Forum Replies Created
GMAB: I’m glad that I have made you laugh (yes I know this is just an expression like us being the apathetic imbeciles you say we are) but regardless…
Quote #1: You make me laugh. Are you saying you’re such a tzaddik you have nothing to worry about?
Response: While I can see how you would come to think that was the point I was trying to state, however when looking in context, my reference was in regards to eating meat. There are plenty of things that I will (then and now) have to worry about but eating meat isn’t one of them. I have a source from the Torah that permits me to eat meat. I have the shulchan orach and mishnah brurah that states how meat is preferable to eat in many situations and I have the example of many many Tzaddikim and Gedolim who have no problem today eating meat.
Quote #2: Many murderers ate meat too.
Response: Thank you, but I already knew that. So have many electricians, plumbers and I would even bet many doctors, lawyers and presidents eat meat too. Eating meat does not make me a Tzaddik nor does not eating it. It’s the big picture of all our actions that make us who we are.
Quote #3: Does the permission to eat meat override the prohibition of tza’ar ba’alei Chaim?
I don’t exactly think so.
Response: No, it doesn’t, but then again you have failed to provide a situation where eating all meat and fowl is considered Tzar Ba’ali Chaim. Being that I have connections to many individuals who have worked in meat and chicken slaughter houses I have taken the time to call them up and have yet to find a place that would be problematic. Then I spoke to several local (and not so local) poskim who deal with meat” kashrus and asked them what they feel about it and they all said it was ok both regards to kashrus and Tzar Ba’alei Chaim.
So, do I think that there are “some” people who are abuse animals for profit and gain…Yes I have seen it and have spoken out against it. Is there a reason to stop eating meat…….no there isn’t. I have spoken to Da’as Torah and have yet to see any benefit of going above and beyond what they our representatives of G-d have spoken to me.
Quote #4 (out of order but placed last since it was not directed towards me)
Does it REALLY help us serve HaShem?
You may have a valid point, but consider the following: The way animals are farmed today, don’t you think that (considering it IS helping you serve HaShem) it’s a Mitzvah haba b’aveira (tza’ar ba’alei chayim)?
Response: This is your opinion. You seem to be quite out numbered by the many leaders of our generation who do eat meat.
Now, after all is said and done. It’s nice that you have a cause. It’s nice that you live towards something that you believe to be important. However, you still have yet to bring a proof why we shouldn’t eat meat and you have failed to provide proof that animals are being treated poorly in all situations. You do a disservice to us and yourself to try to guilt us into believing in your cause. The bottom line is that I see nothing wrong and can see that many others who much bigger and greater than I am feel the same way. Somehow if there would be a legitimate concern for this, then there would be more vegetarians out there and yet there are not.
Thank you Joseph for taking the time to answer that. I don’t think any one argues that we have to be carefull in how we treat animals. The aveira of Tzar Ba’ali chaim is a deoriesa and not one to be treated lightly. However, after 120 years I would be worried about coming to terms with having to explain why I didn’t use something so readily available (in this case an animal) in my service to Hashem. Life is indeed precious but for what reason are we all created? To eat drink and be merry or to recognize Hashem and serve him (while making this a better world in it’s process) So too, there is more to life then grazing and eating grass. They have a purpose and we have a right to utilize it for our needs as well.
As for after 120 years, I’m in the good company of many Tzaddikim so I don’t put to much thought behind it. I have spoken about this topic to many Robbonim and they have told me that I have nothing to worry about.
jewishfeminist02: While there are some that permit this, there are many more that don’t. It may seem like we are doing the baby a favor, by ending it’s suffering before birth but in reality we are depriving the neshomah a tikun in this world. It’s one thing for a couple to be tested for Tay-Sachs before they start dating, but it’s another thing to end an object that has the potential for life. So while the life of an unborn is not equal to that of the living, it’s not so simple to terminate it just because we feel bad for it.
As for the rights of the woman to end her pregnacy. Well I would like to see in Halacha where any person would have the right to do so. (Don’t go off on a tangent and bring up cases of life-threatening situatuions since there will be a different p’sak for that) Unborn doesn’t mean unliving. Any woman who has gone through pregnacy can tell you that the baby is living and quite capable of feeling stimulus. Besides hearing, tasting and seeing, science has shown that babies in utero are capable of dreaming. Animals, on the other hand, have a different level of existance. We are not allowed to tortue and harm animals needlessly and of course to minimize their suffering when you must kill an animal. You have to make sure they are fed and well treated (what that means is well debated, and I follow the P’sak of the mojority of Gedolim today that animals are treated within the constrictions of halacha) However you are not allowed to be mechalil shabbos for the life of an animal but for a human and unborn baby you would.
B”H that we have the time and energy to argue about something as mundane as orange juice. May this be the worse of our problems.
(BTW: if it bothers you so much don’t buy the 59oz containers.)
Well it’s a done deal. I made my voice be heard but sad that it won’t have an impact on the election. NY is a well known democratic state and that is where the electorial votes will be going ( but one can only hope….lol) Still this is a democtracy and I’m glad that I’m able to make an histadlus. The rest is left for Tefilah and as always Hashem’s hands.
I agree with MDlevine, rumors do very little and quite possibly make it harder for us to keep up with the belief that Moshiach will come and can come anyday.
This is a true event. A few years back there whren I was doing carpool, there was a kid who was dropped off at the same time my kids were. I noticed that he was wearing a white shirt and being that it wasn’t Rosh Chodesh I asked the kid why he was wearing it (fearing that I had forgotten some important school event). He said with a beaming smile, that today Moshiach was coming and I wanted to wear my very best. Taken aback I asked him how he knew this, and he answered that there were rumors the past week that this was going to be the day and he wanted to be ready.
My heart dropped for this kid, being older and been in similar situations I told the kid that we had to understand that everyday could and should be a day that we could expect Moshiach. However, being that we hope that this will be the day we have to understand there have been many times when the time wasn’t quite right. I didn’t have time for more than that but called the school, gave the Rebbi the heads up hoping that he could help the situaution as well.
The next day (and I was sad that I wasn’t proven wrong) the boy came to school very upset and from the conversation that I had with his father (since I know him somewhat and was concerned) it took him a few days to get over it. The boy doesn’t like to talk about Moshiach now and while he may have over reacted to a rumor, it will take him some time before he can be positive.
Bring Moshiach takes effort. We need to work and work hard to make this a reality. Putting our hopes in rumors and fairy tails is not going to build emunah nor bring Moshiach here any time sooner.
It would be interesting to see the ip addresses of all the screen names (particularly in this and the peta thread) and see how many of the people here are logging in under different names.
Jewishfemenist you bring up a good point and I’m sure a lot of vegetarians have had to deal with just that. I personally have no problem with a person adapting to a vegetarian lifestyle I just take issue when people try to indoctronate others into their thought process through guilt, propraganada and logic that isn’t allways backed up by da’as torah. (also logging on under multiple screen names to make it seem like there are more people buying into this, is pathetic)
It is important to keep denouncing the PETA organization and understand there is nothing that they stand for that is worth supporting. As far as those who don’t want to eat meat, good for you, enjoy (there are a lot of tasty dishes to indulge in) and continue doing what you can to make this world a better place. However, ton all of those who try to change the world by abolishing meat, understand that not everything you claim to be wrong makes it so. There is credible backing in the Torah and by countless Tzaddikim through the ages.
I will not deny that it is not wise to eat red meat on a regular basis (dialy). However as part of a well balanced diet (alternating between chicken and fish as well) I don’t see the need to prohibit it’s use. The western diet is very unhealthy one and the amount of meat (as well as fried food, white flour, refined sugar, plus the fact most people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables) lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle. The key is moderation and it’s a valuable lesson about most things we engage in our normal lifestyle and activities. As it is, my wife and I have done a lot of research into foods over our marriage and engage in a diet that accommodates all needs (health and religion). One thing I do notice is that research information is vague and they don’t tell you what else was eaten with the meat. (Most likely it was white flour). One thing I have noticed, is that vegetarians in general (by nature of thier lifestyle choice) pay more attention to what they eat than non-vegetarians. So I’m not surprised that their eating habits are better.
I also notice that a lot of the research is being provided by some group that is trying to enforce their philosophy.
