Powerful Lessons in Malky’s Unbearable Pain – Part 1

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By: L. Halevi

When a young soul tragically passes away, the pain with which they lived every moment of their life touches us all for a brief moment.

After that brief moment, it behooves us to examine that pain, understand its roots and most importantly, for the sake of the pure Neshama that couldn’t bear the pain any longer, and more importantly, for our own sake, look deeply into the void that was left by the departed soul, and recognize that it was more than a troubled soul at the surface, but a beautiful person, with a beautiful life and a beautiful personality that was let down by those that were too cowardly to accept her for who she was.

Malky was one of the sweetest children you could ever meet. She always seemed so happy, she was so well-behaved, and she had an angelic personality. She also had an undiagnosed learning disability, which though didn’t diminish her as a person, and didn’t make her any less deserving of love and acceptance, did make her see herself as “not good enough, not smart enough, and not capable enough”.

Malky’s loving parents spared no effort and no expense in doing what good parents do, and endeavored to get her the extra help she needed to excel academically, to help her feel more accomplished, yet all the tutors and extra help made her feel burdened beyond what she could handle. “ Tutors ruined my life!” she would say, as the stigma of being an “underachiever” surrounded by peers who seemed like overachievers, made her feel like she had no life, and was constantly in school mode. For a young girl, this pain of feeling not understood and not accepted weighed down on her and led to inner turmoil.

Every frum girl can be a Yiddishe Mamme who uses her innate talents, skills and warmth to raise a beautiful Jewish family. Every frum girl should be accepted for her inner beauty and individual abilities, and no frum girl should be forced to overachieve beyond her abilities, and be made to feel inferior for lagging behind in academic subjects that may not be for her.

We love our children and we want the best for them always, but sometimes what we want for them may not be the best for them, and our well-intentioned “interventions” may lead to them feeling bad about themselves, feeling friendless and feeling hopeless. Malky was so talented in so many areas, Malky had so many friends he loved her, Malky had parents and mentors who only wanted her to achieve, yet Malky felt like she was stupid, and that feeling ate away at her day in, day out without stopping.

After many setbacks, many heartless rejections by schools, after the pain of rejection was simply too much, Malky made a conscious decision to no longer try and succeed in school. On that day she dropped out of school, she dropped out of dressing frum; she dropped out of everything that she perceived as being the cause of her pain. It wasn’t a gradual decline, it was like one big explosion; she just jumped off the proverbial cliff and found a whole different lifestyle at the bottom, a lifestyle that served one purpose: to dull the pain.

Throughout her difficult journey, Malky’s parents supported her and loved her unconditionally. Once when Malky was telling her father how she felt so stupid and how she achieved nothing, her father started responded by telling her that everyone achieves different things in different ways, She cut him off and said “You’re my father, you will say anything to make me feel good about myself!”. Indeed, Malky and her father were very close, and he really believed in her and really saw her as an achiever in her own way. Sadly, so many years of non-acceptance by so many others, didn’t allow her to see herself in any positive light.

The pain she carried in her heart was so deep that she couldn’t sleep without sleeping pills, just one of the substances that dulled her pain and allowed her to carry on. Her father says: “I never understood why she needed the sleeping pills. If she was tired, she should just fall asleep! Yet, now, after Malky’s passing, the pain is so deep and unbearable, that for many weeks already I haven’t slept a decent night’s sleep. Yes, I am tired, exhausted beyond belief. Now I understand how she could be tired yet not be able to sleep”.

Malky lived her life for others. She suffered, but didn’t want others to suffer like her. She felt like she had no friends, yet, ironically, she befriended so many people and cared for them, perhaps to ensure that they would not be friendless. Though she seemed happy and content, she said “I haven’t been happy for even a single day in my life, and all my smiles were just a facade”, and it was as if she had a mission to make sure others would experience happiness.

During the Shiva, countless of her friends came in and shared amazing stories about Malky. They shared how she gave them Chizuk, helped them have emunah, and helped them feel good about themselves. The messages that she never felt for herself, she desperately wanted for her friends. She may have had a learning disability on the academic level, but on the human level, on the heart level, on the caring for others level, she was an overachiever of the highest caliber. One girl even went so far as to say “Any emunah that I have is from Malky!”

She was very in tune to her spirituality, and would often tell people that Hashem has three answers to every request: 1) Yes 2) Not right now and 3) I have something better planned for you. She would text this to friends followed with an emoji smiley face – this smile, the one she gave to help others was genuine.

In one of the conversations she had with her father recently, her father said something to the effect of “I feel your pain”. Malky was quick to let him know that no, he didn’t and couldn’t feel her pain. “Don’t ever say that Tatty!” You can never feel another person’s pain. You can never understand the inner turmoil that turns another person’s mind, body and soul inside out, 24 hours a day. There are many things you can say to comfort someone, but never think you truly understand their pain. You don’t.

To read more about Malky’s story and to get involved in the solution, please visit www.unidy.org/malky.

28 COMMENTS

  1. SHOCKED at the photo!!!! Once upon a time, when Matzav still had some dignity and pride, they wouldn’t even post pictures of any women. After the scandal of Hillary’s evil face being removed, they dropped the reason for no women photos and posted everybody and anybody. But this??????

    • First commenter – please check yourself into therapy. FAST. You are missing key components in your heart and your brain. Please take care of yourself so you don’t say and do idiotic things for the rest of your life.

