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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Not Pleading The Fifth

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Why? Why are there an unprecedented number of situations whereby children feel justified in disengaging from their parents, or having contact on “their” terms and conditions? Why have the boundaries between parent and child become so blurred to the extent they are virtually non-existent?

As with so many other challenges that face our generation, we are a product of our society. We find ourselves in a time and place where the social norms and values have not just been modified, but in many cases have resurrected the world of Sedom. Law and order has been largely usurped by our sensitivity to nonconformists and radical views. Criminals appear to enjoy more legal protection than do victims. As difficult as this all is, we, as Jews, must display the fortitude to avoid the waves of immorality that permeate all facets of society. It is no longer sufficient to assume that as God-fearing people, with strong affiliations to synagogues and yeshivas, that we are sheltered from the evils that lurk outside our religious sanctity. We cannot allow the degradation of society at large to seep into our homes of kedusha.

We must affirm the foundation of our existence as a nation – the Torah and all the mitzvos contained within her. And the 5th commandment, the 5th dibra that the Almighty gave to us at Har Sinai, is equal in importance as the other nine. Just as we acknowledge that emunah in Hashem and keeping Shabbos are foundational beliefs, we must acknowledge the same for kibbud av v’eim. We simply can’t afford to plead the fifth in respect to the 5th commandment!

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About the Author: Shmuel Zundell, a second generation contributor to the Jewish Press, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Masters in Business Administration from New York University. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and children.


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As the expression goes, “Hashem fir zich der velt” – Hashem orchestrates all the events that occur in the world. Most of what Hashem does is hidden from us. However, on occasion something happens in such an open way, one would have to be totally oblivious to the world around him to not see the powerful display of Yad of Hashem.

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