Judaism with a repression of his natural teenage curiosities — to know Yiddishkeit exclusively as a theology that discourages wonderment about anything not found on a blatt Gemara, could very well cause deep resentment of frummkeit, and, ultimately, rejection.
I remember a guy I was friends with in my 20s. Fiercely intelligent. Raised Chasidish. And hated Yiddishkeit because in his view, based on the experiences he had, religious education could only exist to the exclusion of all other kinds of learning. This was a guy who had (and still has) a deep appreciation for music. (By that I mean he doesn’t merely enjoy listening to music…I mean he had a scholar’s appreciation for its intricacies, and an artisan’s talent for working in the medium.) And I think he felt, again, based on his experience, that he could only fully delve into the depths of music if his Judaism was completely left behind.
There are other ways of living a completely orthodox, halachic life. Torah U’Madda may not be a hashkafah that the particularly community you’ve chosen to live in advocates le’chatchilah, but it is a legitimate derech that enables a person to live a halachic life that still allows room for pursuit of one’s natural talents and interests. It is conceivable that your gifted, talented, intelligent son has rejected Yiddishkeit not because of taivos or emunah issues or peer pressure, but simply because in his velt, he doesn’t see societal examples of a way in which he can give full expression to his own, natural, curiosities and interests while still living a fully Torahdik and halachic lifestyle. A person who feels a deep yearning to explore, understand, study and learn may well reject a theology that he feels requires him to stifle those interests. If he were to be exposed to streams of Orthodoxy that don’t require such…well, ‘orthodoxy’….his attitude towards Judaism may well change.
Just my two cents, with a lot of projection, based on my own personal feelings and experiences. I apologize in advance if none of this applies.November 25, 2014 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #1183452oyyoyyoyParticipant
intrstng. makes sense.November 26, 2014 3:50 am at 3:50 am #1183457
yep it totally makes sense since something similar happened to me:)November 26, 2014 8:47 am at 8:47 am #1183459old manParticipant
Only your advice was presumptuous. Your analysis of the yeshivish world is insightful and accurate. Well said.November 26, 2014 2:40 pm at 2:40 pm #1183460
I should clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been in the past, Yeshivish/Haredi. My observations and conclusions are solely those of an outsider looking in.
My perception is that there is far less room in the Haredi world for a precocious, curious teenager who is developing a sense of self and what interests him in the world to explore those interests. Where a Modern Orthodox teen with a budding interest in science, art, letters, or any other discipline would be encouraged to develop his talents and pursue his interests in *conjunction with* his devotion to Torah and mitzvot, the similarly curious Haredi teen is not afforded such an opportunity. For those teens who find their thirst for knowledge slaked by delving into the words of Rishonim and Achronim, eschewing Shakespeare, Twain or Einstein may not feel like any kind of sacrifice. But for those who have a passion for “chochmas umei ha’olam,” being taught that devoting time to acquiring knowledge of the profane for reasons other than parnasah is somehow incompatible with being frum can lead to a strong desire to free oneself of what may feel like an overly oppressive or stifling theology. And if, as a teenager, you don’t have the freedom or wisdom to realize that that kind of yeshivish mentality is more hashkafic than it is halachic, you might well end up rejecting Yiddishkeit altogether.November 27, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am #1183466
Thank-you all for your concern and advice regarding my son. Hard to believe that people are still following this painful saga of my life after all this time. What can I say? I am still hopeful that there will be a happy ending to this story. Yes, I heard of Rabbi Fishoff. He was recommended to me by one of the posters and we did speak a number of times. My husband and I were divided on how to deal with my son, so it didn’t work out for us. For Twisted Parenting to work, both parents have to be on board.
At this point, as much as I am hoping my son will be religious one day, the goal for us has changed. We want to see him healthy and successful in his life. Some things have improved, and some things have stayed the same. Overcoming the initial shock of all this was the most difficult. Now we have come to accept certain things and have adapted accordingly. We have ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days which are mostly determined by his mood. He has still refused help, although he has accepted sporadic intervention.
Believe it or not, it’s still unclear to me as to why all this happened. Your points Observer 36 are pretty perceptive. You are right about certain things being unacceptable in the yeshivish world, and perhaps that is why my son won’t forgive anyone…including his parents for putting him there. Being that he is legally an adult, he needs to choose his direction in life. This is still pretty difficult for him, although he has made some great strides lately. We are cautiously optimistic.
Keep davening for him. Hashem can do anything.November 27, 2014 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #1183468oyyoyyoyParticipant
write or wrong- your strength is an inspiration to me. Hang in there!
