Dear Dr. Yael:
I am trying, over the Internet, to find programs for my son that are geared toward helping people strengthen their emunah and bitachon. Thus far, I have been unsuccessful. Do you know of any sites I can visit?
Thank you for writing. I hope that readers will have ideas for you. If so, any ideas can be forwarded to me and I will be happy to send them on to you.
People have recommended various books to me pertaining to emunah and bitachon. But since I have yet to read them, I am reluctant to recommend them to others. Be assured, though, that reading material on this subject is available.
Once again, readers, please respond with any ideas so that this mother can help her son.
Dear Dr. Yael:
A certain situation is breaking my heart. Over Yom Tov, I heard that the daughter of one of my good friends from childhood is getting divorced. She is such a special girl and I cannot believe that this is happening to her. This is my fourth friend whose child is getting divorced.
What is going on these days with young people in their 20s and 30s? Why are so many of these young couples getting divorced? What can we do to change this?
A Heartbroken Friend
Dear Heartbroken Friend:
It breaks my heart as well to see what is happening in this generation. Whereas about 10 years ago the divorce rate was approximately five percent in the frum community, today that number has climbed to near 20-25 percent. According to rabbanim, this is affecting all segments of our society.
There are many things that might be contributing factors to this phenomenon. First, this generation is forced to fight various elements of the yetzer hara that the prior generation was not forced to deal with. Logging onto the Internet has caused the demise of many marriages, an issue not in play in my generation. I cannot even fathom how this occurs, but the rabbanim know what they are talking about when they urge us to protect our spouses, our children and ourselves from the dangers of the Internet. Many people have become obsessed with the Internet, which unfortunately gives one access in an effortless and instantaneous fashion.
It is critical that all Internet access be protected by filters. Obviously it is best to have no access to the Internet. However, since the Internet has some positives and many people need it for business purposes, this is not always possible. A chashuvah rav, who spoke on Tisha B’Av a few years ago about Internet use and filtration, recommended that people use one accountability service and one filtration service. The rav felt that using more than one product, even if there is an overlap, is most useful since certain things can fall through the cracks. The accountability reports can go to more than one person. (A review of all Internet filter programs can be found at http://internet-filter-review.toptenrevews.com).
The fact that a large asifa, attended by frum people from all walks of life, was held not too long ago is a result of the rabbanim’s realization of the Internet’s hazards. This gathering was an attempt to help the frum community deal with the dangers of the Internet more effectively.
Many ridicule the rabbanim who caution against seemingly endless use of the Internet. But I see what can happen when there is no protection from the Internet. And the results are often heartbreaking. We need to double our efforts at explaining to our children that although they may think that Internet-related use will never be harmful to them, they need to take appropriate precautions to increase the chances that that harm will not come their way.
The “older generation” needs to better educate their children regarding today’s nisyonos. Our children need to be prepared for challenges that inevitably arise in order for them to protect and enhance their marriages.
Married people today have different expectations than those in past generations. Some do not realize that in this world of instant gratification, marriage actually requires a lot of hard work. Some marriages of young people are not working out because one of the parties is getting mixed up in situations that are not easily solved.
Also, some of today’s young couples give up too easily because they refuse to put in the effort required to make a marriage work – or they simply don’t understand how much effort it takes for the marriage to be successful. While the average person generally looks out first and foremost for his or her own interests, a marriage is usually more successful if the marriage partner thinks about what is best for his or her spouse. In a marriage, an individual must sometimes put his or her own needs aside while concentrating on fulfilling the spouse’s needs.
We also need to teach our children to fight hard for what they want and to work at building their marriages. Marriages never work with a “what can you do for me” attitude. Instead, a “what can I do for my spouse” attitude should be practiced.
Thank you for your important letter. I sincerely hope that we all try to help the younger generation protect themselves from bad influences and work hard to build batei ne’eman b’Yisrael. I wish all Jewish Press readers hatzlachah in dealing with this critical crisis.Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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