Modern Shalom Bayis Crises for Parents and Married Children

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By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA
Director: Jewish Professionals Institute www.jpi.org/ Email: rudomin@jpi.org
Author: The Second World War and Jewish Education in America www.jpi.org/holocaust/
Part of a series on Shalom Bayis
In recent years, a new phenomenon has been evolving in the Frum world. Married children in particular who have had a frustrating and difficult time with their own parents have been choosing to cut all ties with them. The “justification” such as it may be for cutting off all ties with the people who raised them and struggled to give them everything, is now based on allegations that the parents are being “VERBALLY abusive” to their children. Other types of accusations, such as having been physically abused are obviously serious. Getting a “Potch” from Tatty or Mommy is not what is meant here. But what is now becoming prevalent is that allegations of “VERBAL abuse” suffered either in the past of still supposedly ongoing is now becoming the “justification” for breaking off relations with one’s own parents. It is not clear if this phenomenon is taking place in the Chasidisha communities or among Charedi communities in Israel, but it is becoming known and even written about in the more Litvish Yeshiva communities in the USA.
Evidently what happens is that a married child or their spouse decides they have had enough of one set of parents’ “abusive” talk that is not clearly defined. The children then go to see a mental health therapist who advises them to break off all relations with the parents unless the parents stop or issue an apology to their own children. This is then followed up by getting a “Psak” from an anonymous rabbi who never divulges his name and full justification for his ruling, and the children are then all set to have nothing to do with their own parents and not to allow those parents access to their own grandchildren either.
When the parents are shocked to discover they have been cut out of the lives of their children, and ask why, and then say that according to the Torah’s Mitzvos of Kibbud Av Va’Em they should be respected by their own children no matter what, the therapists advise the children to tell the parents “not to hide behind Kibbud Av Va’Em”! This understandably comes as a huge shock to the parents who are bewildered by such extreme actions. The therapist then justify their advice to the children to cut off all relations with their parents by saying that “times have changed” and what is expected of parents is different in our times since in past generations parents were stricter with their children, now the way to raise children is based on pure “love” and harmony and beautiful words only. Such has been openly written about in all seriousness.
There are many questions that anyone can pose in this radically altering world of parenting in our times. We are seeing therapists and unnamed rabbis deciding what is and is not required according to the Torah’s Mitzvos requiring full compliance with Kibbud Av Va’Em even with parents who are difficult to deal with. While therapists are free to follow their own guidelines, rabbis too are required to follow rabbinical guidelines such as explaining what is behind their Psak and even publishing Teshuvos explaining their reasoning and not just relying on what they are told in the name of therapists. It is not good enough to tell the parents “not to hide behind” Kibbud Av Va’Em because that is pushing aside a De’Oraisa a Torah commandment that is in the Aseres HaDibros (Ten Commandments).
For example, if someone commits murder that the Torah forbids according to the Aseres Hadibros in Lo Tirtzach, would a murderer be able to use as a defense on his own behalf that the families of the victims “should not hide behind Lo Tirtzach? Of course such a claim would be absurd, so why is “hiding behind” Kibbud Av Va’Em any different?
To be continued….
{Matzav.com}

88 COMMENTS

  1. Please consider the following information. The divorce rate in our community is getting worse and worse. There are many reasons for this. But, we should consider and give much weight to the primary one.

    Steven Z. Mostofsky is a solo family law attorney and president of the National Council of Young Israel, was interviewed by the NY Law Journal. He was asked, and answered. http://matzav.com/new-york-law-journal-speaks-with-steven-z-mostofsky/

    Q: Based on your 15 years of experience as a solo family law attorney, what would you say is the top reason for divorce in the Orthodox community? Is that any different than for non-Orthodox?

    A: Interference by in-laws, especially when couples marry at a young age. I was quite surprised to hear a radio report recently which listed in-laws as the number two reason for all divorces.

    I heard the same on a tape from rabbi Yosef Viner. Rabbi Miller Z”L says the same in his book.

    So here you have it. Most divorces and its terrible consequences are caused by a parent-in-law. The divorcees suffer. The children are usually scarred for life. And in these type of situations, they are usually used as pawns and weapons of war, R”L. Oh, and the mingling parents suffer as well.
    The halacha is very clear: One is not responsible for kibud av if the parent is asking the child to violate the Torah. The interferences in their children’s marriages cause several Torah violations!

    • Where is the parent asking the child to “violate the Torah” when the Frum parent is the one that teaches the child about keeping the Torah in the first place?! So you have to be kidding because you make no sense.

      Now you are throwing lawyers into this story on top of therapists and random anonymous rabbis. Of course lawyers have to come up with reasons because they are ma king fortunes grom other people’s miseries.

