web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

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

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.

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: