Kid Off The Derech
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October 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am #588408
Yom Kippur is hard for me. My kid moved out erev Yom Kippur one year ago, it is working out very well for everyone. It just feels like someone is missing comes holiday times. Everyone with children, please appreciate that they are home with you for yom tov, even if they make your life miserable at least they are with you.October 20, 2008 4:22 am at 4:22 am #625134
I have friends all over the internet, and one let me know that someone who sounded like my mother posted.
I’m sorry that my being gone hurts you. It makes me really sad that you feel pain about this, it really does. I don’t know if you fully understand how happy I am now. I needed to leave home years ago, and the fact that I couldn’t made me miserable beyond imagination. I was stuck. I lashed out because I was dying inside.
I feel like I can breathe now. My life has finally begun. Please be happy for me.
(Just thinking about this makes me cry. I haven’t cried in over a year.)October 20, 2008 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm #625135just meParticipant
I hope this year will bring you Yiddishe nachas from all your children, Shindy. Most children do come back eventually. If now as we would like, but they are back. My sister had a lot of heartache with one of her sons. He is married now to a frum girl who went to yeshiva. They are more MO than he was raised, but he is frum and a baal tzadaka and a mentch. That is a big thing. It is a world compared to what he was.October 23, 2008 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #625136
Gitty- when that false happiness dies, and it will one day, please go back home and look for the real happiness. It’s the only thing that works. I really feel for you.
May Hashem guide you through a REAL happy life all the time. Good luck.October 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #625137
I don’t know why you assume that my happiness is false.October 23, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #625138
muchcommonsense: not using much common sense here are you?
you are assuming she is not shomer shabbos. maybe she is just not chassisdish/yeshivish anymore. maybe she is, but is just not home. judging people is never a good idea when it comes to teens at risk. keep your stupid comments to yourself.October 23, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm #625139Bentzy18Participant
Shindy and Gitty, my heart goes out for both of you. For what ever reason why it had to be I hope and pray that you will all be able to continue to forge ahead and put down the foundation of a new and different relationship. The decisions that were made must have been so difficult for both of you. I hope that you continue to see the benefits of such a hard choice.
Muchcommonsense….don’t rush to judgment that to say that this is false happieness. Unless you know the parties involved, there is no way to judge what is appropriate or not. I know of children in their 30’s and 40’s who still can’t come back home. B’H from what was posted, they both seem to be in a very good place and are moving forward despite the pain.October 24, 2008 4:00 am at 4:00 am #625140JosephParticipant
muchcommonsense, words of wisdom are recognized by the wise. Thank you for sharing yours.October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm #625141
Thank you, Bentzy18.October 24, 2008 2:18 pm at 2:18 pm #625142
Mariner, sorry if you feel offended, but my comment was not stupid at all, maybe just a bit vague. You’re right, let me clarify- if the happiness comes from doing wrong, it is false although she doesnt realize that, but if she’s not doing anything wrong, and she just changed her lifestyle a bit different than her parents’, then I hope she really is happy. I didn’t mean to judge, it just seemed to me from the way this entry is titled-“Kid off the Derech”.
May Hashem grant her only happiness as long as she’s doing the right thing.October 24, 2008 2:23 pm at 2:23 pm #625143
Gitty dear, I dont know you and I have no idea what kind of lifestyle you chose, but I sure hope it is nothing against Ratzon Hashem. I pray for you that Hashem gives the strength to do what’s right because THAT is the only true happiness there is. You may not realize that now, because you do feel really happy. But a happiness that comes from doing wrong is false. I’m not accusing you of something wrong Chas Vsholom, I’m just stating a fact in general.
May Hashem grant us all the sense to what only what is correct.October 24, 2008 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm #625144tzippiMember
Hi Gitty. Nice to meet you. Hard to believe you don’t miss your mother’s cooking enough that you’re moving back home next week 😉 But seriously, I know that this is a difficult situation and hope that you find peace and most important, direction. So many kids whose choices distress their parents these days aren’t staying not just on “the” derech, but on any derech. If you live your life with purpose and accomplishment, and a meaningful level of interpersonal growth and self-dignity, well, as a mother myself, that’s enough to get us to sleep well at night. Wishing you the best in 5769,October 26, 2008 6:18 am at 6:18 am #625146
muchcommonsense: your second post is alot more sensible. off the derech in certain communities means very different things. in heavily chareidi circles, becoming modern os off the derech. remember, it is not the girl who said she went off the derech, but the parent. a satmar mother may consider her daughter who has become extremely modern to be off the derech, yet technically if she keeps shabbos and kosher, and is a maimon, she is still ok. not the best, but ok. teenagers nowadays have it tough. go easy on them. no jewish generation since the teivoh for avoda zorah was taken away has had this much enticement from the yetzer hora thrown at them.
joseph, yes, muchcommonsense’s original post may be understood by the wise, but not by the teenager it was aimed at, so he should not have shared them here.October 26, 2008 2:36 pm at 2:36 pm #625147
with a name like shindy you may think that I am satmar but I am not. I would have been fine with gitty being MO and in fact switched her to a MO school because at the time we thought BY system was too strict for her. Halivay she should be MO, I wish. anyways, Boruch Hashem she is in a much better place than others.October 26, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm #625148
To all those who seem to think the validity of my happiness depends on whether I’m shomer shabbos, I’d like to set the record straight. I’m not. I feel like I gained an extra Sunday to do what I please with every week. Is life a picnic all the time? Of course not. But I can honestly say that this has been the happiest year of my entire life.
Just as a point of interest: When I was a teen, I was lumped into the “teens at risk” category. The truth is that I wasn’t at risk of anything except becoming not frum. But as a result, I became friends with kids who were doing drugs and in some cases involved in illegal activities such as insurance fraud. For those kids, a rejection of halacha meant a rejection of morality altogether. It didn’t for me, and I stayed away from anything illegal. But the way “at-risk” teens are dealt with by the establishment is far from productive.
My parents did try – I’ll definitely give them that. After much pleading on my part, they agreed to switch me from the insane BY I attended for two years (where I lost large amounts of weight from sheer misery) to a local Modern Orthodox school. That would have been fine if the principal wasn’t completely off her rocker. A few months in, she accused me of something so outrageous it was obviously false. She “suggested” that a large donation to the school would “help my situation”. Disgusted, my parents began looking for a new school to send me to.
I decided that I was done with the Orthodox scholastic establishment, and for good reason. I went to college at age sixteen and never looked back. Right now I am a twenty one year old college senior. I work hard at school, and at work. I cook my own meals, I pay my own rent and I clean my own apartment (among other things).
Tzippi – When I miss my mother’s cooking, I call her up for recipes. I happen to be a very good cook. I make really great dinners if I may say so myself. It’s really wonderful to have my own kitchen. I do live my life with purpose and meaning. I recognize that I have a lot of learning and growing to do.
It should be said that my parents were not perfect, but they dealt with me a lot better than other parents I know. I have no doubt that things could have turned out very different for me. Sometimes all parents care about is whether or not their kid is frum. That shouldn’t be the goal. If a kid is being a productive, responsible member of society that should be enough. The sooner people realize that the sooner off the derech suicide rates will go down. The same goes for drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, etc.
I visit my family. I know they still love me. I can love them with all my heart now that I don’t have to sit in my room all shabbos waiting for it to be over.October 27, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am #625149
Clarification: I took a two year break between my first two years of college and my last to. I wanted to work and earn some money. Also, I wanted to figure out what kind of degree I wanted. It would have been silly to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 21 if it wasn’t in the right field of study.October 27, 2008 5:02 am at 5:02 am #625150
I find it very interesting, Gitty, that you are posting on this site altogether (friend/informant who recognized your mother’s posts, notwithstanding). Clearly you feel a connection of some kind to the Orthodox world. Otherwise, all you need to do to express yourself, is to pick up the phone and call your mother, who sounds very loving and supportive. Why should you feel the need to explain your situation to any of us? We are all virtual strangers. I believe that deep down inside, you are still not so happy as you claim, in spite of your protests to the contrary.
If all you felt from Shabbos was that you needed to sit in your room and wait for it to be over,then clearly something was lacking in your Shabbos experience. That is not meant to imply any criticism of your family, by the way. I know many teens who feel that way. The idea is to get involved in activities that give purpose to your Shabbos, where you may not yet have felt any. My son, for example (who admittedly has never been off the derech), spends many Shabbosim volunteering at Yachad Shabbatons, or HASC, or Bais Ezra. He spends a meaningful Shabbos , doing something that matters, enhances his Shabbos, as well as the Shabbos of kids who don’t always get to experience Oneg Shabbos, has made friends with tons of wonderful, normal, religious young men and women, who all have the same goal as he in helping others, and has so much fun doing so. It sounds to me as though you missed the boat in finding that kind of meaning during your teen years. I don’t say that you are not happy. But neither do I believe that your new lifestyle will bring you great happiness over the long haul. It never makes us truly and totally happy when we achieve that at the expense of the happiness of those who love us. Just my opinion, and observation over the years.October 27, 2008 2:44 pm at 2:44 pm #625151tzippiMember
Oomis, I actually find Gitty’s participation and story quite heartening. As was mentioned, so many kids who drop out now drop out of everything. I can guarantee that there is at least one lurker at there (not that I know who) who got chizuk from this exchange.
I do feel Shindy’s pain at not being able to provide enough to keep her inspired. I suspect that at some point Gitty will find some authentic source of spiritual sustainance if on her own terms because she clearly has the intellectual integrity to differentiate between the medium (a real turn off so far) and the message (which is available in so many ways on an adult, sophisticated level).October 27, 2008 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #625152Feif UnParticipant
As I’ve written before, I wasn’t frum for a while. I was lucky enough to find my way back, although not in a way my family always approves of (most of my brothers went to Brisk, Lakewood, etc.)
Believe me, at the time when you decide to not be frum, you really do thin you’re happy. After all, being frum obviously didn’t work for you, and compared to that, you’re really happy. I had Rabbeim who publicly humiliated me, told me I was wasting my life, etc. I asked many questions, and rarely got answers. I was miserable. I decided I didn’t want to be frum. No drugs, no alcohol (aside from an occasional beer, but no heavy drinking), just not frum. I thought I was happy. I was in college, was working, had a girlfriend – what was I lacking? It took me a while to realize I wasn’t really happy. Yes, during the day, while I was doing things, I felt great. But at night, lying in my bed, I just felt wrong. I knew I was missing something.
It wasn’t easy coming back. Many things were difficult to stop, and I still have difficulty with many issues. Breaking up with the girl I was dating was incredibly tough. Going back to kosher, keeping Shabbos, they were all hard. But I kept pushing, and while I’m not where I want to eventually be, I think I’m well on my way.
Telling people, like muchcommonsense did, that they’re not happy just helps push people farther away. Being judgmental, like Joseph always is, and always looking for the wrong in people’s actions, also just pushes people away. I always say that Yeshivish people dress in black and white because that’s how they see the world – no gray area at all.
Not being frum often seems great, especially when you compare it to the bad experience you might have had being frum. It takes a strong will, and some good examples of what a good, frum person is like, to find your way back. It also takes time, until you realize that you’re ready for it.October 27, 2008 3:24 pm at 3:24 pm #625153JosephParticipant
Wow, Fief calls me judgemental, and in the same sentence not only judges me but negatively judges ALL “Yeshivish people” as black and white!October 27, 2008 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm #625154SarahMember
I often find your posts inspiring and thoughtful. This statement, “I always say that Yeshivish people dress in black and white because that’s how they see the world – no gray area at all” seems unfair, and doesn’t “pas” from you.
I don’t think you mean to be judgmental of all Yeshivish people, just like it is abhorrent for “black and white dressers” to be judgmental of all people who don’t dress thus. It isn’t fair or honest to paint a large group with so broad a brush. There are critical, judgmental, and short-sighted people in ALL groups, just as there are intelligent, understanding, and clear-thinking members of ALL groups. I don’t think any group has a monopoly on disturbing attitudes, stereotypes notwithstanding.
It is true that our personal experiences do color our perspectives. As someone who has relationships with disenfranchised young adults from a variety of backgrounds, I feel I can state with some certainty that issues related to leaving the parents’ paths are found in all backgrounds, sparing no group.October 27, 2008 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #625155
Feif Un…thank you for sharing. You are a REAL BT.October 27, 2008 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #625157
Feif Un- I dont know why you think so negatively of Yehsivish pple. Speak about judging pple. I dont think that’s fair of you. Many Yeshivish and Chassidish pple ARE very openminded and accepting of many different ways of life. Not everything is black or white.
In every circle you will find some pple that think black and white and some pple that make room for grey!October 27, 2008 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #625158I_ThinkMember
Feif Un, you had the courage to return and realized that life has a purpose. May you be a chizzuk to people that have it hard, and many of us do at some point in our life.
Shindy and Gitty, Hashem should help you as I’m sure it’s hard for both of you.October 27, 2008 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #625159
I think in some Yeshivos they teach things very black and white, and you are not allowed to ask questions. Perhaps some teens think this is what all yeshivish people are like. But as we get older and more mature, we find there are many in the yeshivish circles that are more open and have ahavas yisroel, even if that person does not look or dress extremely yeshivish.October 27, 2008 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #625160Feif UnParticipant
One thing: I meant to say “I always said”, not “always say”. I try not to say it anymore, because I do try not to judge people. I stand by it when it comes to many people, such as Joseph, who has no problem criticizing people who don’t live their lives the way he does. Read through his posts, and you’ll see it. He judges all the time, often very harshly.
As for my statement, and what I think of it now, I think it does apply to many people. There are two main Roshei Yeshiva in the Yeshiva I learned in. I have a great, close, relationship with one of them. The other one I don’t like too much. When I told him I was going to college, he told me I was throwing my life away. He said I didn’t give learning enough of a chance, and that I had the potential to be a gadol hador. I told him that I didn’t enjoy sitting and learning, and that based on what I saw of people who did, I didn’t want to be like that. I told him that most of them were very judgmental, often criticizing me, etc. One of them even snuck into my room in the dormitory, and took some books I had, because he felt they didn’t belong in the dorm. He gave them to this Rosh Yeshiva, who informed me that he had burned them. He refused to discuss with me whether the bochur was right or wrong in what he did, only telling me the books weren’t allowed in the dorm.
I asked him why I should want to be like the “elter bochurim”, if all they did was make my life miserable. He said I needed to separate the learning from the actions. I told him I was always taught “derech eretz kodma laTorah”, and that the people weren’t following it. I said, if they are all like that, obviously there is some connection to sitting and learning, and being disgusting to those who aren’t doing the same. He told me he’d get back to me with an answer. he never did. He did, however, try to kick me out of the yeshiva. The other Rosh Yeshiva, who I’m very close with, wouldn’t let him. He had advised me to go to college. He understood me. The actions of the other people, however, were a large part of what drove me to not be frum anymore. It started by saying I wasn’t interested in learning, and it snowballed from there.
Nowadays, I see a lot of the same when it comes to younger bochurim – high school, and early beis medrash. When they get older, and get married, they see what the real world is, and become more tolerant. It happened with my siblings, and many friends of mine. The younger people, however, need to learn that people who don’t sit and learn can also be good Jews. People can not be as machmir as you, and still be good Jews. Should you call my wife dirty names because she has a slit in her skirt? Can you show me where it says in Mishna Brurah that a woman can’t have a slit in her skirt? yes, there are seforim written now about tznius that may say it, but where is it brought down from? The fact that it’s “accepted” now?
People look down on me because I wear a wedding ring. Especially when I visit my parents I Brooklyn, I get funny looks. However, on Simchas Torah, an old man in the shul where my parents daven asked if I was born in Europe. He said that in Europe, the custom was for men to wear a wedding ring. I know that grandfather wore one – my father has it now, although he didn’t wear it. For this, I get dirty looks? In Europe they did it, now it makes you not frum?
The fact is, many people in the Yeshivish world look down on those who don’t sit and learn. it’s been discussed here many times. It’s not everyone, but it’s a very large group.October 27, 2008 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #625161
Smartcookie, while you make some good points, I have to say that in my experience, it is the majority, not merely “some” of Yeshivish people who think in terms of black and white. Only a handful truly see shades of grey. Many of those who see things b & w have tried to convince themselves that they are open-minded and tolerant. But they are only fooling themselves. When push comes to shove, they believe their way is superior, and do NOT accept others who hold differently. That is not to say that they would not be friendly in a superficial way, but they are not really inclusionary. It is only the very rare person in those circles, who actively seeks to befriend and socialize with someone who is different from himself. There are many very lovely, kind Yeshivishe people, but they still keep to their “own kind” for the most part. And that is how our youth become alienated and disenfranchised.October 27, 2008 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #625162havesomeseichelMember
smartcookie- I wonder what sect you belong to and where you live, because I think I want to live there! I know someone who “went off the derech” and the way the community treats this individual is horrible. this person is a sore thumb, an object of discussion and whispers. Many communities are like this. Anyone who is different is seen negetivly. Someone who went to a different elementary school then the majority of that shul or neighborhood is someone who is “not as frum as the rest” so ‘why should I bother talking to them’? Every person needs to be brought up as a unique person and should be taught according to their individual ways.
Yes, unfortunatly judging people is a major issue that many people face and we should learn to see that there are shivim panim latorah and no one way is correct. “dont judge your friend until you are in his place” (I wont try to transliterate it). We can never be in someone’s exact place (circumstances)so how can we ever judge them? You can never have the same family, friends, situation, neighborhood, upbringing ect. Everyone is unique.
I learned once that when moshiach comes every different type of Jew will sit around the shechina in a circle and point to Hashem saying “this is my G-d”. They are all in a circle to show that no one group/sect/type is better then the others. knitted kippas will sit next to black hatters, chasidish next to misnagdim… And who are we to judge them?October 27, 2008 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #625163
OOMIS- I will not deny or agree with yoru statement because I’ve met many superior feeling yeshivishe pple like you wrote and I also came across many of them who are so outgoing and accepting of “outsiders”.
But let me ask you something- Have you ever met a modern person that does NOT think THEY are superior? I have yet to meet that modern person who accepts chassidishe pple. They all think Yeshivishe pple are absurd, narrowminded, withdrawn pple and that is very far form the truth. How about looking at it that way.
Each to their own- everyone feels right about themselves. Thats it.October 27, 2008 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #625164
Do you honestly beleive the only way to be happy is by being a frum yid? if you do i suggest you open your eyes to the world around you just a little bit, yes i know most of the world is betzem not happy but most pepole in the frum community have the same problems as those in the outside world including being unhappy or deppressed (the only exeption might be the divorce rate wich is less by the religious even of diffrent religions that you would consider wrong and it would therefore be impposable for them to be really happy according to you, but that could just be because there is a much bigger stigma on a frum divorcee then a not frum or jewish one among other reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the marriages being any better)the reality is there are plenty of pepole who live what you would consider the “wrong” or “evil” kind of lifestyle that feel perfectly happy and fufilled with there lives and plenty of frum good jews that feel unhappy and unfufilled.October 27, 2008 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #625165
havesomeseichel: im not talking about pple are are off the derech- because that depends on individuals. I personally dont know if I would want to speak to such a person just for the reason that I might say the wrong thing which will turn them off furthur. I was talking about about frum good jews who are not yeshivish.
This is not to say that we should not be friendly with pple who are off the derech. I did speak to many of them already and of courseI was very friendly to them. But I do try to keep away in a smart way. Not that I should sound snobby or anything like that, but I’m scared of saying the wrong thing to them, and Bichlal- I do not want to get influenced negatively.October 27, 2008 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm #625166SarahMember
“The fact is, many people in the Yeshivish world look down on those who don’t sit and learn. it’s been discussed here many times. It’s not everyone, but it’s a very large group.”
I know Yeshivish people who fit the description above. I also know many MO people who are very outspoken in their distaste for Yeshivish communities and people. Sometimes quite vitriolic and condescending.
So again, there are people in EVERY group who feel that they are superior- this is a personality type. To me, the person who calls a Yeshivish community “Chumrah town” and mocks black and white clothing as “penguins” is the same personality type of the one who mocks those who wear colored shirts and derides going to work at eighteen. They both are abhorrent, unpleasant, and very distasteful company. They THINK they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but where it counts, they are in fact birds of identical feathers.
I do realize, however, that our personal experiences color our perspectives, and that your personal experience informs your view of certain groups. Please realize, however, that young adults of MO backgrounds who have abandoned Judaism often speak of their own parents/communities’ attitude of superiority and egocentricity. Personality problems do not discriminate between communities, and are unfortunately found everywhere.
Aside from our small difference of opinion here, I thank you for your input on this thread- insightful and enlightening as usual.October 27, 2008 7:55 pm at 7:55 pm #625167teenagerMember
Feif un admitted he made a mistake, but you all (not all, most) proved his point by jumping on him and being judgmental. one thing ive learned is not to generalize.
If you read some of my earlier posts, I was off the derech for a while and I have worked really hard and have gotten back pretty much to where I was, its anything byt easy but I am happier than I have been in years. I understand Gitty’s happiness, its not a flase happiness because you can truly happy but its only temporary, it just dies and you are worse off than you were before.I dont regret what I’ve done because now everything means more to me and I understand things better and in turn will be able to help me.
Let me go away from my personal story to the debate about yeshivish people being judgmental, so there was a while when i was hovering in both wrolds deciding what to do with my life and the judgmentalism i encountered by some yeshivish people pushed me off. now you cant make a blanked statement and generalize, the people who are helping me now are yeshivish and really erlich, open minded and understanding. im not sure who mentioned it and said in every group you have both open minded and closed minded people, but in the yeshivish commnuity you have more closed minded than open minded, and someone also mentioned, which i completley agree with that its an even bigger problem that some people who are closed minded think they are open minded which is so falseOctober 27, 2008 7:57 pm at 7:57 pm #625168
But let me ask you something- Have you ever met a modern person that does NOT think THEY are superior? I have yet to meet that modern person who accepts chassidishe pple. They all think Yeshivishe pple are absurd, narrowminded, withdrawn pple and that is very far form the truth. How about looking at it that way.
Good question – you ARE a smartcookie!!! The answer is, YES. My husband is a baal teshuvah, as I have stated once or twice before. He has always been in AWE of people who are frummer than he, and that still holds true today, though he has been disillusioned on too many occasions by some of those people. By Yeshivish standards, though I cover my hair at all times, I would probably be viewed as “modern,” whatever that truly means. I do not think ANY Yeshivish people are absurd, but I absolutely do find so many of them to be narrow-minded, and somewhat withdrawn. I make a point of saying good Shabbos to every woman I pass on the street. Some respond (as is proper), but most don’t even look me in the eye. I would call that withdrawn, unless you want to call it by its proper name – RUDE. Being tzniusdig or frum, does not mean one should be ill-mannered. The behavior described in the pharmacy, was very typical of what I have witnessed. I suspect that same man would be just as rude and loudmouthed were he NOT a frum-looking guy. But the sad fact is that his appearance defines him to others and it is a great chilul Ha-Shem. By the way, I do not feel I am superior, but I am well-mannered (most of the time), considerate of others, and try to be warm and friendly when I see a new face in shul. You may call that superior if you choose. Truthfully, I think it is a notch above the person who does not display such attributes bein adam l’chavero.October 27, 2008 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #625170teenagerMember
i agree with oomis1105. i grew up in i a mix between yeshivish and modern, but i guess you would classify me as modern. i am awed by people who are constantly striving to get to a higher level and better themseleves and their yiddishkeit, why would i think i am better than them if in truth im not? those kind of people inspire me to work on myself. the only thing that bothers me when people are fake and hypocritical and ive come across a lot of that. dont throw bleach on women if they arent keeping your level of tznius and than go off and smoke a ciggarete, what about shamar ol nafshosheicam, this is an extreme example but theres so much of hypocrisy and paradoxicalness is going on and thats what the problem is. when people are truly on a higher level than me that inspires me, and those people dont push it in your face cause its not a competion they are ture yidden in eminating the real personal charcteristics that a frum jew should have, the people who push your flaws in your afce and brag about where they are they are on a lower level and have much to strive for. one thing that bothers me is the looks i get when i walk into the frummer sections of my town, i follow hilchos tznius maybe not das yehudis i dont cover my legs below ny leggs but al pee halacha i am doing what i should and when i feel i can do more i will, but being stared at by all the men and even the women jsut turns me off and yes maybe makes me a little judgmental but thats one of the things im working on, is not to judge so easily because i dont want people doing that to meOctober 27, 2008 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm #625171
I’m really glad that this topic generated so much discussion. Whoever said that I must still be somewhat involved if I’m posting here. Well kind of. I joined this site specifically because one of my friends tipped me off that someone who sounded like my mother posted here.
It sounds like many of you are thoughtful, wonderful people. I hope that you will keep some of things I said in mind then next time you deal with or give advice about a teen who seems to be “going off the derech”. I am very lucky that I got on a track that is productive and good. Many of my former peers were not as lucky – largely because of the reactions of their parents and rabbis.
About the yeshivish world itself, my main gripes are with the schools. However I find the society itself to be even more superficial than the secular world. A secular person who has a large, state of the art kitchen can’t cloak their actions in piety. A frum person can brag about their seperate sinks and dishwashers – oh and don’t forget the pesach kitchen. This extends from custom wigs to shul donations.
In the secular world, things other than yichus and money are recognized and appreciated. Art, music, literature – or just being articulate. I was told to be quiet and obey at school until I went to college. College was astounding in that respect. Suddenly I was being ENCOURAGED to express my opinion. It was very welcome.
I find the secular world to be a much more satisfying place to live my life. And not just on superficial levels – on all the deeper levels too.October 27, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #625172
oomis1105: youare dead wrong! have you ever learned with modern people. they consider the yeshivish gedolim and teh modern gedolim to all be gedolim. they hold rav moshe and rav ahron in the same respect as rav kook!, yet the yeshiva world mocks rav kook and rav yushe ber soleveitchik all the time, whether called the rov jb, or rav kook just kook. these ignoramuses have no clue that rav kook was the only one allowed by the netziv to wear tefillin all day. the aderet allowed him to marry his daughter, and then his neice! rav yitzchok hutner many atime called the rov the gadol hador! rav moshe was very close to his cousin through marriage, and though did not see eye to eye on alot of issues, held him in equal regard. now go to yu, riets, merkaz harav, or any other m.o. or mizrachi yeshiva and you will find the acceptance of zeh vezeh divrei elokim chaim. in the yeshiva world it is zeh veloh zeh divrei elokim chayim. and before im labeled some liberal wacko, i went to mainstream yeshivas, all espousing right wing theories of “gadolship”.October 28, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am #625173charlie brownMember
gitty, I understand that some things happened in your life that gave you negative feelings towards yiddishkeit and made you want to leave. I also understand that you’ve come into contact with people who had frum shaitels and kitchens but treif hearts. And I do understand that you do feel happy in your new life and don’t feel that you are missing anything by leaving. I’m also really happy that your parents still show you that they love you and welcome you to visit, that shows that you couldn’t have picked better parents who I’m sure did their utmost to show you the beauty of yidishkeit.
However I truly hope that one day you will see for yourself the beauty of the Torah and the mitzvos and that you will meet up with truly frum people who are frum inside and out and treat you with respect. And I hope that thru them you will yourself come back and find an inner happiness in judaism that is even greater than the happiness and peace of mind that you have found in the secular world. That amazing connection to judaism exists and the type of people I described exist. I hope you come in contact with them soon.October 28, 2008 1:45 am at 1:45 am #625174chalishMember
Gitty, I understand that you have a need to express yourself in art, literature etc. Yet being a G-D fearing Jew does not mean that you can’t do that. I understand that you were ‘burnt’ by the system, yet I hope you will be able to get over it and realize that there is more to Judaism than the BY system. There are many ways to keep the Torah and still express your individuality and talents.. I agree that sometimes the Yeshiva/BY system tries to suppress this, and its a wrong approach. It mostly stems from trying to shelter our children from the immoral world that we live in. Yet they don’t always use the right tactics, and that is where ppl. like you and many other kids, unfortunately have fallen between the cracks. I hope when your anger against the turmoil that you have experienced subsides, you will realize there is a G-D up there who cares about you and what you do. A thinking person like you cannot live for the rest of your life without spirituality and purpose for afterlife. Good Luck!October 28, 2008 2:17 pm at 2:17 pm #625175
000646-The point is not that non-jews aren’t happy. They may lead very happy lives. The point IS that when a frum jew stops keeping the Torah, then his happiness is not real even though they can feel very happy all the time. The reason for that is because anyone who is honest with themselves feels guilt deep down because they are doing wrong. They may not realize it, but it’s there. There’s a tiny little flame that burns in every Jew, may it be a frum jew or non frum. They may be very happy with their lives but a Jew without Torah is like an empty balloon. There is something missing although they dont realize it.October 28, 2008 3:11 pm at 3:11 pm #625176
If somone dosnt realise that they feel guilty or unhappy how is it meaningfull to say they feel that way?