Observer36- thanks for writing that so carefully, it could have easily been written as a bashing session.November 30, 2014 4:55 am at 4:55 am #1183469hindy caplanMember
i just became a reader of the coffee room today. you sound like your going through a hard nisayon. i hope that Hashem will help your son go on the derech soonDecember 1, 2014 5:10 am at 5:10 am #1183470chanasaraMember
Yes, your story has touched so many of us and we still continue to daven for your son (even if we don’t post asking for updates). Although we don’t know his name, Hashem certainly knows who we have in mind. May all our tefilos be answered. May there be yeshuos and refuos for all those in klal yisroel that need them.December 1, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm #1183471
oyyoyyoy, hindy caplan,chanasara-amen, may Hashem answer all our tefilos and bring yeshuos to all of klal Yisrael.December 5, 2014 4:25 am at 4:25 am #1183473
When a yeshiva bocher goes off the derech, he does not think, “Oh, the yeshivish system is too strict, maybe if I go otd, things will straighten out.” Obviously something traumatic happened to him and didn’t get the help he needed so badly. One would then try asking for help in different ways, i.e. breaking some boundaries, and going deeper and deeper in this downhill spiral r”l. He might not want to learn or keep mitzvos NOW, but after his depression and self esteem loosens up a bit, he will be more open for help.
write or wrong: I hope you get a lot of nachas from your son.December 5, 2014 7:39 am at 7:39 am #1183474
smc- You might be right that things will improve after he works through this depression, but I’m not sure something traumatic always has to precipitate going OTD. It could be a combination of the strictness of the yeshiva system, a few insensitive Rebbes (an oxymoron, right?) and the child’s sensitivity or personality. We unfortunately keep them in that system bc we may not know that our child is suffering. Also, we can’t leave out the hand of Hashem. I have seen my son make some significant moves to improve his life, putting in tremendous effort…and then getting knocked down by things beyond our control. It has become more clear to me that Hashem has hand picked these scenarios in order to guide my son through a journey meant specifically for him. Although they are disappointing and painful, I believe that after all my tefilla, (and even without it) hakol l’tova. B’ezrat Hashem, we hope to see better days….and nachas.December 7, 2014 1:50 am at 1:50 am #1183475
write or wrong – I envy the attitude you you have towards your son. i.e. you do appreciate every time he does try, and understand that it is a struggle for him!
And you’re absolutely write, whatever Hashem does is for the good, although we may not see it at this point.December 9, 2014 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1183476dnetskMember
Some here have described the stifling nature of Frumkeit. I have noticed that even within Frumkeit, there is this strange expression of a secular desire. I almost find it funny. People get a little bit of money and they start tiling everything in the house. No big screen TV, no. CH’V. But ostentatious spending of money to prove… what? And the enjoyment is… what? Oh, man, I’m really happening. I have four sinks and 10 bathrooms, and look at all this… tile! The fetish of collecting electronics is also bizarre. As is the absorption in texting on a smart phone. What is all this incessant urgent communication about? Gemara? And the whole smoking and drinking and single malt liquor craze… And then some people are astonished when one jumps from the puddle into the pool.December 9, 2014 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm #1183477OURtorahParticipant
Observer36- That was a beautifully written, sensative insight from an outsiders perspective. Thank you for sharing, I think even if this is not the issue “write or wrong”‘s child is having, it was still a way for others with children like this to relate to and understand.
Write or wrong- Firstly, I would like to send you all my support because I know you are going through an extremly tough time. I went through a sort of opposite situation where I became more frum than my parents, and to them this was basically OTD. They would say “What is wrong with the way we raised you?” “What makes you think you are better now than you were before?” “How do you know that what you are doing is right, afterall, we are the ones with the life experiance?”
Questions I am sure you ask yourself many times a day. My answer to my parents was and is probably the same as your sons, this is the derech that simply makes sense to me. Yes, you as parents do have more life experiance, you do have more knowledge! I think something us as young adults find is that as we get older ourselves and accumulate our own lfie experiance, we tend to follow the path that seems to make the most meaning for us. Not that there is anything wrong with your path, because there isn’t, it worked for you.
When I spoke to my rav about how I should come about this issue, and approach my parents who could not talk to my face because they were so offended, he said, you must know that Hashem gave them the Bracha to raise you, but you the Chochma to find your derech. They will learn to accept you, and you will have to be patient with them and respect them along the way.
I know your son and I r doing something completly opposite, and I am not comparing our situations, but I am only trying to give you insight into the mind of a thinking young adult.
I know your son is obviously doing things that are worse than you’d ever imagined, and he might be harming his health and his neshama. I think the thing I wanted to see out of my parents most in my time of development was that we were on a level of respect with each other. And frankly I have gained alot more respect of who they are, and what it means to be a parent. I think you are doing an absolutly wonderful job just the way you express yourself. I am sorry if anything I said hurt you, or was unrelatable, I am only hoping to add some clarity into the minds of young people like me.
davening for you!December 10, 2014 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #1183478
OURTorah-I really appreciated your post, interesting to see the dynamic between parents and teens from a different perspective. It took a lot of courage from you I’m sure. And I’m not offended in the least. I actually think that there is a similarity between you and my son in that you both felt you needed to go your own way, which was different from the parent. I do respect that my son wants to find his own path, but the parent in me is afraid that he will get lost and might not find his way back, chas v’Shalom. The challenge is compounded by the fact that my son does things that are so incompatible with our lifestyle…in our home! Maybe I’m wrong, but I think if the child becomes stronger than the parent, it doesn’t impact as much on the parents’ life per se. But when the child is smoking on Shabbos and listening to music, it takes away the Shabbos for the rest of the family.
I liked the response you got from your Rav. If my emunah is as strong as it should be, then I should believe that it holds true for all children, that Hashem gave each child the Chochma to find their derech, to find emet and not just to inherit it from their parents, whatever their level is. It’s just very painful watching the detour, and not knowing if the child will come out unscathed. Or if he will come out at all…December 23, 2014 1:22 am at 1:22 am #1183479
Write or Wrong —
Upon first reading SMC’s presumption that something traumatizing must have happened to your son for him to go off the derekh, I completely disagreed. There are many, many reasons that a person may decide to no longer be religiously observant that have nothing to do with suffering trauma. It was — I thought — far too presumptuous a declaration.
But your last post suggests that SMC may well be onto something. There is a significant difference between an adolescent’s (perhaps understandable) desire to forge his own path and make choices different from the ones his parents taught him to make, and going so far as to act in a way that is blatantly, explicitly disrespectful. That your son might choose to indulge in activities that you wouldn’t approve of *on his own* is one thing. But acting in a manner that interferes with your belief system, and your enjoyment of Shabbos, is quite another.
The fact that he’s smoking and listening to music on Shabbos *in the house* is, I think, an issue of great concern. In my mind, it bespeaks a real sense of anger…a real need to lash out in a direct, searing, and hurtful way. If, outside of your religious differences, there isn’t a strong basis of conflict between your son and the rest of your family, I would be concerned. The message that your son is sending is that he’s so angry at religion (or the way he has been treated by religious people) that he’s willing to sacrifice his innate drive to be respectful and loving to you and the rest of your family. That sort of anger doesn’t stem merely from theological opposition to religiosity…it bespeaks, I think, something much deeper — particularly if he’s old enough (18?) to go off and engage in these activities outside of your view. When ‘sticking it’ to religion trumps maintaining a cordial and respectful relationship with the family that you otherwise love, the anger undoubtedly runs very deep.
Disclaimer: I am no therapist. This is all merely my opinion. It is not at all uncommon, in my experience, for OTD children of religious parents to act in accordance with halacha in the presence of their parents — not out of fear, or because they’re trying to ‘fool’ their parents — but merely out of respect for them and their happiness. People are free to make their own choices, but there’s no reason to shove the choices you make that your parents disapprove of in their face, simply lehachis. Agitation for its own sake is not something we do to people we love. I would interpret your son’s choice to act out in front of you as a crying out for help — not for help returning to the fold of Yiddishkeit per se, but for help in dealing with whatever it is that has caused him to be so angry.
The other possibility is that he’s upset that you’re making such strident efforts to make him chozer b’tshuvah, and this is how he sends the message that he’s not interested.December 24, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm #1183480
Observer 36- Since my son went OTD, I was sure something traumatic must have happened to him. And sometimes I still think so, however he won’t go for counseling more than a couple of times, so how will we ever know? He is connected to various organizations for high risk teens and goes to some of the groups, where the other kids tend to behave similarly to him. My son admits being angry with us, but blames it on us having moved to Israel when he was young. I know he was bullied in school here many years ago, which must have been a trauma for him. (Have often wondered if this was the trauma?) He still hates this boy who teased him, and will probably never forgive him. But I don’t think he forgives us either, since we put him in the school where this occurred. I think in his mind, he feels betrayed by everyone, his school, his friends and his parents. And since we are all religious, he has concluded unfortunately that religion itself has betrayed him.December 25, 2014 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #1183481MDGParticipant
“My son admits being angry with us, but blames it on us having moved to Israel when he was young. I know he was bullied in school here many years ago, which must have been a trauma for him…. And since we are all religious, he has concluded unfortunately that religion itself has betrayed him.”
