web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

To Be a Parent Is to Be a Very Special Rebbe

Like Avraham

In a Jewish Press front-page essay last month (“God Loves Our Lost Children – and So Must We,” Jan. 31), I wrote about the scandal of families turning away from their children when they go off the derech. While acknowledging how hurtful and confusing it is to have children who leave the path, I wrote that the only way for such children to find a way back to the path is through parental love and understanding.

Easy to write. Very difficult to employ in our lives. Even parents who love their children as only parents can find themselves incapable of seeing their children with the same eyes of love as had previously been the case. In a very real sense they had ceased to be as children and were more like strangers. And as we know, despite precepts to the contrary, it is easier to despise the stranger than someone dear.

The reactions to my essay and position ranged across the emotional spectrum. Some parents could simply not conceive of allowing an OTD child to remain in their home.

“How do I allow such a son, eating treif, to stay in my home?” asked one.

Others worried about the “infectious” potential of such a child. “What about the impact on my other children?” asked another.

And still others simply could not find it within themselves to see their OTD child as their child. “You expect me to love this…this…this creature? Once, he was my son. No more. I hate him.”

Some parents dismissed the exhortation to love the OTD child as nothing more than “pop psychology,” itself evidence of the forces in the world that drew their children off the path. The level of anger and vitriol that met my essay was astonishing and, I think, suggests the power of the position I shared.

It is easy to blame, to paint the world in simple black and white. “I’m right. She’s wrong.” Of course it’s “wrong” to be OTD. Doesn’t the fact that we refer to these children as off the derech say as much? The pressing issue, perhaps even greater than why they became OTD, is how we get them back on the derech.

How do we salvage these beautiful children so they are not in greater danger and their lives are not thrown away?

I understand the pain, frustration, and anger of the parents, even the small minority of parents whose feelings become so self-destructive and all-consuming that they would rather say Kaddish for their child. I understand. But I do not agree.

Rabbi Moshe Grylak used three of his insightful Mishpacha “Point of View” columns to try to understand how frum parents could ever allow their daughters to end up on the streets, either after they’d run away or been thrown out of homes. Where, on the cold and dangerous streets, can they find sanctuary? Abandoned to such a world, how will they find their way back? He noted that there are tzaddikim out there such as Rabbi Yair Nahari who established Beit Naomi to give these lost girls shelter; to provide safety, love and purpose for them. But Rabbi Grylak was not as interested in praising the tzaddik as he was in learning from him.

How could all this even happen? How could parents, regardless of the bad blood and resentment between them and their daughters, be indifferent to the horrors facing a young girl on the streets – alone and unprotected, with nothing to eat, no place to sleep and such easy prey to all sorts of evil?

Rav Nahari, who would never dream of judging such parents, noted that the situation becomes so horrible that they feel they simply cannot live under the same roof as their daughter. “They feel such terrible shame,” he explained. “They have suffered because of their daughter.” They feel betrayed and humiliated – personally and publicly. They hear the whispers of others. They feel the judgment. They are being blamed.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “To Be a Parent Is to Be a Very Special Rebbe”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. President Barack Obama
FAA Ban on Flights to Israel ‘Worse than BDS’
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Meir Kahane at the National Press Club ~ 1985

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza have been using human shields to protect them from the IDF as they launch rocket attacks against Israel.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Jews inside Paris synagogue surrounded by protesters throwing rocks, holding bats and chairs.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

Map_of_the_Continent_of_Europe

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

It is up to our government to ensure that their sacrifices were not made for short-term gains.

Supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has become dangerous in Malmo.

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.

“Fulfill my requests for good, grant my request, be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion…remember us for a good, long life…give us bread to eat, clothes to wear…”

Too often, as parents and teachers, we think it means talking at our children, delivering to them good and worthy content that they should simply hear and assimilate into their minds and hearts.

I was singing, dancing, jumping and, sweating. Just joy and happiness. One child on my shoulders after another. What happiness! And then, the little boy on my shoulders – he could not have been older than six – began to cry.

The only way for children to find a way back to the path is through parental love and understanding.

Nothing defines a community so much as its recognition of common leadership and willingness to respect its authority.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/to-be-a-parent-is-to-be-a-very-special-rebbe/2014/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: