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October 23, 2018 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm in reply to: Rav Yitzchok Lichtenstein shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Torah Vodaath #1609596
While both Rav Yitzchok Lichtenstein and his father and grandfather are/were talmidei chachamim, he does not share their hashkafos. He learnt in Lakewood for many years – in fact I know a rov who learnt in Lakewood together with him, and said that Rav Yitzchok Lichtenstein (before he became a rov) was known as being one of the top learners there at the time. Rav Yitzchok Lichtenstein is also a talmid muvhak of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik shlit”a, his grandfather’s first cousin. He is also the rov of Kehillas Bais Avrohom in Monsey, a shul he became rov of, after his predecessor, Rav Avrohom Chaim Feuer, moved to Eretz Yisroel.
Oh my gosh! Reading this I feel like I’m reading my biography! Throughout school, I had little or no friends, was picked on, and had very low self esteem. Today, while there definitely are times that I have low self esteem, and I am not “the most popular guy in town,” I am bli ayin hora married, with kein eina hora 2 beautiful children, and I have a circle of friends, Boruch Hashem! It isn’t easy to pinpoint what caused things to improve, but I can list 2 of them:
1. Most of the bullying and picking ended or subsided after I turned 20 & was in yeshiva/college. Teenagers & kids do this type of bullying & picking on people, but as they get older, they realize that they’re just being idiots! There are those that exclude me by not letting me into their clique, but it’s much less severe that out and out bullying. As these morons that pick on you actually grow up, they’ll realize how idiotic they are, and will stop the severe bullying.
2. The delay that I had in social skills, that was 1 cause of this bullying, went away when I taught myself social skills and learned what to say in certain situations. Eventually, I memorized geshmake mayselach (interesting stories) so that I would say things for which people would like me socially, and I accumulated so many of these stories, that once when I told some of these stories at a Shabbos table (& I’ll never forget this moment) someone at the table said to me “You’re a geshmakeh guy!” (you’re a popular, likeable guy). NOBODY HAD EVER SAID ANYTHING LIKE THAT TO ME BEFORE IN MY LIFE!! Try to form a collection of interesting or funny stories that would make people laugh or be impressed, and use them at appropriate moments in a social gathering. This ability to look for the right thing to say led me to become a good ba’al tefillah by searching for the right niggunim, and (believe it or not) to be a good speaker! I hate speaking in public, because I grew up shy, as you said you are, and I still have some of that shyness in me, but because I’m so scared of speaking, I rehearse my speech (at a simcha or whenever I’m asked to speak) several times, and I have several of these stories that I accumulated that I fit into the right points in my speeches, and so I perfect it, to the point where several people complimented me on my speaking and davening talents, an ability that I COULDN’T HAVE DREAMED OF when I was younger! I still try to avoid speaking, but when unfortunately I am asked to speak, I do better, using the same skills that I used to overcome my social challenges.
Being sensitive, as you said you were, actually helped me. When I was a chosson, I once spent a Shabbos with my kallah, in which she told me that she didn’t like to associate with a certain friend of hers because the friend was so blunt. I felt that this shidduch was so bashert, because I knew EXACTLY what she was feeling before she even fully described herself, because I felt the same way! Knowing exactly how your wife feels because you’ve felt the same way is very valuable in a marriage. Maybe your bashert is going through the same feelings as you, and your experiences will enable you to relate to her, and will help you find your zivug faster!
All this I did WITHOUT THERAPY OR MEDICATION! I should note that I have both seen a therapist and taken meds for another issue – a very difficult work environment that I had to deal with. I, too, was very reluctant to see both of these professionals, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought, and it was very helpful. That having been said, you don’t need to see a therapist, as I got through this challenge without therapy. Are there still moments that I feel shy and have low self esteem? Yes. Are there still some social situations that I avoid at times? Yes. But I’ve come much further than before, and I have a circle of friends, as I said. There are still those that exclude me because they think I’m “not cool.” At times this bothers me very much, but at times, I think “that’s their problem – these jerks are so cliquish that I don’t deserve to belong to their crowd.” This is another skill that will help deal with exclusion – look down upon the excluder as having some sort of problem that causes him to not act like a mentsch. Perhaps a change of scenery would be good, i.e. to be in a different yeshiva where the students don’t look down upon you, and you can get a fresh start. The most important things are to be motivated to pick up social skills, even if it will take a long time, to be motivated to improve your self esteem and social situation, and most importantly, DAVEN, DAVEN, DAVEN!!!! Hakodosh Boruch Hu can do anything, and He CERTAINLY can provide self confidence, social skills, friends, and a shidduch to someone lacking in these attributes. My brocha to you is that you will be just as successful, if not more successful, that I was, bli ayin hora, and that you will only hear bsuros tovos from now on! I will be happy to continue to help you in any way I can with these issues.
This is totally note true. I davened at the same shul as Mordechai Schmutter (before I moved), and he & his wife had my family over for shabbos seudos. I don’t know where you got your info from, NeedSeminaryHelp, but I know Mordechai personally, and I can tell you that what you heard is completely untrue.