Thursday, December 23, 2021

Our Children's Lives

A friend of mine mentioned something to me which I found it so thought-provoking that I would like to share it with you, with some literary embellishment. I'm not certain if it is 100% gold, or if it is too defeatist. He said as follows:

"I used to hope, pray and expect that my children would all grow to be religious, get married and raise a family. That's what my parents got, and that's what I expected, too.

"As time went on and I realized that the world had changed since my parents' generation, it occurred to me that perhaps I was being presumptuous. It's too much to expect that all my children would stay religious; all I can pray and expect is that they get married and raise a family.

"Then as time went on further, I realized that even this was presumptuous. Halevay (it would suffice that) they should at least end up in healthy meaningful long-term relationships with the opposite gender that bring them happiness, even if they don't get married.

"Then, as I further realized that the world is not as I thought when I grew up, I realized that I was still being presumptuous. Even if my children end up in same-gender relationships, I'd be relieved if they are in relationships that bring them happiness, rather than being tortured in their identity or suffering in solitude.

"Then, as the years went on, I realized that there was something still more basic that I couldn't take for granted. Halevay that my boys should grow up happy being boys, and my girls should grow up happy being girls.

"Then, after a spate of young adult suicides in my city, I realized that as long as my children grow up, with sufficient mental and physical health, then no matter who they are, I will treasure them and thank God for my good fortune."

What do you think? An essential perspective, or should we not lose focus on trying to instill our values in our children?

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88 comments:

  1. There is an essential difference between "pray" and "expect"; it is perfectly rational to pray that your children turn out in what you believe is the best way. To expect that, however, may be less logical. I don't understand why the OP joins them.

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  2. Sounds like a great way to kill our mesorah

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    1. Yup. Sounds like someone sold out to the liberal trash of society.

      Who the heck cares? Society is falling apart at the seams.

      Homosexuals (abominated and a capital offense per G-ds word in His Torah) might be accepted by western societies (thankfully still illegal and even punishable by death! in some places I believe like Saudi Arabia) ...but should we really allow this to change our outlook on what is a proper Yiddish upbringing? Never!

      And if homosexuals live lives of suffering, then it likely is a well-deserved punishment.

      After all, the great rationalist Rambam (Maimonides) insisted that reward and punishment are a cornerstone belief of ours.

      To wit, if someone sins grievesly, say, a man has relations with other men, and now he feels pangs of guilt...maybe he feels prejudiced against, or worse yet, he contracts some disease, maybe aids...so frum jews are or ought to be reminded of the verse from David in Psalms:

      "Only with your eyes shall you look, and the payback of the wicked you shall see."

      Tehillim isn't just for rattling off for a sick person. It's really for assimilating those great ideas into our own minds.

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    2. The story is too depressing. Why would anyone give up on their kids like that? It shows he doesn't care about his kids.

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    3. The story is essentially about "giving up."

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    4. If the Mesorah is strong enough it should not matter -- but much of modern rabbinical orthodoxy is premised purely on retention of mesorah (often through the mental prism of fear...) with little true wider thought to the meaning of the world around us and how we as Jews (or as humans) relate to it.

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    5. "with little true wider thought to the meaning of the world around us"

      No, it's more than that. There's a deliberate attitude that it's an Alma D'Shikra. This means retreating from it as feasable, and finding truth at home.

      "If the Mesorah is strong enough it should not matter"

      But Yitzro shel adam mechadesh alav b'chol yom umevakesh hamiso, v'ilmalei HKBH ozro ein yachol lo.

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  3. perhaps I was being presumptuous. It's too much to expect that all my children would stay religious; all I can pray and expect is that they get married and raise a family.
    =================================
    Kach Mkublani mbeit avi abba-it's presumptuous to expect anything. It is required to make our best efforts to raise ovdei hashem. The efforts are up to us, the results up to HKBH. The rest is commentary.
    kt

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    1. Or, as someone once told me, children are like cholent. You know what you put in, but you can't be sure how it will come out.

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    2. "the results up to HKBH". I disagree, the results are primarily up to the children themselves.

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    3. as far as they are concerned
      kt

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  4. "expect that my children would all grow to be religious"

    Welcome to a single post-war generation. It was a moment in time.