In other research (and it took me a long time to believe this as well) Dr Atkins had various tests the showed that the fat that is in meat can only be broken down with carbohydrates. The less fiber in the bread the greater the risk of damage with the meat. When you serve the meat with high fiber, lots of vegetables and no sugar you reduce a lot of the risks that the studies have mentioned.
It’s funny, our Shul has been “DRY” for about 5 years now. At the time our shul made the change, we lost 3-4 members but since then we have noticed a plesant change of the decorum on the “drinking” holidays. It has become more family oriented with just as much Lebidikeit. In Lakewood, my parents shul also make a takanah/rule of no one being allowed to drink (after last year when a kid was almost crushed by a falling drunk man…to be honest I don’t know if this was the straw that broke the camels back but there was enough of a voice to make the change) and there was a positive change noticed there as well.
So why should they make a stink…..because they should. There is no mitzvah to get drunk, there is an avera to one who brings disgrace to a mokom of learning (Ie: inappropriate behavior, throwing up and danger to small kids)It can and does change. Why should the people who want to do what’s right have to give up on what they want because of a bunch of grown up who want to act like kids (as well justify a reason for getting drunk)
Zevi, first off, the first Korbonos offered were given by Kayin and Hevel, which is before any pagan sacrifice. Hashem accepted Hevel’s and tried to encourage Kayin to do better. So I have no idea where you came up with the concept that Korbonos were a consession from Hashem. Please give a reliable source to back up this claim.
Last time I checked donkey’s and horses were not Kosher and yet I don’t see any mention of having more than one pair. They are just as usefull as the kosher animals while the kosher birds, giraffe and goats are not such good use for farmers. So it’s time to rethink that logic or come up with a reliable source to this claim as well. While the Torah does not mention the reason for the 7 clean animals RASHI does and I don’t know about you, his word is good enough for me.
Now that Hashem was pleased “because it was offered to him and not another god” Lets see here, for the past 120 years Noach built a tevia because “Hashem” told him to. “Hashem” warned that he was going to destroy the world. Then “Hashem” brought all of the animals to him and then protected him from assault as the rain started. “Hashem” forced him in and when it was over Noach waited for “Hashem” to give him permission to leave to restart a world that “Hashem” destroyed. Then you want us to think that Noach would in any way shape or form offer a sacrifice to any other diety!?!? So please, enlighten me on your source since this logic is way off for me to comprehend.
I would love to know whom in Lakewood you go to for Da’as Torah since you seem to have a different way of learning Rashi and the meforshim.
By the way I deny the fact that meat is harmful. Our bodies were not ment to be vegetarian since Hashem is the creater of the world and gave us the right to eat meat. Any food that one eats in large quantites is bad for you. I would worry more about refined sugar (and fructose) and white flour which have very bad effects on the body. The key is a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruit and meat in moderation.
There are many meforshim that say that certain korbonos will still exist after Moshiach as well.
Zevi: Where did you get this fact about meat being as bad for you as smoking? It’s funny that the medical world hasn’t caught onto it yet.
We have Korbonos because we wouldn’t have been able to accept the Torah without having a sacrifice? Where do you get this stuff from? I would like to see where your sources are from and some sort of proof to the things that you try to pass off as fact.
OK Zevi let me rephrase this….we were given the right to eat meat because the Torah said so. Period. The commentary that explain why the change help us understand why this is so. However it is there black and white and I would think that if Hashem wanted to tell us it’s OK but we shouldn’t then the wording would have been different. So in short there is no Halacha basis for not eating either but we have a good source for being allowed.
The fact Man was kicked out had nothing to do with the fact we can or can not eat meat. Rather it was an emphasis that it was the only time when man and animal coexisted in perfect harmony with each other. Once we were out of Gan Eden it all went down hill from there.
Why is there such an emphasis on ritualistic slaughter….simple you are what you eat. How man goes about using animals affects the type of person that he is. If I take a gun and blow off the head of the cow, damages my neshamah as much as the cow. So by doing things in a prescribed way we are more than elevating ourselves by doing the rotzon of Hashem we are also being merciful is how we reach the end means. By looking for the best cut of meat to buy for shabbos each day brings the kedusha of Shabbos into the week. When I eat meat, I make a bracha which then goes into the meat and elevates it kedusha. When my body breaks down the proteins and uses it in my body I benefit from the kedushas as well. ( I will discuss the treatment of animals later since that is a different aspect and needs to be dealt with separately) Plus just be looking through the mishnah brurah and the lives of our Rabbonim and Gedolim lead their lives show how important meat can be in our daily and shabbos/yom tov meals.
Besides there are many instances in Halacha where there is a strong emphasis on our behavior which makes things much harder for us. If all mitzvohs were easy then there wouldn’t be the reward that awaits for us by fulfilling them. Besides even according to your logic this doesn’t give a halchig reason to not eat meat. It is again just an opinion.
Now if the pre-Noach generation were closer to Hashem why were they destroyed? Why were we given the Torah and not them? Plus the fact that there is a minhag to not name a baby after someone born pre mabul (besides Noach and Adom) kind of makes me wonder.
And yes I/we can say, yes Noach saved the animals and therefore gets to eat them. Because the purpose of animals in this world are to be used as a tool to help us serve Hashem. They pull our wagons, give us milk, skins for leather and religious service (sefrei torah, teffilin, etc)and to be slaughtered so that we could bring korbonos to bring us closer to Hashem. So for what ever reason Hashem deemed it so, after the mabul, we were also allowed to put them on our dinner table and eat them. Which is an halchig fact. Besides you logic would have a problem with the kosher animals he saved only to shect them soon after he came out.
Next, I did a google search and found a lot of mudslinging propaganda based on findings that these eco-peta groups put together. I question the validity of it and then looked into Kosher places. (I have also spoken to people who have worked in Kosher shlacht houses as well) I was pretty content with what I found and based on what I have seen first hand and those who I have spoken to, there weren’t any problems like you mentioned. I did not check all but I wonder if you have ever seen these places first hand or just relying on the “facts” from people with an agenda to stop people from eating meat.
As far looking at sickness, I think you forgot to include the consumption of white flour and refined sugar. When you look back to when products like white bread and coke were introduced you will also see everything from cancer to obesity on the rise. The Western civilization of fast food is horrible and saddly if you go to any kosher store you will find more garbage food than what is good for you. Nothing to do with meat, I’m talking about the many types of junk food that makes up isles and isles of our stores. Hashem meant for things to be eaten in moderation. Studies of vegetarian diets have shown to be healthy but also when meat was eaten in moderation with a balanced diet, they were just as healthy. So when you want to make the change for all mankind think about whole grains, non-hydrogenated fats and less sugar as well.
As far as our future, well guess what I have bitochon and not only do I want a better place for my children I have seen it become just that. My kids have a better diet then I had, they are more active since we make it point for them to be and they live in a cleaner and healthier world.
Shindy and Gitty, my heart goes out for both of you. For what ever reason why it had to be I hope and pray that you will all be able to continue to forge ahead and put down the foundation of a new and different relationship. The decisions that were made must have been so difficult for both of you. I hope that you continue to see the benefits of such a hard choice.
Muchcommonsense….don’t rush to judgment that to say that this is false happieness. Unless you know the parties involved, there is no way to judge what is appropriate or not. I know of children in their 30’s and 40’s who still can’t come back home. B’H from what was posted, they both seem to be in a very good place and are moving forward despite the pain.
Ok Zevi it’s time to break out the chumash and separate opinion from fact.
First all of us ignorant folks here have a posuk in the Chumash where Hashem gave all of mankind the right to eat animals due to the fact mankind was responsible for saving them. Nothing to do with the lack of vegetation. (In fact Hashem gave a special bracha to the vegetation after the mabul of which Noach first planted a vineyard, got drunk and wound up cursing his grandson as a result of what was done to him in his drunken state.) Hashem takes care of the needs of all living creatures and would not have to change a law to provide for his creatures. So that logic just went out the window. Besides if there was 2 of each kind of non kosher and 7 of the kosher (minus the korbonos that Noach offered) there wouldn’t be much left to repopulate the animal kingdom)
Ok, back to the world where animal and mankind lived in peace with each other…..ummm when did that happen? Only for a few hours in Gan Eden did such a world exist but alas Adom sinned and was kicked out. From that point and on mankind degraded to the point where immorality took over and it perverted animal and nature in kind. Hashem waiting so ever patiently for mankind to be the worthy of one day getting the Torah, failed it’s mission and was destroyed leaving only Noach, his wife, 3 sons and 3 daughter-in-laws.
