How to Deal with Teenage Baalei Teshuva

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  • #609672

    playtime
    Member

    So in the Sabbaton last Shabbos, I went around the rooms Friday night at about 2am to make sure none of the boys were being Mechalel Shabbos, etc.

    Most of the boys were sleeping, so on my way back, I passed through the lobby, and found one boy lying across the couch sleeping on his back, publicly. So I woke him up and told him it’s assur to sleep like a Prakdon.

    He listened to me, and went to the sleeping room.

    Shabbos afternoon, he told me that if this is what Judaism teaches, he is very disappointed.

    #959954

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Is it really your responsibility to go around inspecting teenage boys’ rooms to make sure they’re not on their phones?

    Is it also your responsibility to make sure that someone doesn’t sleeps face down?

    What kind of a rebbe are you? If I dealt with someone like you, I’d be turned off, also.

    Teens need autonomy. They don’t need you to nitpick. You need to be gentle and kind-hearted. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You seem to lack the ability to teach and impart Jewish values and spirituality in any significant manner.

    You’d be best leaving kiruv to the professionals.

    #959956

    Stupendous
    Member

    Being disappointed with what Judaism teaches is not a license to modify Judaism to suit ones tastes.

    #959957

    writersoul
    Member

    ummmmmm…..

    not commenting on who was right or wrong in this case- just saying that I can ABSOLUTELY see where the kid was coming from.

    #959958

    Maybe if you explained to him the reason it might have made him more receptive?

    #959959

    writersoul
    Member

    For me, if I were the kid who was woken up, it wouldn’t be the whole halachic aspect that would bother me- it would be the fact that omeone woke me up to correct the way that I was sleeping.

    Are these kids already baalei teshuva or not frum at all? If they’re not frum at all, then I don’t think it’s a good idea to regulate what they do in private AT ALL.

    #959960

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    When dealing with BT’s or potentials BT’s you need to use the Carrot more than the Stick. Perhaps you were brought up with the Stick more and think that is better, however using the stick with the wrong audience will not get the desired result.

    You also need to pick your battles carefully.

    Unless you are willing to change to this reality its probably better you seek other venues

    #959961

    TheGoq
    Participant

    Ok i will ask what is a prakdon?

    #959962

    Stupendous
    Member

    If I was sleeping the wrong way (say on my stomach) and someone noticed it and chose not to wake me to tell me to correct myself, I’d be upset that he didn’t correct me so that I could correct my mistake.

    #959963

    rebdoniel
    Member

    These kids aren’t on that level, though.

    I agree with the above poster, and that was my point exactly: you cannot regulate personal, private issues in a kiruv environment.

    I’ve been told that in kiruv, the only tochecha that should be given is correcting averot be farhesya; i.e. if a Jewish male is bareheaded, or if he’s taking his phone out in a public place on shabbat, or about to take out non-kosher food, then you stop them.

    To have an impact on teens, you need to emphasize the positive things- ruchiyut, spirituality, singing, stories, fun activities, good food, good “chevrashaft,” things like that.

    #959964

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Shabbos afternoon, he told me that if this is what Judaism teaches, he is very disappointed.

    I agree with the kid. If that is what Judaism teaches, that you are supposed to wake up a kid at 2AM, who is just getting involved with Judaism, and who happened to fall asleep on his back–then I am very disappointed.

    #959965

    WIY
    Member

    playtime

    The issur is only to go to sleep on your back or front. If it happened while he was sleeping there is no issur. I dont know where it says you have to wake anyone up who you find sleeping that way. Personally I think if you don’t know halacha, don’t know how to present halacha and explain why we do the things we do, and can’t figure when its necessary to say something and when not you have no business being in Kiruv. In fact you probably will send them back off the derech.

    #959966

    playtime
    Member

    He was in a public place. I did it for his own good, and wanted to teach him that the Torah cares for the embarrassment of an individual. I told him this, and he didn’t mind. But the next day, after he thought things over he told me he felt ‘dissed’

    #959967

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Yes, you should apologize.

    #959968

    WIY
    Member

    playtime

    Actually the salmas chaim says to wake someone up who is sleeping on their back but I dont know if this is Halacha according to everyone and certainly you need to use an extra dose of common sense and sensitivity when dealing with Baalei Teshuvah.

    Why didn’t you tell him the real reason for the issur?

    #959969

    most kiruv shabbatons ive been to the rule is no public chilul shabbos. at an aish shabbaton, i was walking through the halls late friday night and yes i can hear the TV on and radio in other rooms, but barging in and making sure?

    in megillas rus it naomi pushed rus away by explaining all the halachos of yichud and tchum shabbos, etc. paying close attention, after pushing her away exactly 3 times and rus still persisted, naomi did not continue mussairng her with nitty gritty halachos as to not overwhelm her. once someone makes the commitment now we welcome them with open arms and first let them see the beauty before what may seem to “diss” them. save that for when they value the reasons for such delicate halachos. i think you could have let that go….

    #959970

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant
    #959971

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Embarrassing a talmid, al pi Rambam, can be mutar, if it will motivate the talmid (Hilkhot Talmud Torah 4:5). Kids on this level won’t be motivated through embarassment, though.

    The Az Nidberu (R’ Binyamin Zilber) 12:42 was asked if someone sleeping on their back or stomach ought to be woken up. He paskened that the issur is to go to sleep lying flat. Once a person is sleeping he is not over any issur and is not responsible to be in any specific position. Therefore you need not wake him up.

    The issur of falling asleep perakdan comes from Berakhot 13b. The Gemara says that saying kriyat shema in this position is assur and R’ Yehoshua ben Levi curses one who sleeps like this. The Az Nidberu says that the peshat here is that it is assur to fall asleep face down or on the back.

    You’re not endearing anybody to Torah by waking them out of their sleep.

    Do you have someone who gives you eitzot on kiruv? If you’re doing this work, you need to have the proper rebbeim guiding you.

    #959972

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    WIY, that is the reason according to Rashi.

    #959973

    I have never heard of this halacha. What if someone is unable to fall asleep lying flat?

    #959975

    playtime
    Member

    Can we close this thread?

    #959976

    WIY
    Member

    jewishfeminist02

    The Halacha is that one should sleep only on their side preferably the left.

    #959977

    Oh, I misunderstood. Regardless, what if the opposite is true– if one cannot fall asleep on one’s side?

    B”h I’m a side sleeper anyway.

    #959978

    WIY
    Member

    jewishfeminist02

    unless the person has some kind of wound on their side there is no reason why someone cant sleep on their side. Its all a matter of training yourself and getting used to it.

    #959979

    rebdoniel
    Member

    It doesn’t apply to women, because the issur is due to male physiological responses.

    #959980

    nfgo3
    Member

    To The Goq: Prakdon is (a) a sushi roll made with pollack, avacado, seaweed and rice, (b) a small dinosaur whose remains have been found in southern China, Northern India, Afghanistan and Iran, and (c) the mayor of Gemorrah, who slept on his back on a livingroom couch. The text about Prakdon was excluded from the Five Books of Moses, but his story can be found in one of the books of the Apocrypha.

    #959981

    MorahRach
    Member

    I have never heard of this halacha. Very interesting. I’m a woman so i guess it doesn’t count for me, but i can only fall asleep on my back.

    As for these actions being part of your kiruv, if i were that kid, i too would be turned off. Even a non- BT teenager probably would be. And if you know this is a shabbaton of BT boys, going around and ” inspecting” to make sure they arent being mechalel shabbos in private…#1 they probably lost all respect for you if they had any to begin with, #2 treating them like little children who need to be checked on and controlled probably made them want to be mechalel shabbos even more.

    #959982

    oomis
    Participant

    Shabbos afternoon, he told me that if this is what Judaism teaches, he is very disappointed.’

    You were so out of line, the line is not even visible. First you get a teenager to WANT to be frum. When he is solid in his frumkeit, he might be more receptive to being taught what you meant well in teaching him. You were wrong, IMO. And I pray you didn’t so negatively affect this boy that he has no further interest in being frum.

    This is a problem that I see in many such programs. KNOW your target audience and worry about the BIG details. The smaller ones will fall into place at the right time, but you have to get them engaged and interested first, before hitting them with the things that are important to you, but might not yet have any impact on them.

    #959983

    TheGoq
    Participant

    Thanks nfgo3 appreciate it.

    #959984

    truthsharer
    Member

    Why not be dan l’chav zchus that he was sick?

    I had a rebbi who said that. He would not wake someone up who fell asleep during shiur, because obviously the bachur is not feeling well. Otherwise he wouldn’t be sleeping during shiur.

    #959986

    truthsharer, was your Rebbi by any chance the honorable gaon and tzaddik R’Mendel Kaplan ZT”L??

    #959987

    Sam2
    Participant

    WIY: The left side thing B’pashtus isn’t Halachah as that was a medical Eitzah (post-Gemara) and we generally ignore medical Eitzos from the Rishonim. I don’t see why this one would be different. (The reason given in the Poskim is something along the linesnot of having the liver move to the other side of the body so food can digest easier, something which our medical Eitzos nowadays obviously disagrees with.)

    #959988

    yichusdik
    Participant

    As someone who has worked with kiruv organizations (several of them) for more than two decades, including with youth, I find the OP to be of questionable capacity when it comes to kiruv.

    Shmiras Mitzvos is not all or nothing. That was one of Rav Noach Weinberg zt’l’s clearest directives to all those he taught.

    90% of the kiruv professionals and experienced lay people would agree with the following continuum as to how to prioritize how you introduce someone new to observance to mitzvos.

    Ahavas H’

    Ahavas Yisroel

    Limud Torah

    Emuna

    Shabbos and Yom Tov

    Kashrus

    Tfiloh, tfillin

    More mitzvos as they can be included based on life cycle, community, and opportunity

    Not laying on your back isn’t even in the wheelhouse. I think if this issue is so important to you it might be better to advocate to FFB chareidi kids who will understand the context than to these BT kids. You don’t seem to get it.

    #959989

    oomis
    Participant

    I don’t want this poster to be embarrassed, either that we are expressing our dismay. Fortunately we are on an anonymous forum. Playtime, I think you were absolutely wrong in what you did, though I do understand the kana-us that might have motivated you. I just believe you picked the wrong time, circumstance, and place to try to make what you felt was an important point, to someone who was nowhere in the ballpark ready to hear about it.

    #959990

    truthsharer
    Member

    He wasn’t my rebbi, and it could be that my rebbi was his talmid and quoting him, but I don’t think so. Incidently, I don’t remember any learning from that rebbi, but I do remember this.

    #959991

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Its probably not a good idea to give a BT a comparison from a obscure character in the Tanach. He likely wont get it and very well will take it the wrong way

    #959992

    Oh Shreck!
    Participant

    Oomis, you and others are OBVIOUSLY not embarrassing the OP. It’s quite obvious he’s creating the scenario, either fictitious or something he saw that dismayed him too. Read into and between the lines.

    #959993

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Sam, there is a medical difference between laying on the right or the left. I don’t know what it is about, though. It might have been an observed phenomenon, although we don’t like the explanations. (Truth is, even these days, it’s the observation that counts way more than the reasoning, which changes on a dime upon newer observations.)

    #959994

    nfgo3
    Member

    To the Goq: Apparently, a lucky guess.

    #959995

    mythoughts
    Participant

    You worried about them being mechalel shabbos and you’re waking people up because they’re sleeping the wrong way????? You shouldn’t be in Kiruv or working with kids at all if you can’t see the over the top expectations you have of these soon to be frum children.

    #959996

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    Meaning they became baal teshuvah from a knowledgable age (ex. From age 10-20) or when they were really little with their parents. Or before they were born…..

    i wonder if im even condidered B”A cuz i was only 5 or so when it happened to me, but i still remember many things from before we were……

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