    What percentage of Orthodox Jews in 1939 could say that all their siblings remained traditional? All cousins? 1900? Do I have mention certain (great) grand-children of gedolei Yisrael?

    And it's not just modernity or haskala.

    Already the נודע ביהודה was lamenting the growing lack of observance. Before the 1492 expulsion, there were many Jews who fled tradition. Before that, the Semak darshaned against intermarriage- some men listened and left their non-Jewish wives. Before that you had the Karaites who were not, in that era, a fringe group. Do I have to go further?

    Expect all children to remain frum? Yeah, that's presumptuous.

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    1. A little too optimistic even there. "Post-war" kids- charedi and not- kept dropping out in big numbers in Israel up until relatively recently. In most other countries outside the US, people stayed vaguely Orthodox mostly because "Orthodox" didn't require too much in the way of observance.

      Meanwhile, in the US, Orthodoxy dropped from 90% to less than 10% davka immediately after the war. Granted, most of those who left (mostly to Conservatism, which went from 0 to 50 very quickly) were not that observant. But that's the whole point: The frum stayed frum because all of the non-committed had *left*. (That, and societal and organizational changes meant it was a lot easier to be shomer mitzvot, and of course there was a big arrival of Litvish and Chassidish gedolim right then. And the State of Israel helped in more ways than one. But one may also wonder cause and effect, namely, did more people leave because observance was becoming more of a requirement.)

      So people thought this was the norm, got lazy, and, faced with facts and subject to various societal pressures, threw up their hands and acted like the father at the funeral in Heathers.

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  5. Defeatist. A philosophy of יאוש.

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    1. That depends on what you regard as defeat. Although I think many of the issues raised are beyond Hillel's comprehension, his emphasis on "that which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; that is that (as opposed to the ritual mitzvot) is the whole Torah" applies.

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    2. Hillel's formulation does not apply here. By your logic, might as well turn to idolatry, since it doesn't harm others. Yes, it does, it harms the soul.

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    3. We shouldn't have Hillel bandied about like that. According to one explanation of no less a commentater than Rashi himself, Hashem is the "friend"/"fellow". Be "friendly" to him. That should be the attitude underlying your performance of all the 613 mitzvos, including the Bein Adam L'Makom mitzvos under discussion here.

      According to Klei Yakar, Hillel is only addressing Bein Adam L'chaveiro mitzvos, Bein Adam L'Makom mitzvos have a different foundation which doesn't take second place.
      http://www.toratemetfreeware.com/online/f_01858.html#HtmpReportNum0015_L2

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  6. I don't expect anything but I still try my best to maintain my values and instill them in my children. If I do my part then I can know I did what I could and the result isn't up to me.

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  7. I don't get it -- nothing is guaranteed of course, but does the percentage of kids going off affect even 25% of families? I would think it's far less than that. That's not commenting on the quality of simply being on the derech vis a vis sincere commitment, but that's not what this post is talking about.

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  8. Classic secularist perspective. Physical and mental health more important than being faithful to Hashem and His Torah. Olam Hazeh more important than Olam Haba (if they even really believe in it).

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    1. Nowhere in the post was there an implication that "physical and mental health more important than being faithful to Hashem and His Torah."

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    2. "Then, after a spate of young adult suicides in my city, I realized that as long as my children grow up, with sufficient mental and physical health, then no matter who they are, I will treasure them and thank God for my good fortune."

      Cannot possibly be more clear.

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    3. I think there is.. in the order of the post, the first thing that he is giving up is religiousness, and the last is mental health but that's not a "secularist perspective" that's our Torah.
      If you are sick you are exempted from many mitzvot. A person who is mentally ill will have trouble believing and keeping religion. We have to be healthy in order to be religious. That's sane

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    4. Wow, you sounds would like the theology of fundamentalist Islam or Dark Ages era Christianity. Because rejecting normalcy in this world always ends so well!

      Ever hear the expression "chamira sakanta m'issura"?

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    5. "Physical and mental health more important than being faithful to Hashem and His Torah. "

      Actually the Torah mandates that physical and mental health override even a karet prohibition. I know pepole who have to eat on Yom Kippur. Only three prohibitions are exceptions.

      And you know that.

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    6. Sure it was he said:
      "Then, as I further realized that the world is not as I thought when I grew up, I realized that I was still being presumptuous. Even if my children end up in same-gender relationships, I'd be relieved if they are in relationships that bring them happiness, rather than being tortured in their identity or suffering in solitude"

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    7. It's in the post. Clearly you've never read it!

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    8. The secularists in the comments making my point for me.

      They actually think it would be better to transgress the entire Torah, rather than suffer any physical, mental, or financial issues. This explains their entire mindset. The "proof" from pikuach nefesh is, of course, complete nonsense, and only shows the am haaratzus of those who argue it.

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    9. " The "proof" from pikuach nefesh is, of course, complete nonsense"

      Chazal disagrees. I am not the Am Haaretz here.

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  9. Almost all families I know have children who are different from their parents.
    How many people reading this can say that they have, and all their siblings have, the same approach to religion as their parents?
    How many people can say that their parents are the same as their grandparents?

    We hope and pray that ouch children will live a lifestyle which is similar to ours, or at least one we approve of, but the reality is the most of our children will choose their own path. They may be "more" religious than us (whatever that means). Or less religious, or anything else.

    We cannot control the lifestyle that our children will lead (although we can influence it), our decision is not how our children should live their lives, rather how we accept (or do not accept) our children's decisions.

    As parents, it is our responsibility to show love to our children, even if they make decisions or lifestyle choices that we would not have made.

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  10. Parents (we) should pray AND do our best to be the best version of ourselves as Spouses and Parents. Aim for wisdom at making the right decisions at least for when our kids cannot make them for themselves. When needed, put limits and set boundaries, instill a personal responsibility mindset. Try to make them tough, resilient and self-aware of who they are, what are their limitations. Teach them how to handle emotions, have empathy and live a "normal" social life.

    That's what we do, and then the kids will grow and make their own decisions, and we hope that those would be always the right ones (in our view), but that's only wishful thinking, because at least some might not be the. And we should understand that, on the one hand we are still their parents and could help them there, and on the other hand, that they are already independent to us, and we will have to live with it.

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  11. "Even if my children end up in same-gender relationships, I'd be relieved if they are in relationships that bring them happiness"

    This is LGBT propaganda!
    No one in a same sex relationship is really happy....

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    1. That is perhaps the dumbest think I have ever read in the comments of this blog, and that is saying something.

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    2. Good point @inquire! The propogandist would have you believe that people enjoy cheeseburgers, enjoy being machalel shabbos, and enjoy same sex relationships. We all know the real reason these people do these things is to rebel against hashem and like the nochosh achar hachait all things taste like sand to them.

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    3. How do you know?

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    4. "We all know...."? What a sad statement. One perhaps bordering on avodah zarah, because, the ONE thing we should all agree on is that only Boreh Olam knows all, particularly when it comes to knowledge of what is in the hearts and minds of others.

      Our mesorah is one of contradictions and disagreements. Just read the Abrabanel's commentary on Rashi, as a commentator, never mind his equally divergent Torah commentary. Revisit the 13th century and review the world's view on The RaMBaM, or simply read RaMBaN, to get a taste of the disagreement. Trace the line forward and back in time it matters not. Conflicting ideas are the hallmark of a living Torah.

      We certainly DO NOT all know. And for those who claim to, perhaps you should review the laws governing false prophets.

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  12. Not a Jewish perspective.

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    1. Perhaps not one held today. On the other hand, it was inculcated to me through Chabad that once the Messianic era were to commence then all humanity and living beings would become as one - and that what we know as 'Judaism' and all differences between man may even cease to exist. It's a mental framework. If the overarching mental framework of humanity could be able to abandon that which divides us, then surely God would look kindly upon humanity?

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  13. I think the above is a essential perspective if you are MO are Dati leumi.
    A very large percentage of them unfortunately go OTD. Some say it is as much as 40%. Which is a staggering figure.
    If you are Charedi the percentage appears much less so you can still try and pray that they will remain religious although of course there is no guarantee. I have been told by numerous therapists that most OTD charedim have had some sort of abuse sexual or physical/emotional. So of course try and minimise that risk.

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    1. If that were even close to accurate doesn't that powerfully make the case that everyone should live a charedi lifestyle? For all its flaws, surely everyone would agree it's better to be charedi and have a larger percentage of your children remain religious than be MO and lose more of them?

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    2. Many charedim change their charediut to a more open view when they realize that it doesn't do for them. Maybe because they can't support themselves financially, maybe because the need profesional help, maybe because they want to be professionals, or because they discover a different approach to HBKH that makes more sense to them.

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    3. I would be very curious to know where you got that 40% figure. If anything, I have (anecdotally) heard precisely the reverse: that, percentage-wise, a significantly greater proportion of Chareidim wind up leaving the fold than do "MO" folks.

      Granted, that may have something to do with what is considered to be "the fold" among those respective communities: a Chareidi who sheds his curly peyos and black get-up might be considered off their derech, while "modern" Orthodoxy maintains a much wider tent.

      In the same vein, as was explained to me by a prominent Modern Orthodox rav, it worthwhile to be able to be "rach k'kaneh" to flexibly weather changing ideological winds rather than being stiff and inflexible and have one's entire faith "blown away" by the first strong challenge.

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    4. @ Just Curious
      Apologies I meant to say 30%.
      See below article where the millenials are saying that only 70% of their classmates are religious:

      https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/survey-highlights-risk-of-modern-orthodox-going-off-the-derech-leaving-orthodoxy/

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    5. @ Dave
      I am Chareidi because I believe that to be the truth.
      If for arguments sake MO had less OTD kids I still wouldn't become MO.
      I therefore wouldn't expect them to do the same.
      I don't believe in faking for the sake of kids not going OTD.
      Of course one should do everything possible to minimise the risk but after all it is not entirely in the parent's hand.

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    6. "If you are Charedi the percentage appears much less"

      Given the high fertility rates in the Israeli charedi commmunity that have persisted for generations, one would have expected that there would be far more charedi members of the Knesset than there actually are today. There are several explanations why there aren't:

      1) Charedim are defying their Rabbinic leaders and voting for other political parties. (Are they then really still charedim?)

      2) A lot of charedim aren't voting. (Again, are they then really still charedim?)

      3) A lot of Jews from charedi backgrounds are openly non-charedi. Maybe not OTD if they are now dati, but definitely no longer charedi.

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    7. @Talmid
      If you are truly charedi, close to your highest priority in life (if not THE highest) is for your children to be frum. Of course you would pretend to be MO without a second thought if that were necessary to produce the desired result. I can't imagine any charedi thinking otherwise. (Let's see, I can pretend a certain lifestyle and frumkeit and have a higher likelihood that my children's lives will be as God intended, with all of the eternity that implies, or I can be "true" to myself and have a higher likelihood that they are NOT as God intended, with all of the eternity that implies. It's not even close.)

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    8. Talmid,

      Thank you for the link to that fascinating article. However, it does not say what you say it says.

      The author, who is apparently the head of an organization that does quantitative research on the Jewish world, says he happened upon that 30% figure in an informal Facebook poll that asked "young Modern Orthodox millennials" to estimate "what percentage of their MO high school classmates [they think] are still observant". So, it was one random, non-scientific "straw poll" asking people to recall, secondhand, the behavior of others.

      (As an aside, I grew up in a small, "out-of-town" community that had only one Jewish high school, which was Orthodox. B/c it was the only game in town, even some non-frum families sent their kids there.

      To the best of my knowledge, all of my high school classmates who grew up in frum homes are still frum, while the great majority of those who grew up in non-frum homes remained so.)

      According to his own organization's quantitative data, he estimates that an average of "9% of the Modern Orthodox community are at risk of going OTD" ("at risk" is defined in the article).

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, when that 9% is broken down further into "'sub-denominational groups' within Modern Orthodoxy", it is those who identify as "Open Orthodox" or "Liberal Orthodox" who are significantly more likely to be "at risk" of going OTD (18% and 17%, respectively) than those who consider themselves "Modern Orthodox" (5%), "Centrist Orthodox" (3%), or "Right-Wing Centrist Orthodox" (2%).

