Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Letter by Rabbi Lazer Brody to a Girl Who Wants to Go Off the Derech

Great Post by Rabbi Lazer Brody, written to a girl who's asking him about her desire to go off the derech. Very worth reading for us to apply to ourselves!

Lazer Beams: Amalek and Linda

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of design-a-day.blogspot.com)

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Anonymous said...

"G-d gives free choice, and no one has the right to take that away from you."

While I think that he otherwise handled this greatly, I believe that this quote is inaccurate, inappropriate, and chas v'shalom counter productive.

Kol Yisrael Areivim zeh b'zeh. Free will does not mean that we as individuals or society are exempt from preventing others from transgressing Torah. A Jew who can prevent another Jew from transgressing and does not do so is guilty too. Parents certainly, explicitly, have the obligation to prevent there offspring from transgressing when possible.

The problem is that it seems probable that the efforts are counter productive and will not prevent transgression but perhaps cause more.

But it is not helpful to give her the impression that her parents have no "right" when they would actually have an obligation. Free will is a non issue here.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


You're thinking too theoretically and too idealisticly here. She is obviously not going to be listening to her parents here. Anything her current parents or rabbis do to get her to stay observant at this point will most likely have the opposite effect.

A young person like this needs to understand that she does indeed have free will. Rabbi Brody knows that only by helping "Linda" realize that when she makes Yiddishkeit her *own* choice, then she will be willing to embrase it. As long as she feels that she would just be living someone else's choice like her parents or teachers, she's going to reject it at this point.

Rabbi Brody accepts that in the short term neither or he nor anyone else in this whole world can "prevent transgression." If she is going to continue doing aveiros or is going to do worse aveiros than the ones she's done so far, there's nothing that he can do to stop it. It's her choice.

What he's trying to do is open a door for her; to show her that if she can turn to Hashem, she can have a relationship with Him that's not based on what her parents or her teachers or anyone else wants her to do. It can be based on *her own* choice to return to Him. As long as there is no break with the past, and as long as she feels like her Yiddishkeit belongs to other people, she'll never be able to get out of her rut.

You and I may not be able to relate to what she's going through because of our unique background. But there are thousands of kids like "Linda" in Brooklyn, Monsey and all kinds of other places. We got to make the choice to embrase Yiddishkeit. And until she is able to do that in her own way, she's going to feel too stuck to move forward.

I wish R' Brody and Linda much hatzlacha.

-Dixie Yid