      The same in laws may also be the ones supporting the married kids and paying their rents and mortgages and in return they get spoiled kid ingrates.

      • Are Rabbi Viner and Rabbi Miller anonymous? Did you misread it, or did you purposely misquote what I wrote?
        Other then yourself, which rabbis disagree with them? Documented proof would be appropriate.

        • What PSAK did they give? That kids can be Chutzpadik to parents?

          We are talking in cases where children go to SPECIFIC rabbis.

          And yes, the modern children are going to Therapists who “pasken” for them to cut off with parents, and then the kids SUPPOSEDLY go to UNAMED Poskim AND GET A SO CALLED “psak” to transgress the basics of Kibbud Av Va’Em.

    • Or the spouses have their own problems and in the end blame it on the inlaws! Seriously how could a divorce in general be the result of inlaws?? Seems like smoke and mirrors .

    • Maybe this is a result of the successful bal teshuva movement. Think about it a generation was brought up cut off from how people went about in terms of structure towards inlaws. In the past you disagreed with the inlaw you swallowed your pride and invited them over and had a nice time. Now its “they will not cross this threshold their negative vibes will bring me down man!”

      • This article is not addresssd to the Baal Teshuva world ALTHOUGH IT MAY APPLY.

        This short essay is in response to an article about this subject that recently appeared in the “Family” section of a major Jewish publication.

        The intent of this essay is to stir discussion and allow for different points of view.

    • “. . . a radio report recently which listed in-laws as the number two reason for all divorces.”

      “So here you have it. Most divorces and its [sic] terrible consequences are caused by a parent-in-law.”

      Even if it was the number 1 reason, that wouldn’t mean it was the cause of most divorces, since there are many different reasons. It certainly can’t the cause of most if it’s the number 2 reason. Your reading and thinking are quite weak.

      • Gee, so primary became #2 in your book? Huh? Primary means primary, as well as #1. What were you saying about weak reading skills?!
        You can respond in whatever insulting way that suits you; I won’t be reading it. My point has been made. Good luck!

  2. Crisis? What crisis? What percent of frum families experience this “crisis”?

    With all due respect, Rabbi Rudomin is becoming the boy who cried wolf.

    • I am not the one who started this debate. This crisis was recently featured in a major English language Jewish publication. A therapist and a rabbi were interviewed and explained how Kibbud Av Va’Em is over in our times with this kind of “kids divorcing parents” scenario on the rise.

  3. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws of honoring parents:

    143:11 אמר לו אביו לעבור על דברי תורה His father told him to trangress a Torah mitzvah, בין על מצות עשה בין מצות לא תעשה whether it’s a positive commandment or a negative commandment, אפילו על מצוה של דבריהם even on a Rabbinic mitzvah, לא ישמע לו he shouldn’t listen to him, דכתיב as it’s written:1 איש אמו ואביו תיראו ”You shall fear every man his mother and his father ואת שבתותי תשמרו אני ה’ אלהיכם and keep my Shabbatot, I am the Lord your G-d” סמך שבת למורא אב ואם putting Shabbat next to fearing one’s father and mother, לומר אף על פי שהזהרתיך is to say (that) even though you were warned על מורא אב ואם about fearing one’s father and mother, אם אמר לך if he said to you: חלל את השבת ”Profane the Shabbat” אל תשמע לו you don’t listen to him. וכן בשאר כל המצות Similarly, on the rest of the mitzvot אני ה’ אלהיכם ”I am the Lord your G-d” אתה ואביך חייבים בכבודי You and your father are obliged to My honor, לפיכך לא תשמע לו לבטל את דברי therefore you don’t listen to him to ignore My words. וגם מצות דרבנן Also Rabbinic mitzvot, מצות השם יתברך שמו הן they are the mitzvot of Hashem, blessed be His name, דכתיב as it’s written:2 לא תסור וגו’ ”You shall not deviate…” אמר לו אביו שלא ידבר עם פלוני His father said to him that he shouldn’t speak with so-and-so, ושלא ימחול לו nor forgive him, והבן היה רוצה להתפייס and the son wants to make peace, אין לו לחוש לפקודת אביו he shouldn’t obey his father’s instructions, כי אסור לשנוא שום יהודי because it’s forbidden to hate any Jew, אם לא כשרואהו שהוא עובר עבירה unless he saw him transgressing, ונמצא שהאב צוהו so the father is ordering him לעבור על דברי תורה to transgress the words of the Torah.
    1) Lev. 19:3.
    2) Deut. 17:11.

    143:12 אם הבן רוצה ללכת לאיזה מקום If the son wants to go to a certain place ללמוד דברי תורה to learn Torah, מפני ששם יהיה לו תועלת יותר because there it will be more worthwhile מבכאן than here, והאב מוחה בידו מאיזה טעם and the father objects for some reason, אינו חייב לשמוע לאביו he’s not obliged to obey his father, דתלמוד תורה גדול מכיבוד אב ואם for learning Torah is above honoring one’s father and mother כדמצינו ביעקב אבינו (because we find with our forefather Yacov, עליו השלום may he be in peace, שכשהלך מיצחק נטמן בבית המדרש של עבר when he went from Isaac, he stayed in the yeshiva of Ever י”ד שנה ועסק בתורה 14 years and learned Torah, ואחר כך הלך לבית לבן and afterwards went to Lavan’s house ונשתהא שם ובדרך כ”ב שנה and spent there and on his journeys 22 years, ונענש על אלו כ”ב שנה he was punished on these 22 years שלא קיים כיבוד אב ואם that he didn’t carry out honoring his father and mother, ונעלם ממנו יוסף כ”ב שנה by Yosef being lost to him for 22 years, ועל אלו י”ד שנה שעסק בתורה and on these 14 years that he spent learning Torah, לא נענש he was not punished). וכן אם הבן רוצה לישא אשה Similarly, if the son wants to marry a woman, והאב אינו מתרצה and the father doesn’t want him to, אין הבן חייב לשמוע לו the son doesn’t have to obey his father.

    143:16 מי שנטרפה דעתו של אביו או של אמו One whose father or mother are mentally ill,1 משתדל לנהוג עמהם כפי דעתם should try to humour them עד שירחם ה’ עליהם until Hashem has mercy on them.2 ואם אי אפשר לו לעמוד מפני שנשתטו ביותר If it’s impossible for him because they are too senile, יניחם וילך לו he should leave them and go, ויצוה לאחרים להנהיגם כראוי להם and instruct others to look after them as is needed.
    1) Or are senile.
    2) And they die.

    143:17 אסור לאדם להכביד עולו על בניו A person is forbidden to place a heavy yoke on his children, ולדקדק בכבודו עמהם and be too exacting with them concerning his honor, שלא יביאם לידי מכשול so that he doesn’t cause them to transgress, אלא ימחול ויעלים עיניו מהם rather he should forgive them and overlook (any faults) they have. שהאב שמחל על כבודו For the father who neglects his honor, כבודו מחול his honor is remitted.1
    1) He is released from any penalty due for not insisting on his honor.

      • Reread it. It is far from extreme, and happens on a daily basis. The major poskim, you know the Shulchan Aruch (and the kitzur) have published some very clear guidlines.

        • Funny when I learn Hilchos Kibbud Av Va’Em in Yoreh Deah I do not see anyone start with exceptions to the rules but rather the Shulchan Oruch clearly states that even if your parents abuse you by being Mevazeh you or ripping your clothes off you are still obligated in Kibbud Av Va’Em, or do you just skip over the parts you don’t like?

          • Funny, but your whole article is only dealing with unusual cases. The halocho which you are quoting is referring to taking embarrassing the parent or yelling at them. The Shulchan Aruch allows you to take such a parent to Beis Din and make them pay for the damage. The Shulchan Aruch, as quoted to you above, recommends that such a person leave their parent. Who exactly skips the parts which they don’t like??

    • We all know children interacting with their parents is such a heavy yoke/burden to bear! Sarcasm alert! A generation ago nobody wouldhave had the Chutzpah to attempt what people do in todays day. Their is apperently a debasement of busha nowadays.

  4. We shouldn’t be raising traitors and sissies hiding behind therapy. Two things are wrong in the modern society: pathetic self centeredness of each individual and the society’s cold disregard of the weak and those in need of help. Obviously some people do have a genuine need to see a psychologist, but what most need is a good relationship with their rebeim, parents, friends. Therapists, even if good, can’t take on the role that was occupied by friends and family in thousands of years of human experience.

  5. From my limited experience, it seems that a psak to cut off ties will be given when parents begin to interfere in their children’s shalom bayis, bad-mouthing their in-law child, giving orders and thinking that their interests come before the needs of a healthy marriage. That is not and never has been a parent’s “right”. At that point kibud av vaeim is not required. This is not psycho-babble. It is a real halachic issue.

    • Problem is that the name of the one giving such a terrible Psak is kept secret. Any Rov worth his salt should give his name and number and let the parents come and explain themselves to him. It takes two to tango and in any conflict both sides need to be heard out in full by a neutral third party such as a reputable Bais Din.

      • Rav Avigdor Miller gave this psak, in certain specific situations. I can give you a list of ten different rabbonim who have given this psak, in a very specific cases, only after trying to influence the parents to behave rationally. Like the great mashgiach RSC used to say: “There is no one size fits all!”

