Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
In the first two Jewish Press columns in this series – published on June 15 and June 22, 2007 – we discussed, “Understanding Tefillos” and “Building Spirituality” in response to the questions posted by two parents asking how to better motivate their children (a 12-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy) to improve their davening. In this column, we will address the following issues:
· A feeling of connection to Hashem and the faith that our tefillos are answered; and
· Age-appropriate settings and expectations for tefillos.
In order to help your daughter regain her footing as far as her tefillah is concerned, you will need to gain a window into her soul. And that is much, much easier said than done. However, the most effective method to realizing this goal is to offer her a non-judgmental ear.
One of the most important lessons parents should keep in mind is that while we are so preoccupied thinking of what we should say to guide our children, the most important thing we can do is listen to them- really listen! That means having the type of relationship where children can discuss what is on their minds, without fear of being subjected to judgmental comments or negative attitudes. This applies to all arenas of children parenting, but all the more so in the arena of tefillah. This is so because tefillah is such a personal matter between an individual and his/her Creator.
Therefore I suggest that you open a dialogue with your daughter. Gently bring up the subject of tefillah with her when you are in a relaxed setting and a tranquil frame of mind. Tell her that you see that davening seems to be a challenge for her, and ask the type of questions that send a clear message that you are open to whatever she will tell you. Something like, “Is there anything you would like to talk about regarding your davening?” Or, “I see that your davening seems a bit strained lately. This seems to be a recent development. Is everything OK?” “Are you OK?”
There could be so many reasons for a child (or adult) to undergo a crisis of bitachon (faith), or develop a feeling that his/her tefillos go unanswered, chas v’shalom. But it is quite likely that your daughter is experiencing a challenge of sorts.
Part and parcel of proper tefillos, let alone inspired and meaningful ones, is to feel close to Hashem and to have bitachon that one’s prayers will be answered. When one or both of these components are lacking, it is quite understandable the result will be bland, uninspired tefillos or a complete disconnect from the tefillah process.
Where will the conversation lead? No one can predict the answer to that question.
Many years ago, when I served as an eighth-grade rebbi, a talmid of mine simply refused to daven. During the entire Shacharis prayer, he would sit silently wearing his tefillin – but not participating at all in the davening. This behavior was in stark contrast to his classroom attitude, where he was engaged and doing well in his limudim.After observing this behavior for a few weeks, I called him aside one day and gently explored with him the reasons for his disinterest in davening. At one point in the conversation, he was silent for a few moments. He then told me that a close relative of his was ill several months prior to our conversation, and that my talmid passionately davened for the full recovery of this individual – who subsequently died. Suddenly, the missing piece of the puzzle fell into place.
Parents ought not be concerned that they will be “stumped” by a difficult question posed by their children. We need not know the answers to these complex hashkafah questions. After all, our greatest talmidei chachamim and nevi’im (sages and prophets) grappled with how humans, with our limited understanding, can gain insight into Hashem’s world.
Your role as a parent is to allow these issues to be aired and discussed, and to guide your daughter to those who can help her find answers to her questions.
Two final notes on this: You may also want to compliment your daughter for her honesty. Others would have taken the path of least resistance and simply pretended to daven. And, Yocheved, you too deserve kudos for not being oblivious to your daughter’s lack of enthusiasm for davening, and for taking the time to explore solutions.
As for the father who wrote that his son “quickly gets bored after about 15 minutes of davening,” and that his wife keeps telling him to “lighten up” with their son and not subject him to such a long davening in shul -my advice is for you to tell your wife that I complimented you – for marrying a wise woman. Please do “lighten up” with him.
Twenty to thirty minutes is usually the amount of time your son spends davening each day in school. You will be well served to have him continue the routine of davening as recited in yeshiva – regardless of what the adults are davening in shul. Speak to your son’s rebbi if you need more details. After all, if your eight-year-old son is restless in a shul setting that is 2-3 hours long and geared to adults, that is a sure sign that he is a normal child. How long would you sit still while listening to people conversing in French all around you (assuming you didn’t speak the language)? I know there are “other kids” who sit nicely next to their fathers. Please look the other way, and don’t compare your son to them.
Here are some practical suggestions:
· Consider having your wife bring him to shul later in the morning.
· Bring along some books for him to read when he is done davening.
· It may be far wiser for you to bring him to Minchah instead of Shacharis. He will have the shul experience in a much shorter setting.
Best wishes for continued nachas.
© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and menahel of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and program director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.
To review and download a free pre-publication copy of Rabbi Horowitz’s “Bright Beginnings Chumash Workbook,” please visit his website, www.rabbihorowitz.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call 845-352-7100 x 133.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
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Brooklyn resident David Siller, currently studying in Israel at Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah in Beit Shemesh, was awarded a trophy for finishing 3rd in his age group (14-18) in a 5-kilometer race for the benefit of the Benjamin Children’s Library of Beit Shemesh.
Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/on-davening-part-iii/2007/08/01/
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