Also, on what do you base your assumption that all peapole who went off the derech deep down beleive that being frum is right way to live maybe deep down they actually beleive that being frum is the wrong way to liveOctober 28, 2008 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #625177
000646- anyone that has some feeling within, feels bad for the family/community they left behind. They might be happy with their new life but if they’re just a bit sensitive to others, they will have a tiny bit of a guilt feeling for what they did.
About your other question, if someone doesnt believe in Hashem and the Torah, then you’re right, they might think that being non-frum is just as good.
But anyone who goes off the Derech and still believes that Hashem is there…or that the Torah exists for others- not for me- cannot deny that being frum is right. Because we have it spelled out clearly in the Torah each Mitzvah and exactly how we must act. If you believe in Hashem and the Torah, you MUST act that way, with no choice in the matter- That’s what a Jew is all about.
A Jew that still believes in the Torah but doesnt keep the Mitzvos for whatever reason, knows the truth that being frum is the real thing. Doesnt mean they do what they truly believe is right. But if they really dont believe that the Torah way is more right than their new way, then they are denying Hashem and his Torah.October 28, 2008 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #625178
People may honestly beleive that g-d exsists but not that he gave the torah
or that he gave the torah but that most of its laws were written for those days and just the basic ideas in it still apply (c’v),
or even that hashem is happy with them for who they are without being shomer shabbos and keeping mitzvos as long as they are prodoctive members of society
or that he just gave the eseres hadibros and the rest was written by moshe rabbeinu
among a host of other things that you or me may find wierd,illogical or even impossable to beleive.
Remember the vast majority of humanity finds the vast majority of the things that we beleive to be wierd and alot of them wonder how we can beleive them.October 28, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm #625180
“Also, on what do you base your assumption that all peapole who went off the derech deep down beleive that being frum is right way to live maybe deep down they actually beleive that being frum is the wrong way to live”
Thank you. Deep down I really do believe that being frum is the wrong way to live. I find it funny that most frum people can’t imagine how that could be. When you surround yourself with people who agree with you, of course the truth of your way of life will seem obvious. It would do some people some good to read “Breaking The Spell” by Daniel Dennett.October 29, 2008 1:12 am at 1:12 am #625181af al pi cainParticipant
Gitty: If I didn’t realize you were female and responding to Shindy, I would have thought you were my own child, the experiences are so parallel. Shindy: I have been in the parsha a long time and unfortunately the empty chair at the seudas stings as badly now as it did in the beginning. But on a positive note, the parent/child relationship definitely can improve after the child moves out, when they no longer feel they have to defend themselves daily. Also, as you said, personally and communally we are beginning to look with more sensitivity and understanding at the whole Off the Derech problem.
As an aside, Arutz 7 website posted yesterday that there is a kiruv group now attempting to reach out to “formerly frum” singles, to address their specific needs. When someone goes off the derech and is of “shidduch age” there are important areas of assistance they might need to make sure they at least will marry Jewish, if not frum. Shindy, it sounds like you are relatively new to this situation (1 year) but if you are interested in speaking personally please let me know if there is a way to contact you.October 29, 2008 1:46 am at 1:46 am #625182chalishMember
Gitty, do you actually believe that we were put in this world just to enjoy the world and there is absolutely no afterlife? Do you actually believe this world was created on its own? A person as deepthinking as you, I would expect that you would believe in these things. I’m curious to know what you actuallty believe in. RSVPOctober 29, 2008 2:41 am at 2:41 am #625183
Mariner, I totally did not “get” your post. What did I say with which you disagreed so strongly? Maybe I am misreading you…October 29, 2008 5:39 am at 5:39 am #625184
oomis1105: “Have you ever met a modern person that does NOT think THEY are superior? I have yet to meet that modern person who accepts chassidishe pple.”October 29, 2008 5:55 am at 5:55 am #625185frimchebubcheMember
sarah – how right you are!October 29, 2008 8:45 am at 8:45 am #625186Itzik_sMember
I know I said I would not be posting here in 5769 but since I happen to know who Gitty is I feel I should say a few words:
Gitty, I know you have your head on your shoulders and that you will not end up in trouble.
But I also know you are missing out on your real purpose by living the kind of life you are living. I fully understand that your community turned you off. But why not try something else within the 70 ponim of Torah? I know you online and not personally, so I don’t know what your particular interests are, but for instance, if you prefer being with a creative, offbeat crowd, there are many such communities in the frum world. If, as I suspect, you are more rational and career oriented and constantly questioning, then look for such a shul and community. And don’t necessarily look near home or near school. Take a weekend off and go somewhere else, away from your old and usual surroundings, and experience a Shabbos among people who do not know you and who do not assume they know you by your appearance (I’ve been fooled many times myself by people’s appearances and anyone who judges you that way is making a fool of himself, not you).
For that matter, take a semester or a year of university in EY and check out different communities every Shabbos until you find what you like – or (chas vesholom) at least know once and for all that you cannot fit in whatsoever with Yiddishkeit as it is presented in today’s world.
I went off for 7 , yes, SEVEN, years because I experienced corruption of the worst kind in my former community. And I am talking Mafia corruption, where the rav of the community was and is no better than John Gotti, Jr. because while he started out sincere, he could not withstand the particular pressures of the place where he lives and the yetzer horo got to him. The other choices in town were not a fit for me either as I was abroad and did not fit into the local Jewish culture. In retrospect, I had many places to run to but I stayed put physically and went down spiritually.
Those seven years were successful in secular terms – I was literally one step below a celebrity because of the respect I earned in my chosen field of endeavor. I would gobble down a package of smoked salmon every evening because I had no time to eat until 9, 10 pm – the phone was always ringing with journalists asking me questions and then I would buy the paper the next day and find my name and picture there. I traveled throughout Europe, stayed in the best hotels, filled my closets with the best clothing, liquor, cigars etc. But it was all empty; first of all I could not forget that I am a Jew, much as I tried to. Either something within me or the anti-Semites – or fellow Jews – reminded me fast enough. And there was just no satisfaction; if you think the frum world is all about money and yichus (and maybe it is superficially in some places), wait until you get into the professional world. It was all about showing off, wasting money on luxuries that were here today, worn out or available in a better model tomorrow. And in the end, these things had no value. I ate bear, kangaroo, ostrich – and they all tasted the same, like beef or chicken.
Now I am back for 3 years, but it is hard because I am older, and have to start all over again in many ways. Nothing I have from the old days is there anymore, and even if it were, it would be gone as of today because of the financial situation. I hope I can start over financially but in these times, who knows what will be. I never married (BH the one non-Jewish woman I was seriously involved with relocated and I could not follow her), and now I am finding it very difficult to find a shidduch. But people do not judge me for those years I was off; some people find it hard to believe that I even was off for seven years. Except that I do not yet wear the levush my married friends wear on Shabbos, there is no way anyone would know where I have been from the way I look or act.
And the best revenge was when that gangster rav saw me once, after I came back. He trembled with fear, knowing full well I could expose him (or that, as he was not in his home city and therefore unprotected by his minions, I would do something completely out of character and inflict physical harm upon him).
Everyone has questions. Everyone has times when they wonder whether or not Torah is true. There are so many things happening in this world that seem so unfair; far too many parents are burying children and far too many children are losing parents even before they reach the age of mitzvos. Many decent people will suffer during this financial crisis; criminals will find a way to steal even more.
But if you keep your eyes open, you can see there is a plan to this world. I had a business partnership go bad this past year, and at the time I was very upset as it was the reason I live and work where I now am. The clients were in the UK and my services were priced in UK pounds and only the exchange rate made it worthwhile. I had an opportunity to take the business from my ex-partner as he was negligent and clients wanted me to handle the work but I asked a rav and he said it was ossur. End of story. I changed my phone number and blocked all incoming E-mails from my ex-clients so I would not be tempted to try to service them on my own against the rav’s psak.
Had I taken the business away against daas Torah, or even had it worked out between my former partner and I, I would now be deeply in debt and unable to continue (and possibly subject to a din Torah and/or secular legal proceedings) because the exchange rate is not favorable anymore.
And yes, in these dark times of the final days of golus, there are a lot of people who have fallen victim to the yetzer and are in positions where they can and do cause spiritual, social, financial and even physical harm to others (all were the case with me). There are those who are just going through the motions and do not believe themselves, and their doubts show in every one of their actions; sadly some of them are in chinuch or rabbonus etc and they can turn you off faster than I can turn off this computer. There are also those who feel that Torah compels them choose ways of interacting or avoiding interaction with the darkness of the secular world that may be too extreme for you. (I’m probably one of them LOL!!!)
But for every one of those bad apples, there are a hundred people, some in official positions and some just poshuter Yidden (or not so poshuter Yidden – some are multi-millionaires who made their way in this world the honest Torah way; others are successful professionals, including creative professionals, who do not compromise in either their Torah or professional lives) who live according to the way Hashem wants us to live, and they are not only people to look up to, but they are even “fun to hang out with” – and much more interesting than the empty souls of the secular world.
Don’t make the same mistake I did – leaving because you don’t like the exterior of the particular community you were exposed to, and then coming back after a long time away when it becomes harder to re-integrate. See what the interior of the Torah world is by really learning and by really doing and by really looking for the right community for you (and not the one anyone thinks you belong in). Only then can you really decide. And I think that you will “choose life”, and not only you but many others will be better off for it. Just do it fast while you are still young!
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