Kid Off The Derech
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- This topic has 167 replies, 45 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 6 months ago by Itzik_s.
October 29, 2008 2:46 pm at 2:46 pm #625187
thank you af al pi cain.October 29, 2008 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #625188David Bar-MagenMember
To all participants in this discussion, esp. Gitty and Shindy:
Although this is a discussion taking place on an internet forum amongst relative strangers, it is important to remember that emotions are running high. Let us attempt to refrain from making judgmental and polarizing statements in either direction. Let us acknowledge a couple of ground truths that have emerged in the past several days alone.
1. It is disingenuous and unhelpful to state that “all children who have gone off the derech are intrinsically unhappy.” As many have pointed out, kids go off BECAUSE they are unhappy, and the relative freedom that they find is exhilarating and relieving. So yes, they ARE happy in the sense that they have removed an extremely painful thorn from their sides. The concept that “all secular kids are unhappy” is a party line heard many times in yeshivas, and many of the off-the-derech youth I’ve met are extremely derisive of it.
2. Conversely, it is wrong to assume that “all frum people are narrow-minded and only see things their way.” The very fact that Gitty’s issue can be discussed from so many different angles is itself a refutation of this assumption. If it were true, ALL responses to Gitty would’ve been in CAPITAL LETTERS AND HORRIFICALLY MISSPELLED, as we have seen here often. We all know what narrow-mindedness looks like on the internet.
Having said that, here is my take.
Shindy: My heart goes out to your pain. All I can say in response to it is that, sometimes, a child has to swing all the way in the opposite direction before he or she can return to the middle. It is a long, painful process until equalization is reached, and I hope Hashem gives you the strength to hold out until then and the tolerance to accept the ups and downs of your daughter’s life with love and forgiveness. It is not my place to theorize what your relationship has been like before now, but I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping the door to your home wide open to your child no matter what. Have faith, and pray for strength!
Gitty: I will not be so condescending as to tell you that you are unhappy. I will tell you, though, that you are changing. A different lifestyle–whether a more religious or less religious one–creates many subtle changes within one’s personality that may or may not prove favorable. Hold on to who you are and stay firm to your convictions. Draw a red line that you will not cross no matter what, and mind your step. Do not be so open-minded as to allow your brain to flutter out the gap. Do not be so close-minded as to be unable to look at those you despise and attempt to see things from their perspective, however self-serving and corrupt it may be.
I must add: I have indeed read Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell,” and in fact I’ve done a review of it. I do not find it to be ultimately critical of religion; Dennett merely posits that one should not shy away from analyzing the role religion plays in a scientific manner. He does not suggest that one should best be irreligious. Though I do not agree with much of what he says, I respect his method of approach to it. Most writers that are critical of religion–primarily a certain egotistical sack of hot air named Christopher Hitchens–have clearly abandoned religion because they are under the impression that THEY are God. You can be better than that.October 29, 2008 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #625189eli levParticipant
nowadays there so many different shades & colors to frum life.
[maybe brooklyn is an exception to this – dont know].
esp. in israel! many people who didnt find themslves comfortable in a community in usa, went on to spend time in israel & found such a variety of frum [across the spectrum] people living idealistic, meaningful nonjudgemental happy lives.
also our gedolim – leaders truly do understand the need for difft. types of communities. each one having its unique strong points & “flavor in serving Hashem.
[perhaps we need more people to develop communities like rabbis friefeld & bulman & mrs. braunstien ztl; & yblcht the bostoner rebbe, r.t. meir zilberberg ,rabbi m. eliyahu [refua shleima],rabbi shienberger [old city ylm] reb. jungreis etc.
may each of us find our place & unique purpose in life!October 29, 2008 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #625190
David Bar-Magen, your post is intelligent, sensitive, and understanding, I am amazed by what people are writing in over here.October 29, 2008 9:13 pm at 9:13 pm #625191
Gitty, wherever you are, I hope you realize how everybody cares about you and is saddened by your distaste for Yiddishkeit. I hope when you are saturated with all the pleasures of the secular world as Itzik realized, you will realize that there is one truth, and that is Hashem and His Torah.October 29, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm #625192sesMember
its not going to work trying to convince someone who made what they feel is an adult decision, that what she did was wrong. My sister isnt frum (was about 23+ when she started her transformation). Even though she said she kept kosher, i knew something wasnt right when i saw Frank perdue chickeen in her fridge. I asked her what she would do if she met a religious guy who wanted to date her. (No comments please on “no religious guy would ask a girl on a date)
Knowing how she was in her late 20’s and would probably jump at the chance i assumed she would answer what i wanted to hear. instead she said ,”why would a frum guy want to date me , i’m not religious”. well believe it or not, even being in the secular world as long as she has been she still hasnt found herself a husband. SHe is very accomodating when she is here, she plays along on shabbos and as far as i can see keeps it 100%.
she keeps semi kosher on pesach, which means she doesnt eat real chometz but doesnt actually buy kosher l’pesach items like tuna or mayo etc. . to her its not real chometz. She doesnt work rosh hashana and yom kippur, she fasts alll day and goes to “shul”
let them be, if they still have that spark deep down inside, it will ignite when it feels it is the right time.October 30, 2008 2:11 am at 2:11 am #625193
Ses, people like your sister, who does keep some things like Pesach and Yom Kippur (both are very strict Laavim), she obviously has a very guilty feeling in her, that does not let her transgress serious Laavin. She obviously feels that Hashem does care what she doing, she is just not up to keeping it all the way, for whatever reason. I don’t have a crystal ball, but she does sound like she just needs to get over certain things in her mind and heart that turned her off and will eventually come back.October 30, 2008 2:37 pm at 2:37 pm #625194sesMember
First off, i want to let u know that my sister started out Modern Orthodox. So she didnt have all the added “pressure” that comes with being more right wing. she had it easy much easier than someone like gitty who started off in a more frum house and in a bais yakov type of environment. She still gave it up. why? she had a roommate,that she assumed was frum, and one shabbos she came home from shul and found her watching tv on shabbos. my sister figured no big deal i didnt turn it on so i’ll watch a little. that encounter led to her turning it on, seeing she wasnt “struck down by lightning” she slowly started doing more things that were michalel shabbos. w/ in a few months she was totally distanced from the life she used to lead.
unfortunately my sister’s spark is very dormant. She has been this way for 17 years ………..October 30, 2008 4:22 pm at 4:22 pm #625195
I did not grow up in the system; instead I returned and returned again. Therefore, I have no idea what is being taught in the system, and by that I mean any system from MO to Mishkenois HaRoim. (As I was never confronted with anyone who spoke that way in my chosen community, I assume this is not the way Yiddishkeit is taught in our particular yeshivas, schools and seminaries, although we too most definitely have serious problems reaching some of our young people who are questioning and testing the boundaries).
But if people are being taught that they will be struck down by lightning for not keeping Shabbos, then of course rebellion and a desire to test the boundaries will result.
When a Jew who knows what Shabbos is does not keep it, he is just not fulfilling his potential and doing what Hashem put him here for. Nowadays, you do not get zapped for that. Even in the days of the beis hamikdash it was not Hashem Himself, or a ray of lightning that He sent, but rather the human beis din or Sanhedrin, that carried out skila for chilul Shabbos, and that only in very restricted circumstances.
I must say that I do know of two people – actually three, with the second two being involved in the same maaseh – who seemingly were clearly punished by Hashem for certain aveiros. The one I know firsthand was a clear case of mida keneged mida in that he destroyed something very dear to Hashem and a few months later Hashem took away that which was dear to him. The other two were conspirators in a resolved aguna case that BH ended very well for the now freed and remarried young lady, whereas these two met up with very unpleasant, but seemingly natural, circumstances at the time of the case.
But none of them did what they did out of questioning or doubts in their belief. On the outside these people are very frum. They did what they did out of plain old greed; they are like the real or imagined haimishe gonif who goes on and on about how he does not want to see “his tax money” pay for welfare while he himself runs a successful business off the books or in his bubbe’s name and gets Medicaid and Section 8.
And I knew of the first one before I went off; what happened did not change my decision at the time because for every person like that who seemingly got “zapped” there are ten who prosper despite their aveiros bein odom lamakom and bein odom lechaveiro.
Instead, the right approach to education is bekol drachecho doehu – to understand that within the limits of Torah, there are many ways to serve Hashem and all of those ways were created or enabled by Hashem in order to allow us to fulfill our true potential as members of the am segula who were created with a particular purpose.October 30, 2008 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #625196000646Participant
Were do you get these ideas from?? Do you really think you can figure out how somone feels about there way of life from a short paragraph written by there sister?
The idea that you can “only feel happy if you are frum” is an untrue scare tactic used in all to many yeshivos, and can prove very harmfull when a person discovers that they could be machalal shabbos and not keep mitsvos and still be happy and fufilled,
besides for the moral issues involved it is just not a good idea to use proofs or other tactics that arnt true as this ruins the credibilty of the pepole who say them (if they are willing to lie or are deluded about this maybe they are about evreything else they saying so if somthing they say dosnt make complete sense to me why should i follow it ect.)October 30, 2008 5:06 pm at 5:06 pm #625197
I have alot of relatives who are modern orthodox, and one thing I’m seeing with all of them, is that the majority of their kids are not Frum. I ask myself why? Modern Orthodoxy gives off very mixed message – The torah states 613 mitzvos and we keep Shabbos, Kashrus, Taharah, Yomim Tovim and some basic others that will not interfere with us mingling with the secular world. There is barely a dress code that keeps Modern oRthodox people separate from their non-jewish counterparts. I have nothing against Modern ORthodox people and I’m not trying to give mussar,and believe me there is alot of things that are far from perfect in the right wing Frum community. But..the message that Modern ORthodox parents give their children is – pick and choose. Lets keep the main things, but you can look like your goyish neighbour! It’s very confusing and not very committing and kids may feel that it’s not such a big deal to go a little more left. there are no clear boundaries anyway! It’s an unfortunate movement!October 30, 2008 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #625198Feif UnParticipant
chalish, you are so wrong! Modern Orthodoxy does not have a pick and choose attitude.
