Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Young adults I have mentored have described homes that are battlegrounds. I’ve heard about parents who are unabashedly contentious and critical of each other, fathers who behave like boot camp generals, mothers who are unrelenting perfectionists and who don’t give their children love. And the list goes on.
* * * * *
Young adults very rarely rebel against Hashem. They know too little about Hashem to wage a rebellion against Him. Young adults are predominantly rebelling against their dysfunctional parents. It’s up to parents to ensure that their children have healthy and wholesome role models.
Youth are also turned off by perceived injustice and hypocrisy. One area of particular concern is when questions about Yiddishkeit are deflected or repudiated. I’ve met people who have were scorned and ridiculed by teachers for asking fundamental questions.
Many of the young women we work with gave up tznius. What happened? Several of them were disparaged by their principals after inquiring why it was necessary to conform to a certain standard of tznius. Other young ladies were turned off after they later discovered that what purportedly was absolute halacha was merely a chumrah created or adopted by the school. Children are absolutely repelled by what they view as disingenuous behavior.
Hostile or dishonest reactions to questions are anathema to Yiddishkeit. Torah learning is predicated on shakla v’tarya, questions and answers.
A young boy learning about the miracles of the midbar asked his rebbi, “How is it physically possible that the people wore the same clothing for forty years and that it didn’t wither?” The rebbi, annoyed at such an irreverent question, snidely responded, “So Yankel, I see you are mechusar emunah!”
The rebbi may be surprised to learn that the Rosh asks this very question on his pirush to the Chumash. Whether this confounded the Rosh or one of his students is immaterial. Rabbeinu Asher gave enough credence to the question to record it for posterity and offer an answer. His solution is quite intriguing. He could have simply insisted that there is nothing beyond Hashem’s purview. Instead, he offers a more pragmatic explanation and states that we find a parallel to this extraordinary occurrence in nature: When a snail grows, the shell has to be enlarged to fit the snail’s body. According to the Rosh, the clothing worn by Dor HaMidbar took on the property of the snail, which gradually extends its shell by adding new parts at the shell opening.
We similarly find that the Ramban questions (and answers) how the teivah was able to physically accommodate an innumerable amount of species of all forms and sizes. The Netziv questions (and answers) the reality of finding fossils from prediluvian times (some posit he’s referring to dinosaurs), when all remnants were supposed to be eradicated in the mabul. The point is that not only is every question deserving of an answer but there’s virtually no question that hasn’t been grappled with by Chazal. We should anticipate children’s questions and scour our repository of seforim and consult with gedolim for answers.
Our greatest gaonim – including the Steipler Gaon of the past generation (who though renowned for his tremendous geonus and hasmodah, was not particularly known as a ba’al machshavah) – wrote sifrei hashkafa, never shying away from issues that needed to be addressed, explicating Yiddishkeit in the vernacular of their respective generations. We must create an environment and a Hashkafah curriculum where respectful questions are not only tolerated but where they are encouraged.
My Rebbi, Rav Pam, zt”l, often discussed the Gemara that condemns someone who merely learns Torah but doesn’t teach others (Sanhedrin 98b). The Gemara condemns this person as one who is defaming Hashem’s Word. Rav Pam explained that Torah learning is incomparably contagious and joyous – so much so that it is virtually impossible to contain one’s love for it.
A person who learns Torah and is not bursting at his seams is not appreciating the Torah for its true value – in effect he is diminishing the value of Torah. Rather than appear as a burden, Torah is supposed to be the key to happiness and ultimate fulfillment.
* * * * *
Our children are trained to get caught up with the subtleties and nuances of mitzvah observance before they have a genuine appreciation for being a Yid. Children can grow resentful of punctilious observance if they don’t understand the grand scheme.
One student complained, “Nothing is josher – everything is off limits. I can only eat such and such. I am restricted in my dress. I have to guard my language and always behave dignified.” I explained to him that the word “kosher” has the identical letters and can be construed as k’sar – like a prince. A Jew, like a prince, has a certain diet, dress code, and etiquette because of his ennobled status. Observance is not a burden, but rather the greatest honor and privilege.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”
Israel’s R&D expenditure is higher than any western country.
With the passage of time, fewer and fewer people are left to testify about life and death in the camps at the hands of the Nazis.
A fascinating Biblical echo
So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.
Why should a young Israeli become an observant Jew when Judaism’s official representatives preserve it in its exile version?
Like Chamberlain, Obama sued the ayatollahs for peace, insisting the only alternative to appeasement is war.
I have frequently drawn up lists of what I love most about Israel, and Arik Einstein has ranked high.
This new mood among Christian Arabs has worried the communists and Arab nationalist.
After nearly five years in office it should be clear that President Obama has always been a man on a mission to change America and the world. To be sure, we couldn’t disagree more with his vision – and in this we think we speak for most Americans.
We find it noteworthy, if not surprising, that with all the well-documented systematic human rights abuses committed by governments around the world – including, but not limited to, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe – not one resolution condemning any of them is planned by the UN General Assembly.
For his latest book, City College’s William Helmreich walked 120,960 blocks – in other words, nearly every block of New York’s five boroughs.
Throughout the past week we have thanked Hashem for the improbable defeat of the powerful Seleucid forces by a small, untrained band of Jewish fighters. We also celebrated the story’s one open miracle, when the menorah’s lights burned for eight consecutive days following the Temple’s rededication.
As rav of the Brooklyn Jewish Experience, a local kiruv organization devoted to reaching out to Brooklyn’s almost 70 percent non-observant Jewish population, I also teach and counsel young adults (18-33 years old) from the frum community. These students are often indistinguishable from their frum peers. Outwardly they may appear frum, but inwardly they’re disenchanted, jaded, and alienated. Their exterior appearance is largely a façade and their feeling of disenfranchisement from frumkeit is frighteningly real. There are others that are part of our program who, tragically, already took the next step and are no longer observant.
According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97), Mashiach will arrive before the Jewish year 6000. This means the full range of spectacular prophecies and supernatural events associated with the End of Days must occur within the next 228 years.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/kerovim-or-rechokim-where-should-our-kiruv-priorities-lie/2012/04/12/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: