April 30, 2012 5:31 am at 5:31 am #1181396
Msseeker, Fashionablee, Imaofthree, daniela- Thanks to all of you for your words of support. I will try to hang in there, as every day is still a challenge, with Shabbos being the most challenging day of all. The funny thing is, that I think bc I am getting so much advice here, my relationship with my son has stabilized. We understand eachother a little better. But his anger is now completely focused on my husband. I think perhaps it’s harder for fathers to accept the changes and not try to ‘correct’ the behavior all the time.April 30, 2012 6:21 am at 6:21 am #1181397
fashionbee- I thought it was obvious the advice everyone here has given should be taken with a grain of salt. We obviously dont know or understand the actual situation in regards to what’s really going on. All we are trying to do is to relate the best we can and throw out some ideas and words of chizuk for WOW. As i can tell from her posts, she woulldnt just blindly listen to an anonymous poster without discussing it with her husbend/rav/ people she trusts. But that doesnt mean she doesnt appreciate the words of inspirationApril 30, 2012 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #1181398ImaofthreeParticipant
I am happy that you got support and encouragement from the coffee room. I remember when shabbos was very hard when my daughter lived at home. I wish you hatzlocha rabba, my tefillos are with you.April 30, 2012 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #1181399
I hate to give advice when I don’t personally know the person. I only know for myself and for other that I know in such a situation (whom I asked). I won’t tell you what to do, only what would have worked for me and my friends.
You said he believes in tefilla, that he says he knows when things don’t work out it’s because of your tefillot.
When I was finding my way, the more people reminded me of where I should be holding, the more I wanted to improve at a slower pace. True or not, I felt I had to prove that my worth was not dependent on my relationship with G-d. Even if I had already decided I was going to work on something, as soon as someone told me it was where I needed to be, I would get resentful and lose interest. As my friend said, “We all want to be in control and as soon as someone tries to cross that boundary, we get defensive.”
When people stopped reminding me that I had to daven or cover xyz, that was when I was willing start working on it. I had known it was true, but the more it was shoved down my throat (even respectfully) the more I felt I had to be rebellious.
If he is in the same place, he needs time and he will come around because he knows it’s true. But it needed to come from myself; perhaps he’s the same.
Nobody becomes frum because of the people who throw stones ‘in the name of Shabbat’, but many a person becomes frum because of an act of chessed. That’s why I said to make yourself enjoy it more, so he sees it’s something worth striving for.April 30, 2012 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #1181400
Thank you Imaofthree!
Interjection-I do appreciate your advice, even though you don’t know me. I really hear what you are saying, and it’s very similar with my son. By nature, he is a controling person, and yet I think most teens go through thinking similar to yours anyway. A major commitment in lifestyle, as the Torah demands, requires that a person completely accept it ,but from his own will and not from his parents’ chinuch. I will try very hard to remember your words bc I think they are true.April 30, 2012 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #1181401
One more point: Your kids should get the message loud and clear that good behavior gets your attention. Those who take part at the Shabboss table get more attention than those who disrupt it. (att. is att. whether positive or negative.) Read – no, LEARN – The Delicate Balance, a parenting bible stressing this point.April 30, 2012 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #1181402
msseeker- you are right, another good point I have to remember. This is probably one of the mistakes I make every Shabbos.
I read the book, The Delicate Balance. But thanks for reminding meApril 30, 2012 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #1181403
Thank you for your kind words wow. I am sure everyone here is writing from the heart. I am happy to hear good news. As for your husband’s attitude, I think that your son can learn from that too. Your son wants to be in control and wants to make his own life decisions – which is a good thing, of course – an important part of life is that adults decide for themselves (and their dependants). And different adults see fit to decide different approaches, all of which are to be respected if we want respect for our own choices.
Besides, the world is not completely predictable. We act the same way to hundreds of customers, most of them are satisfied but one walks away and is offended and we can’t even figure out why… we raise children similarly, but one is different…. some students stand out in class and teachers wonder where it comes from, consider their families and conclude it’s incomprehensible…. This is something we all have to face in life, whatever the reason; I know it’s hard for you to focus because you are facing it right now and the hard way, but consider your son will too, when he will have children and even earlier than that.
You should take very great care that this situation does not affect the rest of the family, and notice, that includes you. Take very good care of yourself. Take a break from the situation sometimes. You need all your strength.April 30, 2012 7:32 pm at 7:32 pm #1181404🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
You are all so amazing. Thank you for sharing yourselves and giving so many of us chizuk and insight! Hashem should give us all koach and wisdom to raise our children (and selves?) in His ways.April 30, 2012 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #1181405
Amen to Syag Lchochma!
daniela, Syag Lchochma, msseeker, Imaofthree, Interjection, far east and everybody else from all the previous pages. You are all such sensitive and understanding people. If only the whole world (including my neighbors) were like all of you. Syag Lchochma and daniela are right, you all offer so much chizuk and insight, and everything comes from the heart. May we all be zocheh to have nachas from all of our children. And Imaofthree, may your daughter find her way back to Torah and mitsvos.April 30, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #1181406ImaofthreeParticipant
Thanks write or wrong. For your son as well! Just met a friend at the grocery store and she told me she has TWO children off the derech. So sad.May 1, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am #1181407WanderingTeenMember
Write or wrong,
Msseeker,May 1, 2012 4:51 am at 4:51 am #1181408
Thanks, WT. I guess we guys will never understand you completely, but you did help me understand WHY I don’t understand. I wish you all the best. If you have anything else to share, I’m all ears.May 1, 2012 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm #1181409
Wandering Teen-you asked why you should follow your parents blindly if it’s not what you feel. I understand your reasoning, it’s a very hard thing to do. And probably many teens feel like you. But perhaps instead of ‘following’ your parents, you should take the ‘lead’ in finding out what’s true. I think that only when someone is convinced that the Torah is absolutely true, can they live the lifestyle demanded of them. Also, when ‘exploring one’s options’, it’s best to begin in one’s own backyard. There are answers to every question! I’m reminded of the story, “The Wizard of Oz”. If you remember, Dorothy was unhappy at home, and she ran away. After all her encounters and experiences, she realized that the best place to be is home, and she did everything she could to get back there. I remember one of the lines in the movie was something Dorothy said, about if she will ever go searching again for her heart’s desire, she won’t look further than her own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, then she never really lost it to begin with. Nice words.
You said that what matters most is ‘being a kind and genuine human being’. You are correct (and in agreement with the Torah!) Many of the mitsvos have to do with chesed, not speaking lashon hara, giving the benefit of the doubt, not causing others pain etc. From the parent’s perspective, our inner motivation for doing things is bc it’s correct, not bc we like it necessarily. That’s why it’s so important to find out the truth.
Imaofthree- I wonder if there’s an organization where can daven for eachother’s children to come back to the derech?May 1, 2012 6:58 pm at 6:58 pm #1181410WanderingTeenMember
Write or wrong,
You said there are answers to every question…I haven’t been able to get any answers to my questions! Hows about we sit down and see if you can give me answers?? maybe then I will find out the truth!May 1, 2012 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #1181411
Wandering Teen- I wouldn’t be so bold as to think that I have all the answers. However, there is a Jewish answer to every question. Do you have a Rabbi that you can go to? I remember many years ago, I tried to help someone who was ‘searching’, so I went with them to an Arachim Seminar. The staff did not shy away from any question! You must find someone with whom you will be comfortable talking to about your doubts.
Just as an addendum, after the Arachim seminar, this person decided to continue learning about Judaism. However, they did this by taking a class on Judaism taught at a Christain University. Make sure you go to the right sources.May 1, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm #1181412squeakParticipant
So start asking- lots of knowledgable people hang out here, and you have nothing to lose.May 1, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #1181413
WT, have you read Permission to Believe and Permission to Receive by Rabbi Kelleman?May 1, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm #1181414
WanderingTeen and write or wrong- I grew up with the hashkafa of “mitoch shelo lishma ba lishma” and “adam nifal kefi peulotav”, that the more we do, the more it becomes a part of us. It took until three years ago, that I realized I had it backwards. The understanding of those two ma’amarim, are appropriate when a belief system is in place. I had been taught to do, do, do without having any appreciation for our heritage, that eventually with enough doing I would want to do. However, I have always been a deep thinker, and although I would ask all the questions, I never received answers that worked for me. W.O.W. you do what you do because deep down you do believe. At that point, however, I did not have a source of belief; I felt I had been fed lies and constrictions my entire life. I came to the point that I resented my entire childhood. I had been done with Judaism for a while and was going to try elsewhere when I decided to give the religion of my birth one last (truly openminded) chance.
Instead, and against everything I wanted to do (I, as well as many of my closest friends were not observant so it was going to cost me, besides that I didn’t care to believe it was true), I began to work from the bottom up. I began to work on my understanding of each individual mitzvah, and therefore on my love of God. It took time, but I began to realize how true and awesome our heritage is!
There are answers to any and every question, because the Torah is true! If an answer doesn’t suit you, ask again to someone else. If a person has a foundation of respect and belief in Judaism, everything will automatically follow. If not, the fact that we have to pay someday, is irrelevant because ‘who cares about a God whom I half believe in anyway.’
If the issue is a lack of answers, call Ohr Sameach, call Aish, call Neve Yerushalayim. And read those books by Rabbi Kellerman; extremely worthwhile reads. There are brilliant people who know how to give all the answers in a way that you realize how true it is.May 2, 2012 6:30 am at 6:30 am #1181415
I agree with interjection. Aish is a very good place to start. I remember that Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz used to offer many “What is…” lectures on many different topics. He would explain everything from the bottom up in a clear and understandable way. Also, if you go to their website, you can go to “Ask the Rabbi”. In fact, many Jewish websites offer this option as an anonymous way to ask questions. But your first question should be, where you can go to ask all of your questions! I’m sure they can help.
Rabbi Kellerman’s books are very good. There is also a book entitled, “On Judaism” by Rabbi Emanuel Feldman which is about a secular Jew trying to find out about his heritage. He meets with a Rabbi, and asks a lot of questions. I’m not sure if it’s too basic for you, but you may have some of his same questions. It’s worthwhile to check it out.May 2, 2012 6:58 am at 6:58 am #1181416May 3, 2012 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm #1181417bladiblahParticipant
I notice that you are getting a lot of support from this thread. That is amazing and one of the best uses of the coffee room. However, if you want to get support on a more personal level, MASK is an organization that provides support for parents of kids at risks. They have a helpline where you can ask questions, provide referrals to therapists, and run support groups for parents- all free of charge and completely confidential- you don’t even have to give them your name. check out maskparents.org for moreMay 3, 2012 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #1181418EzratHashemMember
Can someone post a brief summary of Rabbi Keleman’s Permission books?May 3, 2012 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #1181419
bladiblah-thanks so much for the info, I just checked out their website. Looks good. I feel like I’m on a roller coaster, sometimes going up, and sometimes feeling like I’m going to crash. Not sure I can handle this..May 4, 2012 9:09 am at 9:09 am #1181420yeshivaguy1Participant
From reading through your posts it seems pretty clear that you are from israel (the word disk on key is one big clue as well as the use of the word hareidi and the fact that he is in shiur gimel but won’t continue to yeshiva gedola like the israeli system). I would asssume in a pretty insulated community like kiryat sefer or the like. The system in israel puts a huge amount of pressure on young kids; by the time they are 13 they are expected to sit and learn all day. Anyone who is not able or unwilling to put in the crazy hours and dedication is looked down upon.
I personally was in the exact situation described a few years back. I think I can offer advice based on personal experience. The first thing he needs is to be productive. Being unproductive just makes you depressed and just leaves you not caring about much least of all religion. Only once he feels good about himself will he be able to really think about what he wants in the future.
To that end, you need to get him to a next step , any step. Its very easy to stick with the status quo. I personally remained where I was and wasted a year and a half of my life. This can mean going to a more chilled yeshiva, going to work, or maybe working towards a bagrut. I can tell you personally that some of my happiest times in the past few years were times when I was working 2-3 jobs and barely had time to breathe.
Another great option you have is the army. Yes, it goes against your hashkafa (I’m assuming) but you have to look at it this way. Right now your son is hanging around with a bad crowd, the crowd in the army isn’t any worse. There is netzach yehuda which is filled with quality frum guys and even the regular army is very accommodating to frum people. The chareidi community has this false perception of the army perhaps because of the way it was back in the 50s and 60s. You have to realize it is not like that anymore (personal experience). The army offers full structure and really makes you into a better person. At this point in his life this may be just the thing for your son. I know many guys who were drifting and involved in the wrong things who completely turned their lives around after joining. (Just to be clear I’m referring to combat units as being a jobnik is even more depressing than sitting around at home and there are a lot of girl issues). One possible motivator would be to get in to a sayertet. If your son gets it in his head that he wants a sayeret. He will have something to strive for and that is extremely important in maintaining a healthy state of mind. He will have to start running and getting in shape to get ready for gibushim. Most importantly he will stay away from drugs (which are looking like a decent possibility at this point) so he won’t fail any army drug tests. This is something you have to sit down and discuss with your rav.