I am going to say some harsh words, but I feel that they may be useful.
After spending 2 hours reading through much of this thread, I felt knots in my stomach many times. Not because of your son’s OTD, but because of all the abuse he took, time and time again.
It seems to me that your son views many so-called religious people as a bunch of hypocrites. Your son might have been bullied by one only kid, but no one did anything about it. I personally think that the bully had willing active accomplices in school. Furthermore, the bully definitely had passive accomplices, including the rebbes at school, fellow students, and his parents. None of whom seem to have done anything to protect him. You told how his R”Y set him up for failure and then kicked him out.
Life at home wasn’t much better. His father was a very tough on him (like in shul on Shabbat) and his mother cared too much about what the neighbors say (you wrote a lot about dressing black and white and fitting in with the neighborhood).
So what is there to do? I raised this question 2.5 years ago, and I still don’t have an answer. But lemme try.
– Maybe apologize for whatever you’ve done wrong. From what I gathered, in your conversations with him, no one is willing to give in. Everyone holds their ground.
– Show more concern for his friends. You showed a lot of disdain for them. They are Jewish children also from grieving parents. You seem to just call them the kids on the street. Your son is one of them. Every time you talk bad about them, you are talking bad about your son.
WOW, I’m sorry if I hurt you. I don’t want you hurt. I want the cycle to end.December 26, 2014 6:46 am at 6:46 am #1183482
MDG-Maybe you missed some of the details in this thread, or maybe I didn’t reveal everything. Unfortunately my son didn’t tell us about the bullying in the beginning. But as soon as we found out, we went to the school where they were very supportive. And they followed through on their threat to expel any kid who continued. But this was only temporary, bc over the years, it still continued in a more modified way. My son could have gone to a different school, and we tried to put him somewhere else, but he wouldn’t go.
As far as what the neighbors say, that was never my priority and it still isn’t. It’s true that we suffered alienation to a certain degree bc of his deviation from black and white, but knowing there was an underlying reason to this change concerned me more.
What’s there to do? Of course we have apologized dozens of times for all of our imperfections. If we had known he would suffer in this school, of course we never would have put him there. We have backed down 100%! We bought him his jeans, his t-shirts and his jewelry. We drive him and his friends places, and my husband often speaks to them when he sees them in the neighborhood.
But if you ask him the reason he rebelled, he would tell you it has nothing to do with us nor the school….it’s just the way he wants to be.December 26, 2014 7:53 am at 7:53 am #1183483ChasidishMommyMember
WOW, I must say I’m extremely impressed. The manner in which you responded to MDG’s respectful yet careless post says a lot about your attitude towards people and your strength in handling negativity in an assertive but sensitive way. Judging by this we can most certainly assume that you have always done your very best to treat your child with respect.
MDG, I just don’t understand the logic in “The fact that he’s smoking and listening to music on Shabbos *in the house*… In my mind, it bespeaks a real sense of anger…a real need to lash out in a direct, searing, and hurtful way.”
Why does it have to be a *need* to lash out in such a way? Why can’t it just be a *choice* to do so? I understand a large number of OTD’s, especially the ones that act aggressively, did go through some hardships in their lives. But IMO this doesn’t give anyone the right to interpret *all* bad behavior in an adult child as a result of bad parents or teachers. He has a koach habechirah, and he obviously is using his to choose to be oiver not only on issurim she’bein adom lamokom, but on bein odom lachaveiro as well. My heart goes out to WOW, and I’d think we are mechuyav to be her dan l’kaf zchus at least as much as her child! I sincerely hope he’ll do teshuvah really fast and bring nachas to his devoted parents. Chazak to you, WOW. You are a strong woman we should all take a lesson from.December 26, 2014 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #1183484MDGParticipant
Thank you for your detailed response.
I’m sorry if I sounded like I was accusing you.January 1, 2015 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #1183485
I heard that R’ Russel moved to Eretz Yisroel, so it would probably be a good idea for your son to go. If he isn’t willing to go, then maybe you and your husband can go and find out how to convince your son to go.March 3, 2015 4:32 am at 4:32 am #1183486
What’s going on WOW? You didn’t post in ages!March 3, 2015 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm #1183487
smc-what dedication! I know I haven’t posted in a while, maybe bc I am hoping for a good ending….a grand finale!
Some things have improved, my son is making a concerted effort to make a change for the better. Unfortunately, he is still so wounded emotionally and won’t seek out any emotional help. Our relationship is better, but he won’t take my advice on getting help. I think that if it doesn’t come through some “round about way”, then he wouldn’t accept it anyway. Hashem is going to have to send him some shaliach who he can connect with and will be receptive to listening to on his own inititative. He is very resistant to the idea of “prearranged” or organized counseling. I somehow wish he could just bump into Rav Shimon Russell in the street, and voila! He still struggles and has deep pain, even as he is mechalel Shabbos….bc he believes he is doing something wrong! Believe me, I just don’t know how to help him. I can only love him and pray and beg the Borei Olam to save him..March 3, 2015 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm #1183488stam a deyaMember
I haven’t read all the posts but perhaps the following is helpful. I had a nephew who almost went off….his father is a respected Rosh Yeshiva and a very choshuv family. He basically left yeshiva in his teens, went to work in a resteraunt for a few years in Yerushalayim, and started hanging out with all the wrong people etc…Now he has made a complete turnaround ! What happened to him is interesting. He felt so pressured from Israeli chareidi society where everyone has to perform and if not, they are not accepted etc. He came to America for a few months and we as his extended family accepted him for what he is and offered to find him a job or anything he needed until he can decide what he wanted to do with his life. I use to tell him, “I don’t care if you learn or not, I just want you to be happy. If you want to learn, I will find you a yeshiva, if you want to work I will find you a job. Just be happy”. It worked beautifully. He was finally accepted for what he was. The three months he spent here, he was able to think (for the first time in his life) without all the pressure of Israeli society and he went back and put his life back together. He even wanted to break his smartphone ! Hope this helps.March 3, 2015 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm #1183489deepblueMember
I think the term “off the derech” should be banned. There are countless different “derech”s one can take and still be a beloved servant of Hashem. Just because a kid or an adult decides to be less religious than his/her family, it doesn’t mean you need to start mourning, freaking out and getting brachot from gedolim. So your kid doesn’t wanna wear a black hat or learn 7 hours a day? Chill. Your daughter doesn’t dress like a Bais yaakov girl anymore? Get off her case. If a Jew is keeping Shabbat, kosher, and keeps the bare minimum of tzniut, THEY ARE STILL RELIGIOUS. The important thing is to be growth-oriented and to love God. And putting others down because they’re less religious than you does not make God happy. Embarrassing someone in public is one of the worst sins there is. And parents — please try to understand that your children are not you. They’re their own people, with the right to make their own lifestyle choices. As long as they’re emotionally healthy, adjusted and basically happy, you have no right to interfere with their personal decisions.March 3, 2015 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm #1183492☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
The term “off the derech” is most often used for some who r”l no longer keeps Shabbos, kashrus, or a minimum standard of tznius.March 4, 2015 7:16 am at 7:16 am #1183493
stam a deya-thanks for sharing your story and the happy ending, of course! It makes sense that when someone is far from the pressure, they can think more clearly and make a more honest decision. I am hoping that my son will be able to do this as well.
deepblue-I agree with you.March 4, 2015 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm #1183496owlMember
We all need positive reasons to be observant. Fear of hell doesn’t cut it. Neither does “not letting Hitler win.” Today about the only positive reason you’ll hear is the joy of Gemara study.
So it depends on what he values in life. Does he naturally believe in integrity. Show him the many parts of Torah that also do. Does he believe in chesed? Same with compassion. R’ Hirsch has many quotes dealing with protection of the innocent. See Horeb for that. Show him some of those.
What many people in power try to do is shut off the brain and say value what I value or what the community seems to value. However, you can do the opposite and say what do you value. See – the Torah agrees with you.
Then the Torah becomes your friend and your comfort rather than this ball and chain.March 4, 2015 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm #1183497owlMember
I can understand his resistance to counseling. It is very hard to find a frum therapist who is nonjudgmental and who just listens. Most of them act like quasi rabbis and rebbetzins, dishing out advice when they should let the client find his own way. He’s probably never met one like that. If he did, he might want to go back.March 4, 2015 1:24 pm at 1:24 pm #1183498perspectivesMember
Deepblue. It is a basic concept in life that you don’t love someone if you’re only willing to do for them, what is convenient for yourself. Also common knowledge from chazal, one cannot feel true love towards hashem (as opposed to imagined) without first feeling fear of him. Lastly, this professed love of hashem -read I’m a jew in my heart- has been used by some as a crutch to recluse oneself from keeping any mitzvoth and they are worse off for it. There are no rights in Judaism, however there is bechirah for which one is instructed to choose good. The concept of rights is from foreign waters and can be dangerous when understood as more basic then torah. Finally I’d request you do some research on the mitzvah of chinuch and punishment for lack thereof, from jewish sources. WOW you seem to be fulfilling your role as a jewish parent remarkably, may Hashem bless you that it may yet bear fruit very soon
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