Ok, next, why would Hashem say it’s Ok to eat meat with countless halochos connected to it if we shouldn’t . Mitzvohs were given for our benefit to strengthen our neshomos. So with every shechitah, and the mitzvah of covering the blood, and making a bracha before we eat, and so on we are improving ourselves…. so to say we shouldn’t just doesn’t add up. This is an opinion which has no source. Mankind inability to eat before hand is not a proof that Hashem doesn’t want us to eat meat. I can say just as easily, that mankind was not on the level yet where they could eat meat and therefore they were denied that right to do so, when Noach built the tevia and saved their lives (not to mention took care of them 24/7 in the tevia) mankind was elevated through that act and thus now worthy.
The fact that we are worthy is because we are descendants of Noach and thus get the same benefits (and also the same fact that the animals owe their existence to us as well since if we were to stop learning Torah the world would no longer exist)
Ok lets talk about factory farming. I disagree on what you feel is torture. There is a big difference between kicking an animal then having it live in cramped quarters. Once I’m given the right to eat animal for food I am also allowed to make provisions to mass produce and market them and their meat on a large scale. Soul or no soul they are on a different level of existence and we were given the right to eat them. I have taken the time the past few weeks to speak with several people who work on farms and slaughter houses and I have not heard of anything horrific or close to torture. Yes visions of cows and chickens running in large pastures gently eating the grass and hay is a wonderful thought, yet it’s not a reality for most animals even in nature. So you are entitled to your opinion of what you think Hashem would think, but until you have a source of some sort it doesn’t make it so. ( I also don’t know if the cows care all that much or even have the capacity to care, about their living arrangements.) Plus I would like to see data of places where the diet causes problems for their digestion.
Ok next issue testing on animals…..I would like to see where you get your facts but if you ever met someone who has diabetes, the fact that they are alive is due to the efforts of several dogs who gave up their lives after they had their pancreas removed and thus started the focus on administering insulin into blood. (over a hundred years ago) Plus yes animals are different, but enable us to learn treatments that have resulted in lifesaving vaccines and treatments. The research on cancer and Alzheimer would never progressed to their present day levels without testing on animals.
Next I am going to conclude as well that as a G-d fearing and religious Jew (following in the steps of thousands of years of Tzaddikim who eat meat) I will eat my meat on Shabbos to elevate the seudah to something more special, I will also eat my meat and make a bracha on it which will then physically and spiritually elevate my body when I eat it. I as well as millions of others will become all the much greater for it, be better Jews, and get closer to Hashem as a result. (despite your opinion of what makes a person a good Jew)
The only person who can answer this is yourself. Every person is different and has a different level to strive for. To put a set amount is counter productive and demeans the value of learning. When you learn for an “XX:XX” amount of time because that is what they do, means that you are not learning L’shmah, you are just learning fot the title.
Just repeating what I wrote in the other Kapporus thread:
Just glancing through the Mishnah Brurah, the use of a chicken, was a minhag that was favored by the Arizal. It is a symbolic gesture done to the chicken to help us understand what is stake this time of the year (and chas v’shalom something that we may deserve). The mishnah brurah also goes on to explain that in cases where there is a question where people will push to get the mitzvah done or that due to the mass shechitah that is taking place the shochet will not properly check his knife then money could be used instead. (So it suggested that the shochet should come to the house to avoid these problems something that I doubt to many of out wives would allow…lol)
There was also a suggestion of using money so that the poor person on the receiving end should not feel inferior or bad for getting the “sinner” chicken. So in these cases the value of the chicken should be given to the poor) However, if it is known that he/she would not care, giving the chicken is better so that there is less work for the poor person.
On an interesting side note, it also mentions that after the shechitah is done the entrails should be thrown on the roof (or similar place, of which we could not do today anyway due to saftey and health concerns) as a form of compassion to Hashem’s creatures/ birds who will eat the remains which is a good thing to do before the onset of Yom Kippur.
However, this doesn’t make all the kapporus centers get off the hook. (We have to separate the minhag which is a good thing according to the Arizal and many Achronim and the way that we set up the practice) Once they are organized the agency/party involved must take responsibility and accountability that the chickens are treated fairly and that the neighbors are not affected by the smell, noise, and remains of the chickens. If a person feels that there is a Tzar Ba’ali Chaim issue then don’t use them and advocate for a better system. In our neighborhoods the chickens are brought in shifts. Once used for Kapporus, they are taken back to the farm or place where they will shect them and the time in the crates are kept to a very minimum.
Just glancing through the Mishnah Brurah, this was a minhag that was favored by the Arizal. It is a symbolic gesture done to the chicken to help us understand what is stake this time of the year (and chas v’shalom something that we may deserve). The mishnah brurah also goes on to explain that in cases where there is a question where people will push to get the mitzvah done or that due to the mass shechitah that is taking place the shochet will not properly check his knife then money could be used instead. (So it suggested that the shochet should come to the house to avoid these problems something that I doubt to many of out wives would allow…lol)
There was also a suggestion of using money so that the poor person on the receiving end should not feel inferior or bad for getting the “sinner” chicken. So in these cases the value of the chicken should be given to the poor) However, if it is known that he/she would not care, giving the chicken is better so that there is less work for the poor person.
On an interesting side note, it also mentions that after the shechitah is done the entrails should be thrown on the roof (or similar place, of which we could not do today anyway due to saftey and health concerns) as a form of compassion to Hashem’s creatures/ birds who will eat the remains which is a good thing to do before the onset of Yom Kippur.
However, this doesn’t make all the kapporus centers get off the hook. (We have to separate the minhag which is a good thing according to the Arizal and many achronim and the way that we set up the practice) Once they are organized the agency/party involved must take responsibility and accountability that the chickens are treated fairly and that the neighbors are not affected by the smell, noise, and remains of the chickens. If a person feels that there is a Tzar Ba’ali Chaim issue then don’t use them and advocate for a better system. In our neighborhoods the chickens are brought in shifts. Once used for Kapporus, they are taken back to the farm or place where they will shect them and the time in the crates are kept to a very minimum.
Give me a break: “Apathetic imbeciles.” …..?????
I’m actually speechless. For an individual who is trying so hard to get his opinion across to have to resort to name calling (or like I said before, when your logic isn’t strong enough to hold you up you have no choice but to start putting down those who go against you).
So the fact that fur striemals/streimals has no Torah basis is irrelevant. It is a “tool” that is worn by Chassidim to enhance their levush/dress for Shabbos and Yom Tov. So, while I’m as Litvish as they get, there have been a lot of really special and holy Chassidim who have no problem what-so-ever killing and wearing it’s fur. (You haven’t provided one either. All I have seen is an opinion based on the permission given to mankind before Avroham Avinu and matan torah’s time and why you think it shouldn’t apply now)
The point of being raised to a higher level of existence has been discussed already and I invite you to look through the old posts.
With that being said I wish you a G’mar Chasimah Tovah and all the best with your life. I on the other hand will be throwing my lot with the countless “apathetic imbeciles” (including the Gedolei Hador and Rabbonim of now and the past 3,000 years of whom you seem to know better than.)
Mostly it’s just strollers. But then again most of the stores where the babies are left outside are the clothing stores (or similar) that don’t have much space to move around inside. It is just easier to leave the baby in the front (and outside) so that they have both hands free to hold clothing and items intended for purchase. I will keep repeating that it doesn’t make it right, but hopefully give a better understanding (for those who don’t live in Boro Park) why a person would do such a thing.
Yes, very overwhelming and always making me feel bad that I am unable to help each one out. However, after speaking with my Rav, and a lot of soul searching, we realized that our priority rests within those closest to us and that is what we do. Starting with our family and moving out to our Shul and Yeshivohs (that we have connection to), local tzeddakahs and to the teddakah’s that have great meaning to us. After that if I still the means we send a few dollars to help out. As a rule we generally don’t do phone solicitations and ask for them to send a mailing.
Saying that I’m “hardened by what I see” is basically another way of you saying “I don’t have the facts to back up my claims so now I have to work on putting you down.” It was a mild put down and I appreiciate it since name calling only diverts from the topic at hand but it still was a put down non the less. You don’t know me well enough to make such a cliam but entitled to your “opinion”.
I also was busy reading the link that you provided and was very unimpressed. It made a lot of strong claims and accusations but failed to bring any solid proof to back up it’s statements other than a Former chief Rabbi from Ireland and a lot of Jewish names with phd’s (and the like) following their name. From what I see it’s also just a lot of opinions stated to promote thier cause.
Tafkid: What is the purpose of an animal in this world? Well they are given to us in our service to Hashem. They pull our heavy loads, watch over our sheep, pull our wagons (in snow and hot weather) make furrows so we can plant our wheat, make excellent winter clothing, brought as offerings to Hashem (In the time of the beis hamikdash) compainons to the elderly and lonly. They also have their wool shorn off for clothing, thier feathers for pillows and downcoats, horsehair for violins, the skins for sefrei torah, and teffilin, fur for striemels, amoung the many uses that are on the top of my head. Plus, they make an excellent and tastey source of protien. We make a bracha on the meat and the animal is then raised to a higher level of existance.
Before the mabul? Nothing different the potential was with in so that when mankind would rise up to the level worthy to receiving the Torah it would be there available. Mankind did not reach that level and thus were destroyed.
As far as the torture can you please give examples of where and when this takes place. I have been to several shlacht houses as well as the empire plant. I have yet to see anything like you have described. No they don’t get a lovely pasture to romp and roam, but then again they don’t seem to mind either way.
In Boro Park many of these wives do not have a car. Either for practical purposes (can’t afford a second car or for those who live in Boro Park, it is hard to find a place to put it. Plus there are some chassidim that feel it’s not appropriate for women to drive) or ligistics. So what most women do it get the stroller and walk to the corner grocery. Most will deliver, but you still have to go down to pick out what you need. Plus if the husband is working all day, someone has to go to the post office, buy paper goods, wine for Shabbos, stockings for the girls (that wear out faster) shirts and pants for the boys and so on. Many husbands don’t get home until much later.
I feel their frustration, but still don’t condone it.
You said “Yes there are a lot of methods that I don’t agree with either…”
Doesn’t that answer your question? Animals are tortured from nascence till
departure from this world to the next.
Nope. There are also a lot of practices that parents do (or don’t do) while raising them but that doesn’t make them abusive or horrible parents. So while I don’t buy veal I’m not anywhere near to saying that eating meat is bad or that we should discontinue it’s use. (I will be honest, veal is a personal thing for me that I have chosen but at the same time I kind of get it too. Meaning, cows of which have many purposes in this world, one of which is their use of meat for food. Veal is incredibly delcious and the only way to get such results is to restrict the baby cow from moving it’s entire life. So for myself I think that this is not a nice way to treat an animal and decided not to spend on money on veal to promote this particular form of raising animals. I don’t need the meat and live a very comfortable existance eating the many other forms of meat and poultry. However, while it bothers me that this is the only way to produce veal I have yet to see complete proof that this is Tzar Ba’ali Chaim. After all this cow’s purpose was to wind up as a delecacy on someone’s plate and when done it’s fulfilling it’s tafkid. So who are we to say that this is wrong. It’s an animal. It doesn’t have the same sort of rights or expectations that we humans get.)
Next animals in general. I have been to many farms and slaughter houses and I’m not bothered one bit about the conditions. Many (of not most) of the cows sent for meat have lived thier prime as old milking cows. They have lived on a farm with plany of food and water (something that animals don’t always have in nature with the droughts we have had recently). They have heated shelters so that they don’t freeze, and for those who know cows, they pretty much don’t do all that much except eat. I’ve never seen an animal suffering and for the most part the farm wants to keep the meat healthy so it can turn over the biggest profit.
The same thing for chicken and as far as fish, it’s just a matter of catching them.
So I don’t see things being pretty bad.
A Rebbi (as well as any teacher) should never, ever hit a child for any reason. Whenever it gets to that level it is no longer a discipine issue but rather a control or anger issue. (The same thing applies to adults with thier children) However, if and when a Rebbi hits, a phone call needs to be made and the matter looked into. There have been a lot of Rebbiem who have had control issues and have been too heavy handed. But, we have to realize a Rebbi is human and many times has been pushed into a corner by a lack of clear descipline policy of the school or lack there of at home. I’m not saying this to condone the actions of Rebbiem, but rather to bring attention to a situation that could have been avoided.
Many (if not most)stores in Boro Park do not have the space to accommodate strollers. So for the most part parents are in a dilemma of what to do if they need to go shopping. However, this is not a valid excuse for leaving your child exposed to the outside (or even on the inside where he/she could fall out, be knocked over). Kids need supervision and if this is too much, then they shouldn’t be taken shopping. I understand it’s not cost effective to find a babysitter everytime some one needs to go shopping, but there are workable solutions. Either get together with a few other ladies and make a rotation watching each other children while the other mothers shop. Go with a friend and take turns watching the strollers. Or don’t be so choosey and shop only in the places where you can bring your stroller.
Now if only we could do somththing about the way these families cross the street. (With stroller, take 2-3 steps then stop and look to see if it’s safe to cross)
Explain how “we” don’t take care of our animals. Yes there are a lot of methods that I don’t agree with either, but from what I see, animals have never had it better. Besides who says that we are capable of determining what is in the best interests of animals? Who are we to determine if the right to eat animals has been rescinded or not. There is a big difference between Tzar Ba’ali Chaim and an animal that has been been raised for the purpose of being slaughtered for it’s meat.
I”ve been following this tread and still remain true to my original assertation about the purpose of animals in the world. (That they were given to us to use in our lives as well as our service to Hashem).
Besides all of the halachos that we have in the Torah from the Korbonos that we (Korban pesach) and cohanimm must eat, plus the laws of shchitah, basar v’cholov and so we can also look at our Avos to see what their opinions were.
Avroham who not only shected an Ayil in place of his son (remember he was commanded to offer Yitzchok, it was afterward when he was commanded to stop that he looked up and saw the Ayil) but when he had 3 strangers come visit him after his bris milah, he shected 3 diffrent cows in order to give each one his own tounge. Seems to be excessive if we were not suppose to eat animals.
Yitzchok who wished to give over his brochos to Eisv commanded him to go and hunt an animal so that he would have a good meal and be in good spirits to give the brochos properly. Kind of takes away the moment if eating an animal is a bad thing. (ALSO One of the reasons also given was to give Aisov the mitzvah of Kivod Ov and make him more worthy to receive them. If eating meat is wrong, it’s kind of counter productive)
Yaakov who with the guidance of his mother shected goats to cover his hands and neck with skins and for his mother to cook in place of the meal that his father was expecting. So in a sence they added more animals giving up thier lives which when going under the guidance that eating animals is wrong would be a mitzvah boh L’avaeira.
None of them where in the Te’iva so I don’t know what debt the animal kingcome owed to them.
Mariner: You are wasting your time and breath. There is no point stating logic against one who just wants to create a tummel on the boards.
This entire post has been bothering me since I first read it. Peta is a terrorist organization that is living proof of what happens when you have misplaced chesed (and values) Animals do not have rights nor are the various mitzvohs given in their regards given for their benefit. They were given to us in order to make us better people. When a person engages in behavior that hurts an animal it affects negatively the person who is doing the act. It makes them meaner (as well as reveals a very unpleasant aspect and nature that the person posses.) and further changes them into a cruel being.
Next, animals were put here for our use. They pull our wagons, carry heavy loads, provide transportation and when needed they are killed to provide meat, leather, medicinal benefits, as well as many other uses for their bodies. To deny the animal this is to deny it of the ability to fulfill the tafkid/purpose of it’s creation. (This is not to mention or go into the gilgulim that possessed the animal so that when a person eats it and makes a bracha it would get a tikun).
As for logically what is right, well a lot of people in Tanach far greater than “Give me a break”, who have thought that they were doing what’s right and paid the consequences as a result. It is the same thinking that will enable this poster to be pro-choice and yet save the animals in the same breath. (or in other words equate an animal’s existence to be higher than a person.) In response to that, we are either dealing with a person who puts his logic above the Torah and it’s Rabbonim or an individual who has too much time on his hand and loves to watch as well as he entices the people on the board so that they will yell and scream at each other (so he will add topics of sensitive nature just to diminish the worth of this sight).
Shindy, yes it is Elul and I wonder how a lot of administrators are able to face the new year after the pain that was inflicted on many girls in the community. Yes they listened and closed schools but this was only after a long summer of rejections and refusals. The fact that most of us don’t run a school is irrelevant. They took on the responsibility when they accepted their positions and to cause girls to languish in uncertainty to only wonder if they will go to school locally or not is just plain wrong. Before you start saying it was because too many girls applied to one, school that is false. Yes many did, and somehow all the girls who did that found a school when they reopened the registration. However, when the dust settled there were still many who were more than happy to go to any school, still not accepted until the last possible moment due to the intervention of many Rabbonim, affluent individuals, and aggressive elementary principals. This was and continues to be a case of politics where no school wants to be the one to accept the girl who doesn’t come from the perfect “Lakewood” home.
Personally I don’t think that Ted Kennedy is even worthy of this discussion. For all we know, all of this attention and “kovod” being given to him now might be payback for what ever good he may have done in his lifetime. When he does pass on, Hashem will make sure that he get what ever is coming to him.
I agree that there should be more done in the Yeshiva to make kids aware. However, as a parent, if you feel that your kids are not getting enough information about this, then do something about it.
1- Contact the Yeshivah (better if you get a group of parents) and say that you would like them to address the issue and offer to help them set it up.
2- Speak to your kids abour drugs. Get in the habit of having deep conversations and being able to talk about such heavy duty topics. Know who their friends are, what type of friends they are, where they hang out and know what type of things they do in their free time. (make your home a place where they feel welcome)
3- Speak to your Rav at shul and see if you can organize something more local. Speal to people at Mask or ohel or wny similar group and they might have someone who would be willing to speak.
All of us have responsibilities in this matter. However when we feel that the others are not doing their part, then it’s up to us to rise to the challenge.
Teenager, I’m glad to help in any way that I can. I’m really glad as well that you have a therapist to help you work things out. In our case the progress was slow but steady. The realtive who was living with us was able to grow out of his issues and to see the world as a much better place. As for the abuse, while I think it is very imprortant that you deal with it and get some sort of closure on it, it is not wise to rush the process any faster then you are ready for it. You just have to make sure when the time does come to deal with it, that you do so that you can move forward.
As for your parents, you seem to be in a bind. On one hand you don’t want to hurt them but on the other, you are (possibly) cutting off an avenue of support that will help you in your struggles. Unless they are responsible for the abuse I don’t see why you can’t involve them on some level. This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them everything about where you are holding in yiddishkeit, but you can say to either one of them that you are having difficulty with certain concepts. There is a Rabbi in Monsey (Rabbi Ezriel Tauber) Who deals with Kiruv for “frum” people. Many religous jews go for a spiritual boost and he has been helpfull in connecting many non religoius individuals as well. Here is a link to some of his lectures, http://www.aishaudio.com/ssi/aish/speaker/rabbi-ezriel-tauber.php. He is also known to answer the tough questions that people may ask. If you go to Eichlers, he has many books out there that you might emjoy as well (I’m sure many lending librarys would have his material as well) This is a viable source for you to look into, without having to worry your parents. However, you wanting to sheild them from pain is commendable, but they are your parents and may just rather to be upset a little for the short term then having to find out later that you have had many unresolved problems for many years.
One last thing, if your parents were the ones responsible for you abuse, (and we don’t need to know this bit) you have the right to deal with this despite the fact that they might be hurt in the process. Obviously you are not looking to go out of your way to hurt them but you need to heal also. When the time comes speak with you therapist who will help you walk through the process and deal with the abuse (this goes for whom ever abused you)
ABCD123: While I would say rejection is one of the biggest, but you are right that it’s a big source of frustration to be told that you can’t ask valid questions and have to rely on a faith system that you don’t understand. Knowing the reasons for why we keep shabbos, keep kosher, cover our hair, put on tallis and teffilin will only serve to make the mitzvah all that more special. We as adults have to stop being afraid of either saying that we don’t know the reason or that tough questions will lead a person off the derech.
As for Yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs, I’m sure they are out there. When we look for a high school for our kids we might want to ask straight out if there will be Rebbiem that our children can go to in order to ask tough questions. Or at least lead them to someone who will.
I think that I have to agree with just about every single poster on this thread. While I feel that the concept of the seminary is a great thing, the price and stigma has gotten out of control.
When I was in Beis Medrash I wanted to learn in Eretz Yisroel, and my parents didn’t have 2 nickles to rub together at that point. B’H I had little difficulty finding a Yeshiva that provided room and board plus 3 meals a day. All I had to do was find a way to pay for airfare (worked in a store for the summer) and we found some creative ways to offset the tuition. The result was the 2 greatest years of learning and spirituality of my life. I made lifelong connections and got to meet Gedolim in person. The expierence changed me in a way that no Yeshiva/school in America ever could. It is for this reason alone I would venture to say that girls should go (as long it is a well structured and well supervised program). However, I think that the cost is preventing this from becoming a reality.
Dear teenager, as many others who have read your post, I am touched by what you have wrote. I’m in between meetings at the place where I work, but I’YH I will set up an email acount to reach me (as well as anyone else who needs support or to network) later on.
You need a good therapist as well as a support group who can help you out. I’m not sure where you live but if you contact priority 1 or mask they will have some good resources for you. As it happens to be, the relative of whom we have been dealing with, his therapists’ wife dealt with girls off the derech and at risk. They have just moved to Israel this past year, but I will contact them and see if they know what sources are available for young women like you.
I have googled a few links, look into them and see if they are of any help to you.
and worthwhile to look into http://www.ohelfamily.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=6&Itemid=32 although I don’t know if they deal with teens at risk.
Thank you oomis1105 for saying exactly what I was thinking. I don’t understand why there will always be people who look for the bad in everything. B”H for this sight because I’m sure it has opened the eyes as well as minds of others who would never see the perspective from a different veiwpoint. Everything from Kashurus, Tznius, Teens off the derech and even a better understanding of all Jews from different backgrounds. I can not begin to count how many times that due to reading YWN and this coffee room I have stopped and looked at my own actions to see that I’m acting properly.
So back to the original question if it belongs at home or at work. The answer it it depends. If you live in an environment that is sheltered from the world at large and you are able to make a living without going into the world at large, then no. You don’t need it nor do you need the exposure to the many distractions it brings in. As for the rest, you have to ask yourself what you will gain. For me it allows me to work andspend more hours at home to be with my family, it allows me to keep up with Daf Yomi as well to exposure to many shirim I would never be able to attened. I’ve been able to learn with a young man who is interested in becoming frum, but lives in a place where there are no frum people. I’ve been able to keep in contact with Rebbiem and friends from Eretz Yisroel and overseas. It also allows me to unwind after a busy day with out having to pick up a newspaper or listen to the radio. So for me as well as many others it has a significant place.
After all is said and done, we will all have a din hachshbon. We need to keep this in mind, because only we can control what we seem hear and do. If the internet will prove to be too much then we have the answer as well.
Since we are talking about hechsherim and the problem with Triangle K, could someone please list some of the practices that they do that could be problematic. This way instead of relying on just politics we can make a decision on where we stand halchagigly. (perosnally I have been told by reliable sources that look into the issues and not rely on hearsay that there are problems. I never looked further but am curious to see where they are more lienant than others)
Yussel I can’t speak in place of the author, but here are a few thoughts on the matter.
1- I have to be honest that I don’t see eye to eye on everything that she bring down. However, I still thing that she has done excelent job of showing the perspective from a teens veiw point and there is a lot to be gained from this book. She has obviously taken her emotions and redirected them into a positve channel that is a benefit for all of us.
2- In my humble and non profesional opinion. Kids need to see honsety, consistancy and to see thier parents as role models. When a parent makes a mistake, (doesn’t have to be directed to the kid in question) takes responsibility for it, and then works on him/herself to become a better person, is a much more valuable lesson then the immage of the “perfect parents”. Kids need to see that we make mistakes, that it’s ok to do so, and see the proper steps taken to fix or rectify the matter.
3- Lets face it, many teens are really into the drama. They have a perspictive that is not always logical and there are going to be times when they are convinced that they have the worst/stupidest/incert-negative-uphamism parents in the world. There will be times when we will have to tell them to grow up or chill out. However for some kids who have already crossed that line into going off the derech, it might be more important to calm down thier emotions (regardless of how logical they may be) so that we can engage them on a level where they will be respetive to listening. But this is for the child who is down the path of rebelion. For the rest, we have to pick our battles, be consistant and make sure that we put in as much positive in our disipline as the negative.
B”H what a beautifull story. I also agree that we need to share more stories like this. We hear about every negative detail in lightning speed and it is easy to loose sight of how wonderful it is to be part of such a special nation.
We also see that sometimes it is such an easy thing to do to help out another, and sometimes we hear of stories of people who went above and beyond what we would ever expect a person would or could do. May there be many more people like that in Klal Yisroel, and we may surprise ourselves one day and rise up to the challenge when the time comes.
Ses you brought up a very good factor…unconditional love and acceptance. It is very hard growing up as the child of a Rav as there are many “expectations” placed upon such children. The Rav as well as Rebbitzen can be fantastic people but it doesn’t change the fact that this kid has to grow up being the daughter/son of such and such. It can place such a pressure on them, and I know personally 4 families of choshiva Rebbiem who have had children go off the Derech. So what was the common denominator about how they treated thier children afterwards? Unconditional love and acceptance. While they were not thrilled that they chose a non religious lifestyle, they made sure to keep the doors open and to go out of their way to make sure they feel accepted for who they are. (one family even remodeled their basement so that their irreligious child and spouse could move in.) While not all have come back into the fold, they all have a lot of respect for their Parents as well as their religion and heritage.
Levi123: I’m sorry what has happened to you, your husband and your boys. You bring up many good points that illustrate some of the imperfections of the “Yeshiva world”. Being that I don’t know the details nor do I see any point disagreeing with you out right I do want to share some thoughts on the matter.
For starters the Yeshiva system is not a perfect system. It has grown in many positive ways over the past 50-70 years as the Jewish population (Of America) has grown in large numbers and adapted to a different lifestyle. Many of our parents and grandparents can tell you of a different style of learning that was much more strict and rigid. Yet, and B’H for the most part it continues to improve and adapt to meet the ever changing lifestyles of the Jewish community. However, what many Yeshiva/institutions face is that there isn’t a road map or expert to lead them in the process until the problem is identified. Plus as Yeshiva/Beis Yaakov’s evolve, parents are demanding higher standards in their learning, and are less tolerant on those who may tarnish the institution as a whole.
So while we are looking at the big picture from this angle and the need for these kids to be accepted, there are those who don’t want their kids to be associated with less the “normal” behaviors. There is a very fine line between a school that has a no television policy to a school that shuns and rejects a family that does. I have been involved with a school that actually had parents call up demanding kids in a p’tach like setting NOT be allowed in the mainstream setting. The excuses ranged from being a distraction, the kids will learn poor behaviors, or plain and simple, that the kids are just too different to fit in. (B’H this school did not give in, the teachers went out of their way to incorporate these kids and they all graduated together several years later with a lot of success).
There is another factor of plain economics, where not all Schools have the luxury of training the staff or adding more to incorporate the students who need the extra assistance. It’s nice to have good intentions, but it alone won’t be enough to keep kids stimulated, motivated and productive on an individual level. (This isn’t just learning disabilities, but for the person who isn’t cut out for the full day routine)
To get back to the point. It is easy to put the blame on one particular section (and probably justifiable in some aspects) but change has to be made on all fronts.
– Schools have to have a more open mind, and be sensitive to the proper way to send off a kid who would be best learning elsewhere. This would mean to have a clear and consistent policy for all, and to constantly look out for programs that work so that they can add it to their policy. When a kid is expelled it should only be as a last resort and in the manner that causes the least emotional damage.
– Society needs to recognize the needs of all kids/people, that when one group suffers everyone suffers. There has to be a larger acceptance of all Yiddishkeit regardless of the dress and practices. That a person can be a good person even if he doesn’t wear a hat and jacket, have a full beard, learn in a kollel, or what ever standards sets up. It is possible of showing the beauty of your minhagim without causing prejudice towards others who don’t share that way of life.
– Parents need to be open minded as well and build a solid foundation at home. Look for schools that bests reflect the lifestyle that you live and ask for help when there isn’t one to be found. On one hand, make sure you have a positive attitude towards the school that your kids are in so that they won’t be prejudice against it’s policies. While on the other, communicate with your children and see how they are faring. If a kid is being mistreated, they need a voice and the knowledge that someone cares enough about them.
I just wanted to add a little bit more to why many kids who go off the derech escalate further down self destructive behaviors and not just lead goyish lives.
For starters, we live in a society that demands certain types of behaviors and dress. When an individual does not fit into the norm of society he/she is often rejected and pushed away. Sometimes it’s a direct push where parents, teachers or peers say that if you don’t do “such and such” then you don’t belong here. Sometimes its more subtle. Either way this rejection causes a lot of pain for this person who just want to belong but just doesn’t seem to be able to. It is not long after, depression sinks in and he/she is living a life where they hate everyone (including themselves) and are just looking for any happiness that they can get. It’s not long brfore they find the kids on the streets, who accept them for who they are. They are introduced to drugs and alcohol. Then when drugs and alcohol are involved they get the momentary fix where they can feel happiness (if only for a brief while). Yet it’s that happieness that they could not find anywhere else.
Many times the individual is in so much pain that they have shut off their feelings and their acting cool is just a cover for many true emotions that they dare not show to the world. When drugs and alcohol are involved, all inhibitions are removed and they can say and do what they want without the “emotions” of life preventing them.
Also it is acceptance since this is a group that does tolerate him/her for who he/she is. It is only natural to act in a way that the majority does so that they can fit in.
It is also rebellion and destruction, since on some level many hate themselves, since they feel their rejection means that they are unworthy, so they don’t put the effort into taking care of themselves. (and sometimes it’s to hurt themselves and others)
lkaufman: Thank you for your kind words and thank you for starting the thread in the first place. As I’m sure this is not an easy path to go down, you have shared a part of your life with us and I’m sure we are all that much better for it.
Yussel, I want to thank you for your opinions and start off by saying that you too must be going through a hard and terrible matziv in your life. While we may disagree on many points I hope and pray for you that Shalom may return to what ever situation you and your family may be dealing with.
Next: I want to start off by stating that my main reason(s) for responding to your posts is to:
-a- Continue a dialog so that others who may be reading this will get a better perspective of what happens to a teen who goes off the Derech. We are a very proud nation and are quick to respond when our religion is threatened and attacked. It is so easy to misread the actions of these kids and thus we as nation are not able to properly deal with the problem. Something has to be done, but only by properly identifying the problem will we be effective in dealing with it.
-b- To be an advocate for these kids who often don’t have a voice speaking up for them. Many of them are too bitter to speak up for themselves and many were not given the skills to speak up. Many of them actually believe that they don’t deserve a voice and that this life of misery is a way of G-d punishing them for not being the perfect Jew.
-c- I too was just like Yussel at one point, until our teen at risk was dropped at our doorposts. Through a unique sequence events, a close relative whom needed to get away, came to stay with us for a few weeks winded up becoming a permanent resident. Over time I was able to see into a world that I didn’t know existed and see a very different perspective. Gehenim is a good way to describe it and B”H my kids (as well as us) have grown in ways that I could never imagine. It took a lot of work on a lot of people’s part, but B’H we are living in a different world that I could never hope of being. (This relative is now stable, actively involved with my kids as a “positive” role model, completing his education and looking to take it to the next level where he will be in the position to help others)
OK, now to deal with your last post.
As I wrote my last post I tried very hard from putting the “blame” on anyone in particular. This whole Teen-off-the-derech is a very complex situation with many factors that could be the cause. As far as responsibility I’m a big believer that as parents we are the first layer of defense and have the responsibility to either shield our kids from bad things or to give them the skills to cope when life hands you lemons. Many times parents are not to blame for when their kids go off the Derech. There are (some) authority figures out there, who mean well, but are destroying children non-the-less. Sometimes it is a matter of actively feeding a all or nothing derech / approach, sometimes it’s by sitting back and letting injustice being done (like when a kid is being bullied or called shvartzah because his darker skin, or shegetz because he played with cats in the street). However, it is only the parent who would be able to pick up their children’s subtle cries for help in their youth way before it spirals into something unimaginable years later. (I also mention that in this day and age, parents are working harder and sometimes are not able to see the signs) However, to get back to the point, we need to identify where things were “disconnected” so that the individual can cope and bring closure to that aspect of their life.
Do I think that our cultural “victim” mentality is blinding us as well as our youth from taking responsibility (for things on this magnitude) ? NO I don’t. At what age do you consider a youth to be grown up enough to do this? There is a reason why we are not held responsible for the big averos until we are 20. There is a reason why society doesn’t allow teens (regardless of their physical size or intelligence) the right, to drive, vote, join the army or drink and now even smoke.
Before I go on I would like to divide this into two categories of responsibility and explain why these kids off the derech would have trouble with both.
First off is the responsibility between them and Hashem (as well as acceptance of religion). First off, as mentioned earlier, the mitzvohs/spiritual obligations are not given to us to be fun. There will be times when it will be hard and inconvenient. Still, they were given to us to make us into better people and to bring us closer to Hashem. However, this would only be affective when the individual can feel the growth or positive happening with in themselves. If kids are given a diet of dry meaningless rules of which they must follow or else, what incentive or motivation will there be to follow? Kids by nature want to fit in, and when they start becoming independent, what is going to happen when they feel nothing positive towards religion? When would anyone under the circumstance be able to grow up and get with it? There is no free will in this circumstance. The beauty and value of Yiddishkeit was not given effectively and thus there is no balance to make the person want to follow in these ways.
Then there is the responsibility towards the family or just being a mentch. Most of the behaviors that we possess are a mixture of our natural dispositions as well as the environment that we were raised in. (The whole nature vs. nurture aspect) When a teen wishes to not follow the rules of the house you have to identify what exactly the child is doing when the rules are being broken. Is the outburst a result of a larger temper tantrum given so that they can get their way or is it the result of many years of frustration or lack of stability that is causing this outburst. The parents have the right as well as the responsibility to establish and enforce the rules of the home (as well as religion) as they see fit. However, sechel/proper judgment must be used to make sure that the consequence (positive/nagative) is appropriate to the action as well as the means of enforcement are practical. For example, teen girl comes to table dressed in appropriately. On one hand this is your home, your table, and your comfort zone, so you have a right demand how people should be dressed. On the other side, religion doesn’t mean much in the area of Tznius to this girl, and she feels that she has the right to express herself (in her mode of dress) , so she feels wronged in being asked to accommodate her life choices to appeal to others. As a grown up, the parents are in the right and that is too bad. However, reality sets in and we have to ask of this is the battle that we are willing to loose everything on for? So what does a parent do, and honestly I don’t know. But what I do know is that this “battle” is the tip of an ice burg of a war of issues. This is when the alarm goes off that says you need to communicate and get outside help. This is where you can sit down with this girl, establish a compromise that meets both parties. You also need to find out why she needs to dress like this.
Now what about that aidel Bais Yaakov sister who feels like she doesn’t have a home to come to? Well, I want to be mean for a second (for shock value and to give a little insight to what her sister has faced from others) but my answer to her is that, as a good Bais Yaakov girl she should have learned that before we were born all of our problems that we would have to face in our lifetimes were shown to us. It is through these challenges that we become bigger and better people and this is one of those challenges. Plus, after all was said and done, we all agreed to undertake this mission and accepted it. So, my young girl, this is really your problem and you will just have to deal with it. (OK take a breath now & digest)
Reality: How unfair is it for me to say what I just did? What skills did I give over to her to either grow or effectivly deal with the sitution? The bottom line is that you are right Yussel that this girl-off-the-derech’s sister has a right to feel comfortable in her home. However, we need to understand that the rules that we have to follow are not going to be the same for everyone. Fairness is going to be different depending on the circumstances. I could suggest a few ideas that will allow both girls to have their say but it is something that needs to be addressed as a family in a calm environment. The teen off the derech needs a means to clarify why she doesn’t feel as a part of the family and why she needs to rebel and the teen who is affected needs to express her needs and desires and maybe the uncomfortable situtaion this creates, so that they (or an outside arbitrator) can make a compromise and game plan for both sides. What this might mean is switching days when they have friends over. This might mean having two entrances and places for their friends. I can’t tell you not knowing the dynamics or facts. Yet this is a lesson for both of them of how two opposite oppinions can find common ground.
Last I agree that off the derech can’t always be an emotional issue. There are times when a consistent exposure to things outside the norm that will erode our foundation and escalate from there. However I have yet to see a “teen” who went off the derech because of this alone. The free will of a healthy teen, would still be held in check because of the fear of his parents and their reaction to it. Later on, when he/she is on their own, then free will would dictate a possible break.
Yussel, you are right, not all kids who go off the derech are in a life or death situation (well physical death that is). There are many people who left the fold and have lived long lives. Maybe it’s important to distinguish between the two, since kids-at-risk are usually further down the spiral descent than just giving up on religion. So for this moment I will just comment about going off the derech.
Next, I don’t know if you were able to focus on where I was going, maybe it wasn’t clear or maybe you are stuck on this kid issue, but “the big picture” really deals with the events of the family and/or community that interacted with this teen that brought him to this point. Why would all of a sudden a child who goes to a Jewish school, raised by religious parents, sheltered in an environment that guides how we eat, how we dress, what we should say, how we act (and so on) turn around when he is a teen and say, no thanks, I don’t feel like being religious anymore? I have yet to meet a teen or young adult who was born in a religious stable family that decided it was too much of a burden. It is only after investigating and looking into the “big picture” do we see that there were many outside factors that contribute to it. Most of the time it is some sort of rejection for not living up to the expectations that were set for him. These rejections might have come from his/her parents, their teachers and Rabbi’s or the social circle they were raised in.
If it were just motivation that he was lacking then how will telling him to “get over yourself” ever accomplish bringing him back to the fold? We as part of Klal Yisroel are responsible for each other and are just as much responsible to him/her in showing the beauty that lies within Yiddishkeit.
I think we agree that you don’t exclude any other child in a family (which I stated very clearly in my post)for the needs of just one. However, as a parent, I know that you sometimes have to prioritize your attention to the child that needs it the most. If you are unable to be there physically or mentally for everyone, then you get help. Focusing on a child that is going off the Derech doesn’t mean that you have to miss your sons chumash play, or daughters doctor appointment or even doing bed time with your kids. It can be a challenge, it can be hard and there will be times you question yourself if you can do it, but it can be done.
Because of the wording directed towards me in your post, there is something that has touched a sore point with you. I don’t know what that may be. But, what I do know is that these kids don’t just happen to loose faith. I have yet to meet a kid or person born in a religious family who has left religion behind because it was too hard. If a parent feels like they are being blackmailed into submission in order to control the behaviors of a child then they have to look back into what events put them to where they are now. Kids (and teens) by nature look up to their parents as the most important people in the world. It is through the mitzvah of k’vod av v’ aim that we are able to comprehend that there is a Rebona Shel Olem. Something happened that broke the connection between the parent and child and it wasn’t the child who did the damage. This isn’t a belief, this is a fact based on statistics on Jewish kids who went off the derech. A child who finds the need to “hurt” their parents by acting out is merely reacting to something that was done to them. So yes it’s not “fair” to the rest of the family to deal with this, but then again “fair” wasn’t in the equation when they were young with the dealings and actions done to them.
Last point, what is there to be done when the actions of the teen are affecting the other kids in the family. For that there is no easy answer and one must speak to a qualified Rav who is competent in such matters. However like many have mentioned there are several groups and Robbonim who deal and assist with such matters. It is not an easy call, and needs to be handled with the greatest of sensitivity. He is not a rasha and all the halachos related bein adom l’chaveroh apply.
