The Cry Of A Pained Neshoma

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    One of the greatest of our tannaim was Resh Lokish, the gemorah states; he committed every Aveira in the Torah. The question that begs to be asked is why does the gemmora tell us of his past? I think the torah is trying to teach every generation that there is a concept of teshuva, No matter what we have done in the past, there is a avenue in which a torah Jew can change, grow and aspire to reach, we our capable of change, and the torah shares us the story to help a person who has lost his sense of direction do teshuva.

    I have gone to 7 levayos of youth at risk in the past 3 months, AD MOSAI????

    Perhaps the concept of Aish Dos, (A program started by Rabbi Shraga F. Mendolwitz to guide and educate melamdim) needs to be implemented into our community. To guide Rabbayim and teachers into not only knowing how to teach but how to understand the kid, his fears, pains and to be able to guide him but most important build him.

    This issue is near and dear to my heart as I struggle with these issues well over a year after I have made positive changes in my life, I work with Youth at Risk on a daily basis, Yet I am victimized by my past. Will I need to become rich or super frum, talk yishivish to get accepted?? Will you see past my mistakes and see the person who is caring loving and a true asset to Klal Yisroel?

    The reason why the person running a 12 step meeting (therapy group for addicts) must be a former user and addict, is because to understand the addict, to understand the pain, one had to have experienced it.

    I hope this letter gives you an opportunity to see my pain, and yet my hope, dreams and aspiration. May this letter better educate you about our struggle and hopes for a better tomorrow.


    Yisroel S.

    Feel free to respond

    Bless You

    Dear Yisroel,

    I can’t help but cry inside when I read your letter. I want you to know that although you feel a lot of pain, you can overcome it and with Hashem’s help you will. Not only that, but you will come out of this stronger than before. Have faith in Hashem who loves you and try to see the good whenever you can. This will lift your spirits and carry you for the rest of your life. With much respect and admiration.


    Bless You- what a beautiful post and user name. Kol Hakavod!

    fivestrpharm- I can see that you are truly speaking from the heart and yours words are 100% true. It is an amazing Chizuk to know that you can literally wipe out your past with Teshuva. Yes I heard from a major Talmid Chochom who quoted it from a sefer which I forgot that Teshuva doesn’t mean forgiveness- rather Hashem looks at you as if YOU HAVE NEVER SINNED!!!

    Do we really realise the extent of Hashem’s love for us??? This should be drilled into everyone of all ages and may we only be Zoiche to see kids going in the right direction…


    God sees inside of our hearts and minds. He knows the good you have in you and how your Neshama is crying out.

    Many troubled teens have been abused, be it physically, mentally or emotionally, in the home, school or elsewhere and I believe that many people who lived a more blessed life, don’t understand what’s going on inside of these poor souls. They look at them as rebellious, bad…I think that they are also afraid of the possible influence that teens might have on them/their children. I think that it should be the schools’ responsibilities (most parents honestly do try, I think, but many are going about it the wrong way) to ensure that troubled teens get the help they need.

    I wish you much peace of mind.


    Yisroel S.: wow that letter is unbelievable, may Hashem give you the strength you need to keep strong & i wish you lots of hatzlacha! you sound like a great person wanting so badly for things to work out well for you! you’ll be in my tefillos!

    Pashuteh Yid

    fivestrpharm: One of my rebbeim once said that forgetting your past mistakes is the mitzvah of shikcha. We only use charata as a tool for changing gears but we then move forward and forget the past. We look only for what we can accomplish in the future. Probably the best eitzah is to dream how productive and successful you can be in whatever is the area of our talents. Maybe a successful businessman, professional or scientist. Enroll in classes and work towards a goal. That is the best medicine. Simply sitting in a room and trying to overcome the yeitzer hara or dwelling on how difficult things are will not work. The yeitzer hara will take you down again and again. You need to have a plan and long-term goal and keep your eyes on it 24/7. You won’t have time for the yetzer hara to work his mischief. You’ll have an exam in two days and a report due tonight and a 3 hour lab the day after, and each day your chavruisa will be yelling at you that you are not giving him enough time, either. Terrible stress is a very healthy thing.



    Wow! How many times do we need someone or something to slap us in the face and tell us


    and suffering…

    DAVEN! Let’s all daven and yearn for the end to all of this…

    and until then, we cry along…


    but practically, can you give eitzos, ideas-

    What can we do?

