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The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

LIFESTYLES Humor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

FEATURE Bucking the Global Trend: The Story of Israel’s Demographic Miracle. . . . . . . 14

The Jewish Home is distributed bi-weekly to: ANAHEIM AGOURA HILLS BEVERLY HILLS BURBANK CALABASAS CAMARILLO COSTA MESA ENCINO GLENDALE HUNTINGON BEACH IRVINE LONG BEACH LOS ANGELES -BEVERLY HILLS

LOS ANGELESFAIRFAX LOS ANGELESLA BREA LOS ANGELESS. MONIA LOS ANGELES-PICO LOS ANGELES -WESTWOOD MALIBU MANHATTAN BEACH MARINA DEL REY MISSION VIEJO MOORPARK NEWBURY PARK

NORTH HOLLYWOOD PALM SPRINGS PACIFIC PALASADES PASADENA REDONDO BEACH SHERMAN OAKS SIMI VALLEY STUDIO CITY TEMECULA THOUSAND OAKS TORRANCE VALENCIA VAN NUYS WOODLAND HILLS

Dear readers, Personal responsibility. Simple words, yet they take a lifetime to master. Particularly now – in these politically charged and turbulent times when it is easy to get swept along with partisan fervor and be either boiling mad or ecstatic depending on the day’s news – it is far too tempting to forget to be courteous to those we interact with, dedicated to our family at home, and in general to be an upstanding human being and Yid. It matters little whether this country is acting like a terrorist state or is the best thing that happened to this world (both opinions commonly held today). We need to act in a morally responsible and kind manner. It’s easy to look at the news and take weight off your chest thinking, “I’m not like that!” First of all, neither are most of the people in this country. We see the worst behavior in the news simply because it is unusual, and thus news-worthy, at least to some. But that’s beside the point. The only question we will be called to answer when we reach 120 is how was our behavior. This seems small and trivial in the big scheme of world-wide disasters or miracles (again, depending on what you see), yet that’s the question we will be asked. What will our answer be? Will we be happy with it? The “Three Weeks,” which naturally have a subdued tone to them, is a good time to reflect on this and with Hashem’s help improve in the areas lacking. The two main fasts fall out on Shabbos this year, giving us a taste of the time when “the fast days shall turn into yomim tovim.” May it yet be this year. Wishing you joyful Shabbos and a meaningful fast,

Shalom

T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM


TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Community Shul Hosts Rabbi David and Mrs. Shulamis Charlop for Shabbaton The weekend of Parshas Chukas, June 23rd-24th, The Community Shul of Los Angeles hosted Rabbi David and Mrs. Shulamis Charlop for a shabbaton with the theme “Bridging the Gaps.” Rabbi Charlop spoke three times on Shabbos day, then he and his wife spoke at a special breakfast on Sunday morning. All sessions covered topics touching on Rabbi Charlop’s recent book, Connecting Two Worlds (Mosaica Press 2018), his experience teaching atrisk boys in an Israeli yeshiva, as well as the baalei teshuvah experiences of both husband and wife. On Shabbos morning, following kiddush, Rabbi Charlop addressed the topic of “Coping with the Death of a Loved One.” Rabbi Charlop lost his sister, Meg – a community activist known as “the Mother Theresa of the Bronx” – at 57 following a bicycle accident, so he spoke from firsthand knowledge. His emotionally intense presentation kept listeners riveted. His essential message is that we don’t get all the answers in this world, so trying to grapple with death rationally will likely fail, and offering intellectual reasons to others who have experienced a loss is disingenuous.

Healing begins when we accept that we don’t know everything and will never know everything, but that Hashem does have reasons for what He does. Hashem sees a much bigger picture than we can see, encompassing the entire span of history, as well as past lives, future events, and the World to Come. Before minchah, Rabbi Charlop presented on the topic of “Between Parents and Children.” Rabbi Moshe Cohen, the moreh d’asra of The Community Shul, introduced Rabbi Charlop, saying that this is an important issue for the entire Jewish community, not just baalei teshuvah or people whose children have left the derech. We are all a single community and even the most Chareidi individual is related to or will interact with those of a different level of observance. Rabbi Charlop expressed the necessity of seeing things from the “other side’s” perspective. If we are baalei teshuvah, our parents had hopes and dreams for us which may have been left unfulfilled when we chose a different path. If our children chose

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to move away from Yiddishkeit, they may have grievances, sources of skepticism, or other struggles which make our lifestyle overwhelming. It’s our job to value the goodness, positive actions, and (even the smallest) Jewish practices of our nonobservant relatives, and to treat them with respect and love. We must present a joyful and loving Jewish observance. It’s also important to ask shylos and get guidance rather than struggling with these issues on our own. Everyone is on a journey, and we don’t know where any individual will end up at the end of it. His brief address at seudah shelishis

reminded us to create our self-image based on ourselves, not on comparisons with others. The following morning, both Rabbi Charlop and his wife spoke on the topic “Between Siblings – Frum and Not Frum.” Rabbi Charlop and Shulamis Charlop described their siblings and the tensions and pleasures of having siblings who do not share their lifestyle. They reiterated the importance of getting da’as Torah rather than confronting challenges on our own. Each situation has many facets, and we cannot be objective regarding our own troubles. Both Rabbi and Mrs. Charlop said that sometimes a little space is necessary, but you shouldn’t assume that the space is permanent or means you can’t be respectful and understanding. As Mrs. Charlop said, quoting a teacher of hers, “Many American Jews today have been ‘kidnapped by golus’ – that’s not the same as active rebellion.” No easy answers were provided, but Rabbi and Mrs. Charlop’s authenticity and wisdom were mechazzek the members of the audience.

Photo: David Notowitz

Rebecca Klempner


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TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Preventing Addiction and Overdose: Aleph Institute and Project Tikvah Bring the Community Together for a Common Goal Yehudis Litvak A diverse crowd filled Kanner Hall on June 14th as the local community came together to combat the epidemic of drug abuse and overdose. Among the speakers and the attendees were Jews and non-Jews, men in suits and black hats, men in knitted kippot, women in head coverings and long skirts, as well as men and women with bare heads and casual summer clothes. As the speakers pointed out, substance abuse and addiction affect all segments of our community. The event, organized by Aleph Institute and Project Tikvah and entitled We Need to Talk about Prevention, raised awareness of the issues across the spectrum. Rabbi Aaron Lipskar, Executive Director of Aleph Institute, opened the event with some history of Aleph Institute and Project Tikvah and expressed appreciation to individuals and organizations that partner with Aleph in its vital work. He mentioned the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ztz”l, as the inspiration behind Aleph’s work, and then showed video clips of the Lubavitcher Rebbe speaking to the community about education. Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky, Director of Constitutional Advocacy at Aleph Institute, introduced the keynote speaker, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who “is transforming the criminal justice system with her remarkable balance of strength of compassion.” Mr. Andrew Friedman presented DA Lacey with a humanitarian award on behalf of Aleph Institute. DA Lacey spoke about addiction prevention, both as a prosecutor and as a mother. She cited statistics that show an overwhelming increase in opioid addiction

in America. “We are living in a time when drugs have become so pervasive,” she said, adding that the legalization of certain gateway drugs “can only exacerbate a bad situation.” “Everyone in this room is susceptible to this problem,” said DA Lacey. “As parents, we are responsible for the wellbeing of our children.” She recommended being involved in our children’s lives, spending time with them, being “nosy,” vigilant, and ready to intervene the moment we sense that something is not right. Next, Jimmy Delshad, former mayor of Beverly Hills, presented a leadership award to David Wiener, a Holocaust survivor who mentors young adults struggling with addiction. Mr. Weiner addressed the audience, urging everyone to “be proud of what you are and never give up.” Next speaker, Becky Savage from Indiana, lost two sons on the same day to alcohol and drug overdose. She turned her pain into a mission to prevent overdose by founding the 525 Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness of prescription drug misuse and abuse. Ms. Savage showed pictures of her family and shared her dev-

astating story. Her sons attended a graduation party, where “somebody offered them a pill, and they made the unfortunate choice to take them.” She spoke about the dangers of prescription medications for anyone who they are not prescribed for, the power of peer pressure, and the need for “exit plan” that would enable the children to leave a potentially dangerous situation. She also recommended disposing of prescription medication that is no longer necessary and keeping needed prescription medication out of reach. The audience then watched a video about Aleph’s work. Afterwards, Mr. Ari Stark of Destinations Teen Treatment Programs spoke about the direct impact of the addiction epidemic on the Jewish community. “We can’t say that it’s not our problem anymore,” he said. He cited the alarming statistics of suicide and drug overdose in the Orthodox community and emphasized the importance of recognizing and treating mental illness. Next speaker, Doug Rosen, LMFT, director of the Partners in Prevention program at Beit T’Shuvah addiction treatment center, spoke about the underlying roots

of addiction. “The problem is much bigger than drugs and alcohol,” he said. “We are a gluttonous, materialistic culture. Our kids are not raised to tolerate discomfort.” He urged parents to help their children stay connected and remind them what truly matters. Dr. Donna Miller, director of Chabad Residential Treatment Center, spoke about the “three Cs” in treating addiction – connection, caring, and communication. Then a recovering addict, Dovid Lebovitz, shared his story. “What made me turn to drugs?” he asked. “Everyone else seemed to have it easy. Why was it hard for me?” He advised parents to teach their children that “life is hard, it will throw us obstacles, but G-d gave you what you need to push through.” The program ended with a panel discussion, led by Tzvi Haber. The participants of the panel were Ari Stark, Donna Miller, Rabbi Yekusiel Kalmenson of Renewal Healthgroup, Sharon Dunas of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Asher Gottesman of Transcend Recovery Community, and David Lerner, a recovering addict.

We Came, We Heard, We Will Conquer! The Winning Edge 2018 Was Met With Waves Of Positive Feedback On Monday, June 18th, executives, entrepreneurs, and key business celebrities flocked to Montclair State University to spend the day learning strategies and tactics toward business growth. Celebrated business expert and sought-after keynote speaker, Jeffrey Hayzlett, ushered in the day with an electrifying lecture on the art of being relentless, radical transparency, and key methods for overcoming the fear that stands in the way of success. With fascinating anecdotes and deep insights from his years of experience as CMO of Kodak, Hazylett addressed the necessity for business owners to define their core reason for existence and embrace customer behavior in order to drive change.

“Kodak’s mistake is that they weren’t in the business of film. They were in the business of memories,” he shared. The next portion of the day brought an engaging and interactive series of breakout sessions which addressed everything from financial, health, and legal matters, to leadership and marketing hacks. Presenters included Saul and Simeon Friedman of Saul N. Friedman and Co.; Michael Macintyre of HSBC; Bradley Nash and Solomon Klein of Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP; Dr. Firzouz Daneshgari, founder of BowTie Medical; Eli Rowe, CEO of World Medical Bank; Moishe Katz; founder of United Refuah HealthShare; Michael Langer, founder and CEO of Gulliver’s Gate; Allen Fagin, Executive Vice Presi-

dent of the Orthodox Union; and Yitzchok Saftlas, founder and CEO of Bottom Line Marketing Group. “At the end of the day, a leader must be the one to make a decision in every situation.” Allen Fagin shared, reminding us of Harry S. Truman’s famous mantra that “the buck stops here!” A trailblazer in the field of healthcare management, Eli Rowe, shared that leaders must know their weaknesses, step back, and surround themselves with teams of talent. He reminded attendees that even innovators like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg never finished college and are still extremely successful executives. The day culminated with a riveting

Brass Tacks panel followed by an engaging closing keynote address from “Innovation Instigator” and business advisor, Stephen Shapiro. In his signature, captivating style, Shapiro provoked the audience out of their comfort zones and into new ways of thinking about change. The overwhelming positive responses and still-palpable excitement following the conference are testimony to the great success of the Winning Edge 2018. Attendee, Joel Whitehouse, President of Empire Benefits Solutions shared: “The diverse personalities, ideas, and opinions were so unique. I am excited to hit my desk this morning and start putting their advice into motion!” Winning Edge 2019, here we come!


TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Celebration “20-Chai:” Proceeding Forward with Vitality and Growth

Four hundred friends and supporters of Chabad of the Valley came together recently for a “20-Chai” Concert Gala – Celebrating Life! The event showcased a special performance by Ethan Bortnik together with an elaborate orchestra. “Two Chabad of the Valley Rabbis are sitting next to each other at a wedding when one turns to the other and says…” No, that’s not the beginning of a joke, but of a true story that, in some ways, captures the reality of Chabad of the Valley’s coming of age and entry into a new era of growth and expansion. The wedding in discussion, which took place on May 29, 2018, at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel, was that of Rabbi Mendy Bistritzky, son of Rabbi Shlomo and Tova Bistritzky, and Mirel Marozov, daughter of Rabbi Choni and Frumi Marozov. What made this “merger” something of a milestone was that both families serve as Shluchim – emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – under the umbrella of Chabad of the Valley; the Bistritzkys in the North Ranch area, the Marozovs in the S. Clarita Valley. The two rabbis at the table were thus kvelling over the fact that not only was the next generation of aspiring rabbis and rebbetzins manifesting the same sense of Chabad values and idealism as their parents, but they were finding those qualities within partners raised under the same circumstances – right here in the Valley. “I think it speaks to the phenomenal growth of the organization over the past 45 years,” said one. “Yeah, the kids no longer have to go to New York to find their bashert (soulmates); they can find their predestined right here on the home-front!” joked the other. In fact, this phenomenon would be repeated in a manner of sorts the very next night when Simi Greene, daughter of Chabad’s Rabbi Mayer and Debbie Greene, married the former Youth Director of Chabad of Encino, Levi Kehati. The growth the two rabbis were referencing is evidenced by numerous visible data points, including the number of new programs being offered region-wide, the new facilities and square-footage being added at various Chabad of the Valley locations, and, of course, the growing numbers of participants in each of the programs being offered at each center. These centers – now 27 in number – are known as the Finder and Schaeffer Family Centers. “My beloved colleague and mentor, Rabbi Joshua Gordon, of blessed memory, would be proud (and is proud, I’m sure) of the dynamic growth that has been taking place across the greater Valley, even during the nearly two-anda-half years since his untimely passing,” says Rabbi Mordechai Einbinder, Associate Director of Chabad of the Valley. “This is still very much to his credit, because a central component of his leadership style was his empowerment of individuals. He provided guidance and direction, but then encouraged folks to tap into their own unique talents and strengths with which to build their own communities and start up their own programs, schools, classes, or what have you. We’re seeing that approach continuing to work for us and open new channels to greater growth still.” This growth is not only happening in the

outlying areas – extending as far out in one direction as Toluca Lake, Newbury Park in another, and Canyon Country in yet another – but also closer to home at Chabad of the Valley’s more centrally-located facilities in Tarzana and Encino. Beyond serving as Chabad of the Valley’s headquarters from which the organization launches many of its outreach projects and events, Chabad’s Tarzana facility is home to the ever-burgeoning Gan Israel PreSchool and Kindergarten, Ryzman Family Hebrew School, Bais Menachem Adult Education Institute, Abraham Dayan Mikvah, Teichman Family Social Hall, and of course, the Chabad Synagogue of Tarzana, one of the largest of its kind in the greater Valley. Chabad of Encino, which obviously suffered a blow with the passing of its world-renowned spiritual leader, Rabbi Gordon, is now being attended by capacity-crowds, including many new families headed by upand-coming professionals. Rabbi Ari Herzog, who, as former Assistant Rabbi to Rabbi Gordon, found himself thrust into an unenviable position two years ago, has come into his own by simply being the bright, amiable, eloquent and understated leader he is. His wife, Rebbetzin Chana Herzog, who works alongside him and heads up Chabad of Encino’s youth activities and women’s study groups, runs the new Jewish Children’s Academy established at the center through a generous grant from philanthropist Jody Sherman, in loving memory of her late husband, Earl, and son, Steve, of blessed memory. On the broader youth front, Chabad of the Valley’s Finder Family Camp Gan Israel, which has been the largest Jewish day camp in the Valley for 43 years running, had its largest summer yet in 2017, as more than 400 children experienced the time of their lives in a spirited and fun-filled Jewish environment. Directors Rabbi Nachman and Elkie Abend are predicting even stronger enrollment for the summer of 2018 at its central Valley location. This growth has given birth to an additional branch of Camp Gan Israel in the North Valley last summer. Offering the same sort of programming as its highly successful counterpart, Gan Israel in the North Valley is expected to more than double its enrollment this summer. The S. Clarita Valley has had a thriving Camp Gan Israel program since 2004. Another popular youth program that has been taking root in recent years is the local Valley Chapter of C-Teen – a nationally-sponsored Chabad program for Jewish teenagers – under the direction of Rabbi Shua Einbinder. In addition to his weekly “pow-wows” with teens at breaks during shul services on Friday Night and Shabbat, Rabbi Shua mans a C-Teen station outside Taft High School on Friday afternoons, from which he distributes challos to the Jewish students, puts on tefillin with the boys, and presents Shabbat Candle-Lighting kits to the girls. Rabbi Shua also organizes holiday programs, sports activities and field trips for teen-

agers – often in coordination with other C-Teen chapters throughout the region (including the Conejo Valley Chapter) – and brings members of the group to New York for the annual National C-Teen Shabbaton. The Valley Chapter was well represented indeed among multitudes of teens to attend the action-packed New York program this year, highlighted by a visit to the Rebbe’s Ohel, Shabbat in Crown Heights, a Saturday Night convergence of 2,500 Jewish teenagers in the heart of Times Square for a program viewed on the Square’s huge Jumbotron screen, and a grand Sunday Banquet. Other youth programs to reach new heights of late are the Chabad Pre-School of Chatsworth under the direction of Rabbi Yossi and Necha Spritzer, and the Friendship Circle for children with special needs in Studio City. As a sister-branch to the Friendship Circle of the Conejo Valley, the heartwarming and inspiring program has recently enjoyed the addition of a new play-area, fittingly named “The Friendship Garden,” at its center located on the Chabad of Studio City premises. That facility, primely situated on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, just off Ventura Boulevard, which Chabad took ownership of in 2015 after years of renting a storefront as its center of operations, is located on a huge parcel of land. Chabad of Studio City’s Rabbi Yossi and Chani Baitelman see the property as having potential for further expansion in the years ahead. Another Chabad center to have taken ownership of a large property at a prime location is

