Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We Must Increase Restrictions! By: Flatbush Marriage Counselor

The below letter was published in the letters to the editor section of the FJJ around purim 2012. Many people, along with myself responded the following week. My response follows his letter.
I usually don't write letters to the editor of newspapers but I feel compelled to respond to the letter written by Dovi Weiser in your December 22 issue. Basically, the thrust of Mr. Weiser's letter can be summarized as follows: The increased drinking by yeshiva bochuran is because of the restrictions of Yiddishkeit and gedarim which our Rabbonim have imposed to insure we live a halochacally correct life. I could not disagree more. Chaval that we live today in the midst of the most immoral time in millennia. Being in the United States compounds matters because of the freedom of speech which the First Amendment guarantees. This freedom of speech has perverted society in general and the pervision has seeped into our frum lives. As a marriage counselor who treats frum families trying to bring back shalom bayis and keep marriages intact, I can't begin to tell you the devastation our community has endured from the Internet and other 21st century technology. Why do I bring this up, and what does this have to do with drinking by yeshiva bochurim? Because I am trying to emphasize that instead of fewer gadarim, we need more. Mr. Weiser looks to the days back when there were no women's photos in our community newspapers. I too want to go back in time - back to when there was no Internet, cellphones, texting, computers, iPads, iPods, and all the chazari of today. Back in the 1960s, when I was growing up, women were looked upon as caregivers and guardians of their families. They stayed at home, put the children on the schoolbus, were there for them in the afternoon, and nourished their families with delicious home-made meals. 
You can see why yeshiva bochurim drink. They have not grown up in families where their mothers nurtured them. Today, you see frum women as attorneys, accountants, and stockbrokers. They are never home for their children. They make Shabbos by buying up the take-home stores on Thursday nights. Until their children have grown up and married, women should not be in the workplace. They should be at home, taking care of their families.
When our Rabbonim are publicly issuing issurim against use of computers, the Internet, and modern technology, why are we not listening to them? Why do we insist on emulating the hedonistic pleasures of the goyim? A child who grows up with sufficient time spent with his mother, loved and nurtured, is not going to get drunk in yeshiva. True, there comes a time when every yeshiva bochur needs to learn how to toast a lchaim but it must be done in moderation. The fact that 50 years ago we did not hear of yeshiva bochurim driving drunk proves that the ways of yesteryear worked.
Mr. Weiser adverts to criticism of going to pizza shops on Friday, Aviator on Motzei Shabbos, and Great Adventures on Chol Hamoed. If mothers were home on Fridays to greet their kinderlach they wouldn't have to go to pizza shops. As for Aviator and Great Adventures, these are places inhabited by goyim and our children should not be there. A well-raised Jewish child does not need to play the games of goyim. Better to invite over a friend and review schoolwork. The more interaction our children will have with goyish children, they want to be like them, and that eventually includes excessive drinking. Mr. Weiser criticizes the lack of photos of women in frum newspapers. He doesn't understand that this is indeed an issue of tznius. I see the prohibitions against photos of women in newspapers as a belated effort to imbue frum families with tzniusdik values. It is no different than the separation of the genders in shills, at weddings, and at all simchas.
What we need are more efforts to extend tznius values. A community-wide attempt to compel longer skirts of the women must be undertaken immediately Thankfully, we have very stylish dress shops where they sell dresses which extend to the ankles. The yeshivos, shuls, and mosdos have to be stringent about this. If the soft sell doesn't work, stricter measures are needed. Furthermore, it was unwarranted for Mr. Weiser to criticize the women in Yerushalayim for dressing like the Taliban. While I am not a spokesman for the Taliban, at least their women have the values of modesty lacking in many of our own. Where the Taliban are in control, the women stay at home to raise their children. Once you let the genie out of the bottle, it is difficult to put it back in. But we have to try very hard. Nothing but the existence of frum Yiddishkeit is at stake. It is not too late to turn back.
Flatbush Marriage Counselor 

Dear FJJ marriage counselor,
I desperately needed to contact you, but since you left no name I will try the letters to editor where I saw your remarks. I read your letter and took your wise advice and now I think I need your help.

My family seems to be taking this new lifestyle I made with difficulties. I listened to what you said and forbade my children from visiting the pizza shops and didn’t let my son go with his friends to the Aviator last week. He is really upset with me now and tells me all his friends go for pizza and his championship game is this week. Of course I explained to him that we don’t do things just because all our friends are doing it and I got him some torah tapes to fill his time. I was trying to find a friend of his to come over and review his homework but they all seemed busy with their shtusim.

I disconnected my Internet. I just have my cellphone now but of course I turned off all texting. My friends are having a difficult time reaching me but I explained to them that 60 years ago when we didnt have all these treif technologies we seemed to manage quite well and people were more frum and there were no problems. I did have a few important things I needed to do online but its no problem cause my guyisha neighbors let me come over and use their computer whenever I need to. I'm not sure if this is a good idea because I know you mentioned how we shouldn't really have anything to do with “them”.

My wife quit her job this week to spend more time with the kinderlach and its really beautiful but I'm now having financial trouble and its starting to effect our marriage and it’s keeping me up at night. I maxed out all my credit cards for now but I have true bitachon that it will all turn out for the good. I did my hishtadlus and bought a lottery ticket this week and I’m sure its the winning numbers.

I’m hoping you can give me some advice of what to do and if you could please lend me some money until I win the lottery. I promise to pay you back as soon as I do. Oh, and please schedule an appointment for me and my wife. She seems really upset regarding all these recent changes, maybe someone as trained as you can explain to her how this is all for the best of the family!

A big fan,
Dovid Teitelbaum, Marine Park


  1. We don't need more regulations. Rules and chumros not supported by actual halacha being pushed and forced onto our communities as "new" halacha have the effect of pushing more and more people from the chareidi sector into modern orthodox (as an aside, I consider myself MO even though I despise labels, because I find the embracement of the outside world and bringing a torah lifestyle to include a worldly perspective to be more palatable to pretending there is no outside world.) Historically, pictures of women were never excluded from jewish publications. Should we let the negativity of the outside world influence our thoughts and behavior? The challenge is finding the right balance in the world, and not just shutting it out altogether.

  2. is the letter from the marriage counselor a joke or for real? cuz i think i found someone more close minded then my principal!

  3. If this letter ever reaches the marriage counselor you're going to be taken very seriously.

  4. i get the tongue in cheek writing, but i would have preferred a serious breakdown of the issues. you may think that you have already done that ad nauseum, but i still feel there is need for clarification.
    i inferred the argument that this
    will cause social problems for the children. i assume to that he will counter that we must remain strong.
    i see the argument that this will cause financial difficulty. but do we not sacrifice for what is good and right?
    i know you probably feel that you keep explaining that increased restrictions cause more problems than they solve, even problems that this marriage counselor would like to avoid.
    although social isolation and financial constraints are negative, i think everyone would agree to some degree of sacrifice for important values. that's why i'd like you to explain how these suggestions, in fact, are counter to the very values they hold dear.

  5. I chose to respond this way because others did take on his points and refuted them nicely. I wanted to highlight the end result of his methods. And yes I am frustrated with having to repeat that increased restriction just cause more problems.

  6. Love it!!! I hope he read it

  7. if this letter is really real then i really hope this lady doesnt have a job as a mariiage counselour anymore. because the kids of these parents who go to this marriage counselour are the ones who will need therapy when they get messed up.

  8. I was getting pretty angry while reading this, and wondering about the irony of Jessie posting this to an online social media, when I scrolled down further and saw the response on the blog.

    I think there are some good points made- it is a
    shame that few families can make it on one income and that there isn't often a parent at home doing the nurturing. But to just abandon everything, make a lawyer or doctor (who likely has student loans to still pay off) just quit her job and stay home with the kids is completely unrealistic!

    Why are yeshiva bochurim being offered unsupervised alcohol in shul to begin with? Why is the "l'chiam" sitting on a table, waiting to be poured, with NOBODY keeping track of how much the boys drink?

    I'm sure that, even in idealistic "Leave it to Beaver" days, teens would get drunk given the opportunity. Not to mention that 50 years ago fewer people had cars!

  9. Well answered.

    And the reason some drink too much should not be analysed so profoundly, it's simply the (over)abundance of occasion.

  10. I agree with ava. Just wondering why I am reading this letter in public. My friend, a marriage counselor in Denver , said that the privacy of their clients should be kept.


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