Sorry if all this came and sounding a little disjointed. This was written on the bus on my way home from base after a week in a crazy intense courseam I didn’t sleep properly in a while and I’m a little exhausted.May 6, 2012 4:48 am at 4:48 am #1181421
@EzratHashem: Here’s my own synopsis of all the books I’ve read on this subject, shared successfully with teens who were looking for answers, not excuses.
All we have to determine is whether the Torah is true. If the Torah is true, Hashem exists and the Mitzvos are binding. Now, why would an entire people, a smart and stiffnecked one at that, accept a Torah that tells them BOTH:(a) You KNOW/SAW/HEARD ????? ?????, ????? ?? ???, ??? ???? etc., AND (b) Thou shalt… Thou salt not… 613 times, countless difficult commandments — unless they knew it was all true?
There are many other proofs, but this IMO is the most simple and irrefutable one.
Now for ???? ???? ?? – one proof and one example out of many:
Proof: the Torah doesn’t tell us how to shecht, only that we are to kill kosher animals “in the prescribed manner”. There must have been oral instructions for that.
Example: What’s ??? ?? ???? A beautiful bunch of grapes? A perfectly bright-maroon pomegranate with an intact crown? Perhaps the fruit of a beautiful tree, say the date palm? Why do all Jews, including ??????, ????? and others who mocked Chazal, take an Esrog? There must have been an unbroken oral tradition specifying what the Torah meant by ??????, ?????, ????? etc.
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know why life has to be so difficult or why we have to do certain things. But since I KNOW that the Torah is true, and the Torah says many times that the world is good and life is good, I believe that everything has a good reason.
Once we have this straight, we can explore the meaning, beauty and joy of Yiddishkeit. Even if you haven’t found meaning, beauty or joy yet, that doesn’t free you from the obligation to keep all the Mitzvos. Sure, you have the RIGHT to live as you please, just as you have the right to become a druggie or shikker. Since the Torah is true, we know that the consequences are so severe, and the rewards for keeping it so great, that we really have no choice but to make the right choice.May 6, 2012 8:57 am at 8:57 am #1181422
yeshivaguy1-thanks for your advice. Are you still religious? You’re right that being unproductive makes a person more depressed, and that he needs to feel good about himself in order to properly think about the future. But it’s a vicious cycle right now, bc he doesn’t feel great about himself enough to do anything productive. He agreed to finish up the year in Yeshiva, but otherwise he only sleeps, or goes to this chevra. I wish he felt more connected to the school.May 6, 2012 2:37 pm at 2:37 pm #1181423
mmseeker: Many of those book are books for maaminim. Those books will strengthen one’s emunah if they already believe, but if they don’t there are so many loopholes that the reader is left with more questions. The fact is over here that they had a mountain held over their head and they had just come out of 200 years of oppression in Egypt. And they had just died and been revived. It was a pretty vulnerable time and besides Moshe didn’t go through the Torah with them until later. They would have agreed to just about everything.
EzratHashem: The fact is that there are some guarantees in the Torah which, with all our science and almost 6000 years of accumulated knowledge, have not been disproved. The book Permission to Believe is written by a brilliant man and is pretty much about that.May 6, 2012 2:44 pm at 2:44 pm #1181424
Ya know, I’m starting to really blame the whole system. What are we doing to our children? This morning, my son said he wants to really try to give yeshiva his last best shot. He didn’t go out last night with the chevra, he went to bed early, and left for school this morning on time (without me prodding him at all!). Now, he comes home telling me that his RY sent him home bc he didn’t know the material on his test, and he can’t come back without his father. I asked my son what happened? He said, he had no chavrusa last week, so he didn’t know the material (this has been a problem every so often , that he doesn’t have a chavrusa bc of the odd # of kids in the class, so periodically he’s left without one. Can such a crazy thing really happen??). We discussed it with his RY in the past, and they usually solve it. My son cried that he feels his RY wants him to fail and quit yeshiva so they don’t have to try to find him a yeshiva for next year. He said nobody cares about him, not his RY and not Hashem! He cried that this is one of the reasons that he can’t go to yeshiva next year, bc he can’t learn, he’s not a good student and can’t remember anything. This is a kid, who has an INCREDIBLE memory, whose Rebbes used to call us on the phone telling us that they are so impressed with his mind, that he’s sharp and has an uncanny ability to understand difficult concepts with ease, that we will see nachas from him. And he sees himself as a failure! I am crying as I write this bc I don’t know how to help him. It doesn’t seem to matter to him how much I believe in him, he’s stuck on how his RY sees him. And he’s convinced that his RY hates him.May 6, 2012 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1181425smartcookieMember
Write- this is the saddest thing I’ve heard in a long while.
Your son is hurting, he WANTS to be good.
You must make a call to the R”Y right NOW and tell him exactly what you wrote here.
He better speak to your son ASAP and apologize and make amends. He is ruining your son.May 6, 2012 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #1181426
WOW- thats terrible. Its really a shame how the system is so messed up. Its built towards creating gedolim and rebbeim, and ignoring everyone else. The most important thing has become not your yiras shimayim or your heart, but how much blatt you can memorize. Sadly the majority of us who dont have the patience or drive to learn in depth gemora get messed over and ignored. The sad part is his R’Y prob assumes it was your son’s fault for not being a perfect little angel and not fitting his idea of what the right mold should be. It seems your son needs a new yeshiva where they dont make him feel worthlessMay 6, 2012 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #1181427
WOW, I agree with SC. Does the menahel know the whole parsha? If not, you must be upfront with him. He doesn’t have ruach hakodesh.
interjection, you didn’t get my point. The question is not why the Yidden accepted the Torah, but whether the stories (a) are true and the mitzvos (b) therefore binding. Since the Yidden accepted “part b” (the mitzvos), “part a” (????? ?????, ????? ?? ???, ??? ????)
must be true. Which means Hashem gave us the Torah and we’d be as foolish to ignore it as a druggie or shikker who feeds his addiction.May 6, 2012 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #1181428thethinker3Member
First — wanted to say what a superb discussion of the OTD issue — so many smart, experienced, sensitive, informed contributors.
My own 2 cents — having done a couple of off the derech rounds myself:
1) One size doesn’t fit all — that’s true in any community, frum, frei, MO, secular etc. The biggest reason that the vast majority of Jews aren’t frum is that in free societies, there is no more compelling right then the one to define who you are and pull from the unprecedented range of options to “build your own” lifestyle that works for you. Its not about rejecting your parents, but the basic human instinct of exploring beyond the world we know.
Once you begin asking questions — “why can’t I even choose my own cloths? Why do I have to wear sticky wool pants when everyone else is in shorts? Why do i have to bike in a skirt? — suddenly you realize you are not the only one asking these questions and there are vast options available as you figure out who you are/want to be.
Today, the frum lifestyle competes in a vast marketplace of compelling, interesting choices — that’s just the way it is, and the frum world has to figure out how to be compelling in that new reality. Coercion and pressure doesn’t work.
2) Lying to our kids that OTD = drugs/crime/failure etc. that anything secular is schmutz is about the most counterproductive approach possible. Its self-evident that the world, beginning with our neighbors down the street, is filled with kind, generous, productive, successful, satisfied people regardless of how frum/not frum they are or whether Jewish/not Jewish. And there are vast repositories of complex, inspiring and challenging culture and creativity beyond traditional Jewish music and seforim. We have to find a way of being more subtle and clever — engaging the best of the broader culture rather then rejecting it all wholesale.
3) To MSseeker and others — if one is challenging Torah truth and Hashem’s existence, then “proofs” not only don’t work, they appear childish and simplistic. Take Nasseh V’Nishma — if you hold the view that many OTD folks take, that the Torah is an authored document written hundreds of years after the events described, then you hold these are words a later writer has put in the mouths of the characters at Sinai to validate the requirement of observance. All you are “proving” to an OTD person is that the Torah authors(s) had the skills of any good narrative fiction writer. The challenge is to find a way to validate and reconcile Torah in the broader context of the vast textual and archeological data we now have on the ancient world.
I hope this discussion keeps going — kudos to the coffee room for providing and hosting such an important and relevant forum.May 6, 2012 8:32 pm at 8:32 pm #1181429
@tt3: First of all, I was responding to a poster who is (genuinely, I hope) looking for answers.
As for, “All you are “proving” to an OTD person is that the Torah authors(s) had the skills of any good narrative fiction writer” – how and when did this “good narrative fiction writer” (or anyone else) convince ALL OF KLAL YISRAEL to accept the entire Torah to the point of mesirus nefesh? I’m not talking about ???? ?????, but your and my and all yidden’s ancestors following the Torah since… WHEN?May 6, 2012 8:45 pm at 8:45 pm #1181430
smartcookie- my husband went to the RY and said it was very difficult to talk to him. The RY is very tough, and he focused on all the things that show my son is struggling, and how will he ever be ready to go to yeshiva next year? It just sounds like he expects that at this point, my son should be more serious about his learning and better prepared to meet the demands that are required of him. There isn’t much leeway for individuality, or being anything less than up to par. My husband felt that to try to encourage a more supportive reaction from the school would be met with anger perhaps, or defensiveness. It’s like what fareast said, they blame my son and feel he doesn’t fit the mold. He really does need a different yeshiva, but I’m so afraid it’s too late. They already made him feel so badly over there, I’m not sure he’ll want to continue after this. I will never forgive myself for sending him there.May 6, 2012 9:20 pm at 9:20 pm #1181431thethinker3Member
Msseeker — a great point for someone on the path back but the OTD response is that every religion makes the same truth claim about its own scripture — and have tens of millions more adherents then Judasim more adherents so, by itself, that argument doesn’t make much sense — also, rather then accepting even up to mesiras nefesh, the trend over the last 200 years, arguably, for the first time in human history, the Torah narrative has been challenged (or maybe enhanced?)by science and other research — the vast majority of Jews have become either cultural or completely secular — a small minority of Jews remain frum today.May 6, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm #1181432smartcookieMember
Write or wrong. Oh my g-d. I know exactly what you mean and I unfortunately know too many roshei yeshiva and principals like that.
We are living in a world with priorities so wrong and all the wrong people at all the wrong positions.
I would write a very sharp letter to the r”y, and then PULL MY SON from that Yeshiva.
There are many small Yeshivos catering to your son’s needs. Many Yeshivahs that take each child as an individual, and work with them according to their needs. They have professional Mechanchim running the place.
It’s worth for you to begin exploring your options and placing your son where he really belongs, even if it isn’t considered a “top” Yeshiva.
Hatzlacha.May 6, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #1181433
First of all wow I thank you for your blessings and kind words, may the blesser be blessed many times.
The situation has the potential to turn around, because now your son wants to be in yeshiva, wants the respect of his RY (looks like the respect of his friends is too shallow and that the charm of the novelty is fading away), however the RY, in my opinion correctly, is not lowering the bar. The boy is very smart and has the potential to achieve what is asked from him. I would let him handle everything – he is an adult, remember? He makes his own decisions. It would be very empowering, and I am quite confident that the RY will be impressed too, so will his schoolmates who will then admire him (and make it less likely he search other people to hang around with). I think you have to step back – at least, as far as he is aware of – from getting involved with the school. Remember? A couple of weeks ago he was saying he wanted nothing to do with it. You could also arrange “randomly” for him to meet the teachers who held him in such high esteem and who no doubt will ask questions about how he’s doing now (he does not want to disappoint them), who perhaps might also be available to learn together, or who may have other ideas we have not thought about.
A school is a school is a school! It has to fit a mold. Of course this is less than ideal, it’d be much better if everyone could learn with a rabbi. But when it is not possible, schools exist and we have to make the most of it, as everyone who went to school is well aware. It’s hard to run a school, and there are so many constraints and so many overwhelming problems. Yes, I agree, it’s a system which hurts people and has to be fixed, but we can’t wait for that. You did not “send” your son there, he was happy to, or else, he’d have definitely voiced his opinion to the contrary, as he’s been doing at other times. True, perhaps this particular yeshiva was not best suited to him. But mistakes happen, it’s a fact of life, and certainly parents and teachers make a lot. The only disaster-proof way of never making mistakes is doing nothing at all. Ask your son how he would organize a school. Of course make sure that any feasible suggestions should reach the school board via third-parties, in addition to encouraging him to suggest directly: if even a small change were to be implemented, but possibly even just a word of consideration, might be something your son never forgets.May 6, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm #1181434
daniella- i dont think the problem is as simple as your making it. You pointed out how a few weeks ago WOW’s son had no interest in yeshiva and now he is interested in going. It seems that her son deep down does have the desire to be a respected bachur, however due to the constraints of the system he BELIEVES it to be impossible. The system aparently hurt his confidence which would fit in with him no being interested in doing anything with his life. More then ever i think your son needs to do something productive. Unless he gets some serious attention from the right rabbeim or role models, i think it will be difficult for him to be successful. There are many small yeshivas out there that are suited for boys like your son. He sounds like he would do perfect in a small yeshiva suited for boys who do college during the day or something along those linesMay 7, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am #1181435zahavasdadParticipant
Unfortunatly Yeshivas are not run the way most schools are run, even day schools.
Most regular school and day schools, hire people by merit, they ask for resumes and hire the best candidates and fire people who do not meet up to specs about teaching (You have to be qualified and a decent teacher to get tenure)
However yeshivas are not run that way, Rebbes are hired via nepotism (Son, Son-in-law,Brother, etc) of the RY regardless of their ability to teach (I know plenty of people who know torah, but it doesnt mean they can teach, let alone teach teenagers)
But this is the cruz of the problem here, WOW’s son is not going off because he wants to, He is being PUSHED. Why would anyone want to be part of a religion that tells you , that you are a failure.
It has become a negative connotation and very hurtful.
I dont have much advice to give unfortunatly.May 7, 2012 2:23 am at 2:23 am #1181436
zahavasdad, please, tell us the list of places that are run by merit and that hire the best candidates. You may also want to double check with chiloni or nonjewish colleagues who know such institutions first-hand.
far east, I realize what you’re saying, but it does not help to self-inflict further suffering because we received an injustice. People have rebuilt their life from nameless horrors and you state that a bad experience, a hurtful experience, I’ll even say a destructive experience but let us put that in perspective, might G-d forbid hinder someone’s success in life? We all have had troubles of some sort or some others, and successful people did too. He will be successful in whatever endeavours he pursues, as long as he wants to. I am well aware the school wronged him and damaged him, but we are in no position to affect this. It does not help to disempower him further and to further insinuate doubts about himself, no matter how well-intentioned. If he feels capable, empowered and in control, then our self-image and self-confidence has no problem in deciding that a certain yeshiva is too demanding and trying to make the most of it as long as he’s stuck there, and then, apply elsewhere for the next year, without feeling like a failure, without thinking over and over with bitterness against the RY and others who wronged him; a person can be successful in life and can move on from a bad experience, and looking back, he’ll say the school was not suited to him, that’s all.May 7, 2012 3:03 am at 3:03 am #1181437
@tt3: Nonsense. Does ANY other religion make the claim that G-d gave them the Law in front of millions of people? No. If JC had said, “Hey, looky here, this book says you and all Bnai Yisroel saw pigs flying on Sunday, remember that? Well, the Invisible One who made those pigs fly, he wants you to eat pig every Sunday.” He’d be laughed out of town. In fact he made much lesser claims, and he was still laughed out of town by Jews. Only the superstitious pagans believed him.
But you’re right, OTD kids who are looking for excuses instead of answers will come up with the most senseless “refutations” which geniuses like Uri Zohar (who started out looking to disprove the Torah) couldn’t come up with. This is why I prefaced my post saying that this is only for serious teens looking for answers.May 7, 2012 3:50 am at 3:50 am #1181438yeshivaguy1Participant
What some people fail to get is that no one goes off because they don’t believe, its because they don’t care. Even the guys who have all their arguments against being religious have some story that explains why they aren’t religious. No one throws out the way they were raised for intellectual reasons its all emotional. You get to the point where you believe in everything but don’t care enough to keep it.
I am religious now but went through my own battles. I really strengthened when I joined the army. the point I’m trying to make is that you got to get him into a better situation. Whether that means getting him to a yeshiva that doesn’t put crazy pressure on the students or getting him to get a job. The main point is productivity, without that its hard to care about anything.
Its very easy to try to stay in the same place I kept trying to make it work and wasted a lot of time. I personally am not quite sure where your son is in life; what you call a bad crowd can be just a group of disillusioned yeshiva guys who don’t do much wrong. On the other hand these guys can be doing serious stuff. You keep mentioning that you wish he would love his school. You have to get that idea out of your head. Stop living with what “should have been” and start dealing with the reality. Instead of dreaming that he will be the next gadol hador and start trying to get him to be a frum happy productive adult. The main thing is, get used to the idea that he may not be making it in this yeshiva or possibly in yeshiva in general and come with an alternative.May 7, 2012 4:14 am at 4:14 am #1181439
daniella- I didnt mean to imply he wouldnt be successful in life chas vshalom. With Hashem’s help he will fulfill his purpose in life with all the hatzlacha and mazel in the world.
I was just saying how its terrible the way some yeshivas make kids feel like their piles of dirt because their not meant to be in kollel.
Obviously i dont know the exact situation over here, but based on what WOW has written, it seems that something has been hindering his personality growth and a confidence issue seems to be the most likely cause of it. Of course he can overcome this nisayon but saying that plenty of people have been in his situation and overcome it is not really saying much. I was in a situation very simialar to his, and it took years for me to work through the emotional baggage it left on me. Thank god i met the right people who were able to influence and help me to become the person i am today. But looking back, the most important thing i did was getting a degree and working. It proved to me that i can be successful after years of failing in the yeshiva system. I will daven that he has an easier time then i did adjusting to life after yeshivaMay 7, 2012 4:50 am at 4:50 am #1181440
YG1- I don’t think I ever mentioned that I wish my son would love his school. On the contrary, I used to beg my son to consider switching yeshivas, when I saw years ago how some of the kids tormented him. But even though I agree with all of you who have said that he has to get into something productive, or he should go to a different yeshiva, unfortunately it is all a moot point. First of all, at 16 years old, he is basically calling the shots on if and where he goes. I can’t force or convince him at this point to do anything he doesn’t want to do. Secondly, he is so hurt inside from his yeshiva (and I can’t seem to repair THAT particular damage), that he’s turned off to considering going to another yeshiva at this point. He’ll either stay where he is for now and continue to try to get a feeling of acceptance, or he’ll quit entirely. I just have to pray that this experience didn’t damage him so much that he won’t, chas v’shalom, be unsuccessful in his life from lack of self esteem.May 7, 2012 5:01 am at 5:01 am #1181441
YG1-the ‘bad crowd’ that my son falls back on are basically kids who are in the street with nothing to do bc they quit yeshiva.
Now I can understaind (painfully) his conflict and ambivalence.May 7, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am #1181442zahavasdadParticipant
Do you think Columbia or NYU hires professors based on Nepotism. Do you think teachers hired by YU or The New York City Public School system hire by Nepotism.
Now I am not saying nepotism never occurs in these places, of course it does, but the majority of hirees at these places are based solely on merit. If one or 2 slips though, its doesnt make much of a difference, but at many yeshivas almost the entire staff is somehow related to the R’Y
You would have much better rebbes if they were hired on merit than nepotism. Ones who could actually teach and cared about every boy, not just those who are the “best”May 7, 2012 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #1181443
I agree with zahavasdad that many times, the school Rebbes don’t have the skills necessary to teach. They may know a lot of Torah, but that doesn’t guarantee that they know how to give it over to kids, or that they know how to encourage a desire to learn/love of learning (which I think is the most important thing!). I’ve heard so many stories from friends where the Rebbes can’t control the class, and often resort to very strict/questionable methods. In all fairness to some of these Rebbes, some of the kids today are very difficult, with ADHD running rampant, and you really need very experienced mechanichim who are well equipped to deal with these kids, and not Rebbes who are emotionally frail or the perfectionist type.May 7, 2012 4:53 pm at 4:53 pm #1181444EzratHashemMember
WOW–is there something he shows particular interest or talent in, or an inclination to know more about? Maybe it’s possible to use that as a starting point to find work as an apprentice or a part time job, in order to get him into a new environment with new people, where he is interacting differently than in yeshiva or with the chevra. If the tormenting in yeshiva was long in duration, or involved more than one other tormentor, or was particularly brutal, or twisted so that the victim seemed to be causing the problem, I’m guessing it will be very tough for him to ever feel good at that yeshiva, and maybe at any other yeshiva. But you have a chance since he agreed to finish there. I’m not sure if you mean he will finish until the end of this zman, or afterward as well. But eventually he will move on so maybe your focus needs to be on gently guiding him into what will come afterward. At 16 he probably cannot see that far, but you can, so he may be interested in listening to you if you begin with the things he is already interested in, or feels competent at.May 7, 2012 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #1181445koachshtikaMember
Statistically most jobs are found via networking. So in the secular world it’s also who you know. Look at the public school system if you think that’s some merit based wonderland.
The frum world does suffer more from it because it’s more family based and there’s less quality control. The onus of the yeshiva is not on the teacher to teach, but on the students to learn, and that can be okay for 50 percent of the class, but not the other 50 percent who get shifted into gimmel classes and then squeezed out completely.
Today there is much more attention on the problem of teaching students, but there also needs to be other wholesome options besides the standard yeshiva track.
Right now students have a choice between the standard yeshiva-shidduch track and going OTD. We need to create better options for those who are not able or emotionally ready for the first track otherwise they end up on the streets.
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