that of Thousand Oaks. Situated on a prominent corner on Janss Road, a major city arterial, the facility – which is currently entering the finishing-stages of a major rehab, remodel and expansion project – offers magnificent picturesque vistas of the Conejo mountains from its elevated patio. In addition to its own property, Chabad of Thousand Oaks, under the direction of Rabbi Chaim and Shula Bryski, has entered into a lease agreement with the City of Thousand Oaks, granting it limited usage (parking, non-fixed activities, etc.) of a city-owned adjacent parcel, effectively giving Chabad access to more than a full acre. Construction and expansion projects have likewise either just been completed, or are heading toward completion, at a number of other Chabad of the Valley facilities. These include: Chabad of Woodland Hills, where on Purim of this year – exactly 18 years, to the day, from when Chabad first established its footprint in Woodland Hills – Rabbi Yossi and Daniella Gordon celebrated the grand opening of the newly-expanded Tessler Family Campus at its 15,000 square-foot property. Chabad of Granada Hills, where Rabbi Meir and Simi Rivkin built out their Chabad House on Balboa Boulevard to allow for the more comfortable and conducive hosting of Shabbat services and meals, as well as a spacious outdoor area for parties and events. Chabad @ Tampa, under the direction of Rabbi Hershy and Frumi Spritzer, where an expansion project is currently underway that would allow the group to move into a newly built-out shul and study-center rather than continue holding services and classes in the backyard-tent it had been utilizing since 2010. Chabad of CSUN, under the direction of Rabbi Chaim and Raizel Brook, where remodeling is taking place at its 3500 square-foot facility, located directly across the Cal State Northridge Campus. This remodel project, upon completion, will further enhance Chabad’s offering of the first-ever Jewish dormitory facilities for college students in the Valley. That evening, as friends and supporters of Chabad of the Valley came together for a “20Chai” Concert Gala event, the focus and spirit of the evening was wholly optimistic and forward-looking. The theme of the evening was “The Power of Music,” and Ethan Bortnick – who was listed in 2010 as holding the Guinness World Records for “The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Headline His Own Concert Tour” – gave an upbeat performance which exemplified that positivity. In the words of Chabad of the Valley’s Jonathan Herzog, “It is a celebration of the many impressive and inspiring things that have happened across this major Jewish population-center over the past 45 years, but more so, a celebration of the even greater vitality and growth we are anticipating in the years to come. It is, in short, an exhilarating ‘Celebration of Life!’”

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Not the Media’s Standard

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Humans everywhere seek love and appreciation. As people attempt to fill that need, oftentimes they seek to ingratiate themselves with those around them, compromising on values in a bid to gain popularity. We must remember the admonition of Chazal that it is better for a person to go through life considered a fool in the eyes of the world than to be considered a fool by the Ribbono Shel Olam for even one moment. While it is important to make a good impression, it is much more important to live in harmony with Hashem’s will. Sometimes, we so badly want something to happen that we blind ourselves to the reality that the goal is not in keeping with the will of Hashem and the Torah. Bilam became so smitten by the Midianite king’s offer of fame and fortune that he sought to act against what he knew was the Divine will. In a failed bid to advance his own agenda, he perverted the gift of prophesy with which he was blessed. He sought to twist the Divine word so that he could follow Hashem’s literal command, even though he knew that he wasn’t acting according to the Divine will. When he first asked permission to return with the ministers of Bolok, Hashem refused him. Bilam petitioned again, until Hashem permitted him to go if he would not curse the Jewish people. Bilam knew that the venture was against Hashem’s will, but he didn’t care, as long as he was following the literal words of Hashem. The gold and silver promised by the

high ministers of Bolok’s court were too enticing to resist. Adulation and admiration are nice, but they do not determine the actions of a person whose life is dedicated to Torah values. All too often, the term “kiddush Hashem” is used as a plea to act in a way that impresses the world around us. In fact, an act can only bring about a kiddush Hashem if it follows the will of Hashem. Even though the conduct may earn accolades and praise, it could still

tion. As it continues to remain elusive, the quest can drive people away from the proper path. Desperate for public recognition, people compromise on honesty and halacha. We often see decent, honest, upstanding and smart people who reach a position of power and become unapproachable and unrecognizable to those who knew them before their ascent. They abandon the ideals they had lived by in the past as they were climbing the ladder of success. They engage in debatable

We instinctively get pulled by the media and the court of public opinion. be a chillul Hashem if it is not in keeping with halacha and the mesorah. The talmidim in pre-war Novardok would enter a hardware store and ask for milk. They would visit the pharmacy and ask for nails. They engaged in this type of behavior to train themselves to accept mockery and scorn. They thus developed the thick skin necessary to withstand the judgment of others, a trait they used to advance the cause of Torah even when it was unpopular. The Novardokers knew that it is natural for people to seek public recogni-

actions if they believe it will engender more honor and prestige for themselves. In the process, they destroy themselves and their reputations. Power corrupts. But it doesn’t have to. Bilam was granted to the Canaanite nations so that they could not excuse their behavior by claiming that they were shortchanged by not having a proper prophet to lead and guide them as the Israelites did. They took advantage of his craving for recognition and ambushed him with tempting offers that led

him to stray from his appointed mission. Bolok, king of Moav, was an intelligent observer of the world scene. He noted that a relatively small nation, without a country, had encountered large powerful nations along its nomadic path and defeated them in battle. He surmised that their victories were brought on by a higher power, since they definitely did not possess the manpower or experience to vanquish such powerful, established foes. He reasoned that to defeat them, it would not suffice to strengthen his army and devise better battle plans. Instead, he sought out Bilam the sorcerer to entice him to curse the obviously blessed nation. His bid to twist the power of the upstarts failed miserably, as Bilam found himself unable to curse Hashem’s favorite sons. Instead of being defeated, the small nation gained strength from Bolok’s venture. For it is not enough to be a brilliant pundit. To succeed, man must see the Hand of Hashem in all that transpires and act accordingly. Bilam was given ample opportunity to right his way and be a light unto the nations, but he failed. As he was riding to view the encampment of Am Yisroel, his donkey veered from the path, as the beast of burden saw an angel blocking its way. Bilam hit the donkey three times, whereupon it told him that a malach was in its way, and had it not stopped, Bilam would have been killed. When Bilam saw the angel, he apologized for hitting the donkey and said, “Chotosi, I have sinned, for I didn’t know you were standing in the way.” The Seforno and Shela wonder why Bilam sinned. Was he expected to imagine that his donkey had seen an angel in its path? They answer that when a person sees that things aren’t going his way and difficulties arise, he must understand that he is being sent messages from Heaven to reconsider his actions and correct his behavior. Bilam sinned because he didn’t stop to make a cheshbon hanefesh when his plan was being blocked.


JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Living with the Times

summer 2018 Rav Moshe Meir Weiss recounted that one wintry morning, the roads were icy and the car in which Rav Moshe Feinstein was riding to the Yeshiva of Staten Island slid off the road, causing Rav Moshe to bump his head. The driver took him to a doctor for an examination. Thankfully, there was no damage and Rav Moshe was able to continue to the yeshiva to partake in breakfast. Normally, he would ask Rav Weiss to bring him a Gemara, which he would use to study as he ate, but that day he said, “Please don’t bring the Gemara yet. I have to make a cheshbon as to why this happened to me.” Rav Moshe thought for a couple of minutes. Once he was satisfied that he had made a proper cheshbon, he was ready to learn and asked that the Gemara be brought. When Rav Moshe was in his eighties, he had a pacemaker installed to regulate his heart. The operation caused him much pain. During the recuperation period, he was silent and deep in thought. He explained that he was seeking to understand what sin he had committed to be punished with such pain. He said that he reviewed in his mind the eightyplus years of his life until he thought of an incident that took place when he was a young child. His melamed would ask questions of his young charges, and Rav Moshe’s responses were better than those of the other children. When he gave his answers, the children were embarrassed of the responses they had given. “For that I was punished,” Rav Moshe said. Even a tzaddik like Rav Moshe Feinstein, who could find no misdeeds in over eight decades of his life, was obligated to make a cheshbon hanefesh when something caused him pain. Certainly people like us must think through our actions and ensure that we are not only living by the word of Hashem, but also by His will. The parsha ends by discussing the example of an incorruptible leader. Pinchos knew that his heroic act to stand up

for the honor of Hashem would provoke negative feelings and lead people to label him a baal machlokes and killer. His life was in jeopardy as he acted selflessly, ignoring the masses. His only motivation was to act for the sake of Hashem’s honor. Pinchos thus earned the eternal gratitude of the Jewish people and the everlasting blessings of Hashem. The posuk relates, “Lochein emor hineni nosein lo ess berisi shalom.” It wasn’t the pacifists who brought about shalom. It was Pinchos, with his single-minded zeal and passion, who achieved peace. Pinchos was the type of person who earns everlasting respect and the exalted position of bris kehunas olam. That is the type of leader who saves a nation. Why? Tachas asher kinei l’Elokav vayechaper al bnei Yisroel. We instinctively get pulled by the media and the court of public opinion. Nobody wants to be seen as a baal machlokes, as a divider, or one who doesn’t go with the flow. No one wants to be painted as an outcast who hews to an ancient code. We all want to be perceived as with-it, intelligent, loving and sweet. But that is not the Jewish barometer of right and wrong. As Bilam said, “Hein am levodod yishkon uvagoyim lo yis’chashov.” We are different. We don’t blend in. We don’t do things so that the media will write glowing reports about us. We follow halacha and the Torah, and we thus achieve enduring greatness and respect. In an era of evolving truth, when even well-grounded diehards betray principle, we must remember the example of people such as Pinchos ben Elozor ben Aharon Hakohein. We must engage in the study of Torah and mussar to ensure that we do not fall for the enticements that life offers. We must remain loyal to our mission, living lives of truth and being mekadeish Sheim Shomayim in all we do. By doing so, we will be zocheh to genuine kavod and enduring brocha.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Power in Numbers: Lessons from Dominoes and Rummikub Sarah Pachter

I’ll never forget the look of pure joy on the face of my daughter, Emmy, the first time I showed her a domino chain reaction. With a simple flick of my finger, one domino fell, which lead to hundreds toppling over. I explained to my older children that this chain reaction can theoretically continue for miles. In fact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest domino chain reached 2.6 miles. The game of dominoes becomes a wonderful physical representation of a famous Torah concept called mitzvah gorrerret mitzvah, “one mitzvah leads to another.” When we jump-start our day with a positive mitzvah, a chain reaction, or domino effect, can take place. And it is often the decisions we don’t attach much significance to which initiate that chain reaction. The midrash and Zohar write: “If we open a hole the size of a needle, Hashem opens it wide enough for a chariot to pass through.” Although I am a big proponent of small choices creating big change, this concept seemed to take it to a seemingly impossible level. I was skeptical, but also curious. As part of my research, I read a book called, The One Thing by Gary Keller, which gave a fascinating visual about the game of dominoes. He explained that the domino effect was more powerful than just one small action leading to another small action. One domino, he believes, has the capacity to knock down something much larger. This theory was discussed by Lorne Whitehead in The American Journal of Physics [Vol. 51, page 182 (1983)]. He

stated that when a domino falls, it doesn’t just topple a smaller domino or even one of the same size; it can also conquer larger dominoes in its path. In fact, one domino has the capacity to topple dominoes up to 50% larger than its own mass. In 2001, Whitehead’s experiment was reproduced in San Francisco using plywood to create eight dominoes, each 50% larger than the preceding domino. The first was only two inches, and the last close to three feet. The first domino made a small “tick” sound as it fell, while the last of the chain ended with a slam. Imagine if this process were to continue. Although seemingly impossible, if the first tile is merely two inches tall, by the time you reach tile #18, you would be looking at a tile the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Tile #23 would be the height of the Eiffel tower and #31 would be higher than Mount Everest. Tile #57? Forget it, that’s almost the distance to the moon (Keller The One Thing, pg. 12)! This visual gave me a new and profound understanding. One small action creates not only a chain reaction, but can create an enormous opening to develop a closer connection to G-d. There is yet a deeper aspect of the domino effect. It is imperative the tiles be close enough together for their magic to work. If the tiles are spread too far apart, the preceding domino will not make contact with the domino that follows. In a certain sense, the dominos must be unified for their power to reach exponential levels. Such is true of the Jewish people. When united, we are stronger, and when

we join together in prayer and genuine concern, we are unstoppable. Yet, when we are exiled, fighting, or separated both physically and metaphorically, it becomes much harder to unify as one and reach our collective goals. Dominoes is not the only game that shares this theme of unity. Rummikub for example, lends itself to the idea of unity as well. Rummikub differs from most games because the specific number on the tile is irrelevant until placed next to another tile. When my family was playing, I noticed that when initially choosing tiles, my children weren’t hoping for a specific number. However, once they had certain tiles on deck, they began to wish for tiles that could be grouped with ones they had already chosen. One cannot simply place a tile by itself. It must be grouped with others. Once the player can unite a minimum of three of the same numbers or string three consecutive numbers together, they are able to progress. Alternately, a player can join their tile to an already formed group on the board.  It is unity that gives a tile the power to win the game. Such is true of life. It is UNITY that makes the individual more powerful. Dave Ramsey explains the power of unity succinctly in his book, Entreleader. He explains that the Belgian draft horse is one of the largest and strongest horses. There are competitions held to determine which horse can pull the most weight. One horse alone is capable of pulling 8000 pounds. The intriguing aspect is that if you bring two horses together that have never even met, and cause them to pull together, they are able to pull almost 24,000 pounds. One might assume that two horses would equate to double the weight pulled, but they can actually pull triple the amount! More fascinating is that two horses trained together can pull 32,000 pounds! That means two horses can together pull four times the weight when unified and trained as one (Entreleader by Dave Ramsey pg. 230-231). In a similar vein, Rabbi Zacharia Wallerstein gave a lecture that incorporated a story of a wealthy man who owned many horses purchased around the globe. He spent over 400,000 rubles on each horse. One day, he loaded his wagon with

his possessions and began his travels with his two most expensive horses. He fell into ditch, and the horses, despite their price tag, were not able to pull the wagon out. He hit one, but they don’t budge. He slapped the other, but to no avail, for the horses wouldn’t even move. Along came another man with two donkeys. He said to the original man, “Unstrap your horses; allow my donkeys to help you out.” “How can that be?” The first man chuckled skeptically. He continued, “These are horses worth four hundred thousand rubles each. One was selected in Saudi Arabia and the other at an auction in Egypt. Yours are merely cheap donkeys.” The other man replied, “It’s worth a try, isn’t it? I don’t see any other options right now.” The man strapped the donkeys onto the wagon, and he lifted his hand to hit one of them. Before his hand even made contact, the donkeys both used all their might and together succeeded in pulling the wagon out. “How did you do that?” The astonished horse owner asked. The man replied with a smile on his face, “You have to understand, you bought one horse from Saudi Arabia and the other from Egypt. My donkeys were born and raised together. They are like brothers. Your horse saw the other one was hit and didn’t care. My donkey saw that I was about to hit the other one, and they both gave their heart to pull it out.” These “small” inexpensive donkeys when joined together achieved the impossible. Two heads aren’t just better than one; they can be four (or more) times better than one! Like the horses, it is not the power of the number on the tile in dominoes or Rummikub, but rather the power in number. It makes no difference how small the number on the tile is, for when the tiles join together they can masterfully win. That is unity, and that is the secret to the success of the Jewish nation. When we unite as one, no matter how small the mitzvah, we can achieve anything. When we make small choices and unify ourselves, that’s when that domino effect can reach the moon.


The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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Humor

The Week In News Torah

The Weekly Daf Can we permit an item of questionable status based on a double doubt?

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Rebecca Klempner

Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of RealClearDaf.com

We discussed this question on 74a in the daf this week. The major topic of our current chapter (#8) is mixtures that contain at least one unidentifiable prohibited item. The first mishnah of our chapter rules that if a prohibited animal got mixed with even ten thousand permitted animals, the entire mixture becomes prohibited. But on 74a, Rav reveals a mixture case in which we are allowed to be lenient: A ring that is prohibited as an accessory to an idol got mixed with 100 permitted rings. If less than the majority of the rings became separated from the group of 100 and fell into a second group of rings, any given ring that a person takes from group #2 is permitted. Why? Because of a double doubt: Perhaps the selected ring is from the original permitted rings of group #2. And even if it is a ring that was previously part of the questionable group #1, it’s far from certain that the idolatrous ring was the one selected. Based on this double doubt, we rule that this ring is permitted. But what exactly is the rationale of this double doubt argument? A reasonable person might say that the chief consideration should be: What is the probability that we’re dealing with a prohibited item? Indeed, the principle of majority carries great weight in halachah. From court rulings to yibum to the death penalty, the principle of majority is used to decide issues across the spectrum of halachah. Yet for some reason we can’t use majority here: As the mishnah states, even if there are 10,000 permitted animals over the 1 prohibited animal, we cannot use majority to assume that the animal selected is permitted. This needs to be

better understood. And we must also endeavor to understand why a double doubt achieves what majority could not. Here’s how I understand it: There’s something particularly sensitive about the known presence of an item that is prohibited. As an example, consider a cup of poison that is known to be mixed with 17,000 other cups. In spite of the low odds of fatality, most people would not drink any of the cups. And yet most of us will drive to work in spite of the similar odds of dying in a car crash (see https://www.thrillist.com/cars/ nation/how-likely-you-are-to-die-in-a-caraccident-in-every-us-state-the-most-dangerous-roads-in-america). Somehow, the human psyche perceives the significance of a danger that is here and present. And so it is with mixtures containing a prohibited item: even though the odds overwhelmingly indicate that any given animal is not prohibited, halachah obligates us to reckon with the prohibited animal that is here and present (except of course when the principle of nullification is warranted, in which case the halachah decrees that the prohibited item doesn’t exist). So, what does a double doubt do? A double doubt says that we actually have no idea whether there is a questionable situation before us at all. By adding that one crucial piece of information, we can allow the regular rule of majority to take over and grant us the right to presume that the item before us is permitted. If you any thoughts about this or any other interesting points about double doubts to share, please send them in: I would undoubtedly love to hear them!

A couple weeks ago, four members of my writing group were sitting around a table in my backyard when a cloud of skunky, marijuana-scented smoke drifted in our direction. I hoped that no one else noticed, but after two minutes, Leah turned to me and announced, “We’re all going to get high.” I tried to laugh it off, but I was mortified. It was the first time in eight years that our writing group has met at my apartment, and now some neighbor’s state-sanctioned relaxation was making it harder for me to relax with friends. In theory, I don’t mind the legalization of marijuana. Certainly, it has helped many people with a variety of ailments, and prosecution of low-level drug infractions weighs heavily and disproportionately on non-White citizens. But in practice, I’m feeling more red than green. I’ve never smoked pot or anything else – legal or not. As a teen, I had asthma, and cigarettes lose their appeal when you are afraid smoking one might send you to the ER for a corticosteroid injection in your posterior. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been high. It happened exactly once and entirely by accident. While visiting a friend in college, I walked into her home as her roommates sat cross-legged on the floor in a circle passing around a water pipe. A cloud of steam hit me in the face, and the next thing I knew, my feet seemed twice as far away as usual. I

felt like I’d taken a detour through Alice in Wonderland. Not only that: I did not feel creative or pleasantly mellow as so many friends had told me to expect. I felt stupid. Why does anyone want to feel stupid? The desire to smoke pot for recreational purposes comes from the same two places as the desire to overconsume alcohol: 1) a longing for relaxation, and 2) a yearning for escape. Reading a novel or going for a run or listening to music all seem far more relaxing than inhaling something that smells like Pepé le Pew. And as for wanting to escape, I understand that life is full of tzuris, and sometimes it can be too much to handle on our own. But isn’t that what davening is for? And mental health professionals? Pot-smokers should visit shrinks. But no, they all move to my block and smoke pot with their windows open. The weather has been lovely, but I feel trapped in my apartment. The last thing I need is for my neighbors to introduce my children to their invisible friend, Mary Jane. As I shut my windows for the thirtieth time, I want to scream at them all, “Don’t you know that research shows marijuana has lasting effects on juvenile brains!?!” But I don’t think they’ll be mekabel, so I don’t scream. Instead, I write humor columns about how much I hate smelling pot while doing pushups against my front steps at 7:45 in the morning.


The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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Feature The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Bucking the Global Trend: The Story of Israel’s Demographic Miracle Aaron Feigenbaum

The State of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebration earlier this year was full of commentators rightly praising the country for its incredible contributions to humanity and resilience in the face of enormous challenges. However, what was missing in the discussion was what is arguably one of Israel’s greatest and most underappreciated achievements: maintaining a growing birth rate when the rest of the developed world is experiencing an unprecedented decline. Just 20 years ago, Israel was on a demographic downturn like the rest of the first world. In fact, all Jewish populations throughout the world were trending toward negative population growth. The recent boom of immigrants from ex-Soviet countries had ground to a halt, and there was no great desire on the part of Western Jews to make aliyah in significant numbers. At the same time, the Arab population was growing dramatically. In light of these trends, concerns were raised that the very identity of Israel as a Jewish state was at risk. With the security situation worsening dramatically after the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000, these warnings grew even stronger as many in the Israeli political arena and abroad sought a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to prevent a mass emigration of Jews. Miraculously, no mass emigration happened during all the years of the Second Intifada. Israel beat back the forces of terrorism, and the economy began to boom. Crucially, despite the negative birth rate trend affecting the world, Israel’s birth rate started to go up. Today, it is much higher than that of the West Bank and even most Muslim countries. The question is: What factors can we point to that can explain this incredible reversal? For one thing, when we look back at the earliest days of the Zionist story, we see a long string of failed predictions about a dangerously low birth rate. The Russian-Jewish historian and anti-Zionist Simon Dubnov infamously stated in 1898 that “the creation of a state with a significant Jewish population is impossible… In the year 2000, there will live in Palestine at most 500,000 Jews.” In reality, when the State of Israel was founded in 1948 there were already 600,000 Jews living within Israel. When the First Intifada started in the 1980s, it became fashionable amongst researchers and political figures to warn of an impending demographic collapse. Supposed experts such as Arnon Sofer of Haifa University and Meron Benvenisti, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, framed the population question in strictly political terms. They warned that unless Israel agreed to a radical peace proposal with Palestinians, it would face a serious threat to its Jewish majority. However, this view was certainly not shared by all those in power. The right-wing prime minister at the time, Yitzchak Shamir, stated, “From our inception our nation was ‘the smallest among the nations,’ and always faced demographic problems. Yet never did our people resort to the solution of escapism. That is no solution.” As it turns out, Shamir was correct. Despite the on-

going threat of terrorism, Israel saw a massive influx of Jews from ex-Soviet countries in the early 1990s. In a 1996 speech, Yasir Arafat stated to an audience of Arab diplomats that “We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs.” During the midst of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, it seemed to many that this tactic was working and that the Jewish majority in Israel was in a state of catastrophic decline. Arnon Sofer, repeating his pessimistic outlook first expressed during the First Intifada, claimed that Israel was “in a demographic collapse; the demographic map in Jerusalem, in the Negev, and in the Galilee points to devastation.” Even the staunch right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu, then Minister of the Treasury, warned that “If we have an Arab minority of 40 percent, the Jewish state is nullified.” Even after the Second Intifada, American leaders such as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Kerry have warned that the only way to prevent a demographic crisis is for Israel to make heavy concessions to the Palestinians. Despite all the political rhetoric and dire warnings, the reality is that Israel is in an excellent demographic situation, especially com-

pared to other Middle Eastern countries. To take an example, Iran’s population has been aging at an alarming rate. Combined with a poor economy that is ill-equipped to deal with an elderly population and ethno-political unrest, Iran and several other Middle Eastern countries have entered a so-called “death spiral.” As for the West Bank and Gaza, since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel no longer controls the data on birth rates. Instead, the information is supplied by the Palestinian Authority and has been found to be highly unreliable. Likely, the PA inflates the numbers for psychological and financial gain. Several Israeli demographers have found the official PA Arab population numbers to be inflated by as much as one million. Similarly, there have been large disparities between the official fertility figures for Arab women and those supplied by reliable sources such as the CIA Factbook. According to the most sources, both Palestinian and Israeli Arab birth rates have been on the decline for a while now while Jewish Israeli birth rates have been growing at a record pace. In the face of this massive shift, scholars such as Arnon Sofer changed tactics and started claiming that the demographic threat to Israel was now an anti-Zionist Chareidi majority. This claim proved to be spurious as well.

