web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Ba’al Teshuvah Parents, Resentful Son

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

The letter you shared last week from a troubled wife who became a ba’alas teshuvah, a returnee to religious observance, hit a sensitive spot in my heart. My husband and I have also been struggling with this problem – albeit from a different perspective.

We met in college and were sweethearts for three years before we were married. We found a place in Manhattan and had a group of friends whose outlook on life was similar to ours. Torah was something we never thought about.

A few years later we had a sweet little boy. He was a shining star in our lives. When he was 14 my husband and I visited Israel for the first time. We didn’t want our son to miss school so he stayed with my sister. The visit was a turning point in our lives. From the moment we came to Jerusalem and my hand touched the Kotel, my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t understand what happened; there was no logical explanation. Amazingly, my husband felt the same way.

I remember telling him, “It’ just ancient stone. There is nothing that special or spectacular about it.” “You’re right,” he said. “When we went to China and saw that huge wall it never made us cry. It didn’t enter our hearts. So why are we crying now?”

One day when we were at the Kotel we met a rabbi who invited us to his home for a Shabbos dinner, something we had never experienced. When we came to his modest apartment, we were overwhelmed. This rabbi and his wife had eight children, one more adorable than the other and all so polite. He had many other guests besides us. The songs, the prayers, the Torah teachings all made a deep impression. When my husband and I returned to our hotel we kept asking ourselves, “How is it that we missed all this? How is it that in all our years in the U.S. we never knew about Shabbos?”

Shabbos was something we’d always associated with “religious Jews” and it had no meaning in our lives. To us it was a day to shop, to go to the spa or gym, or to indulge in many of the other diversions our New York lifestyle provided.

When we returned to the U.S. we were determined to find out more, to study and explore. Prior to our departure the rabbi in Jerusalem gave us your books and told us about the various Torah seminars and programs available in New York. We embarked on our journey of self-discovery with zeal and enthusiasm. We went to your classes and some other programs as well. We went on Shabbotons and loved them.

Step by step we became observant. We decided to have more children – children we could raise in a Torah spirit, who would study in yeshiva, who would be nurtured in mitzvos. G-d blessed us with two little girls who are the joy of our lives.

And now to the problem that gives us no rest: Our son was a teenager when we became observant. He could not handle the changes taking place in our home. He was angry. He resented the yarmulke on my husband’s head and of course he refused to put one on. He complained about eating kosher and keeping Shabbos. In short, he rejected every aspect of our Torah way of life.

Our dilemma became more and more acute. What example was he setting for our girls? What message was he conveying to them? Time and again they would ask, “How come Benny watches TV on Shabbos?” “How come he answers the phone or uses his computer?” How come he doesn’t come to the Shabbos table?”

One of the most painful experiences occurred one day when I went to the supermarket with my daughters. We passed a treif Chinese restaurant and through the window we saw Benny eating spareribs. My girls ran to the car and began sobbing uncontrollably. “How could Benny do that?” they asked over and over.

I tried to explain the situation to them. “Benny wasn’t as lucky as you are,” I said. “When he was a little boy Mommy and Daddy did not know about Torah. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t know about it either. They never sent us to yeshiva. And the same thing happened to Benny. So we all have to be patient with and kind to Benny.”

About the Author:


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 “Ba’al Teshuvah Parents, Resentful Son”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Roet, at a UNSC meeting held July 22, 2014 regarding the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel Attempts to Insert Reason into UN Debate About Middle East
Latest Judaism Stories
Noah and his Family; mixed media collage by Nathan Hilu. Courtesy Hebrew Union College Museum

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/baal-teshuvah-parents-resentful-son/2013/03/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: