Forum Replies Created
October 11, 2012 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm in reply to: Working parent letter: two implementable ideas I posted #899432
I cannot envy the position of the yeshiva administrator. The responsibilities are many and great, and the rewards are limited. What is perhaps a serious deficiency, as suggested by the OP and many of the comments, is the absence of input from the parents. The yeshivos are eager to take our money, but not our ideas, concern for our needs, or any other input. That is angering, and the backlash is obvious. There is no easy answer. To protest against yeshivos is politically unpopular. The dignity of meeting with the powers that be is accorded only to the major donors, not the average parent (even if payiong full tuition). The modification of the system to be a true communnal organization dedicated to the betterment and safety of the children is long overdue, but will only evolve into that inthe long term. Much needs to change.
Some have mentioned it here. We have a society that frowns upon the baal babos and cherishes the kollel lifestyle. Exceptions are made for the major patrons of our communal organizations and yeshivos. We choked our ability to produce the incomes needed to sustain our community. And we are appropriately questioning the wisdom of this. I seriously doubt that Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L and other Roshei Yeshivos intended the kollel to yield this outcome.
Together with today’s economic downturn (though it preceded it by years) is the growing thirst for luxury by the average Yid. We must all have the latest in gadgets, vacations and trips, the extras at our simchos, etc. We are seriously in the red, and yeshivos only turn to us, with government out of the picture today. And it is a disgrace to send our kids to work where they feed the system – they must stay dependent in kollel and drain it further. These same individuals become menahalim and grab what they can without regard for the working class, as per the years of such chinuch. There’s much to change, and it won’t happen quickly.October 11, 2012 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm in reply to: Working parent letter: two implementable ideas I posted #899429
I urge you to review the contracts with schools and yeshivos. I have yet to see one that spells out the responsibility of the school. All I have ever seen is the financial responsibility of the parent, and often other terms such as adhering to certain standards of tznius, not having television or internet access, etc. Nowhere in writing is there a statement by the school accepting to keep the child in a safe environment, providing the range of educational services needed (noting exceptions for special services the school may not have), and maintaining communication with the parents on any matters relating to school policy, changes, schedules, or disciplinary issues. The complete absence of all of this is what makes me suspect that the contracts might well be dismissed by a court (I’m not a lawyer).
The way yeshivos raise funds (except for tuition)is by holding themselves up to the public as communal organizations. The trouble is that our yeshivos are competing. If a talmid would need extra time and effort from the hanhala, he is likely to be considered a liability. Let the competition have that. And we have hundreds of bochurim and girls without yeshivos or schools.
I interact with mechanchim regularly, and I must say that there are some great ones out there. However, I have yet to encounter a yeshiva that can attest to all of its staff being trained, supervised, and true metzuyanim in the field. There are a few that aspire to that, but most are preoccupied with the quality of the applicants, not the quality of the staff. And that is worse than sad. Those who complain about the salaries are correct, but it is the exceptional rebbe that deserves the higher range salary. Unfortunately, no one will judge the salary by the quality of the rebbe, only by tenure, family size, and relationship to the menahel.
One rebbe noted on Simchas Torah that he met up with a former talmid of his, now married with children. He had last seen this talmid in his 5th grade class 20 some years ago. The talmid approached him and thanked him for being his rebbe way back when. The rebbe said it made his day.
Do you remember your 5th grade rebbe? If so, why? These are the questions that help us recognize the true mechanchim, not the “minimum wage” rebbe who defaulted into chinuch after years of kollel with no training for a career.
Just a thought – use humor. Tell mother-in-law jokes. Maybe she’ll get the hint.October 10, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm in reply to: Working parent letter: two implementable ideas I posted #899420
You wrote, “don’t forget that your husband has a chiyuv to teach his children. The school does not.” You are half right. The father of the children has the chiyuv of chinuch (not to exclude the mother, but that’s for another discussion). The school absolutely does have a chiyuv, and that is the only justifiable reason for the existence of any mosdos of chinuch. Moreover, the mosdos are being paid big money (big for the parents footing the bill), and their obligation is to provide the service that they obligated themselves to by accepting the contract with thge parents. What is angering to parents is when the yeshivos and schools have no problem blaming parents for anything and everything, but when a rebbe or teacher falls short, they defend it with all sorts of lame excuses. And no one has raised the abusiveness exhibited by some rebbes, teachers, and menahalim. No, gavra, the world of chinuch is imperfect (as we all are), and to throw all responsibility on parents is inaccurate, ignorant, and unfair.
Is it fair when the tuition contract obligates a parent to pay money for a service, but does not obligate the school to provide it? I’d like to see that tested in a court one day.October 10, 2012 1:28 pm at 1:28 pm in reply to: Working parent letter: two implementable ideas I posted #899403
Forget about “motivated” teachers. Let’s start with “trained” teachers, or how about “dedicated” teachers. I assume that everyone who enters the field of chinuch does it with some level of motivation. Yet, we are far from off the wall if we question the degree to which our children are exposed to damage while in our own yeshivos/schools. The public embarassment, the frequent absence of love and caring, the bizarre “punishment” policies, and the hostage holding when tuition is not up to date are all examples that portray that our yeshivos and schools are NOT treating our children with the responsibility of a loving surrogate daytime parent (which is a prerequisite of chinuch). I congratulate you on furthering your training. But the skills alone, while valuable, will not replace the love you need to have for your students. If that is compromised, we will just have more individuals entering the field manufacturing OTD kids by depriving them of the cheshek for Torah learning and Yiddishkeit.October 3, 2012 1:00 pm at 1:00 pm in reply to: What do you think about cannabis becoming more and more legal? #989875
Please meet some addiction professionals and get some educated experience. I did, and your pronouncements are way off.
Paranoia is just one of the mental side effects from MJ. Some get this one, others get any of several other effects. Varies per person. What is universal is that it is seriously mind altering. While I would like a whole lot more Torah knowledge that I have, I’m otherwise happy with my mental state, and am opposed to anything that will interfere with it. Any such effect is a negative experience for me, and I resist it. Not so for the abuser of a drug (including MJ). The experience of a negative side effect does not deter one from repeating the use. Besides, those with other issues may find the escape into an altered state of mind inviting. And that is not a good situation.
As far as the studies on the psychiatric problems resulting from MJ. they are extensive. Check this out on websites like NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). These studies are not publicized by our liberal media that considers the ills of MJ as benign, just as they so with other ills of society (vehamaivin yovin).
Yes, they had tobacco in Ukraine during the ties of the B”esht. There were many tzaddikim who smoked with all sorts of kavanos. We cannot judge them from our vantage point, since we now have the information about the dangers of smoking which were unknown at those times.
The question about the “addiction” makes sense. But even if someone has the addiction, engaging in the addictive behavior is still unacceptable. There would be an aveiroh for that. And this includes all addictions. ?????? ????.
Not that I am ready to dance during selichos, but what tells you that the tefilos of selichos and dancing are mutually exclusive? The posuk of ?? ???? ?’ ??? ?????? is explained by many seforim to refer to the ???? one should have on ??? ???? which is certainly more of a ??? ???? than the days of selichos. If one can dance and be focused on the kedusha of rejoicing with HKB”H, then it would not be out of place at selichos. Just thinking…..
I sympathize with you about getting caught, but that is expected – for good reason. Having seen so many people driving irresponsibly while talking on phones, I am frightened. It’s bad enough that there is a horrible percentage of drivers who are not capable of driving safely (underage, overage, under influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications, or distracted with the electronic gadgets such as CD players and radios and GPS). Now we should tolerate drivers being completely uninvolved in driving because they’re on the phone?
The area of 53rd Street & 18th Avenue is jam packed with kids. Many families with young children live in the neighborhood. There is Viznitz Yeshiva right behind you. Yagdil Torah (Ger) one block to your right. Stolin one block to your left. The slightest distraction can ch”v cost a child’s life. I’d be happy if you beat the ticket but learn a lesson. But I’m glad you got caught.September 5, 2012 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm in reply to: The Torah's View of the Husband / Wife Relationship #895001
You appear to support an abusive/dominant relationship as consistent with a Torah based marriage. That, my friend, is a grave distortion, one that should make you shiver. There is NOTHING in Torah that excuses abuse, whether in the forms of actions (verbal, sexual, physical, etc.) or in the nature of the relationship. I consider the use of Torah sources to push such an agenda ???? ???? ????? ??? ?????. It is blasphemous to convert the Torah that stands for Shalom into a tool to excuse and justify this abusive form of dominance.
There are particular roles for husbands and wives, and there are vast ranges of halachos based on this. Degrading a wife, subjugating her, making demands on her as one might do on a slave, have no place in a Jewish marriage. No reader should get the idea that such behaviors and attitudes are supported by the various references you provided.
????? ???? ???? ??? ???????? ????.
It’s high time that we absorb enough intellect to make such infantile and irresponsible statements. If someone slips and falls, is it because of the internet? If someone is slicing an onion and nicks her finger, is it blamed on the internet? Foolish! Yes, the internet presents many serious challenges. This issue was addressed in the Asifa at Citifields. What on earth does molestation have to do with internet – except serving as a place to spread stories, rumors, and make a colossal chilul Hashem?
Child abuse, all forms, existed long before electricity, let alone the digital age. So did almost every other community problem. Get your head away from the keyboard. The abuser may have many reasons why he behaves this way. Stop looking to generalize anything. And until you evaluate him and go through his history, you can not possible have any idea why he is this way. Go back to sleep.
The benefits of therapy cannot be minimized. Some get closure this way. I do not knock professional interventions. Some people keep repeating the need for the perp to be locked up (which is good for society) as a benefit to the victim. Research indicates this has no effect.
I have nothing but disgrace for molesters. I have worked to stop the defending of molesters and the bashing of victims. I agree with most of your comment, but you ruined it in the last line. You suggested that had the authorities been involved back then, the victim would have his closure and be over the trauma. This is a baseless comment. The victim continues to suffer the effects of trauma whether the perpetrator is free or behind bars. The reason to incarcerate has nothing to do with the victim’s psyche. I suggest you inquire of mental health clinicians who have experience in this area. It just ain’t true. There is a real reason to lock them up. To protect society. That’s it. Not revenge, not benefit for the victim, not rehabilitation. None of these work. Just protect the community from any further acts of abuse. Please get off this kick about closure. It sounds like you really care for victims, and that’s wonderful, but don’t fool yourself into believing that this has any therapeutic effect.
I appreciate your recognition. You’re correct, there are many in similar positions. However, let’s examine this from a different angle. Running a yeshiva is a business. There is an employer and there are employees. There is a hierarchy of authority and responsibility. There is also a mission, and there should be a structure that enables the mission to be accomplished. Now here is where there is a parting. There is always a mission that is stated in altruistic terms, full of spirituality, full of Torah value, full of a vision of being the yeshiva that is pivotal in the continuation of Torah. No one ever announces at the fund raising dinners how many students were denied admission, how many were expelled, and just how many former students are now struggling with getting into other yeshivos now that they have a history of being thrown out, and how many of their former talmidim are rejecting Shabbos, kashrus, and shmiras mitzvos. Funny that these numbers appear nowhere when there are efforts to solicit funds.
All I am saying is that financial issues are the business part of the yeshiva, and needs to stay there. Once we allow issues of dollars to influence the spiritual responsibilities, such as leaving a child to the influences of the street because of money, we have an ethical and moral problem here. And I question the honesty of the yeshiva when they portray themselves as having these lofty missions when there are neshamos that are sentenced to the street.
There is no question that the financial burden borne by yeshivos is massive. Tuition pays a portion of that. I understand. It’s the throwing out of children into the street that is unacceptable, and it runs counter to every Torah value I have ever encountered.
My personal experience was that I was sent a contract from my children’s school each year, and it was so far beyond my reach that I got in line to negotiate a contract. The individual I met with was a gvir who volunteered his time for the yeshiva. I am quite pleased with his graciousness to give of his time. However, this man has never needed to pinch pennies, and was unable to identify with the experiences of those he was pressing for money they did not have. I can speak for myself – no vacations ever, no bungalow, no trips to Florida or Eretz Yisroel. When I showed him my income, I hid nothing, and was not from those who skimp on tuition to live lives of luxury. I went for long periods without buying meat, as I could not afford it. I was pushed and taxed mercilessly. Then came the verbal agreement that I would not be held to the re-registration schedule, as my income was seasonal. I never left the school with an outstanding balance, but the threat to disallow my children in without admission cards was kept, despite agreement that this would not be done. My impression – the money mattered, my children did not.
Next – the community must make sure that expelling children or denying admission for financial reasons be banned – yes, as critical to the survival of Yiddishkeit as unfiltered internet. The child is being punished for a “crime” he/she did not commit. The scars of rejection will last longer than the outstanding balance. Even when the parents beg, borrow, and steal to pay up, the child is damaged seriously. Yes, expelling a child from yeshiva is dinei nefashos, as per the Chazon Ish and many others. These decisions are made by impulsive administrators or impulsive menahalim, not groups of assembled and unbiased dayanim. This disgrace is a curse to Klal Yisroel. The child expelled leaves with his/her generations that will follow, and no one in the yeshiva office cares. What a shanda!
GAW – It is fact that students are denied admission, re-admission, or are expelled due to financial reasons. I am in direct contact with such situations constantly. It pains me greatly to see the same people who make such decisions accorded honors at public events, when in reality, they are guilty of retzichah – yes, murder. May these people do all the teshuvah needed, including the restoration of the neshamos they rejected and tried to kill. I wish they do this successfully to restore the honor of Kvod Shomayim and true Kavod HaTorah.
Gavra said “no yeshiva will remove someone from their home due to nonpayment.” That might be accurate. However, one of the curses of our generation is that nonpayment of tuition often results with the child being refused admission and left either home and rejected or roaming the streets and rejected. Neither of these is an option if one considers such values as Torah and morality. This refusing to admit is a daily occurrence, and if anyone doubts this, just ask around. Those organizations that deal with placements have situations like this all the time. How many yeshivos and schools have midyear re-registrations at which balances must be paid in full in order to get admission cards that are collected at the door by security guards? I listen to fiascos like this all the time, justified by, “We need to pay our teachers.” Just that the teachers still do not get paid.
Our current chinuch system completely ignores the effects of rejection of a child. Throwing a student out for disciplinary reasons is usually an impulsive reaction. That is repulsive, and opposite of all principles of Torah chinuch. Even more disgusting is the rejection for financial reasons. I do not fault the yeshivos for demanding what is due. But penalizing a child, forever, is never an option – if one subscribes to morality.
From age 13 to 20 (boy) or 12-20 (girl), all halachos of adulthood apply. The exception is the implementation of onshin. No one in their right mind exempted them from issurim. If you read that in my comments, re-read them.
Therapy has some benefit to a molester. However, to date, no one has ever been able to demonstrate that treatment reduces the risk of recurrent events of molestation to zero. That suggests that there should be treatment, but that we still cannot depend on it with regards to safety for other children.
I have no problem with supporting their treatment for their own trauma. But there is no reason to consider them exempt from their responsibility of what they inflicted on others. Molesters may have a struggle with making choices, but they are not lacking the knowledge that they are invading the privacy and innocence of their victims. If that directs you away from a death penalty and guides you to side with life without parole, I would understand.
Check again. You are correct that a boy of 13 (bar mitzvah) and a girl of 12 (bas mitzvah) have all the obligations as adults. The exception is “onshin”. I will defer to the beki’im of the CR cite you the references on this.
There is absolutely no input on how mosdos spend their money. I have had the following daydream. I win the lottery to the tune of millions. I get bombarded by all the yeshivos asking for my donations. I reject each and every one of them. I then enter the office of each of these yeshivos, and I ask them for their books of outstanding balances of schar limud. Now that I’m wealthy, everyone takes me seriously and falls into immediate obedience. I jot down the information on several of these families. It doesn’t take much to determine that they are among those who are rightfully accused of pleading poverty while they excursion everywhere and live in luxury. Others are known to suffer from unemployment, medical issues, etc. I then write checks to the respective yeshiva and give it to the family! They can then payoff their balances. Voila! Tzedokoh, supporting mosdos, and allowing someone in financial trouble to get a night’s sleep without worrying that their child will be placed in the street due to financial difficulties (deserves a separate thread).
I shared this daydream with a menahel, and he angrily told me that he would declare me an enemy of Yiddishkeit. He stated that the yeshiva needs the freedom to pressure the parents for tuition. (I have no idea why.)
The Chayav Misaa discussion above is moot. Younger than age 20 is not considered a bar onshin, and sentences cannot be imnplemented.
The reference to teshuvah is also completely irrelevant. That entire subject is not to be addressed by other people. It is solely bein odom laMakom. If HKB”H is mocheil a molester, goody gumdrops for him. We are obligated to insure that our children are safe. Since there is no known treatment that can reliably render a molester 100% safe, we must take whatever precautions are needed. And halacha is not an impediment to this. On the contrary, Sh”A refers often to taking measures to protect the integrity and safety of the tzibbur.
PBA – You concluded that this 15 year old perpetrator was once a victim. You can’t possibly know that. The statistics of victims becoming molesters themselves are not overwhelming, though we can understand the process of victim coping with his own trauma by becoming the perp. The statistic is of a noticeable percentage of convicted molesters reporting a history of victimization. Though noticeable, the numbers are not dramatic. However, you went an extra step in suggesting that the victims will one day become perpetrators. That is rather unjust, to put it lightly. In fact, a very tiny percentage of victims ever do this. Pronouncing them perpetrators is revictimizing them. Unfair, dishonest, and intellectually repulsive.
Being among those who regrets that there cannot be a death penalty for molestation, I think there is not good news here. The perpetrator described is 15 – a minor. Even the courts will do only the minimum in terms of prosecution. The attitude seems to be that he will outgrow this tendency with maturation. We may disagree, but that’s the breaks here. Even the offender registry is only for those convicted. Whatever we, the public, knows for a fact, we do not have the authority to punish, convict, or otherwise act to restrain anyone. That is often unfortunate, as it appears to be here. Some publicity should be helpful, but probably only to a limited degree.
As the OP, I must chime in again. While I among those who view the rabbinical role in marital problems with skepticism, I cannot buy any statement that places the responsibility for any cluster of gittin at the feet of rabbis. There are so many factors that lead to gittin that naming a single “cause” is inaccurate and primitively foolish.
My intent was to generate dialogue about the advisability of seeking rabbinical counseling here. I have much direct contact with cases such as were described by Rabbi Weinberger. Inasmuch as these rabbis are not trained in rabbinical counseling, and are conducting such services by default of their job, I question the saichel in seeking their advice. The smartest line in any of the comments thus far was the quite from Rabbi Weinberger by awarenessvaad, “He is advocating getting Rabbonim to agree not to get involved in sholom bayis issues with out the joint involvement of a therapist.” I do not minimize the value of input by the Rav. However, I do question it seriously when the therapist is excluded. In an earlier comment, I explained my reasoning, as the approach is very different. The Rav seeks right vs. wrong, not the mission of diminishing and eliminating the barriers between the couple.
Here we go about the get law. There are two things wrong with this attack on it. 1 – the get law changed since the passing of Reb Moshe. It was replaced by a newer law. 2 – There is a serious debate about the get law, and the place for this to be argued is in the beis hamedrash among the talmidei chachomim, not the commenters in YWN – CR. If a couple wants to divorce, it is quite likely that the get law does not render it a get me’usa according to anyone.
We begin the process with rabbonim because the get should be done first. I don’t know laws in NJ (if that’s the jurisdiction where this couple is), but there might be a get law as in NY. I would much prefer the process of tha agreement/settlement of the affairs (division of assets, children support and visitation/custody, etc.) be done via negotiation or mediation rather than litigating everything in court. Litigation is expensive, costs both parties, and leaves over very little for either party or the children. The role of the rabbi here is not to give advice, but to case manage the process of divorce. It can become the option of the Rav to move the case to the courts if there is resistance to follow beis din. If the decision is to go that way, the Rav must be asked to put the decision (heter arkaos) in writing. If a therapist is needed, seek one.
Reb Dovid Weinberger addressed the topic of his article and his connection to the field – abuse. Unfortunately, domestic violence is among those plagues that has affected the frum community. I hope the reader of the above comment does not get the idea that Reb Dovid is proclaiming that abuse is the only area in which rabbonim lack appropriate training. There are many, many other areas that have a similar picture.
Firstly, what do rabbonim know about abuse which is not physical? I won’t answer. I will suggest that anyone who is inquisitive will ask their Rav.
Secondly, what do rabbonim know about how a spouse should deal with a partner who is cheating, addicted to alcohol/drugs/illicit relationships/internet and its schmutz/gambling? Again, I won’t answer. Just ask your Rav.
Thirdly, should quarreling couples go away for vacations together? Should the husband buy flowers or gifts for his wife?
Fourthly, can a wife who fears her husband be permitted to refrain from intimacy until their relationship improves?
How should a spouse behave when the other is diagnosed with mental illness and is in treatment?
When in-laws or parents intervene, what role should they be allowed to take?
Questions like these abound. While any response would require an assessment of the individual case, we can look at the general issues as common enough that any Rav should grasp the extent of the domain of his expertise. And many of these would be viewed very differently by the trained person versus the untrained.
I agree with Reb Dovid about abuse. But maybe we should extend that suggestion to the rest of the parsha.August 23, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am in reply to: The Torah's View of the Husband / Wife Relationship #894998
There is a fascinating commentary from the Gr”a on Mishlei (27:27). He distinguishes between a ??? and a ????. The ??? is someone who is rightfully equal to his subjects, but that the subjects accepted his role as king. They subjugate themselves to him. The ???? is someone who pushes himself into a position to rule over others, by force or pressure. It is worth noting that many of the references that address the male dominance position refer to the husband as ???, NOT ????. The explanation seems obvious. It is the wife that subjugates herself to the direction of the husband, not the process of the husband oppressing his wife to be the superior.
We might further recognize the line we recite in Maariv, ??????? ????? ???? ?????, where we refer to the ????? as something we willingly accept upon ourselves. As soon as the subjects no longer subscribe to their subject role, the ??? ceases to be a ???. I bet the choice of words in all of the above references is intentional.
Rav Pam was exceptional. There are and have been others who have demonstrated incredible insight and skill. The issue here is that the majority of rabbonim have their maalos and skills, but this work is not among them. With this statement, I am not denigrating them one iota. Their areas of expertise are elsewhere. Not every posek is qualified in Choseh Mishpat or in Mikvaos. Some are. If you’re building a mikva, you need to seek the guidance from someone with that specialty.
There is a conference that takes place every few years sponsored by the Agudah called the Business-Halacha Conference. There are several sections of presentations, one of which is mental health. In this, there have been presentations by panels consisting of rabbonim and professionals on this subject. Many new rabbonim complain about the roles into which they are thrust without preparation. The chief issue – shalom bayis.
Back to point #1. What can we do to compensate for the loss of Rav Pam ZT”L?
Sorry, but you are completely wrong. I am quite involved with both therapists and rabbonim, with good, healthy relationships with both. I have dealt with dayanim who have openly stated that certain other rabbonim were damaging to couples. Same goes for chosson or kallah teachers. I have clear, open statements from many rabbonim (well known ones) who bemoan the involvement of the rabbinate to the exclusion of professionals.
My experience with therapists is that the process is one of making shalom. Usually it works, sometimes things have deteriorated beyond repair. With rabbonim, the experience of many cases is quite the opposite. The reason many of the couples who seek rabbinical counseling do not divirce is because they are stopped from it, not because shalom has been restored. That is scary.
So, yes, I have spoken to many rabbonim extensively, and do so regularly. I am relaying what I hear from them. The rosy picture of rabbinical counseling you wish to portray is not so rosy.
Here’s a way to look at the difference between a professionally trained therapist and a Rov approaching the problem of a couple struggling with shalom bayis.
The Rov has training in Right vs. Wrong. The Rov is also trained to some degree in handling a din Torah between two litigants. These two litigants will present their cases, in which the Rov typically paskens in either direction. Again typically, the litigants remain foes or rivals after the psak, which hopefully is followed. The role of the Rov is not to resolve the machlokes, but to choose the halachic direction of right vs. wrong.
The therapist addresses the situation from a different prespective. The marriage is a bond between two people which is now endangered by a spirit of divisiveness that is a barrier between them. There are multiple factors that can be causing this wedge, some internal to the two, others external. The therapist looks to evaluate the wedge and how to remove it. Some marriages have deteriorated so much that repair is impossible. Sometimes, one or both spouses are unwilling to consider reconciliation, or have other plans besides remaining married. Each case in unique, and even those therapists who want to reconcile marriages may be unable to succeed.
If a Rov has some training, is connected to trained professionals, or has a very special gift of ability to adopt the therapist role, he can perform the holy mitzvah of ???? ???? ??? ??? ?????. Otherwise, there is good reason to fear the outcome.
I find your accusation blatantly and viciously false. Most frum therapists are well aware of halacha, and the questions asked of the poskim who understand mental health and therapy have included shailos on this very situation. That question was also posed to poskim of today’s generation and the past one. Therapists are the ones that ask these shailos, and they often keep open access to these rabbonim for the events that involve halacha within their practice of the profession. What is less common is that rabbonim, who are often consulted in lieu of a professional, who have a direct line to discuss the issues of overlap. The Rav should, at least, discuss the counseling matter with a trained professional, unless they hand the referral over to the therapist.
You are incorrect in brushing off mental health professionals as not adhering to halacha. This is a shameful and disgraceful accusation that is imply untrue. Good thing it is Elul.
Parents who have OTD children often complain that they were not good parents. They are then brought back to reality when confronted with the successes of their other children. While there are dysfunctional homes and there are parents who are failures in the parenting department, most parents are adequate or better. (I learned this at MASK meetings.)
The fact is that children are not identical, and each one needs a parenting style that is molded to fit the individual. Yet, many parents try to mold the child to fit the parenting style, and this can become a problem. This problem is rampant in chinuch when all children are expected to respond identically to rules, teaching styles, curricula, and discipline styles. The good rebbe knows how to manage a classroom with inequality (as in ???? ???? ?? ?? ????).
When a parent misapplies a parenting strategy to a child where it backfires, we have the making of problems, including OTD. These errors are sometimes neglectful, rarely intentional. Focusing on the parent, as in laying blame, is futile. Past actions cannot be changed, and expecting that to be the only cause will divert attention from many other possible factors. There is much that parents can do to help the situation of an OTD child, but the blame stuff does not work.
As to the matter of the Avos being held responsible for the sins of their children, we must place this in the context of how HKB”H deals with tzaddikim ???? ?????, held up to a higher standard than anyone else.
You are so wrong it is pathetic. Do you work with OTD kids? Or their parents? Do you know these situations well enough to blast such insane and untrue generalizations? Your comment is shameful, and you owe some requests for mechila to many people.
Here are some facts you might consider:
* The environment to which our children are exposed is highly toxic – worse than any other generation. For examples, think about technology, the exposure of information virtually everywhere, and the norms of the society in which we live.
* Despite the proliferation of apparatus to simplify life and save us time, there is no one who really saves anything. We’re all busier than ever, more preoccupied with countless things, and distracted successfully away from the home.
* Our entire chinuch system is based on larger and larger groups, with the supreme focus being compliance, not education. Read through some yeshivos and school entrance packets with the “rules” and the consequences of varying levels of rejection (detention, suspension, expulsion). Now tell me how a talmid is supposed to develop the motivation to excel in Torah and mitzvos.
* A child grows up in many different environments with many layers of complexity of influences. It is stupid and unfair to lay blame at the feet of anyone for all or most cases of OTD kids. As many cases of those who have backgrounds of “dysfunctional families”, there are at least as many who are victims of the chinuch system, or have other experiences that pushed them into the realms of struggle.
* There are many like you, PBA, who blame parents for everything. So did Freud, and he has been shelved by most members of the mental health professions – and for a good reason. Most people who point fingers at the families are actually looking to divert any attention to the failures and shortcomings of communities and chinuch. It is a simple, but ineffective defense.
* As for the opening question, each instance has its own unique features, and would require a specific eitzah from someone broad minded enough to grasp the entire situation. These generalities about all OTD kids or 80% of them, etc. are foolish and frankly primitive thinking.
I love your question. It points directly to the fact that you lack the basic information about the subject. You should have first asked those questions before berating an entire profession.
Firstly, marital therapy, as well as all the other forms of psychological therapy are not medicine. Psychiatrists, having their medical training, have the additional resource of prescribing medications for certain conditions. The talk therapies are not medicine. However, there are some interesting parallels.
Secondly, social workers and psychologists, as well as other newer fields of mental health, undergo intensive education and training. There are academic courses, where one must demonstrate the achievement of the knowledge. These encompass theories (a variety of them, often conflicting with each other) as well as research that studies various aspects of human behavior. There is also a major component of supervised activity, where therapists begin working in the field, as in internships, where all work is closely supervised. They are given the guidance to develop the skills and to improve them while doing actual work. No, the clients are not subjected to “students”, because supervisors assume the responsibility for each case throughout treatment. This way, there is something to protect the client if there would be an error. Each field has its own structure for this training. I have a close friend that attended several extended trainings long after graduating with an advanced degree. This took much time and expense. Most therapists also have collegial relationships with other professionals which they use for “peer supervision”. These activities are the professional version of ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???.
We are fortunate to have stories of gedolim and tzaddikim who perceptibly knew exactly what to say to someone in emotional pain. Without a doubt, this was an implementation of ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??. The Torah even contains how to fix your car when there is engine trouble. Torah is the blueprint for everything. But neither you nor I possess the keys to unlock this information. Once in a while, there is someone whose kedusha takes them to that level where they can truly master all these skills with just their Torah knowledge. Do you know anyone at that madreigo today? As matters stand, my experiences, via several friends who are therapists, is that rabbonim today inflict more damage than help, and that the therapists are busy fixing up what they rabbonim ruined. I opened this thread to collect other viewpoints and perhaps other experiences.