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    9. @Dave
      I am Charedi and I would not pretend to be MO if my kids would have more chance to stay frum. (Of course the reality of kids going OTD appears the other way round).
      I was close to some of the late Gedolim and I can categorically say that Charedim are/were not encouraged to live a life of deceit for the sake of the children. By R Shteinman and R Elyashiv the truth was always at the forefront.

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  14. As someone who grew up orthodox, and is no longer. The humanism expressed in this post is staggering, welcome and like a hug from an estranged family member.

    This is it, kavod habriot and unconditional love first!

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    1. Do you expect to convince anyone with that ? This defeatist mentality may be the reason you are no longer orthodox. Or that you like to think that the failure of your parents (who could not manage to raise you as they wanted) is no that rare.

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    2. I think his answer is just less judgmental than yours. Religious people are too busy scoring points, I think. No discourse, just condemnation.

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  15. Even from a secular perspective, what's the point of not expecting your kids to have "meaningful" lives, maybe they values are different, but every parent should expect their kids to lead and have a meaningful life with certain values, not just to live healthy

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  16. So... abandon all your values? Why have children at all if all you want is that they don't kill themselves?

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    1. Children are like carob trees. You don't plant them for your own profit, but to pay forward the ancestors who brought you into the world. If the only purpose to having children is to produce pleasure for you, then you aren't acknowledging them as separate human beings.

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    2. On the contrary, not expecting them to have any values means you just hope that they survive, just like animals and not like human begins

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  17. seems like a very Gentile attitude. lower expections , expect nothing , and tolerate everything...

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  18. That's a defeatist mentality. Might as well realize, as time goes on, that your kids want to marry a dolphin—G-d forbid!—so long as it's healthy!

    What happened to Torah values and being a good Jew? I wouldn't want my kids to do all the crazy stuff he describes.

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  19. "What do you think? An essential perspective, or should we not lose focus on trying to instill our values in our children?"

    -These choices are not mutually exclusive. I believe that a person should try his best to instill his values in his children. However if the child has grows up and chooses a different path in life, the parents should never forget the importance in counting their blessings. One should thank the Lord for the fact that he even has children.

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  20. I think we need to learn to treasure our children unconditionally but that doesn't mean not instilling values.

    However, a mature and wise human must learn to develop one's values and be accepting of what is (and what isn't) and learn to appropriately adapt to the currently reality.

    It's fine to wish and hope and pray that our children are happy and follow our chosen path, but we also have to realize that if they are not following our path (or are not happy) that it's time for US to adapt and grow and that way we can actually enjoy life AND support our children in a better way.

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  21. As my mother brought me and my siblings up - for each one of us to find our own independent destiny. No expectations. Nothing to push against. Then the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Not because I want it that way, but because that's what people usually find most healthy and comfortable.
    I think the most important thing to pray for and work towards is that my children have a rewarding and strong relationship with us, their parents, because ultimately they are the people we most love and want to spend time with regardless of the path they find themselves on.

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  22. I now hope and “pray” that whatever happens, my children do not grow up believing in the falsehoods of religion.

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    1. Or the falsehoods of science, you should add.

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    2. @NB WOW. Can’t believe your comment got published here. @ Andy - what falsehoods of science ? Also how do you know they are false ? You may think your religion thinks they are false, but can you understand that billions of people not indoctrinated into your religion may think the data supports the science ? Acja

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  23. The questions you raise are based on false assumptions which reflect a non-Torah approach. No, we do not derive happiness or "relief", knowing that our son or daughter, though in a homosexual relationship, "at least" is not lonely. Better to be lonely than to be engaging in such evil conduct. That is a normal Torah-based point of view.

    This posts reflects an assimilationist, non-Jewish approach.

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  24. "Even if my children end up in same-gender relationships, I'd be relieved if they are in relationships that bring them happiness"

    Why would any Torah Jew think such a thing about a relationship which is diametrically opposed to Judaism?

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  25. Pretty disgusting how all the homosexuals came out of the woodworks in support of this post.

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  26. Its pathetic that you can think this worthless drivel as "thought provoking."

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  27. Then I realized that I don't predicate the nature of my existence on the outcome of my kids (if there even are kids): I wake up in the morning and am healthy to live another day, and am blessed.

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  28. The continuous evolution of RNS is one of the things that makes reading this blog interesting.

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  29. There was a time the frum family would all but sit shiva when a son went OTD. Just for the record, not all Frum who went OTD are drug addicts, or have been sexually abused or physically abused or have psychological problems or have a craving for treif or shiksas, ( Ok , maybe the shiksas - a Seinfeld episode.Also the Moabitess. Not that there is anything wrong with that.) Many OTD have serious intellectual objections regarding the whole supernatural thingy and Orthodox Judaism. ACJA

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  30. I appreciate the sensitivity and clarity of your blog. The tragedy of suicides among youth is a growing and frightening phenomenon. I believe our Torah is "deracheha darchei noam" and we are given important guidelines for our life. On the one hand it seems so strange that our father Avraham could have a son like Yishmael and our father Yitzchak could have an Esav. Moreover, it is clear that the Avot loved these sons and the sons were blessed by Hashem! Chizkiyahu one of the greatest kings and had a son Menashe, one of the kings who was the most sinful (although interestingly both serve as models for Tshuva at the end of their lifetimes). Could there be a profound lesson here - both that even a great parent may have a child who chooses a different lifestyle, the child must be loved nonetheless, and one's own life and role model may still influence the child. Ultimately we are commanded to follow "darchei Hashem" and as Hashem is merciful and did not reject us despite our history of idol worship and many serious sins, are we not expected also to be merciful and loving?

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  31. "Then, after a spate of young adult suicides in my city, I realized that as long as my children grow up, with sufficient mental and physical health, then no matter who they are, I will treasure them and thank God for my good fortune."

    Rabbi Slifkin, I urge you to look into the actual science involved in "gender affirming" surgeries before you even consider endorsing a position such as this. Complications of both MTF and FTM surgeries include a massive risk of necrosis. Males are required to dilate, a horribly painful process, for the rest of their lives, and many experience fistulas. The FTM surgery is especially horrific - the subject is left with horribly disfiguring scarring on the leg or arm, and there is even a long term risk of what are essentially kidney stones forming *inside the urethra* as the female body has no prostate to help with lubrication. This is before we even get into the fact that many people who have undergone surgery soon come to regret it and are at risk of even greater depression and suicidal ideation. It's becoming clear even to many liberals (Abigail Shrier, JK Rowling, even Richard Dawkins!) that woke gender ideology has become completely unhinged from biological reality, and it certainly should be to you. Buying into this craze is not helping children, but severely harming them.

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    1. This is what needed to be said. That last paragraph indicates someone who has inhaled a *lot* of propaganda, and sheds light on the rest of the post.

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  32. Natan, you seem to endorse LGBT in this post. Could you perhaps clarify your position?

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    1. Where on earth do you see that in the post?!

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    2. Are you really such an innocent?

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    3. What else could this possibly mean? This position is clearly anti Torah since it suggests same sex relationships are ok, "if they will be happy".
      "Even if my children end up in same-gender relationships, I'd be relieved if they are in relationships that bring them happiness"

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    4. First, I didn't compose it. Second, I explicitly wrote that I'm not sure I agree with it. Third, as I understood it, the point of it is whether we ultimately weigh things up in light of the fact that five young people in this city committed suicide.

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    5. Young people commit suicide. It is a tragedy and all efforts should be made to prevent it.

      The fact of young people committing suicide should not lead us to "reconsider" some of the very fundamentals of our faith, especially if said fundamentals were not the cause of the suicides.

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    6. Rabbi Slifkin, What is worse in the eyes of the torah? committing suicide or a life long happy relationship of isurei Krisus? There are many sources in Chazal that its better to not be alive than to live in sin (the medrash rashi brings by chanoch is a good start). I know it makes those of us influenced by modern secular culture uncomfortable (or those of us connected emotionally to such an individual), but its the hard truth.

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    7. Natan, are you saying that you are unsure if you support LGBT or not?

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  33. Chazal knew full well of what they spoke when they said that sex lies at the root of all yetzer hara.

    I'll tell you a story: There's a website you've almost certainly heard of whose basic goal is to convince Orthodox Jews of the validity of the Documentary Hypothesis. The authors are a bunch of kinda sorta Orthodox academics.

