typical teen… or not!

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    k, maybe i’m the only odd one out there who feels like this, but i have a need to say this… i was reading the back of a book, i think it was Breaking Point, doesnt really matter, and someone had wrote something to the affect of “off the derech” adn “kids/teens at risk” have become household cliches. OUCH! first of all, factor in the pain fo the family and the pain of the one going off. to just write it like that adn say how typical its become… second of all, (and this is my real rant)my chevra and i were just called typical, the “cliched” frum by high school girls that come to mind.well which is it-is the otd one typical, or am i? and truthfully, i guess i’m not typical either way, cuz even tho outwardly im ur typical frum wtvr, inside, i have a lot of qs, adn i dont always do teh right thing, and some of my hashkafos are completly screwed up but i wont ask any teacher for help b/c i dont want to be seen as the typical teen who is about to go off… id rather just hide and be seen as the typical teen who is a cookie cutter… why is there nothing for those of us in between? am i the anamoly for not going off? am i the anamoly for not knowing what i am? k, my rant is now done.


    By noy getting the answers to your questions you are doing a disservice to 1 person…. your self.

    Yiddishkeit is a beautiful thinkg and you only appreciate it more when you understand what it is you are doing and Who it is you are doing it for.

    Ask questions and GET answers. Being Frum and Jewish is ABOUT questioning, and questioning until you are satisfied with the answer. There is an answer to every question, you just have to be open to listening to the answer.

    Good Luck!


    Smile E. Face

    Sadly the teens at risk problem and otd problem has gotten really out of hand. I cant comment on what you read on that book but rest assured the problem is huge and many of the best homes are suffering.

    You mentioned that you have questions and that you dont always do the right thing. Dont worry, you sound like a normal Jewish teenager. When I was a teen I was plagued by many questions. Like you, I didnt want to turn to my Rabbeim so I started reading. I read many books on Hashkafa and that saved me.

    I have a few suggestions that can make a huge difference for you.

    1. Theres a website called http://asktherabbi.org/

    It is a Gateways website where they have Rabbis who answer any question emailed in to the service. They get back to you within 24 hours. Try it out. It is 100% anonymous. You dont have to tell them your name. What I would suggest is that when you ask your questions or at least the first few times preface with a short intro about your background so they know they are talking to a frum girl and not a non frum person with questions…

    You can ask anything pertaining to any Jewish topic. I have asked on Chumash, Gemara, Halacha, Hashkafa…they will answer any question you ask even those having to do with topics that your teachers would never discuss so dont be afraid. If you dont understand an answer ask again and say you didnt understand whatever point it was and they will help you with that too…Its an amazing service and 100% free. (Although im sure they wouldn’t mind if you donate if they have helped you!)

    2. Check out http://kiruv.com/ they have 100’s of articles discussing many Jewish topics including all the famous Hashkafa questions. You will certainly find answers to many of your questions there.

    3. You can do some reading to educate yourself. Id recommend first reading



    Its an amazing book and has helped many 1000’s of people improve their Emuna and come closer to Hashem.

    2. What the Angel Taught You by Rabbi N. Weinberg and Rabbi Y. Salomon

    These are both amazing books that will have a very powerful impact on your life. Once you have read those you will be in good spiritual shape. After that you can check the book list on Kiruv.com and see what interests you.

    Hatzlacha Rabbah and please, dont push your questions off. Get them answered as soon as possible.


    Smile E. Face – you do what (most of us?) good BY girls did… never admitted to our questions… but did our own research. Learned on our own… And b”h came out stronger for it. (Duties of the Heart/Chovos Halvovos worked for me… among other seforim) Bezras Hashem by you 🙂


    you’re definitely not alone.

    there are so many teens out there who ‘don’t know who they are.’ and plenty of non-teens too, come to think of it.

    truth is, most of us carry uncertainties around, and i think that the biggest nisayon in this case is not letting them overwhelm us or convince us that we’re bad ppl just b/c of those probablematic hashkafos, or aveiros, or wtvr it is.

    i think that a good idea is to get a rav who never knew you before (or a rebbetzin/wtvr.), this is what i did, and talk to him/her, ask your questions, air your difficulties, etc.

    it really helps.


    Angst. Yeah, cow who moo and do exactly what they are told don’t have angst. You angst will lead you in either one of two direction. Either you it can pull you of the D to satisfy your angst that way (which never actually works). Or you can use your angst to become truly great, to become REAL. Your call.

    Get the answers you need. Become proactive; no one can do it for you. Search. Check out Aish.com, call up an intelligent teacher and spill the beans, stop being afraid of not being typical. Search. Discover. Read ‘Rejoice O Youth’ By R’ Avigdor Miller – heck, go to the book store and read the stuff you’ve never read before, challenge a Teacher/Rav with question you’ve never asked before.

    Find out who you are. If you dare, I promise you’ll be thrilled with the answer.


    smile – please find help. aish.com will write you back to help. this weeks mishpacha in english was about kids who dress religiously, but do not have any feeling inside. please find someone you can speak to .


    I have worked with many teenagers and have not found anyone to be typical. Everyone is unique in their own way. Hashem has created many, many individuals each with their own gifts and talents. Sadly the “system” expects each to be robots and just eat what is pushed in front of them, swallow and repeat. But Hashem gave each common sense and brains to question and to even expand on thoughts and ideas, to come up with their own concepts and even more beautiful thoughts as to why Hashem might have wanted things this way or why Rashi explained something that way.

    Not every teacher or Rabbi has ALL the answers but ALL the answers can be found in the Torah. Sometimes you either have to keep searching yourself or you have to keep searching for the right person who can help you find the answers that can satisfy your questions. But having questions is a good sign. It means you are alive and breathing. It means your mind is working and you are not a lifeless soul. The problem with not asking questions and not having them answered is that you walk around with a heavy burden, literally baggage and that baggage turns into resentment because it gets heavier and heavier each time you have to dump another unanswered question in there and each time you feel you are forced to be silent and play a game.

    Why should you be forced to play a game instead of live the life you are supposed to live? And how can you live a normal life if you are full of unanswered questions? That’s a pretty heavy burden for a young person to carry and that can be a very confusing situation to be in.

    You were given many good suggestions here for sources and for assistance. I hope you take the steps to reach out to the good people who are willing to answer your questions and are willing to unburden you of your baggage. Hatzlocha Rabbah.


    Aish.com is a good start. Gateways has some incredible people to talk to. Both sources have Rabbonim and speakers who are inspirational, straightforward, and non-judgmental.


    Interesting questions. Something wrong with being typical? Is there a huge “at risk or almost at risk” problem, sure is. Are they pained, both the kids and the parents. Very Pained. Many of the kids feel guilty about it. They stay off drech almost off derech or whatever due to peer pressure or being ashamed to go back, or they talk themselves into thinking, nah i’m really cool about this. 40-50 years ago, the “typical” yeshiva boy bais yakov girl didn’t even think about an issue called “typical”. We were all typical. Sure there were kids who went off, but nobody felt it was a pandemic issue. Today it is. Why, I think partly because of the public viewpoint that these kids were “turned off” by something. Not always. Many kids actually were never “turned on”. The yetzer hora sees a kid who has no really special reason for staying frum other than everybody he/she knows is frum, and their parents want them to be frum. A child must be turned on to yiddishkeit. That’s the whole idea of chinuch. Physical Nature abhors a vacuum. Spiritual Nature does too. If there’s no kedusha rushing in to a person’s psyche, then the yetzer hora has no problem sending in tumah. The yetzer hora is full of ideas, all tailored to each individual’s needs and sensitivities. Torah and yiddishkeit must be made fun and interesting to young children. The various tapes and cd’s that tell stories and make brochos etc fun are wonderful. The Pesach seder is all about teaching the children. If you’re old enough to ask all these questions, then you’re old enough to try to pick yourself up. Be “typical”. Typical black hat, typical whatever, just be a typical yiddish kid. Nothing wrong with that.


    thanx so much e/o! i appreciate all your suggestions, and hopefully they’ll help. the thing is it’s not that i dont do those things i do! i go on aish all the time, i read R’ Kaplan books, ive read What the angels taught you, i read hashkafa books all the time.(and i was planning on starting garden of emunah and chovos halevovos soon) its b/c i do that that i have a problem-why dont i feel it now that ive done the research adn i know logically that it all makes sense?! i still have hashkafa “issues” and qs…

    theprof1-no theres nothing wrong with typical. i just want to know wat typical is!



    Good for you. This is not a religion that tries to hide things.

    Ask. If you don’t want others to know you are asking, you can even try something like aish.com.

    Typical? No. But if only more girls were like you and had the questions and asked, Klal Yisroel would be better off.



    listen to Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi’s lecture contrasting Judaism and the other major religions. You wont have anymore questions!

    …and thank WellInformedYid after you listen to it.



    Thanks for spreading the word. I think every Jew should listen to that lecture.

    minyan gal

    Sacrilege: Is Rabbi Mizrachi’s lecture about Judaism and other religions available online?



    Most questions are not “why not Islam” or the like. If that was a question of Smile E., I would be shocked.

    Hashkafa is way more broad, even starting with “prove to me G-d exists” (yes the CR did go through that one) to more present “why does Satmer not support Israel, but supports Andrew Cuomo?”


    Smile E. Face

    If you do all that reading than you arent typical because I think the average BY girl even if she has questions will not go to the point of doing so much reading. She will just live with her questions. You are amongst the special few who care enough about your Yiddishkiet and it bugs you that you have questions and you want to do everything in your power to have them answered. You should be very proud of yourself that you care so much about your Yiddishkiet. Its a beatiful thing to see.

    BTW if you still have questions after reading all those books why dont you call up Gateways, they will put you in touch with a Rabbi who you can call who will answer your questions for you.