Perhaps a perusal of some of the books that you may find in your seforim store that discuss marriage will enlighten you more than comments in the CR. Check out those written by professionals, and tell me that they were less knowedgeable that the Rov whose training is to pasken right vs. wrong (which is most destructive in working with a struggling couple).
Precisely what is meant by personal experience? How many therapists did you encounter that sought to terminate a marriage that was able to be saved? One? Maybe two? You generalize to all therapists, and personal experience without a larger sampling does not tell us anything about all therapists.
You seem to have concluded that even frum therapists are beholden to goyishe teachings, even if they are a departure from Torah. Now that’s a serious accusation, and I challenge it. Have you ever attended a conference of Nefesh where several hundred frum mental health professionals gather annually? Would you like to taste the Torah taught there that centers around issues of mental health? Maybe you would like to attend the daf yomi shiur or the many others in the Nefesh environment. An alternative to your brushing aside many hundreds of professionals whose yiras shomayim is worth respecting might be to get to know some of them and taste their Torah based lifestyles. Maybe they use poskim and renowned talmidei chachomim as their guides in both areas of hashkafah and halacha. Your “goyishe ideas and philosophies” accusation really has no basis in fact. Wouldn’t you rather make comments from a vantage point of having information rather than your bitter and angry dismissal of a huge, recognized career of frum therapists who follow a Torah lifestyle? Your comment suggests an individual experience that was uncomfortable for you – and your reaction to devalue a greater group of professionals.
It gets interesting when those who know way too little blast their opinions about a subject. There are rotten apples in every barrel, and there will be therapists who are not good just like individuals in any other career. But most therapists are trained well, have a professional code of ethics that they follow, and work within a domain of their training and experience. So the anti-therapy people out there are actually barking in the wind.
Feif un was correct in the quote from his Rosh Yeshiva complaining about the misuse of the Rebbe. In one of the last issues of the Jewish Observer, Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz (from Monsey – Yeshiva Darchei Noam – Project YES) wrote a feature article addressing the differing areas for which we turn to Gedolim and Rabbonim and how these are easily confused and misused. Not all Rabbonim are qualified to give advice, and many excuse themselves from it.
The Steipler Gaon ZT”L would have numerous people coming to him with “kvitlach” as one would bring to a chassidishe rebbe. He complained (I was present and heard this), “Ich bin nit kein rebbe. Far vos kumen zei tzu mir?” He told me that he takes these kvitlach, places them in a drawer, and each night he recites a perek tehilim in front of the drawer. No one will question the gadlus of the Steipler. And his role of the talmid chochom, was actually his responsibility. We are told, “yeilech aitzel chochom v’yevakesh olov rachamim.” Go to a chochom and he will daven for the choleh.
Sometimes there is a case that is quite simple, and anyone with common sense and objectivity can give advice. The automobile version of this might be to put air in the tire that is low. But most cases land in front of a third party when there are accumulated layers of complexity. Some people have already taken actions that are severe, whether it involves money, violence or other forms of abuse, meddling of outsiders, legal actions, etc. The amateurs who wish to help are overwhelmed by all this, and lack the skills to navigate the jungle of issues. Rabbonim might serve as a first step, but need to be able to move a case to where it can be resolved, one way or the other. Sometimes ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? might spell divorce.
Just as someone enters a doctor’s office with a specific complaint (sore throat, fever, pain, etc.) and can hear various treatment options such as medication, bed rest, and the like, the same occurs when a couple goes to a therapist. There are probably a few who are “trigger happy”, and tend to give up on the marriage more easily than others. But, on the whole, most professionals are NOT divorce therapists and do not work on splitting up couples. There are imperfect therapists just as there are less than perfect plumbers, carpenters, and lawyers. many who do not have training in marital therapy do not accept such referrals, and will recommend to seek help elsewhere. And, as a rule, a couple enters the therapist’s office seeking to repair the marriage. The accusation that therapists seek divorces is baseless, and facts are otherwise. Good try.
My OP was not to malign Rabbonim. It was to point out the misuse of Rabbonim, where we call on them to perform counseling that is outside of their domain of experience and expertise. With their lack of training in this area, their noble intentions often do not compensate for their lack of skills. Isn’t it hard when a friend asks you to help them fix their car and you can’t (since you are not a mechanic)? No one wants to say no. Yet, doing so would really be a mitzvah.August 9, 2012 1:27 pm at 1:27 pm in reply to: Why was the National Anthem or G-D Bless Ameirica not sung by Siyum Hashas? #893671
I was just thinking – if someone tried to introduce a religious prayer at a secular event – wouldn’t it be challenged as a church-state issue? Maybe that could happen if a national anthem was played/sung at a siyum hashas, a purely religious event.
Please check out the Mesilas Yeshorim, Perek 20, about the obligation to give mussar to another. Paraphrasing, if you know that the individual will not accept it, even willfully do more of the wrong behavior, the mitzvah is not say NOTHING. According to this, the chiyuv of tochacha is founded on its reception. If it will not achieve the desired outcome, the chiyuv is not just absent, but the real chiyuv is to refrain from giving this mussar. The M”Y is not clear on this, but it may be that he is explaining the second part of the posuk, ??? ??? ???? ??? as defining the parameters of this ?????, that if it will leave the person with the sin, it should not be done.
Forgiveness is a process, not an event of a moment. One needs to be prepared to let go of the feelings of hurt. That is not automatic, and struggling with this is not abnormal. Some experiences of pain, abuse, or offense canbe longlasting. It requires much work to overcome that. Just expressing that one is mochel does not mean that true forgiveness has been achieved. The typical ritual of erev Yom Kippur, of, “Are you mochel me?” followed by, “Yes, I’m mochel you. Are you mochel me?” – is basically that which could be accomplished by a verbal monkey or a talking bird. There is nothing but the acting out of a simple script, without the required emotional involvement. The one asking for mechila has as much work to do to be prepared to do so with sincerity and the one granting this mechila.
There is a recent book by Rabbi Dr. A.J. Twerski on Forgiveness (published by ArtScroll). Check it out.August 3, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am in reply to: The Torah's View of the Husband / Wife Relationship #894983
This thread is heading in a direction of those preaching male dominance and frank chauvinism, with retorts that draw attention to the virtuosity that is granted to the female. My earlier comment is that the Torah is not chauvinistic at all. Hashem simply delegated certain roles to the male and others to the female, and made their creation such that they complement and complete each other. Once a marriage is turned into one of dominance and servitude, it ceases to be a marriage, and deteriorates into that of master and slave. This is not only opposite of Torah goals, but the individuals involved will lead lives of misery. There is nothing spiritual in that relationship.
If the comments move into the debate about the dominance stuff, I will respectfully ask the moderator to close the thread and even remove it. It would not be an educated discussion with a purpose other than to battle for victory on a blog. Someone must set some higher goals in their life than to stoop to that level.August 2, 2012 9:35 pm at 9:35 pm in reply to: The Torah's View of the Husband / Wife Relationship #894973
Your post was rather irritating to me. I assume you provided accurate translations of the Rambam and the Menoras Hamaor. I could, if I chose, supplment your post with several more references that sound much as these do. The part about your selections is that the context is sorely lacking. I call this a serious, intentional error of omission, which is more in line with aggression, albeit passive.
Missing here is the other side of the story – the obligations a man has to his wife. Let’s try a basic one on for size: ????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????. The respect and affection from a huband to the wife are expected to be substantial. It is in the context of this that the words of the Rambam and the Menoras Hamaor ring not just true and accurate, but applicable. One cannot demand any of the subjugating aspects of marriage of a wife who is treated like garbage. A relationship that contains no trust will NOT permit any of this. The husband that demands this is a tyrant, and deserves the absence of respect he has earned. I do not justify anyone committing acts of disrespect. But I cannot fault a victim or recipient of such treatment by the other spouse for failing or falling short in their respect of the abusive spouse.
I hope that other commenters will ring in with the quotes that describe the Torah demanded environment of the marital relationship where there is mutual respect, love, affection, and the togetherness that lends meaning to the posuk of ???? ???? ???.
There a few misconceptions that are repeated in the above comments.
1. Therapists – weirdos. There are weirdos who are electricians, insurance brokers, journalists, doctors, any other career, even rabbonim. And there are plenty of each of those categories who are nice, ethical, moral people who are extremely conscious of what they know (and can practice) and their limitations.
2. Therapy for who, for what. True, everyone can benefit from therapy. But let’s ask the first question that any therapist should ask a newcomer client. “What problem brings you here?” If one cannot specify an issue they wish to resolve, nothing will occur in that therapy besides, perhaps, learning to use insight, and some character improvement. These are wonderful, but are luxuries. Here is the cost factor.
3. Premarital therapy. I have not a doubt that some people need this. I suggest an alternative. Premarital education. I do not refer to the needed chosson and kallah classes. Those halachos are crucial to living as a shomer Torah umitzvos. I refer specifically to learning how to communicate, how to disagree respectfully, how to grow into a bond of safety, spirituality, and true love. Despite the denial I heard from those who do such teaching, it is rare to find this being done properly. And maybe the time and place is much before engagement, even dating. Do our yeshivos, schools, and seminaries do any of this? Don’t all answer at once. What difference should it make if the one offering this guidance and teaching possesses letters after their names or the titles of Rabbi or Rebbetzin before their names?
There is a sefer from Reb Klonymous Kalman of Piescecznia (author of Chovas Hatalmidim) called ??? ????? ???? in which he describes a proposed self help mussar group with rules and guidelines. This idealogically resembles what was initally suggested by Reb Yisroel Salanter. It proposed a lifestyle that involved a heavy amount of introspection that was brutally honest, where others were permitted to offer their help and suggestion to overcome the challenges of midos we face all the time. This is an example of an idea that can be implemented into our educational system which would obviate the need for professional intervention later. Sadly, nothing of this sort goes on, and we are left to our own guess of what midos are worth emulating and fixing into our characters.
Boys or Girls:
Stop the bickering. Most people with addictions lack the skills to stop without outside help. Have some people succeeded alone? Certainly. Would I recommend someone undertake that challenge alone? No. We must understand a few things about the mechanisms of addiction. Every addict, regardless of what the addiction is to, has undergone many episodes in which they really want to quit but cannot. Yes, more effort and consistency would work. But the addict does not have a reserve of those skills to tap. So they utilize the outside help.
Addiction is characterized by denial. The addict does not recognize the problem. This can take many different forms. Ask an addict in recovery about their own denial experiences, and brace yourself for some interesting revelations. Such are defense mechanisms. Until the addict encounters some really unpleasant situation (aka rockbottom), change is unexpected. It is the addict serious about recovery that actually reaches out. Often, another recovering person becomes the catalyst for the addict accepting help. Let’s say this in plain English. One of the most notorious diseases in which the illness itself convinces the person that he (or she) does not have it is addiction. This denial persists long into the entry into recovery, except that treatment and support group programs help the addict learn to introspect. One can learn to look inside oneself and even be critical of what one finds. This is a process, well known to our master baalei mussar in which one needs to continually make a cheshbon hanefesh so that they can invest in tikun hamiddos (described in the first page of Mesilas Yeshorim as the primary purpose of one’s existence).
I don’t quite care whether there is a professional therapist involved. If the person succeeds (a long shot), I’ll be there to cheer. If he/she fails (which is the better bet), the professionals still exist and will be available.
I just saw a kuntres that was distributed in shuls blasting daf yomi and the Agudah. It contained quotes from many gedolim, inlcuding the Kedushas Tzion of Bobov, The Satmar Rov, and many others. Within a few minutes, it was clear that this kuntres was nothing of ther than ???? ?????, and I lifted the pile and threw it into the garbage can. If someone does not want to learn daf yomi, that is okay with me. If someone holds a shittah that such learning is ineffective, they are entitled to their opinion. But to spend money, time, and energy to fight a kinus of Klal Yisroel celebrating the learning of Shas is kefira, and stands against Torah. I treated these publications the same as I would literature from the missionaries.
I hold the gedolim quoted in that kuntres in the highest of respect. What they said in their time is not relevant today, and disseminating those opinions today is unfair and dishonest, even offensive to the tzaddikim who spoke to their generation. I do not question their judgment. Just note when they spoke and to whom they did so.