    Now, I'm not the type to scream "Apikorsut!" and run from such things. I actually find it fascinating and am not sure it's completely groundless, to say the least. I have problems with the site- I can think of three big ones off the top of my head- but they're not enough to pasel all the interesting stuff they throw out.

    And then one year, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim came around, and guess what. Yup, an essay about how all that stuff against incest and the like is fine (well, thank God for little favors), but wouldn't you know, the mentions of homosexuality are all so P Document, man, and we all know what we're supposed to think of P, right? (Never mind that that aspect of the DH rests of open anti-Semitism and has been rather thoroughly debunked.)

    Yeah, well, that's the thing that paselled it for me in a way that nothing previous had. I haven't looked at the site since. It's like you suddenly get a flash of "Ooohh, so *that's* what this is all really about."

    We live in an era in which there is a huge concerted push to upend not only every concept of sexual morality as it has been understood for generations but even to redefine the most basic concepts of reality connected thereto. If people can't see that when it is placed before them, if they don't have the wherewithal to confront it head-on, then I don't know what hope we really have, except of course from the proles, as Winston Smith said.

    And just as he's done ever since the snake talked to Chava, the Great Tempter uses his time-honored and most effective trick of convincing people that *they* are the ones doing the mitzvah if they go along, and those fuddy-duddies who won't are the real sinners. "What, are you in *favor* of kids killing themselves, you moral degenerate? It's a matter of pikuach nefesh! I have halakha on my side!"

    Don't believe me? Read this, or any, comment thread. And by the way, it is of course self-feeding. Kids are not idiots and can read the messages easily enough, to the extent that we even hear calls of "Oh, if I can't text my friends on Shabbat I might well commit suicide! You don't want that to happen, do you?" And rather than take the obvious step whenever self-harm is threatened, parents and- yes- rabbis cave, convinced, of course, that they are doing the- the *only* - right thing.

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    1. https://www.thetorah.com/article/male-homosexual-intercourse-is-prohibited-in-one-part-of-the-torah

      The author has impeccable credentials: Dr. Rabbi David Frankel did his Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the direction of Professor Moshe Weinfeld. His publications include The Murmuring Stories of the Priestly School (VTSupp. 89) and The Land of Canaan and the Destiny of Israel (Eisenbrauns). He teaches Hebrew Bible to M.A. and Rabbinical students at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

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    2. Fascinating.

      The only time Nachum takes a right wing religious view is when it fits (flows from?) right wing political views.

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    3. Happygolucky: So what? The worst nonsense tends to be spewed by those with the most impeccable credentials. As William F. Buckley famously said, he'd rather be governed by the first five hundred names in the Boston phone book than the first five hundred names in the Harvard faculty directory.

      David, I imagine you think you're insulting me, but I happen to think that those whose political views are sufficiently grounded are best (and perhaps the only ones) able to discern what is propaganda and resist it.

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    4. The Sages observed long ago that the flood - that is, the ultimate end of society - only occurred when homosexual marriage was permitted. And not for naught was the rainbow chosen, with its blurring of colors and separation, then and now, as the symbol of such depravity.

      Unsophisticated persons look for stray comments of chazal that are today known to be incorrect. Such immaturity. If people today actually read the classics, they would find such statements in every one of them. It doesn't negate their wisdom and foresight. We are still living within the same generation of fools who created the current perversion of society - the baby boomers, the most selfish and self-absorbed generation of certainly the past thousand years. This is a millisecond of time in the grand scheme. Within another twenty years we, an already diminished America, will likely have another Great Awakening in which all of the current feminism, homosexual, and probably much of the racism, cults will vanish, like all the other isms before them. Only the foolish and short-sighted get caught up in such passing trends.

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    5. This is fantastic. Would Dr. Frankel's analysis have been acceptable to Wellhausen himself? Or any Doc-Hyp'er living before the תועבה revolution? I doubt it.
      Why? Because Frankel's hypothesis is rooted in his attitude to what we consider תועבה, and has no basis in the Documentary Hypothesis per se.
      So why is it fantastic? Because, Frankel has accidentally shown you can prove any arbitrary agenda with Doc Hyp. (Also note that Frankel takes the utter refutation of his hypothesis and relegates it to a mere footnote (17). This indicates that such "scholars" are dishonest.) So what good is it?

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