I consider myself Modern Orthodox, and live in an area which is mostly Modern Orthodox.
My wife does not wear pants. She covers her hair. I wear a kippah on my head. So I don’t wear black and white all the time – so what? Do I need black and white to separate myself from non-Jews?
MO does not say pick and choose. Are there MO people who don’t keep certain things? Yes. However, ask any MO Rav, and he will tell you to keep them. No MO Rav will tell you it’s ok for a married woman to keep her hair uncovered. Do some do it anyway? Of course. That doesn’t mean MO endorses it. Plenty of so-called yeshivish people or chassidish people do things against halachah also. A chassidish guy once tried to grab my wife as she walked by him in a store (with me a few feet away, no less). Does that mean chassidus holds it’s ok for a man to touch a woman? Of course not! The same applies to MO.
You say the majority of the MO kids you know end up not frum. Well, where I live, the vast majority of them stay frum. Maybe some yeshivish people wouldn’t consider them frum, but most people I know do consider them frum. I know far more people who started out yeshivish or chassidish and ended up totally frei.
If you can show one thing which MO as a whole endorses which is against halachah, I’d appreciate it. I have a feeling you’re going to have a hard time producing one.October 30, 2008 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #625199
Chalish, it is wrong to say this about MO people, especially when there are so many types. In fact, I have several friends who are MO and their kids are wearing black hats and learning in the most yeshivish kollels. Please…we just had yom kippur. let’s not talk bad about our fellow yidden. What you wrote is very hurtful to MO people, plus it isn’t true.October 30, 2008 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #625200
it never ceases to amaze me that wen we c someone who goes off the derech instead of reaching out to them cuz wen it comes down to it thats wat they really want from us we just turn our backs to them and look upon them badly it makes no sense arent jews supposed to be accepting im not saying become best friends with them cuz they can be influential i just dont c y we have to distance ourselves completely and become all hostile i c it all overOctober 30, 2008 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #625201
Feif Un, You are not modern orthodox! If what makes you different than a right wing orthodox is your( and not your wife’s) dress code, than that does not mean you are modern orthodox. I was talking about people who don’t look Frum at all and keep the basic three mitzvos and Yomim Tovim. I am not judging anyone, but one thing I do know is, if you want to teach your children that torah is the right way, and then you bring a TV into your house and let them see kol davar assur, and put it on a timer for Shabbos etc…., your kids will get mixed messages. Listen, its hard, especially when one was brought up like this, why should they do anything different.October 30, 2008 8:03 pm at 8:03 pm #625202Feif UnParticipant
chalish, I have a TV in my house. No, I don’t put it on a timer for Shabbos.
You have the wrong idea of what MO is. It doesn’t mean you keep the basic 3 mitzvos only, and Yomim Tovim.
Most MO men daven with a minyan 3 times a day, have a seder to learn, etc. They might not wear a hat and jacket when they daven. They might have a TV in their house. They might wear a knit or leather kippah, not a velvet one.
So many people have these ideas of what Modern Orthodoxy is. Go into the YU Beis Medrash at night, and see what Moder Orthodox Judaism is about.October 30, 2008 8:06 pm at 8:06 pm #625203
Judging someone by a label is exactly what turns people off instead of encouraging them to explore other paths within Torah.
However, the issue at hand here could be the difference between real Modern Orthodox (R’ YB Soloveichik ZL, Yeshiva University etc) and sort of a flexible pattern of observance that was really more common years ago and is indeed dying out. At the time when this pattern was prevalent, it was socially and financially very difficult to be fully Torah observant and this was the best many could do – it was very commendable at the time.
Children from such “flexible” homes either take on a more standardized level of observance or indeed drift away. (YCT is a different issue altogether and is really a very small segment of the MO world). There are children of such “flexible” homes of the 1960’s who now wear shtreimlach, or learn in Lakewood full time, or are part of the “charedi” community in EY etc. (Of course, others are involved with the “conservative” movement or secular).
Real Modern Orthodox nowadays is almost indistinguishable from the “yeshiva world” on the outside except for the emphasis on professional secular education. While there are some points of debate in terms of hashkafah especially for the non-Zionists among us, the level of learning among serious YU beis medrash talmidim was quite high even in the mid-1980’s.October 30, 2008 8:08 pm at 8:08 pm #625204
your right about that thats y you should teach your children in the correct wayOctober 30, 2008 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #625205lammed heyMember
You include many more people than you think, once all 4 Chalakim of Shulchan Aruch are taken into account (and looks are not), not just Orach Chaim or Yoreh Dayah 🙁October 30, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #625206anonymous22Participant
teenager, i think that was your name on yeshivaworld but im not sure. i really want to email you back and ive emailed you in the past and i just cant find your email address so if you have mine please email me. thanks.October 31, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am #625207
Doesn’t having a tv in one’s house transgress Gilui Arayos. No matter how careful, you are what you watch, its all over the TV’s. Even the stupid news reporter on CNN is hardly dressed? I know its all over the streets and on billboards, but a tv you are bringing into your house?! One wants their kids to be successful in the Yeshivos no matter how ‘modern’ you are. How can you expect your son to daven and keep his mind on a sugya, when pictures of immodestly dressed women are ingrained in his head? And thats to say the least. Forget about us parents but what about our kids, the next genereation, its such a huge responsibility!!! Sorry, I always wonder about this TV issue. It definitely is a mixed message.October 31, 2008 1:11 am at 1:11 am #625208
Chalish- why are you on the internet, it is even more dangerous than T.V. That to me is a mixed message.October 31, 2008 1:43 am at 1:43 am #625209
Reading through this post and how judgmental and closed mindness most posters have is reminding me why i went off in the first place. I hope you arent turning more kids off.
Chalish- I also vehemently disagree with your comment about modern orthodoxy, i consider myself modern orthodox like feif un, and modern orthodoxy how its supposed to be is not how you say, the pick and choosing thats what the conservative community endorces. we had a tv in my house till i was 11, it was completley monitored with parental controls and i hardly watched, the internet also had parental controls, i didnt go to co-ed camps or schools, most of my brothers and borthers in-laws wear black hats and learn every day. they try to keep halacha completley but like all human beings we err sometimes. yea some wear kippa srugas and are zionists and might not wear black and white but why do we have to distinguish. we are all serving the same God.
anonmymous22 I dont know who you are as multiple people emailed me but I dont mind posting my email address since its a seperate one I use for ywn, and no I dont need warnings I understand the dangers of the internet. its [email protected]October 31, 2008 1:45 am at 1:45 am #625210
oh i forgot to say, also most of the guys who i hung out with who werent frum anymore came from really yeshivish families in brroklyn and lakewood, not modern orthodox families.October 31, 2008 2:27 am at 2:27 am #625211
Shindy, I have internet with a filter that I can only access my email, and a work related website and Yeshiva world. I would never have unlimited access to World Wide web, even though my husband does not know how to turn on the computer, but its just too scary.October 31, 2008 1:30 pm at 1:30 pm #625212
Teenager, I guess there is no real definition of modern orthodox. Everyone has a different version of it. There is nothing wrong with wearing a different type of Kippah, or not wearing a black hat. Where does it say in the Torah, what color or type of head covering one should wear? I’m not talking about that, and anyone here who is not ‘yeshivish’, is getting all offended. It does say in the Torah, that women have to cover their hair and body, and this has nothing to do with ‘yeshivish’. A man is also not allowed to look at uncovered parts of a woman, which is plastered all over TV. These things are Halacha, not preferences.October 31, 2008 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #625213
thats bec modern orthodox ppl wouldnt hang out with yeshivish pplOctober 31, 2008 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #625214
i think the way to deal with someone at risk is to showerthem with love and support bec thats all they r really looking for and also to be accepted even if they lead their life a little different then you do that shouldnt mean they r bad let god b the one to decide that not ppl. we need to be acceptingOctober 31, 2008 5:56 pm at 5:56 pm #625215
gila, you are absolutely right. If we show these children that we love them regardless of anything, they will always feel that when they want to come back, we have open arms. What I was talking about before is our responsibility as parents, even of younger children to convey the right message. Once chas v’shalom a child is on the fringe, we have to just shower them with love and acceptance.October 31, 2008 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #625216havesomeseichelMember
By accepting, you mean not yelling at people at posts? and making vast, sweeping assumptions? “modern orthodox ppl wouldnt hang out with yeshivish ppl ” and other comments on other posts. You may not know who is reading these posts.
I would appreciate it if you would add in a few dots called punctuation. It doesn’t have to have perfect grammar and spelling. Even I am not perfect and I will admit it. But some things are basic and necessary for understanding. Maybe write out the complete words? I am just asking. It makes it much easier to read. Otherwise, I will not spend the time needed to decifer your posts. thank you.October 31, 2008 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #625217
Ok now that we agreed with Gila, put your words into actions.November 1, 2008 8:27 pm at 8:27 pm #625218NobodyMember
What is Modern Orthodox? what is Liberal? what is Charedi? what is yeshivish? what is Baal Habatish? They are all labels and in each country, city and community they have a different meaning. In the USA Modern Orthodox is totally different from Europe. Baal Habatish is used in Europe but is rather derogatory in Israel. Yeshivish is used in the US but not in Europe. Labels, labels. We love labels. But where do they leave us. The leave us judgemental.
If we see a man in a shtriemel etc walking/talking with a person wearing a kippa srugar and jeans on shabbos we think, hey what’s that all about? If we see a man walking with a woman who is wearing pants and short sleeves, we think, oh dear not very religious are they.
Who mixes with who is nonsense unless you know the circumstances. Try just a little not to be quite so judgemental.
But the truth is we are all prejudiced. We like to think we’re not but we are,if we’re honest and let’s be honest here.
A person who became religious building himself up from nothing yet has internet or a tv no-one would judge. He keeps shabbos and a Bedatz kosher home and sends his children to wonderful heimish schools and we applaud him. Yet a person from an extremely religious home who has become modern in his lifestyle is heavily judged.
We tend to have a more holier than thou attitude and I cannot explain it. Perhaps it makes us feel better of ourselves when in deep reality we are not.
This post is full of cliches and I find cliches so easy to write but very rarely thought out but it sure makes the writer feel better.
The reasons why a mother feels so distressed at her daughter’s current situation and the daughter responding are private. No-one on this site knows these people (to the best of my knowledge) and yet advise is being dished out,left, right and centre. None of us have sat down with all parties concerned to listen to all sides. None of us know what really has gone on irrelevant of who says what. As I have said, words are easy and are not necessarily what is really meant.
As much as I would love to say, there, there, it’ll be alright, who am I to say anything on the matter.
I do know one thing. Whether the daughter concerned or the mother for that matter want to reach out to each other via this forum let them. Don’t give your strong opinions that may make matters worse. Try thinking before you write so that both sides may take some comfort from the words.
My own hope is that over time daughter will, through the trials and tribulations of life come to her own conclusions and may those conclusions be the right ones and bring her the ultimate happiness that she is seeking together with the love and support of her family.November 1, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm #625219eli levParticipant
what hurts me for gitty- the most,is how she writes about shabbos.
gitty nowadays theres alot of good literature on the depth & buey of shabbos.
there are also great recorded speeches & classes .
this has nothing to do with being yeshvish or mo ,unfortunately many of us are not raised -being taught what shabbos really is, to really exprience a shabbos!!
u deserve it! check it out…November 3, 2008 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #625220
I am very touched by everyone’s responces, and Gitty loves it. thank you everyone. Mi keamcha yisroel.November 3, 2008 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #625221SJSinNYCMember
I think its naive to assume that people cannot be truly happy unless they are orthodox (pick your sect). Any lifestyle choice you make excludes something else. As an orthodox Jew, I choose to forgo a lot of things to remain observant, but that doesnt mean I am not missing out. I am just choosing a different path.
Here is a (stupid) example: My boss put me on an emergency job just before Yom Kippur. It meant working 16 hour days/7 days a week. Of course, I couldnt work on Shabbos, Yom Kippur or Succos. My coworker was working all 7 days and 16 hours each day. While he was struggling and exhausted, I used those days to rest up. So while yes, sometimes keeping Shabbos means restrictions, it also means much more.
About modern orthodoxy: Chalish, I think you must not have much experience with modern orthodox people. I think Itzik said it best. I went to a MO high school, and I would say 95% of the girls now cover their hair (if they are married). Of those 95%, I would say maybe 20% of their mothers cover their hair. Its a different generation.
I am personally modern orthodox. I dont believe in cutting out the outside world for no reason. To me, television is not a problem – its what I choose to watch that is. I like watching sports on TV, or the history channel…not everything has women improperly dressed. Same thing with the internet – I can self screen. I choose what is right for me and what is not. I dont need someone else (like yeshivanet or anything like that) to tell me otherwise. I will teach my son to do the same, just as I teach him to keep kosher and shabbos and everything else. I think personal responsibility is very important.November 4, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am #625222
Please keep in mind that with internet, we are in control of what we view (yes we are tempted which is why filters are necessary; even if you have no tayvas in that direction or are an occasional surfer get a filter because inadvertently hitting what looks like an innocent link can get you to places you don’t want to go as well as install spyware on your machine) whereas with TV, the station decides what we see and when.
That is why I don’t own a TV. I am proud to say that despite being an Internet professional and therefore the guy whom everyone hocks in shul when their computers or cellphones or personal websites or whatever are giving them trouble, I don’t even know how to operate or program a TV remote.
I’m not 100% sure because I’m not into TV programming but I believe you can get hold of some of the better programs like History Channel or decent nature programs (as well as the d**ck for that matter) online, so that there is no real need to own a TV. And as for news or financial updates, even for those of us who need up to the minute information for professional or investment purposes, the Internet is far better and more “real-time” than any TV news program. Tonight, I will be up all night (I’m in EY time zone) tracking the US election online. I really would not consider it an aveira to watch TV tonight and I can easily go to a friend’s house and watch his large screen TV, but in the end I will get better information and less fluff this way.November 4, 2008 2:58 pm at 2:58 pm #625223SJSinNYCMember
Itzik, I understand and respect your point about television.
I do have a problem with people who watch tv shows online and they say they “dont have a TV.” By choosing to watch via the internet you have turned your computer into a television. True, you have different options in terms of how fast you watch something, but it is a TV. This is especially true for people who love to brag that they dont have a TV (and then watch more online than anyone else!)November 4, 2008 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #625224
I don’t watch TV programs online (and I wasn’t aware you can do so in real time as opposed to downloading them for watching at leisure – your post implies you can indeed do so). I got bored a few times and halfheartedly watched a couple of PBS type documentaries that somehow made it to YouTube which is my entire experience with online viewing.
Actually, I see nothing wrong with those who do watch The History Channel or the nature shows via any media, or with using any media to view reports on an event of national or international importance.
I just don’t see the point of having a TV now that the Net allows us to pick and choose.
More importantly for Gitty; if you find Shabbos boring what you really need is a Shabbos away from your community. Unless you really enjoy routine or have a very close knit family or circle of friends, or a large choice of shiurim and activities that really interest you, Shabbos can seem monotonous even if you do appreciate the beauty of it.
I know because I need a few Shabbosim away from home as well and I can’t wait to go to E”Y this winter – but the E”Y shabbosim will be the high point of my extended stay there.November 5, 2008 9:31 pm at 9:31 pm #625225
leme tell you wats wrong with tv wen you say theyr just watching the history channel and nature,discovery channels it doesnt stop there whether you believe it or not first it starts with that then it goes gradually to things we shouldnt see thats the problem with tv the yetzer harah knows wat will get us to sin he does it very smartly in a way that we think we arent doing anything wrong i know for myself i wont go babysitting by someone who has internet or tv so i shouldnt have any desire at all y put myself through a nisayon wen i could prevent itNovember 7, 2008 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm #625226
I’ve been enjoying this conversation and have been somewhat surprised to see the number of thoughtful responses.
Yes, it is true that many secular people have happy, fulfilling lives. It is a complete misconception that unless you believe in Judaism your life will be filled with empty materialism. In fact, I tend to see the exact opposite in my life. Far too many frum people are obsessed with the newest custom wig or making sure their kid rides around in the most upsale European strollers. Don’t you see how Bais Yaakov girls are so focused on having the “in” brand name purse or shoes?
Re: Television. One thing that turned me off religion was the false piety I witnessed on an almost daily basis. Not having a television is something done as a status symbol, not a way to boost family interaction and intelligence by encouraging conversation and reading over mindless screen watching. I do not have a television, and I don’t ever plan to. I will watch what I want to online. But the fakery and window dressing that goes on is insane.
Re: Shabbos. Let’s make one thing clear. I have issues with authority. I don’t like rules – the fewer the better. In many ways, I was not exactly predisposed towards liking religion – probably from birth. Some people have personalities that favor structure. I prefer to make my own structure. Being told what wear, when/what to eat, when I can use electricity etc – it’s just not my cup of tea. Some people find comfort and stability in being told what to do. I don’t. I’ll put up with it from my boss because he pays me, the police because I literally don’t have a choice and from my professors because they control my grades. But that’s where it ends.
Another turn off has been the animosity between different groups of religious Jews. I just had enough of it after a while. Does it really matter what kind of kippah you wear or whether a woman wears sandals without socks? Are these things really crucial? One thing I have always despised about the way religious Judaism is practiced is the emphasis on superficial signs of observance. The pettiness just became too much after a while. Living in a more inclusive world is like breathing fresh air for the first time.November 7, 2008 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #625227feivelParticipant
“Are these things really crucial?”
is the tiny little insignificant dot in your email address really crucial?November 7, 2008 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #625228
“is the tiny little insignificant dot in your email address really crucial?”
That is not a comparable scenario.November 8, 2008 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #625229
Gitty, I dislike structure more than you ever will – my black clothing and full beard are more of a rebellion against the phony structure of the secular world than your leaving is anything to the frum world. I deal with the world on Hashem’s terms, not on the terms of the clothing companies, or the razor manufacturers, or anyone who says I have to work on Shabbos etc etc.
In fact some silly shaygetz on the street once told me my flying tzitzis are “unfashionable”. I pointed to a sign for Versace and I said my fashion comes from G-d and not that dead M”Znick.
I work for myself and do as much as I can by myself and that is how it will always be. The only rules I don’t break are the ones that will land me in the can or inflict harm on myself or others if I break them or the ones that are related to civil society.
But if you look at it the right way, Shabbos is the greatest escape from the structure that all of us, including you and I, must deal with during the week.
I am totally relaxed on Shabbos; I don’t watch the clock, or my bank account, or my computer, or the calorie or carbohydrate count of what I eat – OK I try never to surpass three pounds of meat, one US gallon of wine or one litre of hard liquor, but if I do, so what LOL!
What is more, the little bit of structure that you do have on Shabbos is more for men than women, so you really have it easy. I have to get to shul by a certain time – you don’t.
I think what bothers you is not Yiddishkeit – it is “frum” society.
There are 70 ponim letoirah – one or more are for you and if someone doesn’t like what you do, they can kiss you somewhere else besides the ponim.
You don’t need to be accepted by the entire frum world. If you felt that being a bit different means you did not have a place, you may have been right during childhood when sometimes that is the case, but now you are free to find your place, even if it is different from the one that may have been intended for you by your local version of “the system”.