I just looked it up on the net and I it has to do with a dissorder of the small intestine that causes bacteria to back up or build up.
On a separate note: There was a mention about these kids being lazy. I think it’s also important to note that sometimes what we perceive as lazy is in reality a symptom of depression. They are “task avoidence” due to the fact that they don’t feel connected to the world. They want to “shut down”/ “shut off” or what ever they can do to avoid the pain life gives them at this point.
Yossel, you bring up many good points and a different perspective on the matter. However, when we think of a teen-at-risk, you have to understand that their behaviors and actions are usually of a result of incredible turmoil that is building up within. Yes there is a choice that they are making on some level (whether to rebel, attention seeking, or other) but it is only because they are looking for a way out of their misery and pain.
Imagine, Chas V’shalom, a child who is hit by a car and has been permanently affected about it. Do we say to the child, sorry for your pain but there are other family members so you just have to wait your turn? No, as in any family when there is a crisis you stop and do whatever you can to help your child. This child at risk may not have been hit by anything physical, but something happened to send this child off the path. Something so harsh, that they can’t face the reality that they are living in. They are looking for an escape. They are looking for something that doesn’t reject them for whom they are. They are looking to find a place in a world that doesn’t seem to have a place for them.
Plus you never ignore the others. It’s not an easy task by any means (no crises ever is) but as you are dealing with the crises, like any other, you reach out and look for support for yourself and others in the family who may need it at that time.
( More often than not, this is life or death situation. Many of these kids face depression as well. When they are drinking and doing drugs, they are trying to escape the pain. Then there is a very small line between Chas V’shalom overdose, suicide and many other health risks. )
Suggestions of what to do when you encounter such an individual, well what do you do when you meet any person not dressed appropriately? Most of us are already living in a place where we have no control how our neighbors dress. When it’s your own daughter coming down to the shabbos table…..then you get therapy/ family counseling and talk. If it happened already, ask yourself how you reacted when it happened and what affect did it have. Are you able to communicate better after or did the opposite happen? What type of relation ship did you have before? What changed? That while it is possible that 2 wonderful and wholesome people will get a child who rebels, statistics show otherwise. When it reaches this point something had to have happened (whether in the home or outside) and her coming to the shabbos table dressed like that is the least of your worries. However, don’t forget you are the parent and this is your table and there are rules that have to be established/followed. You have to think it through how you wish to implement it, but you have to find away to stand your ground without getting into a confrontation. This is where family counseling comes in. They can set up as a neutral party to speak on your behalf when they are at a stage where they are not able to listen. When you pick your battles and your daughter sees that your rules are consistent and fair she will respect you for it, although she may not follow it.
I think the key is to do what you can before this happens. Look at the family situation, are our kids sending out signals that things are not so good? Look at the environment, are our kids being treated fairly at school, shul, with their friends? Look at yourself, am I the type of parent that is consistent, fair, and open minded enough to accept differences for the things that are not so important.
Over all I hope you and those reading this don’t perceive this as an attack. I honestly hear your concerns but feel that there is a bigger picture at stake, and we have to deal with that first.
First off, I would like to say my heart goes out to you and your daughter and may Hashem give both of you the strength to persevere while facing this challenge. We don’t have a crystal ball to see what the end will have in store for us. It is my hope that your daughter will be able to find peace of mind with in herself and then to be able to find her place within Yiddishkeit (where ever and whatever that level might be).
This year as a personal project, I have been looking into kids-at-risk and trying to understand what it is that makes observant Jews (or those coming from such homes) turn away from yiddishkeit. It’s not a new project since I too have been in the midst of being involved with a close realtive who is struggling with his connection to Hashem and finding his place with in religion. Yet this year as I see more and more people fighting within themself or dealinig with relatives, I’m hoping to make an impact (if even just in my home) to help reach out to others.
B’H, along our journy down this unexpected route, I think that all of us have gained from the impact that we have had on each other. However, there is an excellent book called “Off the derech, how to respond to the challenge” written by Faranak Margolese (who is an observant Jew) who was motiviated by her own struggles, did the research and put together this book that opens your eyes from the perspective of someone on the other side of the fence. (here are other good books as well as how to kindle a soul, and chinuch in turbulent times) I would recomend this reading for all parents, prospective parents and those dealioing with kids off the derech. While it would be impossible to write down everything in a simple short post, there are a few things that I would like to share.
First off, we need to stop the shunning and rejecting. Yes, it may make us uncomfortable to see others dress and acting differently but how hard is it to wish a good shabbos or good morning to them (even a simple hi). Plus if we can manage a smile we say it how good it might actually make them feel. Ignoring them won’t change them or make them go away and outright criticiisim or rejection will just reinforce what led them down this path in the first place.
Next, while we need to set up consistant homes and lifestyles and concrete rules, we also need to give unconditional love. Stop judging people (as well as our children) by their actions but by who they are and who they can be. They are not malachim and it is ok to make mistakes.
Find a positive approach to reach your goal. Instead of yelling at your child for not wearing a Kippah, tell them why it’s nice to wear one (and praise them one day when they are wearing it properly). Also keep in mind, the more you try to “force” them in keeping the mitzvoh them more likely they will rebel.
Find ways to make Yiddishkeit beautiful through your actions. Think of ways of connecting religion and belief in a way that you can share it with your children. Whatinspired you as a kid, what inspires your kids?
Treat others fairly, look for the positive and avoid negative talk.
Listen to your children with an open mind. They might be telling you a lot more than you realize and don’t be afraid to talk about topics that ask questions about religion.
Last treat your family (your kids as well as all kids) with respect. Think about their feelings and what makes them feel important. Make them feel like they are part of something good.
Yossi you bring up a valid point, but I beg to differ you on one point. Yes there are those who have created extra stress on our communities and been un excepting of those who don’t follow the excepted norm. However, this is only half of the problem. What they have failed to do is bring out being Jewish in a positive and practical way. Many times the message is “do not do this” & “don’t do that” or “If you wear this you are a not complete Jew (or fill in whatever deragatory message appplies here). It gives of a negative, overwelming, hostile feeling and from a kid’s perspective, if he is going to Gehenim for wanting to wear jeans or whatever slight deviation he might want to do, then what hope does he have for the bigger things?
The bottom line is, why isn’t more done to bring out the beauty of Yiddishkeit. Granted we don’t do mitzvohs because they are “fun”, but they were given to us to make us better people. If a father (as well as a mother) can make a shabbos meal enhanced where the family not only enjoys the zemiros and d’vrei torah (or whatever your family might do to enhance the meal) but feel good and positive about it, think how many generations to come will have that love for shabbos passed down to them. When they see that Tznius is a positive thing and not just a long list of what you can’t wear then how many of our daughters won’t need to feel the urge to deviate from what is right? We sometimes get so caught up with the strict adherence of the letter of the law that we forget what kedush those letters bring. Hashem is not a vengeful or angry G-d he is a compassionate and loving father up in heaven who waits patiently for us to get closer.
Thus when religion no longer has meaning. When we follow it not so much because we want to make a connection between Hashem and ourselves or we are so afraid of punishment for every slight misdeed, then what connection are we making to Hashem. And….when we fail to pass on the “meaning” and “beauty” that is within, people look for that “special connection” (Pintle yid) else where. The look for it in drugs, alcohol, adrenaline rush highs, ostentatious lifestyles, or whatever will give them a quick pick me up.
Gavra Rabba: I think you missed Yossi G’s point. It’s not that he was making excuses for these behaviors. Rather he was showing that the way we lead our life styles is more conducive for one to search in the wrong directions.
Gavra at work: I think that we all agree that there is no excuse. However, like I mentioned above when you are searching for meaning, and despite how wonderful Yiddishkeit is supposed to be but you are not feeling it, (and sometimes feel that you are the only one who doesn’t) then it is much easier to look for an escape. Plus for those who have been exposed, a walk in the woods will not substitute the feeling of pleasure one has (as well as inhibitions to say and do what they want) when he’s drunk or high on drugs. Plus when our kids see many grownups indulge in excessive drinking, what message does it give to them?
fardaiget: I agree with you so much! We need to look for every excuse to keep a boy (and girl) in Yeshiva not keep them away. What message are we giving to the boys who are asked to leave? You made a mistake so now we don’t want you any more?