    We, not an organization, mossad or professionally trained people.

    What can we do to ease the pain, to stem the tide?



    >>The reason why the person running a 12 step meeting (therapy group for addicts) must be a former user and addict, is because to understand the addict, to understand the pain, one had to have experienced it.<<

    I need to disagree with you here. It is wrong to say that the only person capable of helping someone is someone who had similar experiences. Are you telling me that the only person who can help a mother who (lo aleynu) lost a child is someone who they themselves lost a child? How about infertility? Illness?

    One simply needs to be educated as to the nature of the addiction and what comes with it. To say they must have been an addict themselves is an injustice.


    Is it abuse or addiction, in this article you try to focus on both as the main factor. Which is it?




    need to disagree with you here. It is wrong to say that the only person capable of helping someone is someone who had similar experiences. Are you telling me that the only person who can help a mother who (lo aleynu) lost a child is someone who they themselves lost a child? How about infertility? Illness?

    although they might not be the only ones who can HELP, very often they are the ones who can truly FEEL. And in order to except help from some one, it helps often to have been in the same situation.

    SO often we hear from mothers who don’t have children that everyone is being so nice, caring, helpful… but can someone who was never there, really, truly understand?

    (not a negative on someone who wasn’t in that situation…)

    most of us have been in some trying situation one time or another…

    and from my experience, many people can help, MANY people.

    and many try to feel. Many.

    But B”H they have not been in my situation, and therefore there is a level of feeling, or empathy- NOT sympathy, that is truly difficult to be achieved.


    What an amazing post Yisroel and a real wake up call. I cannot make any comments here other than to offer admiration for your letter as I have not been in your situation or any situation even remotely similar.

    I am involved with Kiruv and some aspects of teen and adult advice but ony on a superficial level. I do not feel competant to offer real guidance as I cannot truly understand the pain and anguish you have been through. I know of similar 12 step meetings as I have a friend who is involved in such programmes through his behaviour in the past and we all applaud and back him up all the way. We listen to him repeat in lengthy detail about his meetings (he goes to other groups as well) and we support him on the bad bad days and believe me there are many. Even one Levaya is too many and I should know from the young people I perform a Tahara on.

    I have often been asked and wondered myself about Teshuva and it’s power. I think the way your life has turned around and the help you offer to others is more than teshuva it is something so wonderful and special that Hashem has turned the teshuva around into a zechus for you to be in your position now of helping others. Your help no doubt is saving actual life and soul and the reward for this is way high up.

    You ask : Will you see past my mistakes and see the person who is caring loving and a true asset to Klal Yisroel?

    The answer is an overwhelming yes and with honour.


    First of all kudos to you for putting your thoughts and feelings to pen and paper, or rather screen and keyboard. I feel your passion coming through in your words. I have been working with the at-risk community for 7 years now and B”H have seen much nachas from almost all of the wonderful neshamas Hashem has sent my way. I have said many times to many people who don’t understand “I have never met a bad kid, just kids with bad issues.” These kids, who are now adults, have become extended members of my family.

    My philosophy is this. Children have the two legs Hashem b”h gave them, one is planted steadily and firmly in the foundation of the home and one in the foundation of their school/yeshiva. If the foundation of either begin to crack the child begins to stumble and fall. It takes the stability of both home and school, working as a team to guarantee the success of the child. If either the home or school environment becomes unstable or dysfunctional, the child is incapable of handling the stress and insecurity of the situation. Where do they go, who do they turn to, who will believe them, who do they trust? Many times they are threatened, many times they are overwhelmed, many times they are hurting so badly they are falling apart on the inside. Sometimes the pain is so bad their hearts and minds feel like they are going to explode.

    When a child comes to school and something is off what does a mechanech do? Well let’s take the case of a child that comes to school without her uniform? Do they worry that something is amiss at home or do they punish the child for having the gall and chutzpah for breaking the rule? How does a school respond when parents separate or divorce? What kind of support system is offered to the child. Remember the home is becoming dysfunctional and unstable, the only “safe” place for the child is now the school. How is the school picking up the slack? They are not. What happens when a parent is sick, c”v dies, or has a huge financial setback? Children are terribly frightened and imagine all kinds of horrific scenarios; they see monsters under the bed. How does the school help that child. They don’t!