    Yes. I downloaded it from torahanytime.com, I think. WIY, is that the site?


    Your adorable, but that isnt the point of the lecture. When you disprove everything else, you are left with no questions. Also, he touches on a lot of other hashkafic points.



    Im Kain, I would like to hear it as well.

    Thank you.


    minyan gal

    It is available through 2 websites.




    Smiley I think typical is a word that people use who are blind and don’t want to see the beauty in each individual Hashem created. Be inspired that you can’t define typical and enjoy being one of Hashem’s unique creations.


    Smile E. Face,

    It is ok to be a seeker. We are obligated to know G-d and knowing Him entails studying things in Torah, philosophy, science, psychology, and the natural and social sciences. This is the derech of the Rambam and Rav Hirsch. Studying and learning hashkafah, aggadah, mikra, etc. are really good ways for a young woman to become closer to HaShem. I am interested in a lot of the same things, and if you’d like, feel free to send me a message anytime (you can get my email address from the Moderator). Hatzlacha Rabba!

    minyan gal

    Sac and WIY – thank you for the information.


    gavra-well i guess ur shocked:) well, its not a q anymore, but it was two years ago… no its not the kind of q im talking about now tho cant say the one about satmar occurred to me, but its a good q, i’ll add it to the list:)

    sacrilege-thats the prob- i know that judaism is real, its been proved to me and its the only logical religion… the prob is even after e/t else has been disproved, i still have qs! not necessarily on that point, but on lots of other side points… be’ezras Hashem i’ll have a chance to listen to the R’ Mizrachi soon, and i’ll c if that helps…

    and thanx again e/o for all ur suggestions! i’m working on them


    minyan gal

    You are most welcome!


    There was a time when I had exactly what ur describing (even worse) and I found that the answers didn’t make me really believe. What helped me find my place in yiddishkeit was that I went to a camp where the girls weren’t sooooo yeshivish but I found that they had more meaning to yiddishkeit than the girls who were really, really greased. They davened well, etc. and that’s when I realized that you don’t have to be soooo frum to be an ovaid hashem. The point is to serve hashem with sincerity.


    Smile E Face – like others have said, it is impressive that at your age you’ve gone ahead and done all that.

    I’ve recently learned with my “partner in Torah” a wonderful lesson on “Divine Providence”, about the necessity of intellectual pursuit of truth… and why we may not be able to resolve all our doubts… bringing all sources together on this topic, from the Ramchal, to Rambam, etc.

    Here’s the link – it may make you feel alot better:


    There’s a limit to our “time” (lets put aside intellect for now) to delve into concepts to resolve our doubts… and sometimes, even if we get to resolve, layer by layer – by the time we get to study/learn/delve into it again – we may have lost what we gained last time (and we’re almost back to sqaure 1.)



    I know what you mean.

    In high school we had Rabbi Mechanic come and he gave the whole lecture, and I asked a question (because he said you can ask any question on religion) and he didnt have the answer. It’s not like I had questions about Yiddishkeit, but sometimes I call myself an “emtional Jew”. I’ll see the men dancing on Simchas Toeah and I’ll well up and I;ll know this is the Truth, or my father will make Kiddush @ the Seder and I’ll realize this is the Truth. But its always nice to have the logical backup. After you listen to Rabbi Mizrachi’s lecture there is no wiggle room, its like a light bulb goes off, abesolutely brilliant!


    Smiley –

    I joined this thread too late to add anything. But your OP is too good to allow to go unanswered.

    Are you typical or atypical? I’d say both: typical, because you, like most intellegent teens have questions. Atypical, because you had the courage to ask.

    Teens like yourself are not the problem.. they are the soloution! If more young adults asked questions, our yeshivos would not be able to be satisfied with the status quo.

    I’ll just add this: not only is judiasm a religion of questions, but once you start asking, you’ll see that the answers were right there in front of you. 2 examples:

    1) Ain k’Elokainu, ain k”Adonainu is followed by Mi k’Elokainu, mi k’Adonainu. Got questions? Good! We’ve got answers!

    2) Rambam wrote Moreh Nevuchim, which has lots of questions and lots of answers. I was told, he really “wrote” it in reverse; he knew the “answers” (meaning, the fundamentals of emunah), and then set out to see what questions could be answered with these fundamentals.

    Don’t let anything stop you Smileyface!


    And Sac, please stop by the General Shmooze thread. I have a question / comment for you, but do not want to hijack this thread.


    typical teen…or not? NO ONE IS TYPICAL. Everyone is an individual. Everyone goes through their teenage years differently … and just remember, this is a very hard stage, but it will past, youll sort it all out, you’ll get your answers… gam ze yaavar


    Smiley.e.face Get a mentor! It is soo helpful and important!! Get someone you can ask,trust and share whatever you have on your mind…The teenage years can be very challenging for some (especially thinking individuals), having a mentor can make it much easier.

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