And there are communities where a lot of what you mentioned just does not matter.
Today, with telecommunications, you can live in one place and essentially work in another (or as I do, work all over the world at the same time). Somewhere there is a place where you will find happiness within the very wide 4 amos of Torah.November 10, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am #625230yashrus20Member
Gitty- I know im like the 100th person to comment. But im yeshiva bochur in israel for a 3rd year, and over the course of the years i encountered alot of fakeness and that the system was too strict. I like you felt free when it came to the secular world, why is it im still here learning??? In first year i got curious about our religion, whats so special why is our religion so strict and where’s the joy in it?? The difference between me and ppl that go off the derech is i learned to ask! Because if you really cared to know the truth about what is your purpose on this world and not just to waste it away enjoying a life till your 120 bh AND THEN WHAT?? I care about my life so i wanted to know why we are all here. To make money, to travel the world, etc.. i dont think so. And anyone who tells me he/she went off b/c they had question and they searched judiusm and found no answers then fine, But to go off and create questions to defend are excuses not questions. And to your comment that you only go with structureNovember 10, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am #625231yashrus20Member
Well if you found out god gives punishment and reward based on your fullfilment of his torah would you then come back b/c otherwise its an excuse, but if its not an excuse than just like you would find out if theres a test being given for wtvr subject so to go find out if there really is a test from hashem. B/c you shouldn’t become frum b/c anyone says too you should become frum only if the truth you find when you go looking is frumkiet. 🙂 You only get one life it might be worth it to see if your missing anything.November 10, 2008 4:24 am at 4:24 am #625232havesomeseichelMember
Gitty, maybe if you get exasperated with “society” in the frum world, try to find a different society. One that is more accepting. I know that living in smaller communities is sometimes better (it of course depends on where). In many out-of-town areas they accept almost everyone as they are happy to have a fresh face in the area, a new person to talk to….sometimes it is as if they “have” to accept you as there is no one else. They are not so judgemental and do not try to be “on top” or “holier then thou” as there is not a large crowd to “be on top of”. They are not fixated on the details and fashion…November 10, 2008 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #625233ujmParticipant
Itzik: You speak both from the heard and from the mind.November 14, 2008 3:27 am at 3:27 am #625234
Re: Excuses/Reward & Punishment
Yashrus20, I know you mean well. However I grew up frum. I went to schools that taught me a lot of Torah. I understand Judaism very well. What you need to understand is that if you have to be a Believer in order to be frum, that ended long before I stopped keeping shabbos. However I stopped playing along because frum society was making me miserable. If I had been content I would not have gone to the trouble of changing my lifestyle. It was not as if I wanted to eat cheeseburgers so I decided not to believe. That would be ridiculous.
Another thing: The idea of heaven and hell just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t believe in God or an afterlife. This is something that I have done some heavy thinking about. I am a philosophy minor so I have read the views of dozens of very smart people on the subject. I have discovered a worldview that is a combination of all the wisdom I have read. And I have to say that after all that, I am more sure than ever that heaven and hell were made up to pacify the masses and keep them in line at the same time.
I’ve been out of town. However, I have to say that responses like yours frustrate me a lot. What does it say that when a lot of frum Jews get together they create a culture that is so unappealing to intelligent, free thinking people? Your argument is that frum Jews are okay in small groups. Well fine, but excuse me if that’s not good enough for me. I am now part of a group of people that is wonderful to live among – whether the community is large or small.November 14, 2008 6:25 am at 6:25 am #625235oomisParticipant
Gitty, I hear what you are saying, but you are very young, and the so-called doznes of very smart people whose opinions you value so highly, are not necessarily espousing anything other than THEIR opinion. There are other opinions, equally smart, equally compelling, and more truthful in the long run. I cannot get you to believe in G-d. But I want to relate to you something that happened to me, that absolutely strengthened my belief in “the afterlife,” and if you don’t accept what I tell you as being the absolute emes, I cannot force you to. The following story is 100% truth, with no embellishment:
My father unexpectedly passed away exactly 15 years ago. His Yartzeit is in a week. I have three siblings, we are two girls and two boys. we all sat shiva together in my parents’ house, together with my mom, who passed away five months later. Except for one brother and myself, everyone else went home each night and returned in time for shacharis the next morning. By Shabbos time, everyone went to their respective homes (none of us lives near the other), and my hsuband, children, and I stayed with my mom.
