Rabbonim and Shalom Bayis Problems

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  • #604594

    The little I know
    Participant

    It is fairly common for a frum couple experiencing difficulties in their marriage to turn to Rabbonim, whether a Rosh Yeshiva, Rov, Dayan, or even a chosson or kallah teacher for guidance. An observation I share with many others is that these people may be well meaning and intentioned but are often unable to bring the couple to the bliss they deserve. Many choose sides instead of serving as a catalyst for reconciliation. many of these well meaning people do not understand various forms of abuse. Too many people assume that these individuals, by virtue of their advanced Torah knowledge and perhaps their role as a kli kodesh, should be capable of presenting a “Daas Torah” approach. With all the regard deserved for our Rabbonim and lomdei Torah, I propose that such practice should be severely limited. Bekius in Hilchos Shabbos renders one competent to pasken on that subject, not on Mikvaos, or – Shalom Bayis. Several therapists I know have been complaining to me that they are frustrated by the intrusion of these Rabbonim, not for taking away their business, but by ruining the marriages to the point where therapy may be too little too late.

    What do others think about this subject? What have others experienced? Are Rabbonim practicing in an area where they lack training and competence?

    #892903

    shmoel
    Member

    Most marriage therapists would be more properly described as Divorce Therapists, as that is the most common end of such therapy. That is what they push for and that is what they are paid for. The moral is to stay far far away from them, unless a rov who investigated the therapist determined he does not push for divorce.

    A rov should be a families (who wants to stay as a family) first choice.

    #892904

    2scents
    Participant

    What I think doesn’t really matter.

    However, one should have common sense and only approach a Tora Authority that has Torah and seichel.

    This I heard from Harav Avigdor Miller.

    I do know of cases in which a RY that I am close with, does send some talmidim that contact him to professional help. He is ultra Chasiddish and has no problem sending them even if the therapist is a female.

    Make sure that the person you turn to, really knows what he is doing and that he has seichel.

    Harav Miller also said, that making sure to have close contact with a RY or Rav that is a talmid chacham and has seichel, is like an insurance policy should something go wrong in life.

    #892905

    Curiosity
    Participant

    Not all rabbonim are able to assist in shalom bayis, but not all rabbonim are unable to assist in shalom bayis. You have to know the Rav, and not assume every smicha is granted for knowledge in marriage counseling. Nonetheless, thorough study of mussar and appropriate chazal can prepare someone to understand psychology without ever having to open a secular textbook. Exactly like not all rabbeim are fit to give relationship counseling, so too are psychologists not all fit to do so. We can’t make generalized statements or sweeping assumptions.

    #892906

    Toi
    Participant

    we’ve been through this tens of times. some rabbonim should stick to shailos, and some are fully capable, and even excel, at helping a failing marriage. There is no definite answer.

    #892907

    The little I know
    Participant

    Just as someone enters a doctor’s office with a specific complaint (sore throat, fever, pain, etc.) and can hear various treatment options such as medication, bed rest, and the like, the same occurs when a couple goes to a therapist. There are probably a few who are “trigger happy”, and tend to give up on the marriage more easily than others. But, on the whole, most professionals are NOT divorce therapists and do not work on splitting up couples. There are imperfect therapists just as there are less than perfect plumbers, carpenters, and lawyers. many who do not have training in marital therapy do not accept such referrals, and will recommend to seek help elsewhere. And, as a rule, a couple enters the therapist’s office seeking to repair the marriage. The accusation that therapists seek divorces is baseless, and facts are otherwise. Good try.

    My OP was not to malign Rabbonim. It was to point out the misuse of Rabbonim, where we call on them to perform counseling that is outside of their domain of experience and expertise. With their lack of training in this area, their noble intentions often do not compensate for their lack of skills. Isn’t it hard when a friend asks you to help them fix their car and you can’t (since you are not a mechanic)? No one wants to say no. Yet, doing so would really be a mitzvah.

    #892908

    2scents
    Participant

    shmoel,

    Can you please let us know from where you take that information?

    As far as I know, most competent therapists will try to make things work. They get paid to make the shalom bayis work, success is if the couple can be helped and things work out.

    You must agree that there are a lot of people that really have issues which make it very hard for someone to live with them.

    The therapist will try to communicate with the troubled spouse. If however the troubled spouse refuses to open up to to be helped. The therapist might rightly so assist the couple to divorce, as staying together will result in a living hell for the couple.

    Of course you have to be able to rule in or out a divorce, but I dont think that it is right to make such a blatant blanket statement.

    #892909

    avhaben
    Participant

    Specifically what kind of “training” does a marriage therapist receive, that makes him any more qualified to offer marriage therapy?

    The answer is he receives training in goyishe ideas and philosophies as to how a marriage should work.

    Bad idea.

    And if you are to claim that frum marriage therapists are different, my question is how are frum therapists trained differently than goyishe therapists?

    Answer: They are not trained any differently.

    #892910

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Most marriage therapists would be more properly described as Divorce Therapists, as that is the most common end of such therapy. That is what they push for and that is what they are paid for.

    Please provide some evidence for your claim that marriage therapist purposely engage in malpractice by pushing for divorce in the majority of cases.

    The Wolf

    #892911

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    The answer is he receives training in goyishe ideas and philosophies as to how a marriage should work.

    Care to give a specific example of a practice that you feel is contrary to the Torah that is employed by marriage therapists on a regular basis and that a frum marriage therapist cannot change or adapt to the specific needs of the couple?

    The Wolf

    #892913

    Feif Un
    Participant

    I was once in my Rosh Yeshiva’s office when a fomer student called to speak with him. The guy was having some shalom bayis issues. My RY spoke to him, then returned to his conversation with me. He said to me, “One of the biggest issues today is that people think their Rebbe should do everything! If you have trouble in your marriage, go see a marriage counselor! If your Rav is trained in that, great. But most aren’t – and they feel it’s part of their job, and end up doing more harm than good. If you are sick, you see a doctor. If you need help with your marriage, go see a marriage counselor! People nowadays don’t blow their nose without asking their Rebbe first! It’s a big problem!”

    #892914

    mommamia22
    Participant

    Oy va voy.

    Here we go again. I wonder how many of the opinionated posters who claim to know so much about the training and approach that therapists have are actually therapists?!?!?!?????

    Care to share????

    If you’ve got an opinion about therapists at large, then pray tell, tell us how you know that.

    #892915

    2scents
    Participant

    Wolf,

    All I can say is, personal experience.

    #892916

    The little I know
    Participant

    It gets interesting when those who know way too little blast their opinions about a subject. There are rotten apples in every barrel, and there will be therapists who are not good just like individuals in any other career. But most therapists are trained well, have a professional code of ethics that they follow, and work within a domain of their training and experience. So the anti-therapy people out there are actually barking in the wind.

    Feif un was correct in the quote from his Rosh Yeshiva complaining about the misuse of the Rebbe. In one of the last issues of the Jewish Observer, Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz (from Monsey – Yeshiva Darchei Noam – Project YES) wrote a feature article addressing the differing areas for which we turn to Gedolim and Rabbonim and how these are easily confused and misused. Not all Rabbonim are qualified to give advice, and many excuse themselves from it.

    The Steipler Gaon ZT”L would have numerous people coming to him with “kvitlach” as one would bring to a chassidishe rebbe. He complained (I was present and heard this), “Ich bin nit kein rebbe. Far vos kumen zei tzu mir?” He told me that he takes these kvitlach, places them in a drawer, and each night he recites a perek tehilim in front of the drawer. No one will question the gadlus of the Steipler. And his role of the talmid chochom, was actually his responsibility. We are told, “yeilech aitzel chochom v’yevakesh olov rachamim.” Go to a chochom and he will daven for the choleh.

    Sometimes there is a case that is quite simple, and anyone with common sense and objectivity can give advice. The automobile version of this might be to put air in the tire that is low. But most cases land in front of a third party when there are accumulated layers of complexity. Some people have already taken actions that are severe, whether it involves money, violence or other forms of abuse, meddling of outsiders, legal actions, etc. The amateurs who wish to help are overwhelmed by all this, and lack the skills to navigate the jungle of issues. Rabbonim might serve as a first step, but need to be able to move a case to where it can be resolved, one way or the other. Sometimes ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? might spell divorce.

    #892917

    The little I know
    Participant

    Shmoel:

    Precisely what is meant by personal experience? How many therapists did you encounter that sought to terminate a marriage that was able to be saved? One? Maybe two? You generalize to all therapists, and personal experience without a larger sampling does not tell us anything about all therapists.

    Avhaben:

    You seem to have concluded that even frum therapists are beholden to goyishe teachings, even if they are a departure from Torah. Now that’s a serious accusation, and I challenge it. Have you ever attended a conference of Nefesh where several hundred frum mental health professionals gather annually? Would you like to taste the Torah taught there that centers around issues of mental health? Maybe you would like to attend the daf yomi shiur or the many others in the Nefesh environment. An alternative to your brushing aside many hundreds of professionals whose yiras shomayim is worth respecting might be to get to know some of them and taste their Torah based lifestyles. Maybe they use poskim and renowned talmidei chachomim as their guides in both areas of hashkafah and halacha. Your “goyishe ideas and philosophies” accusation really has no basis in fact. Wouldn’t you rather make comments from a vantage point of having information rather than your bitter and angry dismissal of a huge, recognized career of frum therapists who follow a Torah lifestyle? Your comment suggests an individual experience that was uncomfortable for you – and your reaction to devalue a greater group of professionals.

    #892918

    avhaben
    Participant

    I asked, and no one can answer, specifically what are marriage therapists “trained” on? What field of medicine? How is that medicine better equipped to resolve the quarreling of two individuals? How is quarreling a matter of medicine as opposed to, say, human interaction as G-d wishes human beings to interact with each other — that, presumably, a man of G-d would be best equipped to address. How is it a matter of medicine? And what kind of “medicine”, exactly? How does said medicine resolve the quarreling?

    And how does the therapists “training” equip him to resolve marital disputes? What, precisely, was he “trained”, that qualifies him to resolve disputes between two parties?

    #892919

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    All I can say is, personal experience.

    Really? So, how many marriage therapists have you seen? One? Two? A dozen? And for that you’re willing to cast aspersions on an entire profession, including, in short accusing all marriage therapists (including the Jewish and frum ones) as malpractitioners, thieves and people who’s primary professional goal in life is to break up marriages.

    Boy, do you have a lot of people to ask mechila of this Elul.

    The Wolf

    #892920

    Health
    Participant

    avhaben -“I asked, and no one can answer, specifically what are marriage therapists “trained” on? What field of medicine? How is that medicine better equipped to resolve the quarreling of two individuals? How is quarreling a matter of medicine as opposed to, say, human interaction as G-d wishes human beings to interact with each other — that, presumably, a man of G-d would be best equipped to address. How is it a matter of medicine? And what kind of “medicine”, exactly? How does said medicine resolve the quarreling?

    And how does the therapists “training” equip him to resolve marital disputes? What, precisely, was he “trained”, that qualifies him to resolve disputes between two parties?”

    Your post is Not your fault. You are totally secluded from the Goyishe world. (Except of course that you decided it’s okay to be on the Net.)

    Hashem gave Chochma to Goyim and one of these Chochmos is Psychology. It would be a waste of time to try to explain how therapists help you. You first have to believe that Hashem gave Chochma to Goyim and I don’t know if you do.

    If you come to them to help save your marriage, even a Goy, it would be unethical of them to destroy it. And most professionals are competent and ethical.

    If these questions you wrote are because you really want to know the answers – then since you’re on the Net anyway -there are many professional sites about Psych you can go to.

    I’ve posted many times about giving Mussar here also. How do some Rabbonim/RY’s help you? Let’s say you go to them for marital help and there is a problem with one of the spouses and it needs change. So how do most Rabbonim/RY’s try to change you or the spouse? By giving Mussar. From what I’ve seen is that they give negative Mussar, not all, but most. And I’ve posted in other topics, from the Kedushas Levy, that giving negative Mussar is actually Ossur to do. The only Mussar that is allowed directly to an individual is postive Mussar.

    So let me ask you something -how are you allowed to go to Rabbonim/RY’s for therapy when most only give negative Mussar which is Ossur to give?!?!

    #892921

    The little I know
    Participant

    avhaben:

    I love your question. It points directly to the fact that you lack the basic information about the subject. You should have first asked those questions before berating an entire profession.

    Firstly, marital therapy, as well as all the other forms of psychological therapy are not medicine. Psychiatrists, having their medical training, have the additional resource of prescribing medications for certain conditions. The talk therapies are not medicine. However, there are some interesting parallels.

    Secondly, social workers and psychologists, as well as other newer fields of mental health, undergo intensive education and training. There are academic courses, where one must demonstrate the achievement of the knowledge. These encompass theories (a variety of them, often conflicting with each other) as well as research that studies various aspects of human behavior. There is also a major component of supervised activity, where therapists begin working in the field, as in internships, where all work is closely supervised. They are given the guidance to develop the skills and to improve them while doing actual work. No, the clients are not subjected to “students”, because supervisors assume the responsibility for each case throughout treatment. This way, there is something to protect the client if there would be an error. Each field has its own structure for this training. I have a close friend that attended several extended trainings long after graduating with an advanced degree. This took much time and expense. Most therapists also have collegial relationships with other professionals which they use for “peer supervision”. These activities are the professional version of ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???.

    We are fortunate to have stories of gedolim and tzaddikim who perceptibly knew exactly what to say to someone in emotional pain. Without a doubt, this was an implementation of ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??. The Torah even contains how to fix your car when there is engine trouble. Torah is the blueprint for everything. But neither you nor I possess the keys to unlock this information. Once in a while, there is someone whose kedusha takes them to that level where they can truly master all these skills with just their Torah knowledge. Do you know anyone at that madreigo today? As matters stand, my experiences, via several friends who are therapists, is that rabbonim today inflict more damage than help, and that the therapists are busy fixing up what they rabbonim ruined. I opened this thread to collect other viewpoints and perhaps other experiences.

    Perhaps a perusal of some of the books that you may find in your seforim store that discuss marriage will enlighten you more than comments in the CR. Check out those written by professionals, and tell me that they were less knowedgeable that the Rov whose training is to pasken right vs. wrong (which is most destructive in working with a struggling couple).

    #892922

    2scents
    Participant

    avhaben,

    They are trained to deal with people that have all sorts of issues. when Shalom Bayis is just a fight between both spouses, I dont know if they can help. However a lot of times it is because there are ‘issues’.

    Therapists can help out with these issues.

    #892924

    oomis
    Participant

    These are my two cents. Some rabbonim are intutitive, sensitive, and sensible, caring people, and can be of great help to a couple having Sholom Bayis problems. Some rabbonim, know a great deal of Torah, but fall short in the areas needed to show sensitivity, intuition, caring and good sense. Not every man who has smicha can be a marriage counselor, just as not every MD can be a neurosurgeon. One has to have the “chush” or feel for it, and if he does not, he should have the seichel and humility to admit that both to himself and to the couple seeking his help, and send them to someone who really CAN be of help, even if it might be another rov.

    #892925

    shlishi
    Member

    If a talk therapist can help resolve your disputes with your wife, he should be similarly capable of helping resolve your disputes with your business partner!

    #892926

    goldersgreener
    Participant

    Here in england we have Rabbonim who are really really brilliant at therapy.

    (If you need help just contact me through the CR.)

    By the way, therapists are not trigger happy, they just get to see too many unsalvageable marriages. Most of them will tell you that therapy is givan too little and too late.

    #892927

    Ðash®
    Participant

    Care to give a specific example of a practice that you feel is contrary to the Torah that is employed by marriage therapists on a regular basis and that a frum marriage therapist cannot change or adapt to the specific needs of the couple?

    They encourage reconciliation even when the wife was unfaithful.

    #892928

    PLONIALMONI4
    Member

    Many of the comments here are well thought out and I am wondering if some of theses posters are not therapists themselves. From a laymen’s perspective all I can say is just like there are certain Rabbonim who know the “fifth” cheilik so too there are therapists that are good for certain situations and not for others. Sometimes the chemistry does not mix no matter how competent the individual.

    It all starts with the level of motivation by the individuals to try and resolve their particular issues. The therapist to a large extent is a referee to ensure that the issues are addressed in a fair and open fashion which will allow the therapist to suggest possible options to the parties involved.

    Many posters have correctly pointed out that the situation is not helped by trying to give mussar. The credibility of the therapist is based on their being impartial and not assigning blame.

    I would think that not too many Rabbonim are equipped to deal with these issues and the smart ones readily acknowledge that fact.

    My final observation is a personal one. In our parents and grandparents generation very few people went to therapists. It obviously does not mean that all marriages were great. Far from it. For the most part though, the previous generation had a certain amount of maturity and respect for their spouses that one does not see today. It is more of a “me” generation and many people either from immaturity or stubbornness are not willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary for a smooth marriage. The alternative is the “living h_ll” marriages we so often hear about.It is a reflection of the society we live in and the values that have crept into our communities. Prime example is the divorce rate in The Chassidishe communities. From being non existent 25 years ago it is becoming a very common event.

    My humble suggestion would be for all chosson and kallahs to take mandatory pre marital counselling in interpersonal relations and financial budgeting as a bare minimum. It should be given the same importance as going through the Dor Yeshurun procedure. It will avoid many of the issues that crop up later.

    #892929

    The little I know
    Participant

    DASH:

    I find your accusation blatantly and viciously false. Most frum therapists are well aware of halacha, and the questions asked of the poskim who understand mental health and therapy have included shailos on this very situation. That question was also posed to poskim of today’s generation and the past one. Therapists are the ones that ask these shailos, and they often keep open access to these rabbonim for the events that involve halacha within their practice of the profession. What is less common is that rabbonim, who are often consulted in lieu of a professional, who have a direct line to discuss the issues of overlap. The Rav should, at least, discuss the counseling matter with a trained professional, unless they hand the referral over to the therapist.

    You are incorrect in brushing off mental health professionals as not adhering to halacha. This is a shameful and disgraceful accusation that is imply untrue. Good thing it is Elul.

    #892930

    Getzel
    Participant

    I am sincerely impressed with the conversation here.

    #892931

    Sam2
    Participant

    Dash: If the wife was unfaithful (and she admits to it or the Rav says that it is a situation where we believe it and that they must get divorced) why is a Frum couple seeing a therapist in the first place?

    #892932

    Bowwow
    Participant

    I have been through this first hand…Rabbonim should stick to their areas of expertise and pasken halacha. A COMPETENT therapist should work in conjunction with the Rabbonim.

    #892933

    yitzchokm
    Participant

    avhaben ‘s correct about the training. Unless the therapists has a ruv on speed dial, there’s little reason to assume that he IS equipped to give advice on a Jewish marriage.

    Re: asking a ruv,

    obviously, if the ruv feels he can’t handle the situation, he should pass it on to someone who does. I can’t believe that a ruv of a community would be unable to help, at least to refer the problem.

    #892934

    Health
    Participant

    yitzchokm -“avhaben ‘s correct about the training. Unless the therapists has a ruv on speed dial, there’s little reason to assume that he IS equipped to give advice on a Jewish marriage.”

    And why is a Jewish marriage different than a Goyish marriage? Because they keep Taharas Hamishpacha?

    Do you believe that Goyim were given Chochma? -I think not.

    We find nowadays that lots of people cloak their personal agendas with religion. They have beliefs, but have no logical reason for them -so they resort to pretending that this is what the Torah wants.

    #892935

    mommamia22
    Participant

    Why would someone assume that a rabbi is equipped to handle marital issues?

    If a spouse is abusive, is a rav going to convince him/her to stop by citing Torah sources why it’s forbidden?

    What training does a rav have to recognize deeper issues than surface conflict? Can a rav recognize a personality disorder? How about a mood disorder? Would a rav be able to state the criteria by which a person would be categorized as being bipolar, and possibly needing medication?

    There are situations where a rav can help, but very often conflicts run deeper and need a very different kind of intervention.

    #892936

    yitzchokm
    Participant

    Health,

    First of all, yes, I do believe there’s chochma by the goyim.

    That said, there are fundamental differences between us and them about what marriage really is about. We get married for different reasons than they do. We STAY married, sometimes, even when its not going so well, for much different reasons. (I’m not talking about in cases of abuse c”v).

    Bringing children into the world and raising a family is our primary reason for getting married. Their primary reason is self-fulfillment (psychologically very selfish).

    Big difference.

    #892937

    oomis
    Participant

    Goyim were absolutely given Chochma. They were NOT given Torah.

    #892938

    Health
    Participant

    yitzchokm -“That said, there are fundamental differences between us and them about what marriage really is about. We get married for different reasons than they do. We STAY married, sometimes, even when its not going so well, for much different reasons. (I’m not talking about in cases of abuse c”v).

    Bringing children into the world and raising a family is our primary reason for getting married. Their primary reason is self-fulfillment (psychologically very selfish).

    Big difference.”

    Now I’ll grant you there are these type of Goyim, as a matter of fact there are Jews like this too. But since there are at least two types of marriage, ones like you said and ones to have kids – even by Goyim this type exists, -then the therapists are trained in both. So you can go to a Goyishe therapist, but I recommend a Frum one for a few reasons. And one of those reasons is Not because they (Goyishe therapists) will try to ruin a salvagable marriage – like some claim here!

    #892939

    RABBAIM
    Participant

    Some Rabbanim can and should. others cannot and should not.

    One advantage that rabbanim can have is that they are not governed or possibly limited by APA-LSW rules and guidelines.

    #892940

    shlishi
    Member

    One advantage that rabbanim can have is that they are not governed or possibly limited by APA-LSW rules and guidelines.

    What are the APA-LSW regulations that limit therapists in a way that is unhelpful?

    #892941

    The little I know
    Participant

    Here’s a way to look at the difference between a professionally trained therapist and a Rov approaching the problem of a couple struggling with shalom bayis.

    The Rov has training in Right vs. Wrong. The Rov is also trained to some degree in handling a din Torah between two litigants. These two litigants will present their cases, in which the Rov typically paskens in either direction. Again typically, the litigants remain foes or rivals after the psak, which hopefully is followed. The role of the Rov is not to resolve the machlokes, but to choose the halachic direction of right vs. wrong.

    The therapist addresses the situation from a different prespective. The marriage is a bond between two people which is now endangered by a spirit of divisiveness that is a barrier between them. There are multiple factors that can be causing this wedge, some internal to the two, others external. The therapist looks to evaluate the wedge and how to remove it. Some marriages have deteriorated so much that repair is impossible. Sometimes, one or both spouses are unwilling to consider reconciliation, or have other plans besides remaining married. Each case in unique, and even those therapists who want to reconcile marriages may be unable to succeed.