    What happens to the child that gets bullied in school, how does the parents back them up? Do they confront the Rosh Yeshiva? Not really. Does the child even tell the parents? What happens if the child is being abused in school by his Rebbe and threatened does the child have anyone to turn to? No! What if the school knows about it, or have known about it for years and done nothing? What if the Rebbe humiliates the child in class? What if the teacher doesn’t like him and keeps kicking him out? What if the Rebbe or teacher never calls on him or keeps failing him? What if the teacher never goes over the homework?

    There are a lot of ways children get destroyed and unlike adults, they don’t have the mental capacity or ability to think things through appropriately and understand who to turn to, who to trust with the information, how to handle it and what to do. So how do they handle the pain? Another child in pain recognizes the tears just hanging at the edge of the eyes ready to fall at any minute. They can recognize the fear, sadness and the pain in each other and they try to help. But they don’t know how to fix the situation they only know what someone else in the same situation taught them and that is how to escape the pain. They self-medicate. They start with cigarettes and alcohol. Then when that doesn’t work fast enough or deep enough they go to drugs first pot and then harder drugs. Not because it is fun, because it makes them numb. They don’t have to feel the pain and they don’t think about it when they are high. Some even start cutting themselves so they can concentrate on the physical pain instead of the emotional pain.

    What happens to their emunah and bitachon in Hashem? What happens to their connection with Yiddishkeit? Well all their lives they were taught if you are a good child and do mitzvos Hashem will give you rewards, schar, Hashem will take care of you, Hashem takes care of the Jews, that’s why we daven and do mitzvos. But they did all the mitzvos they were taught. They did everything they were told to do, but look what happened. Terrible things happened in their family either to them or to others. Or terrible things happened in school. The people they looked up to the Rebbeim and Teachers didn’t act like proper Jews to them. So either Jews are hypocrites or the religion is so their bitachon and emunah take a nosedive and they give up on it.

    Who did that to them? Who chased them away from religion, Torah and mitzvos? Many people blame these children and say “They Choose” to ignore yiddishkeit. That is not true. They are angry at Hashem, they feel he let them down and that HE threw them away, lied to them, didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. They are confused and hurt. They are licking their wounds.

    And then what happens? They take off their kippah and tzizis they start dressing like goyim, they look shabby, drabby and dark. People refer to them as “bumbs, sheigitz, goy, etc.”. People pull away when they pass by and make them feel worse. But do you know what? Goyim welcome them with open arms. So Jews are hypocritical once again. There is no ahavas yisroel, that was also a lie. They only love you if you listen to them. If you break the rules they don’t even consider you a Jew.

    And then as you get a little older and you travel through this dark, dark journey you may be lucky enough to meet someone that is not scared of your appearance, that offers you a smile and a hello. That asks you if you ate today or if they can help you in anyway and they happen to be a Jew that cares for no other reason that you are Hashem’s child and another Jew and that makes an impact on you. You start building a relationship with that person because they are genuine and they explain that the people who hurt you are just plain bad people which come in various forms Jews and non-jews, frum and non-frum, large and small, men and women, etc. Because Hashem gave people freedom of choice. They also explain that it is time to let go of the pain because Hashem is the ultimate score keeper and those Jews who hurt you so badly will have to give a din v’chesbon after 120 when they meet their maker so you can give it up to Hashem and begin the healing process. You start to take this in and realize it feels good to let it go, it feels good to give it over and come back to the surface of reality. It is a slow process but getting healed and healthy feels good, as good if not better than when you started your journey down that black hole when you wanted to numb the pain.

    And when you turn your life around you find that people, judgmental Jews are like elephants with long memories. They just wont let you forget. So I say to you Yosef, directly to you and anyone in your position, I know many, many young people in your position, many of you have been able to put the past in the past and lead successful lives. Many have faced additional nisyonos like you are currently experiencing. Let me just remind you that Hashem is still keeping score and he is writing down every account of these Judgmental Jews, Rabbonim and all, who are throwing more boulders in your path.

    You keep on doing what you are doing and you will find your road to success. Reach for the stars and you will eventually get there. Don’t let anyone bring you down or get in your way. Anyone that tries is not emesdik. You have not found your shelichim yet. Because your emesdik shelichim that will show you the path to your success will not surround you with negativity. They will shower you with encouragement and positive energy, ahavas yisroel and ahavas torah, mitzvos and maasim tovim.

    Hatzlocha to you and all those you are helping, you will get where you are destined to be!!

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