        • Who are these ten Rabbonim you claim say this? Rav Miller was talking about BA’ALEI TESHUVA whose parents want to stop their kids from becoming Frum. He was NOT talking about our cases of kids from very Frum homes who should know better than transgressing Kibbud Av Va’Ema for parents who are Frum !

          Please do not lie.

          • You just accused me of lying, without bothering to read rabbi Miller’s book on marriage, or listening to his tapes on the subject. You are wrong. Rabbi Miller was talking about parents who mingle in their children’s marriage. They could be the frumpiest of the frum, but he still told them not to mingle. If they insisted on mingling and straining the marriage, then if it was necessary he would advise taking space…. even cutting off contact completely.

    • Shalom bayis? Since when has tolerating the presence of inlaws turned into ruining shalam bayyis. The truth is that people just dont want to waste their time with their inlaws! They don’t realize that they are shucking off the mesorah of how people treated inlaws in the previous generation and justifying it under the pretense of ” but think of the shalom bayis”!

      • Tolerating in-laws are not in-laws that insist on being on the phone with their young married child every night, late at night, for inordinate amounts of timeIf. If they don’t answer the call, they’ll keep on calling. They will then berate the child for not having kibud av v’em by the chutzpah that they didn’t answer the phone one night at 12 AM. They will not stop using their long conversations to continuously degrade the spouse. They need to control their child and the relationship. They need to be sure that their child is not too close to their spouse.

        There is a mesorah on how to deal with these types of abusive parents. You go to you rav – who presumably has sensitivity combined with a backbone – who will advise you exactly how to proceed with these type of controlling and abusive parents. Yes, they may indeed offer the parents an ultimatum – behave, or be gone.

        • Your citing a extreme case. But lets be real from the moderna through to the yeshivish and on to chasidim this cuting off of the parents and inlaws is happening. So either its an epidemic of nosey inlaws. Or its something in this generation thats different than the previous! Its pretty obvious that its american culture not that their is inherently wrong with that. I mean the first thing people cite is a therapist. Not that i am against therepy but if you are gonna take a therapist advise to separate. Maybe have the commen decency to invite the parents/inlaws to a therapy session or to the Rabbi to have ther side heard! Otherwise you are just paying to have your storyline vindicated and arent being truthfull to yourself!

  6. I don’t like these articles that paint large numbers of people with the same brush. Everybody is unique and their life circumstances are unique and its not helpful to point fingers at “those people.” Everybody has to live their own life and make their own decisions.

    As far as the lo tirtzach analogy, it would be analogous if the murder victim was was provoking the murderer in some horrific way that drove the murderer to commit the murder. Then he could tell the victim, “don’t hide behind lo tirtzach.”

  7. With all due respect to Rabbi Rudomin, his pooh-pooh’ing of the seriousness of REAL verbal abuse is wrong. Physical abuse can kill a body and verbal abuse can kill a neshoma. The effects of bullying are well known; how much more terrible if the bully is the person who’s supposed to be the ultimate protector.

      • Verbal abuse is blaming, discounting, put downs, abuse disguised as a joke, name calling, threatening, raging, yelling, among other things. Verbal abuse erodes at a person’s self esteem and over time can crush a person to the point where they are not functional.
        Adult children of verbally abusive parents can sometimes maintain minimal contact with their parents, while maintaining healthy boundaries, and still protect themselves from the abuse. However, sometimes the only way to protect themselves is by cutting off all ties from their abusive parent. This is painful for everyone involved, but it can sometimes be the only way to remove oneself from an abusive relationship. If the children are verbally abusive, assuming you are referring to adult children, the parents can choose to protect themselves by minimizing or cutting off contact as well. It isn’t called “divorcing” parents, it’s called minimizing or cutting contact. They are still related, there is no legal action required for adults to stop contacting their parents. Additionally, if the parent chooses to stop being abusive, and the adult child chooses to forgive and reestablish contact, the relationship still exists as it was before and no legal action is required to reinstate the relationship, no divorce is involved.

        • Hmm, are parents the only bad guys or are the kids also doing verbal abuse as well?

          The disgusting demonization of parents and pretending that the kids are “angels” must stop.

          The kangaroo courts against parents must be confronted by Rabbanim who should be deciding what the Daas Torah is for EVERYONE kids included.

          • You asked what it verbal abuse. You got a very clear answer and you went on to blame the children for being verbally abusive. Do you have any actual experience in this area. Why do you have such a hard time admitting that verbal abuse is real and that it is damaging. I have read the famous Rav Twersky dealing with this issue. I personal know of a case where Rav Nachman Bulman Z”l gave a heter to cut off ties with a parent. My Rosh Kollel dealt with this issue, and was in contact with a Mashgiach from a well known Yeshiva in England who dealt with these types of Sheilos, and advised cutting off parents. I can give you names if you want. Have you discussed this issue with Gedolim? You honestly sound very ill informed.