    If a Rov has some training, is connected to trained professionals, or has a very special gift of ability to adopt the therapist role, he can perform the holy mitzvah of ???? ???? ??? ??? ?????. Otherwise, there is good reason to fear the outcome.

    #892942

    avhaben
    Participant

    “Little I Know”: A few questions.

    1) What makes you believe the tactics marriage therapists or counselors are trained on and practice are actually effective and helpful rather than ineffective or even unhelpful and counterproductive?

    2) What makes you believe rabbonim are not helpful?

    If it is based upon the “stories” your therapist friends told you (or anecdotal stories), of course that is their opinion of their field. And their negative opinion of rabbonim. Yet if you spoke to rabbonim instead of your friends, they may tell you how therapists inflicted more damage than help, and how the rabbonim are busy fixing up what the therapists ruined.

    #892943

    shlishi
    Member

    The Rov is also trained to some degree in handling a din Torah between two litigants. These two litigants will present their cases, in which the Rov typically paskens in either direction. Again typically, the litigants remain foes or rivals after the psak, which hopefully is followed. The role of the Rov is not to resolve the machlokes, but to choose the halachic direction of right vs. wrong.

    You are so wrong, it is not even funny.

    The absolute goal IS in fact to restore shalom. After a Din Torah, the two litigants should be going out, whatever the verdict, as two long-lost brothers hand-in-hand. The machlokes at that point is a historic relic to be forgotten.

    Does that always happen? No. When it does happen, is the reconciliation perfect? Often it is. And sometimes it’s not. But certainly that is the Rov or Dayonim’s goal.

    #892944

    The little I know
    Participant

    avhaben:

    Sorry, but you are completely wrong. I am quite involved with both therapists and rabbonim, with good, healthy relationships with both. I have dealt with dayanim who have openly stated that certain other rabbonim were damaging to couples. Same goes for chosson or kallah teachers. I have clear, open statements from many rabbonim (well known ones) who bemoan the involvement of the rabbinate to the exclusion of professionals.

    My experience with therapists is that the process is one of making shalom. Usually it works, sometimes things have deteriorated beyond repair. With rabbonim, the experience of many cases is quite the opposite. The reason many of the couples who seek rabbinical counseling do not divirce is because they are stopped from it, not because shalom has been restored. That is scary.

    So, yes, I have spoken to many rabbonim extensively, and do so regularly. I am relaying what I hear from them. The rosy picture of rabbinical counseling you wish to portray is not so rosy.

    #892945

    avhaben
    Participant

    You too easily discount damage caused by therapists.

    #892946

    RABBAIM
    Participant

    Rav Pam restored harmony to more marriages than most therapists do in 2 lifetimes. Rav Pam also guided some Talmidim in that haskafa and skill. And good therapists are still great!

    #892947

    The little I know
    Participant

    Rav Pam was exceptional. There are and have been others who have demonstrated incredible insight and skill. The issue here is that the majority of rabbonim have their maalos and skills, but this work is not among them. With this statement, I am not denigrating them one iota. Their areas of expertise are elsewhere. Not every posek is qualified in Choseh Mishpat or in Mikvaos. Some are. If you’re building a mikva, you need to seek the guidance from someone with that specialty.

    There is a conference that takes place every few years sponsored by the Agudah called the Business-Halacha Conference. There are several sections of presentations, one of which is mental health. In this, there have been presentations by panels consisting of rabbonim and professionals on this subject. Many new rabbonim complain about the roles into which they are thrust without preparation. The chief issue – shalom bayis.

    Back to point #1. What can we do to compensate for the loss of Rav Pam ZT”L?

    #892948

    avhaben
    Participant

    Bring up Yeshivaleit to be the next generations of Rav Pam’s.

    #892949

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Bring up Yeshivaleit to be the next generations of Rav Pam’s.

    Far easier said than done. You cannot simply produce “the next generation” of someone who was so far an outlier. You can hope to find the next version of that outlier, and perhaps help it along, but you cannot produce it on demand.

    The Wolf

    #892950

    avhaben
    Participant

    That’s why we need many many Yeshivaleit and Kollelleit, so that we shouldn’t lose that one needle in the haystack who will be the next godol hador.

    #892951

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    That’s why we need many many Yeshivaleit and Kollelleit, so that we shouldn’t lose that one needle in the haystack who will be the next godol hador.

    While not wanting to get into the argument of whether or not universal kollel is a good or bad idea, I do feel the need to point out that that’s not how things work. Increasing the number of people in kollel will NOT increase the odds of finding “the next Rav Pam.”

    To use a secular analogy, consider major league baseball. There are 30 teams with 25 players per team (ignoring the disabled list and other such things). The number of players on those rosters represent the “cream of the crop” as far as baseball talent goes.

    To help develop those players, the minor leagues exist. There are a number of minor leagues that supply players to the two major leagues. Currently, there are 19 leagues in minor league baseball (not counting independent leagues).

    You might think that, in the hopes of producing the next superstar, there should be more minor leagues employing more minor leaguers. Alas, it wouldn’t work. The reason is because talent is distributed along a bell curve. Those playing major league baseball represent everyone in the 99.9th percentile or higher*. Those in the minors represent those in the 98th* percentile or higher. Anyone who was interested in becoming a superstar and had the potential is *already* playing ball. Adding more minor leaguers will simply add those in the 96th and 97th percentile, not those who are in the 99.999th percentile who go on to become the real superstars.

    The same applies here as well. Adding more kollel students** will not cause you to find the “next Rav Pam.” The “next Rav Pam” (if he exists) is *already* in yeshiva/kollel learning. You can’t manufacture him by adding more kollel students, as any kollel students added will be of lesser quality, not greater.

    Your argument might work if people attended kollel randomly. Then you can argue that the more you admit, the greater the chance of finding the next outlier. But people don’t attend kollel randomly. Those that have the necessary drive, desire and comportment to be the “next Rav Pam” will already be in kollel. If he’s not, then he probably doesn’t have those qualities anyway.

    The Wolf

    * No, that’s not the exact number — I’m just using it for illustration purposes.

    ** which, again, I’m not necessarily arguing is good or bad. That’s not the focus of my argument.

    #892952

    thehock
    Member

    @WM

    Your position does not seem logical for several reasons, but I will address the midos question. There is not the same (disproportionately small) percentage of people with potential for good middos and ability to intervene successfully as there are superstar ballplayers.

    This is why it’s so necessary to train our kids rigorously in bein adam lachaveiro. If they don’t have the information, some might get it from their learning, or a mussar sefer, but most will not absorb it by osmosis. By providing superior social learning opportunities, you won’t need outliers – you’ll have a bunch of inliers all with elevated levels of interpersonal skills.

    We’re deeply entrenched in a culture that’s disrespectful and rewards those with bad middos. Many parents think sibling rivalry is something that can’t be helped. Who says we shouldn’t try? Learning to get along as kids is the best first building block to learning to get along with a spouse. Who knows, it might even circumvent the need for some Shalom Bayis interventions….

    #892953

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    There is not the same (disproportionately small) percentage of people with potential for good middos and ability to intervene successfully as there are superstar ballplayers.

    I think there has been some confusion here because avhaben (perhaps mistakenly) shifted the focus of the conversation.

    Originally, we were talking about rabbanim who are capable of giving effective marriage therapy. There, I grant you that you don’t need to be a statistical outlier to be successful.*

    However, when you start talking about “the next Rav Pam” and “the next Gadol HaDor,” (as avhaben began doing) then you are dealing with outliers, and there my argument stands.

    My apologies, as I went along with the shift of focus without realizing it as well.

    The Wolf

    * Even so, my point about dilution of talent applies here as well. By adding more students, you’re only going to produce (on average) lesser talents, not greater. Those with the temperment, desire and ability to be rabbinical marriage therapists are already training to do so.

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