Besides a small and vocal minority, most Israeli Chareidim are highly supportive of the State of Israel. Furthermore, the claim that Chareidim are responsible for most of the increase in the birth rate is also incorrect. Chareidi birth rates have declined by approximately 10% since 2000 while the rates for “traditional” and secular women have soared. Surprisingly, the demographic group that has contributed the most to the increased birth rate in Israel is educated, middle-class Jews – quite the opposite from many other countries. Israeli society has managed to balance rising levels of affluence and education with a vibrant family culture. This unique situation can be attributed to a strong sense of national solidarity and a shared history. Indeed, one would expect such a sentiment to arise from decades of wars, terrorism and international ostracization; however, the actual roots go much deeper. Many Israeli Jews, even secular ones, learn from the Torah that family is crucial to Jewish life, and the observance of holidays in Israel such as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah revolves around the family. Thus, for many Israeli Jews it is both a right and a duty to start and grow their family even into their late age. Thus, with Israeli society’s ironclad commitment to the family, it is no surprise that Israel is by far the world leader in fertility treatments. Over 40,000 publicly funded treatments are performed every year. An Israeli woman can undergo such treatments as many times as she wishes until age 45. Israel is also a leader in healthcare for pregnant women and has developed revolutionary technologies for surgery on fetuses with life-threatening conditions. To sum up, in 2010 there was a Jewish to Arab birth rate of 2:1, while it is predicted that the ratio will be a staggering 4:1 in 2020. Furthermore, with Anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe and elsewhere, it is expected that the Israeli Jewish population will grow even more with an average of about 200,000 additional Jews every decade. For the first time since the Second Temple era, Israel is home to the world’s single largest Jewish community. Additionally, with most diaspora communities experiencing a negative birth rate, Israel is also close to becoming (or perhaps has already become) home to the majority of Jews in the world, which has not been seen since possibly the First Temple era. It is also estimated that Israel will become home to about two-thirds of all Jewish children in the world. To be certain, there are challenges presented by such unprecedented growth. As diaspora communities continue to decline and more Jews intermarry, connecting with unaffiliated Jews will be a thorny task for Jewish policy makers. On the other hand, Israel has become the center of Jewish life for many in the diaspora and has awakened a sense of Jewish belonging for many who were previously unaffiliated. Some of those are descendants of those who converted during the Inquisition and the Holocaust. They now feel a sense of safety and belonging in Israel.


The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In Health News Emotional

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Becoming an Emotionally Attuned Parent Rabbi Dov Heller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

In the movie Inside/Out, Riley’s parents initially demonstrate the damaging impact of being emotionally unattuned when they fail to understand their daughter’s pain over their move to San Francisco. At the end of the film, when they embrace Riley’s sadness upon her return home after a runaway attempt, they model the healing impact of being emotionally attuned. But let’s imagine a different scenario at the end of the movie: Riley walks through the door after attempting to run away, tears

welling up in her eyes, and her mother greets her this way, “Riley where have you been? Your father and I have been worried sick about you. What were you thinking? How could you do this to us? Young lady, those tears will get you nowhere. And if you want something to cry about, I’ll give you something to really cry about! Now go to your room and consider yourself grounded for the next three days – that includes no hockey practice!� If Riley’s emotional world was

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crumbling because of her parents’ earlier lack of attunement, a response like this would have crushed it. In real life, this is the kind of stuff of which trauma is made. Thankfully, the second time around, her parents get it right. They provide the emotional attunement that Riley needs to help her regain her emotional equilibrium. Attuned responses integrate, vitalize, and expand one’s inner world. Malattuned responses fragment, crush, and narrow one’s inner world. Attunement builds and strengthens. Malatunement tears down and weakens. I believe that the first responsibility of every parent is to be emotionally attuned to their children. Fifty years of research on child development has demonstrated that consistent emotional attunement is what is most needed for a child to become healthy and strong. On the other hand, a consistent lack of emotional attunement seriously damages a child’s development and sense of self. I often feel like telling parents, “You can provide it now or pay me to provide it later.� Your child comes home from school and says, “Dad, I hate my teacher. He’s so mean and unfair. I want to put a tack on his chair tomorrow.� Here are two possible responses. Which type of parent are you? Option 1: “Listen honey, that’s no way to talk about your teacher. You must respect him and appreciate how hard he works. Besides, haven’t we taught you how important it is to love people? And I’m appalled that a daughter of mine could even think of hurting another person, let alone your teacher. Young lady, go to your room, and I hope you’ll be singing a different tune when you come out.� Option 2: “Wow, you are really angry at Mr. Roberts, aren’t you? I know what that feels like because just yesterday I was so angry at a partner in my office. Would you like to tell me more about what happened, and why you’re so mad?� The mantra of every parent should be: “Listen first, educate and correct second.� Our need to correct and educate our children must yield to the necessity of being attuned to their feelings and perceptions. This principle is based on a verse from the Book of Proverbs which says, “Educate a child according to his

unique temperament.� Employing this simple principle would alleviate so much emotional damage done by well meaning parents, besides saving millions of dollars spent on therapist and family lawyer fees. There are four main aspects of emotional attunement: 1. Unconditional acceptance of another person’s feelings. This means taking a stance of being curious as opposed to being judgmental and critical. 2. Listening without interrupting or trying to make reassuring comments such as, “I feel so sorry for you.� Attuned listening requires discipline and selfcontrol. 3. Naming the feeling in order to bring it into awareness. The more accurately we are able to name the feeling, the more understood, comforted, and encouraged one feels. 4. Helping the person to understand the meaning of their feelings within the specific relational context that they originated. Making sense of our feelings helps us to own and make good use of them. (A must-read for every parent on this subject is the classic work, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish) Emotional attunement is not only for children, it is a universal need for people of all ages. Our world is filled with so much pain and brokenness. Everyone knows how crushing it is to have one’s feelings dismissed. One of the greatest acts of kindness is to listen to another’s feelings in an attuned and caring way. Attuned listening is an expression of love. The next time someone wants to talk to you, be prepared to listen first and then give your opinion. We could bring so much healing into the world if we would only listen a little more and talk a little less. Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at Dov@ClarityTalk.com. You may also visit his website at www.ClarityTalk.com


The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home


The Week In News

JUNE 28, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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