          • To Ephraim Hodes below. Yes I heard what was said, the problem is that it paints parents as “predators” and children as “saints” it is VERY, VERY rare to find parents who will cut off MARRIED CHILDREN from their lives.

            You ignore the fact that the over-dramatized focus on alleged parental abuse is not coming from within the real Torahdikka world but from the psychobabble mish mash world of modern psychology, snd this needs to be addressed because it is helping to DESTROY the Oilam HaTorah and not to build it up.

          • demonization of which parents? who are you talking about? who is pretending that kids are angels? there are no courts against parents. it sounds like you think there has been a movement against parents in general. there has been no such movement.

          • To Anonymous below: Of course there are no courts for “divorcing” parents I amjust using a “Moshul” as a literary device and figure of speech.

            You are obviously ignoring the exaggerated depiction of parents as “bad guys” and married kids as “good guys” — what don’t I get? And what don’t you get?

          • I gave you a list of Rabonim. All of my souses came from rabonim exclusively. I have never spoken with a psychologist. The endless line of people who have criticized your article do not agree with your facts that there is “an over-dramatized focus on alleged parental abuse”. Of course some cases involve children who act improperly. I don’t know anyone who claims to have accurate numbers on this. Your article causes real damage to those who are true victims of abuse. It repeatedly blames the victim, delegitimizes their suffering and attacks them for defending their self. Maybe you shoulod look up the Gemorroh in Kiddishim לא of Rav Asi running away from his crazy mother. I suggest that you get guidance from Gedolim as to whether or not you are allowed to publish such articles.

  8. The comparison is not a fair one: The role of Beis Din is to enforce the law and punish the guilty, so “hiding behind Lo Tirtzach” is not a valid argument. It is NOT the role of parents, however, to enforce the Kibbud Av Va’Em of their adult children, so if they try to do so they are indeed out of line.

  9. No contact but they ask for support. I went thru this many time, no contact for years but my wife was sending them money, my money that is. I wondered on Monday/Tuesday where is the cholent? Guess where ? She sent it to the no goodnik eidem. Oy vay iz mir. I relish that cholent why was I denied?

  10. We are living b”h in a sandwich generation. We are trying to tackle our Parents challenges at the same time we are dealing with our children’s challenges. It is very complicated and needs tremendous Syata dishmaya. You win some and you lose some. You’ve got to keep a cool head and keep moving forward. The ikar is NEVER BURN YOUR BRIDGES BEHIND YOU. People DO change for the better as they get older and more mature. You never know how things will turn out. My lesson, when things get really tough with some of the kids/mechutanim, KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT. grin and bear it.

  11. I call this “the lost generation.” We had to obey our parents, even when it was difficult, and you know what? We did it. Being that most people are normal, so were our parents, and if we got it rough sometimes, well, that (usually) builds you. Then we became parents and ALL THE RULES OF PARENTING SINCE THE DAWN OF HISTORY just went out the window. We have to —- our kids’ —– (pardon my language) or we’re the bad guys. Our parents were not abusive (usually) and NEITHER ARE WE (usually). It’s our molly-coddled kids who can’t stand up to the slightest stress, and they just fall apart, run to the beis din for a divorce or the therapists to give vent to their weaknesses, instead of dealing with life and it’s challenges. One day they will learn that “choshech shivto sonei b’no,” that if we let them get away with everything, one day they will pay the price…and it will be very steep. Do we deny them vaccinations because it hurts them? Do we carry them in our arms or in carriages because they fall down when they learn how to walk? Do we not take them to the dentist to fill their cavities, in order to avoid root canals and bridges? No, no and no! Why is disciplining (again, normal!) suddenly called abuse and the examples listed here not? On the contrary, NOT doing it is neglect! Who draws the line? Who decides that in the 21st century this is abuse and this is not???

  12. my children as well as my in-law children dont always do what i want them to do but, you know what? that’s OK. they have raised good frum children and that is what’s important. and because none of us (mechutanim) tell them what to do, they come to us for advice whenever they need it because they know it’s advice and not a command. one of my kids did have difficult in-laws but thy were determined that their children have a relationship with their grandparents and they bided their time, saying yes to everything and then doing what they felt was necessary. after a couple of years of hard work on the young couple’s part, the coldness melted and BH all is well

  13. You clearly are clueless in this area. Please educate yourself regarding emotional and verbal abuse. You sound like the plumber who wanders into the operating theater and starts criticizing the neurosurgeon. Leave these sensitive, nuanced topics to the professionals.

    • Since you are so wise, please educate us and tell us what is a universally applicable example of parental verbal abuse that justifies kids divorcing their parents forever? Thanks.

      P.S.
      Insults are not an “argument” either.

      • If you had ever worked with people who have been broken by their parents you would not be so smug. Let me give you a few examples :repeated yelling, insulting, threatening, intimidating. This behaviors are often coupled with neglect, which is also extremely damaging. Maybe you are a verbal abuser. I see that your comments are replete with insults.

        • Parents are human beings and often they get burned out over the decades.

          Raising large families creates huge pressures and not everyone can remian calm.

          Many people lose their cool and kids have no perpective on this.

          Then you have holier than thou therapists who take their cues not from the Torah and Halacha but grom psychology books written by “child advocates” most of whom are single and even gay, and they want to tell Klal Yisroel what to do.

    • Twoway street. You know its funny apperently all inlaws in the jewish velt are abusive . The children are always on the receiving end. Cute it must be nice living in denial

  14. I have to agree with the commentators here. Rabbi Rudomin, unfortunately doesn’t realize how traumatic abuse can be. Instead of attacking what likely may be the victim, he should try to better understand the situation.

      • People don’t like to hear that maybe they are in the wrong. They ignore the fact that they are separating themselves from the mesora of how inlaws have been treated. And adopted their american way of handling inlaws!

      • Of course that can occur, but that is not what the discussion is about. You seem to insinuate that it is always wrong to cut off parents. That is demonstrably wrong. When a parent involves himself in his child’s life, attacks and badmouths the child and inlaws he is clearly prong his ego before his child’s needs. It is bizarre that you can’t understand that. It almost seems personal, the illogical way you are replying to comments.

    • Im curious why is it that the couple is never responsible? Would you eat none kosher meat/food . Are some things negotiable???

    • And do you know how much tzar is caused to the grandparents not seeing their grandkids! Lets see how the kids handle this problem when their up to bat! It won’t be half as civilized with how the baby boomers handle it! Shame on people making excuses for their actions.
      The baby boomers suffered real physical and emotional abuse from parents and authority figures. And yet still had/have the derech eretz for parents and authority figures! And didn’t use excuses of shalom bayis. They knew kibud av was not something to be taken lightly unless in certain situations. You don’t get to pick your family. But blood is blood!

  15. no Mr anonymous! Its about time we get rid of these so called professionals who are KILLING our generation! Never has there been so many crisis before these ‘wonderful’ therapists came about. They are the ones recommending to children & teens to break off from their parents & thats why you see so many kids OTD.

    • “so called professionals who are KILLING our generation! Never has there been so many crisis”

      are you referring to other crisies as well? like shalom bayit…
      i would ask all the readers to comment here if they have had encountered any of this.
      & what can be done bs”d?

  16. People don’t like that their shallow a vapid views on this issue are in the wrong.
    The thing is the jewish community in america has gotten wealthy and or has americanized heavily and as a result it has bred superficiality.
    If your parents are causeing fights in your marriage thats a sign the marriage itself is probably in need of attention.
    Children need to understand one thing . nothing will ever change a simple fact no matter what age. a parent is still a parent.
    I have heard a story about my grandfather he was visiting a home to help make a minyan. And their were two elderly gentlemen there and one was telling the other to do stuff etc. . And my grandfather found it amusing that one was the father and one was the son and no matter what the age a father is still a father!

  17. Rabbi Rudomin,
    Adults should not name call, demean or insult others. Sarcastic comments are degrading and destroy relationships. This applies to all adults in their interaction with adults, children, employees, friends or strangers. I notice that your comments to some commentators are aggressive and sarcastic. Your response when parental bullying is explained is to say that adult children should not do this. I am sorry if your reaction is stemming from pain but it is still unacceptable to others, be they related by blood or not. Before decrying what is happening in the community in general, perhaps focusing on what has caused this to be an issue for you would be warranted

    • I read an artcle in a major Jewish magazine about this that ONLY gave the point of view of a therapist and a columnist. I am trying to balance things out by presenting alternate scenarios.

      As parents every single one of us goes through Tza’ar Giddul Bonim. Would you blame Avraham, Yitzchok and Yakov for the Tza’ar Giddul Bonim they went through as well? And they did not cut off with their children and neither did their worst children “divorce” the Holy Avos AND Imahos! Go learn what the Torah is teaching us.

      • Tzaar gidul banim DOES NOT EQUAL losing your temper and raging or insulting. It is not gadlus to stay civil and respectful, it is expected. Since having Ka’as is equivalent to idol worship, I think it is heretical to say that our avos would have lost their cool when confronted with parenting challenges to the point their children would cut off contact. There is no excuse for that kind of temper. I don’t care if you have a large family or get burnt out, if you are lashing out at others or are verbally aggressive so that those who are close to you need to limit contact – LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND GET HELP

  18. Out of curiosity, what are your professional credentials that qualify you to make any public statements on the topic of abuse?

    • “your professional credentials” ….
      YOU sir are part of the problem!
      he does not have to have “professional credentials” to have an opinion!!!
      also who decides/decided the defintion of “professional credentials”??!??!!! ”
      the term” professional”[by getting some degree in a college] used by the liberal decadent culture’s understandings of the human condition & of non torah values, is NOT befitting the torah mind set & attitudes!!!!
      acc .to our torah ,no therapist [whose mindset is from what they studied in college] should give advice that pertains to ones VALUES & ideals, only a “torah professional” [ie a gadol batorah]should!!!

    • This was a disgusting comment. If you have an issue with the substance of the article, then do raise it. But to just launch and ad hominem attack speaks ill of you – not the writer.

  19. Kudos To Rabbi Ruderman for writing this important piece. I’ve not seen the original article he is referring to but I’ve heard about it from a number of people who were horrified by its entirety. The main thrust of the article is a complete departure from one of the most relevant mitzvos of the aseres hadibros and of our mesorah and is but a reflection of what’s happening in our community.

    Rabbi Ruderman is right in pointing to the pervasiveness of modern pshychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry (which are very often radically divorced from Yiddishkeit in many other issues as well) creeping into our society and validating downright disrespectful and chutzpadik behavior towards parents and eroding our delicate and beautiful social fabric that has held us together for thousands of years.

    I personally know of a couple who have dealt with EXTREMELY controlling, invasive and abusive parents who constantly denigrated the other spouse. But NEVER ONCE did they consider “cutting off” or creating so-called “healthy boundaries”. Because the couple was MATURE, eidel and understanding of elderly parents, and had built up a strong relationship between themselves, they sucked it up and behaved. They came up with ways to deal with it on their own and didn’t run crying to therapists.

    If a couple builds a strong relationship they will learn to ignore insults; they will just nod and move on. After all, they know the truth about their spouse. It’s not fun, but not everything in life is fun, right? They will ignore or learn to avoid controlling behavior in RESPECTFUL ways. There are ways of dealing with difficult parents WITHIN the boundaries of Halacha. But modern therapy tends to treat parent-child relationship as just another human relationship that is a “two-way-street”, a “give-and-take”, requires “healthy boundaries”, “safe spaces” on and on and etc. The Torah dynamic of a parent-child relationship is obviously different. It is the only human relationship that requires of one side AWE (Morah) and RESPECT (Kibbud) toward the other. Modern therapy does not take either of those into account.

    Thank you again, Rabbi Ruderman.

    • It’s very nice that you set up a strawman and then proceed to try to knock it down. You chose to ignore the reality. Speaking about irrelevant cases doesn’t add anything to the discussion.

      Let’s get back to the halacha. The halacha is very clear that when it becomes too difficult, for legitimate reasons, then one may stop communicating with their parents. It follows, that they do not have the right to continue contact with their parents if it will cause them to violate other halachic responsibilities that they have. If a person would like to be a tzadik and honor people – in this case their controlling and abusive parent – when they are not responsible to honor them, that may not come at the cost of their halachic responsibilities to either their spouse or children.

      I will be glad to provide you with the halachic sources, if you haven’t located them yourself.

      • Even if it was the stam halacha. It goes against what jews have been doing . The previous generation was physically and mentally abused according to the same logic. But they didn’t cut off from their parents. Keep making excuses!

        • Incorrect. The parents from the previous generations rarely behaved this way. They may not have been perfect, but they were aware of their parental responsibilities. By and large, they didn’t use their children as toys for their ego. They may have been strict, but they respected their children as humans. They didn’t use their children to fulfill their emotional shortcomings.

  20. As a rov who advises people, I’ve advised quite a few people to cut-off or severely restrict contact with their abusive parents.

    I say: “your parents are your past, but your children and spouse are your future. You don’t give up your future for the sake of your past.”

    The author seems to lack the understanding that when a person is being manipulated and hurt by an abusive parent it can seriously damage the person’s own ability to be a good parent and spouse. Often the only way to break that is by having little or no contact with the abusive parent.

    This is a misguided view of the Mitzvah of Kibbud Av Vaem, that reflects a naive and ignorant view of the actual halacha. The author should retract and apologize.

  21. If the parent isn’t abusive to their children, he or she has nothing to worry about.

    It’s very, very rare that a child will cut off from their parents without a good reason. It’s natural to want a relationship with one’s parents. When a child cuts off, it’s almost always because the relationship causes pain to the child to the point where the child is willing to give up the desire for a bond, for the sake of his or her mental wellbeing.

  22. I’m a parent who has been dealing with this exact tzaar for 2 years. Even so, I think the author of the article is so confrontational that he isn’t helping anyone.
    The one area that hurts the most is that we don’t know which Rov or therapist made this decision. We were told daas Torah decided it’s best if there’s no contact and that’s that. If only we could understand what we did, if we did anything so terrible as to deserve this incredible pain, we could attempt to correct it.

  23. It is assur for a jew to hurt and insult another verbally. Saying to someone that you don’t like the color of their dress multiple times (an example you mentioned above) is onaas devarim. What tzidkus by the children for limiting contact with parents who have no self control in this area. They are being machmir with the aveira of lifnei iver and preventing their parents from untold number of aveiros. Now that is kibud av v’eim.

  24. I believe that R’ Rudomin was pointing out the following in his enlightening article. We are parents of children who seem to be headed in this direction, although thank G-d they haven’t gotten their “psak” yet, so there’s still hope. There are people that have a mentality where they feel entitled to do as they please and expect everyone else to accommodate them, to the extent that if we don’t pick up after such a person, we’re considered the bad people. We know the story of Rebbi Tarfon, who’s mother belittled him constantly in front of others yet he treated her with the utmost respect. We don’t belittle them in any way and we don’t expect them to treat us with the same respect Rebbi Tarfon had for his mother. All we expect is to be normal. To include others in your life one needs to forgo a little comfort here and there. That’s what family is all about. Unless of course you don’t wish them to be part of your family. We’re human and we do as much as we can not to insult or abuse them, yet they “feel” as if we are. Chazal tell us that everyone needs to show respect for a parent no matter how low they may be. And they teach us that the way to do this is to find the one positive aspects of that parents and capitalize on it. Are we going to set a precedent where we will always be responsible to ensure their comfort to the extent of turning them into the parents, and we the children? Will we always need to endure their every whim?

  25. Seems that many here are missing the boat a bit.

    Many parents have serious psychological issues such as Borderline, (over the top) Narcissism, manic depression, bi-polar etc … which make them often almost impossible to live with or deal with and often all they see is themselves and they can abuse others especially their children to a point where they are causing serious damage.

    Parents like this will never be able to be told what the issue is or how they can address it since they don’t believe that there is an issue and have limited insight into their own flawed psyche.

    Often these parents will stand behind mamrei chazal as their white flag and use this as a gun to their poor child/childrens head. When parents/people do this, rabbonim say that this is a tell tale sign to run far away from such people especially for shidduchim.

    I remember a time when people were using countless excuses for child molesters, especially chashive ones and than G-d that this old school damaging stance has changed. Same is happening with sick and dangerous parents who believe that their children are their pawns who of course are helpless because of misguided quotes of Chazal.

    Just a note … when you see that your parent is never wrong, will run you over with a car if needed for their own agenda, constantly worry about retaliating against those who wronged them (even their own family), cannot bare to be challenged and react with rage and twistedness when they are, ones who constantly need to be apologized to and can’t move on without one, are extremely insecure though they either don’t see it or are too frail to admit it, etc … these are all signs that there is a big problem and guidance should be seeked out immediately.

    The last thing that abused children need to is to have these sick parent(s) abuse their grandchildren as well.

    • This it so close to home it practically brought me to tears!

      I don’t know who you are, perhaps a professional or a Rav that deals with these kind of situations but your comment blew me away and really struck a chord with me and my own relationship with a parent with these kinds of psychological issues.

      I would really like to contact you if possible. Let me know if this is ok and we can figure out how to get in touch.

  26. But lets be real. from the moderna through to the yeshivish and on to chasidim this cuting off of the parents and inlaws is happening. So either its an epidemic of nosey narcissistic inlaws. Or its something in this generation thats different than the previous! Its pretty obvious that its american culture not that their is inherently wrong with that. I mean the first thing people cite is a therapist. Not that i am against therepy but if you are gonna take a therapist advise to separate. Maybe have the commen decency to invite the parents/inlaws to a therapy session or to the Rabbi to have ther side heard! Otherwise you are just paying to have your storyline vindicated and arent being truthfull to yourself!

    • you don’t understand these personality disorders if you think that inviting the parents makes any sense. Also, do these parents invite their children to their therapist or rav when they decide to extricate them, disown them, or cut them out of their will? Of course not. “hello son, you are hereby removed from our lives, what say you? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!”

      Get real man! LOL

      These parents should go get their own therapy to either address the issue that caused this (if they are willing to listen and they are not too far gone in their own cloudy psyche), or at least have help with dealing with their sad outcome.

      Most who are against therapy are the ones who are unhappy that it is arming their once controlled victim. Get used to it, its here to stay and abusive old schoolers will have to figure out how to navigate this new beautiful phnomenon.

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