There certainly are therapists who can damage. There are rotten apples in every bushel. However, very, very few rabbonim have the extensive experience with shalom bayis issues you expect, and that makes the average Rov, unless you know that he is the exception, NOT qualified to advise or direct. Any decent therapist knows their areas of expertise. If they do not have the experience to work with addictions, they redirect referrals to someone that does. Same goes for any other area. Being mesader kiddushin at a chuppah does NOT qualify to give advice on marital issues. And I proclaim loudly, the same goes for chosson and kallah teachers, who have racked up horrendous records of ruining marriages if they are asked for advice after the marriage.
I once asked a well recognized and respected Dayan about a certain chosson teacher. Once identifying who it was, he turned and spit on the floor. He said to me, “You know of a few cases of casualties of this man. I know of many dozens.”
Smicha qualifies one to pasken shailos. It goes without saying that there has been shimush by veteran and seasoned poskim. Now, please tell me, what qualifies that Rov, big talmid chochom, etc., to counsel anyone about anything? Training? Shimush? Any Rov challenged with a problem will want to help. If he believes he knows what to do, though with no experience, he runs a risk of harming equivalent to a grocer practcing medicine and surgery.
I direct you to the peirush of the Ramban on Bava Kama daf 87. (Hard to find – it is the only piece of Ramban on Bava Kama and thus missing in most sets of Ramban on Shas.) He is clear that practicing any form of health care without proper training is assur. I await your reply after you have reviewed that Ramban.
Your statement, while it sounds like you want to patronize the talmidei chachomim of our time, based on ??? ?? ???? ??, is quite scary. I explained exactly why the Rov is NOT the person to approach when there is a problem lkke this. The matters of health have already been handed off to doctors, as we know, ???? ????? ???? ????? ??????. This includes mental health. In fact, we are told that a ???? should approach a ??? for the purposes of davening for him. There is no Torah precedent to considering a ??? a doctor.
One can respect Torah and its ?????? immensely, but not seek their advice to repair one’s car or install an air conditioner. My extensive experience with rabbonim is that they might mean well, but few have the talents and skills to provide useful guidance in situations involving addictions, mental illnesses, and marital discord. I don’t fault them. I do fear those who blindly seek advice from someone who does not really know the answers. There are dangerous pitfalls. The truly smart Rov knows his limits, and refers those seeking his advice to those who are more skilled to offer it.
I must add a comment here, agreeing with some, challenging others.
The man who indulges in the inappropriate sights on the internet is NOT cheating on his wife. He is seeking some additional thrills to satisfy a taavah. His behavior has NOTHING to do with his wife, not her behavior towards him, not her nagging, not her appearance, nor their marital life together. However, the wife who discovers her husband with any such interests will understandably feel that he was cheating on her. But that does NOT put the onus of work on the wife. Rather, it is the sole responsibility of the husband to address his problem, the needed behavior change, and the character work to change him internally so that these taavos do not rule over him. Wife needs the guidance to support her husband through the work he needs to do to reclaim his status as the spiritual head of household.
Besides rare exceptions, the Rov has little to contribute to this. Most Rabbonim will either side with the husband, making light of the issue, prescribing a shiur of Chofetz Chaim or something otherwise holy but missing the point completely. Others will side with the wife, suggesting prisha, ultimatums, etc. That is why it is obvious to many that Rabbonim do not have much of a role in addressing marital issues, and certainly not most issues in the realm of mental health. In marital dilemmas, playing the role of the impartial is critical in bring about resolution of the problem. Doing so is the product of training, which the average Rov does not have.
I wish more people would realize that will power is not reliable. Every addict says it, and every addict learns that this is a recipe for failure. Just think for a minute. Will power is not a steady state. Rather, it is dynamic. As one of the therapists I know always tells me, will power is an event – that of making a decision. One can easily and effortlessly change his mind seconds later. Presto, a new will power! In order to cease involvement in a behavior which has any compulsivity or habituation to it, one needs more than will power. Relying on oneself rarely works, and it is a long shot. To believe one is unique and capable of doing it alone is self-deceptive.
The draw to inappropriate material is a taavah that affects all, and requires constant work to confront the challenge. Once someone has fallen into its clutches, the power of bechira becomes tougher, and there is desperate need for outside force to withstand the taavah. Whether this is an informed and skilled Rav or a therapist depends on the situation. But the interest in allowing the only positive force to be will power is a grave mistake. Addicts in recovery discover this the hard way.
The painful reality is that the organizations are in more trouble today than ever, and their efforts to fund raise are being expanded out of desperation. Every dollar for them is a plus (or more accurately, less of a minus). I can understand their interests in finding Yidden anywhere and everywhere to pull in a few more dollars. However, just like they are hurting, so is everyone else. The yeshivos and school where we send our children have had massive cutbacks in funds, and they turn to the parents to keep them afloat. Every other organization where we have been giving has lost donors and other sources of money, and we are pressured to keep them afloat. Our costs of living have also increased. The tzedokos to panhandlers in shuls and at our doors have also increased. Many of us have relatives or neighbors who are unemployed, and we are shunting our money there. Bottom line, there are fewer tzedokoh dollars available for these organizations who call me on the phone that I don’t know or have any connection to them. I try to be nice in telling them that I still give more than I am able, I still have unpaid debts, and I will never pledge on the phone. They are desperate, and insist on postdated checks or my credit cards. That’s chutzpah, but they are desperate.
I simply pray that these organizations find these forms of fund raising to be losses for them, not profitable. They will then stop this. I’m all for tzedokoh, and legitimate forms of obtaining it and using it for wonderful things. To be interrupted at work many times a day for these arguments is a major disturbance. I wish they would stop. I wish I could get my name off their lists.
These callers are always representing organizations. In contrast to the individuals who may getcha in shul or at the door whose identity you may never know or be able to research, the organizations tend to be somehow known. I respond to all of them that I never pledge on the phone. I remind them that their marketing tactic gives away their legiotimacy, since I never heard of them, certainly did not give last year, and am already overdrawn in my tzedokoh donations already. Before they can continue with their barrage of arguments (they are well trained for exactly this), I tell them something like “Thank you for calling, but please remove my name from your list – I never, ever give in response to phone solicitation.”