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Monday, January 29, 2018

Loving an OTD Child

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran published a worthy article yesterday in the Jewish Press on about how Rav Shteinman treated OTD children. I quote the following:
A father approached the gadol hador, known for his wisdom, insight, deep sensitivity, and understanding. The father was fervent in his faith and love for the Jewish people, so much so that he was adamant that if his child did not follow the “right” path he would sooner see him dead.
Would the great rav, recognizing the father’s love of Torah and Hashem, praise the father for this level of piety? No. The gadol saw only a bitter, judgmental man embarrassed and disgusted by his child. The rav made clear that such a father was not expressing sacrifice but was contemplating murder, for his motives were selfish, cruel, and callous.
The gadol hador counseled, “The child must be made to believe that his parents truly love him and that it hurts them to see their beloved child lose out on a life of real happiness.” Such love, the gadol taught, would create the potential for the child to return to the right path.
Now, this already can be called progress. Too many communities consider OTD children an oisvurf (outcast), worthy of shunning. Too many parents find their child disgusting because they see in them the antithesis of their beliefs, evil incarnated! Indeed, some parents would rather see their child die than to have to see their child go off the path. This is a direct result of the parents' warped haredi indoctrination where shidduchim are more important than the child's wellbeing.

That's why many OTD people considered Rav Shteinman as one of the good guys. He was not as firebrand as the others. In many circumstances he ridiculed misguided frumkeit. He was very adamant that schools should accept children to yeshivas. He was also more open to allow haredi males to serve in the army, allowing for the creation of the Nahal haredi ultra-orthodox IDF battalion. Dov Lipman, a haredi moderate, wrote a remarking obituary of Rav Shteinman in the The Jerusalem Post called Secular Israel should also miss Rav Shteinman.

Still, however praise worthy the Rabbi was, I have difficulty with the reason why he believed that the child should be shown love:
Rav Shteinman beseeched us to never close off a chance for return. He taught that love for our children keeps that chance alive.
The goal is not love but the love is a way to love bomb a child into becoming orthodox again. Does this really count as loving your child?

Similar sentiments can be found elsewhere, e.g. with Rabbi Uri Zohar, the legendary Israeli actor who became a baal teshuvah and became influential in the Jewish missionary movement:
“When a child comes home at four in the morning from the disco, give him some cake with a cup of coffee and a note saying, ‘We love you,'” he said.
“This will reassure him that you love him not because he is a tzaddik or because he davens or says brachos, but just because he exists. After he grows up and understands that everything around him is a bluff, he’ll return. Slowly at first, but he’ll be inside, at home, within the community.”
“If we throw a child out of the house chalilah, we deprive him of the chance to return,” he said. “Our job as parents is not to know when he’ll do teshuvah and return to the way of the Avos. Rather, the mitzvah of this generation is to accept with love and mercy those children who will return in the end. For deep within they know the truth. Therefore, in the end, they’ll return to their heavenly Father.”
No. Don't love your child because you hope to turn him into a clone of who you are.

Love your child because you are a parent. And your children depend on your unconditional love.

5 comments:

  1. Just about everything a cultist sees is seen thru their cult glasses. AS if "real happiness" only occurs when you believe in the cult. Thus the use emotional weapons to get the "child to return to the right path." AS if OTD is the wrong path. Undercover Kofer - your comments are spot on.

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  2. Replies
    1. And parents who give conditional love are oxymorons. With the emphasis on morons.

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  3. Hi Do you have a link to the video of that girl that gideon slifkin posted that was refuting orthodox judaism? and/or the name of that girl?

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