Shabbos afternoon, we all went to lie down for a nap. I had an amazing dream about my dad, very vivid, and in the dream itself I thanked my father for comign to visit me in a dream. He was dressed in his jacket and a fisherman’s cap that he often wore. I remember so vividly hugging and kissing him and telling him how sad I was that he left us. I asked him repeatedly why he left, and his answer to me was very specific and I have never forgotten his exact words. He said, ” I am sorry I had to leave, but I am very, very happy. I am in a beautiful place with Mama and Papa, and my brothers, and I am very, very happy.” He kept reiterating that to me, saying over and over how happy he was. He also said he missed us all, but, “I could not live in my body the way it was anymore, and I am very, very happy now.” These are direct quotes. He had first appeared to me walking through his living room doorway, to where I was sitting. After kissing me good bye, and again assuring me he was very, very happy, he disappeared. I woke up, crying in my sleep, and went downstairs to see my mom, too, had awakened from her own nap. I could not wait to tell her about my “visit” from Dad. But she cut me off excitedly to tell me she had had an amazing dream about him. She then proceeded to tell over my own dream to me. With the exception of his physical appearance (he looked as he did as a young husband), she had experienced the identical dream, same dialogue, from start to finish. She and I were finishing each others’ sentences at oen point.
I could not wait until my siblings re-joined us after Shabbos. My two brothers came, followed by my sister. needless to say, as you may have guessed by now, each one of us had the identical dream that Shabbos afternoon. My dad appeared in different clothing and/or ages to each of us, but the scene was precisely the same, and the dialogue did not vary from one person to the next. There was only one addition to my youngest brother’s dream. My dad finished speaking and started to disappear, but added, “And Yanky, it’s shoen tzeit for you to wake up, you need to get to mincha.” he woke up with a start, he told us, and then about five or ten second later, his wife knocked on the bedroom door, informing him it was mincha time.
Gitty, you may or may not accept that Hashem allowed five people to have the same visit from our loved one. You may think (and maybe some of your philosophers would rationalize away) that somehow, separated by over a half hour drive away from each other, we all had a collective hallucination, but they and you would be wrong. I have spoken to more than one rov about this, and they all agreed that we were zocheh to an amazing miracle. That Hashem allowed our father’s neshama to speak to us individually, but in such a specific way as to let us know it was not a coincidence or wishful thinking. The quote about not being able to live in his body the way it was, is not the same thing as someone saying, ” I will be watching over you,” which so many “ghost whisperers” and charlatans claim the dead are saying. He was very specific, and used the exact same phraseolgy quote for quote with each of us.
It is ironic that my father’s petirah is the very thing that gave me chizuk in my emunah in Hashem. Most people are busy blaming Him for the death of a loved one. I hope, Gitty, that you have not written everything off just yet. You are, as I stated earlier, very young and have a long way to go before you make decisions that have lifelong ramifications. You write intelligently, and I hope you are as intelligent as you sound, and that you re-think some of the things that you are starting to feel you beleive or do not believe. Because ultimately it all boils down to one thing – WHAT IF YOU ARE MISTAKEN??????????November 14, 2008 6:26 am at 6:26 am #625236shkoyachMember
Gitty, I have a feeling you have never met or spoke to Rabbi Daniel Mechnic, for if you would have I don’t know if you would think as you do. But the truth is, it is your choice and only your choice to think as you do. Hashem created us with Bechira… we all have our share. And only you can chose how you see the world. And NOBODY can decide for you how you percieve things because that is the beauty of Hashem’s creation of the individual. We know we have a Torah. You know we have a Torah. You know what the Torah says. You may not have been given the greatest feeling and connection to it and being that you seem to be a very intellectual individual you have chosen to use your intellect and feeling according to your desires. You may very well be happy with your choice and nothing any of us yell at you will change that.
We belive that there is Schar and Onesh we believe in Olam Habah and Olam Hazeh. We believe in Gan Eden/Olam Haemes and Gehennom…or Heaven and Hell as you would say. You don’t. That is fine, don’t belive. But let me ask you a question. When Mashiach comes (Which you probably dont believe he exists or will come) So lets say he is real and does come. Then where will you stand? Will you decide then to believe? Will you then want to be part of the Am Hakadosh? Will you then feel a connection to the holy roots you come from? Or will you continue to chose your path among the non believers and be left behind from all the people who will be rewarded.
Gitty, please realize that I am not snubbing you. i have no interest in that. I just wonder if you allow your intellect to work like this. To say you dont believe in reward and punishment, even the atheist scientists have proven that we respond to reward and punishment. That is how we were created (Unless you also belive that we weren’t created. That again is your perogative… choose as you please.) You know, many people have questions of how do I know Yiddeshkeit and Hashem and Torah is the truth. THERE IS NOTHING wrong with a person who has questions!!! NOTHING!!! ANd that is for everybody to know! There is something wrong with a person who refuses to find answers for those with questions. And there is something wrong with someone who asks, and when proven refuses to believe.
But Gitty, again, YOU are allowed to choose what you want in life if that is what you feel is right. I hope you are happy. I hope you keep a good connection with your parents and realize how much they love you even tho it may be hard for them to accept your differences from them when they brought you into this world and cared for you and raised you to be a product of them. But if you ever do decide to belive in Hashem and His ways, please make it your buisness to share your wisdom with the world because you will be able help a lot of struggling people because you are smart and thinking anf thats what they need. Good luck in life Gitty… remember always to think before you choose and think well.
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