    • You’re horrible. Women have faces and part of this tragedy is that her uniqueness and individual needs were not recognized.

  2. 🙁 so sad. She was such a wonderful Neshama. We must take a deep look at our system and prevent this from happening to any more of our children.

  3. This should be fwd to all school principals /administrator’s / teachers and hold them accountable.
    Teaching Tanach with 42 explanations (mem bies pirushim) and have the parents do most of the home work for them for lack of understanding just for the sake of grading doesn’t solve “any” of this nor does it accomplish anything for future life experience. communication, social, behavioral skills plus many other important life skills will help.

  4. I never knew malky, but boy do I ever know her pain!! Hatzalah says they get calls about o.d. At least weekly! I know bec smne close to me is going through same issues malky did. Can’t shove the issue under the rug anymore!! Yidden have to get involved and actively fight this terrible situation! And come up with better ideas than lazy excuses such as pointing fingers at smartphones etc as the source of the problem!!

  5. My heart goes out to Malky’s parents and of course my heart goes out to Malky – who I never knew.

    First of all – I believe that the first comment should never have been published. We are talking about a VERY painful subject and anyone who reads even just part of the article and is not overwhelmed with pain for the parents and daughter is not only missing the point, but does not understand the fundamental values of Yiddishkeit. EIS LA’ASOS LaHASHEM HEFEYRU TORASHECHA! Really? The picture of loving and hurting parents with their daughter is offending you?!? SHAME ON YOU!

    We have a serious problem for which a quick fix will not make a difference. The parents did everything that the experts say to do – they encouraged their daughter and attempted to make her feel like she mattered while providing her with tools to address her challenges in school. My dear fellow Yidden – obviously, the solution involves more.

    We have a problem – on the one hand, Jews value scholarship and in our circles, we hold limud haTorah as a paramount value. We all know that we hold those who are achieve academically (and I include Torah learning in Yeshiva) on a pedestal. We can say until we are blue in the face – “everyone has his/her strengths” or “Hashem loves you for who you are” but our actions speak differently. In other parts of our society, those who succeed in business are put on a pedestal. Again, we can say that we value Yissachar/Zevulun arrangements, but our actions speak differently. In both cases, people with their actions and sometimes with their words make those who have not achieved academically or financially feel bad.

    My dear friends – the values that you promote in your home are carried by your children. These children’s actions destroy everything that parents of a child who either is not naturally academic or a learner OR limited financially FEEL BADLY. It is time that we take a hard look at how we treat others. No one should feel “special” or “it is ok” if you struggle in school. BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING MADE TO FEEL DIFFERENT. They still know that they are not keeping up. It is time that we take stock of what Torah values are – what is foundational and what is not.
    It is foundational that we be yirei Shomayim and embrace our religion enthusiastically and with simcha. It is foundational that each one of us know Halacha and is MACHSHIV TORAH. But we must build our education like the building code in areas prone to earthquakes – with a little sway room. Those of us who can SHTEIG and learn – wonderful! Those who can be EHRLICHE Ba’aleh batim (I include women too) and are MACHSHIV Torah and we train them when and how to ask SHEYLOS; to have a K’VIYUS even if an hour a week – WONDERFUL! This does not mean that we change our paramount value. It means that we calibrate it and walk in the footsteps of Yaakov Avinu. Do you really understand BIRCHOS Ya’akov???

    It is time for those who are MECHANCHIM to make a CHESHBON HA-NEFESH. Yes, you are destroying lives. It is time for parents of children who are not having trouble in school to make a CHESHBON Ha-NEFESH. Are you showing your child that another child while not academic or financially excelling able to teach your child something?
    Are your children bullying others? Are they not bullying, but making another child feel like a charity case OR showing them that it is ok to be different because “ok to be different” means not first class.

    By the way, I have heard from children who are assisted by well meaning people and organizations that even though they have experienced death in their immediate family and needed support initially, they do not want to forever be perceived as different or “special”. They want to be perceived as normal or like their peers. SOMETHING TO CONSIDER WHEN YOU DO CHESED – don’t make it like a pathetic charity case…perhaps the wisdom behind MATAN B’SESSER too…

    Finally, it is time for all of us to take stock in our priorities and value system by which we live and raise our children. Unfortunately, the issues of our prevailing society has impacted our own. We must go back to basics. Our home, our family unit is our #1 priority; not our friends and not our fun. Our Torah teaches us to have substance in life. The prevailing Western society is empty and that emptiness is creeping into our society ON TOP of the issues I described previously. I can have substance in my life even if I am not the best student. Different strengths and skills of individuals are necessary for the AM Yisrael Team – it is impossible for everyone to be the same!! We should be complementing and augmenting each other’s unique strengths. Our actions MUST support this if we want to save ourselves and our children from ourselves and this downward spiral.

    KOL YISRAEL AREIVIM ZE LA-ZE…let’s stop finding a quick reason (e.g. smartphones) or quick solutions for parents in pain and their affected children. That’s the superficial method of the current Western culture. We are different. Let’s start acting different and taking responsibilities (yes plural for the multi-facets).

    To Malky’s parents – May HaKADOSH BARUCH HU give you strength to

    • The problem is, we are bombarded with alleged emergency needs for those living abroad. $180 dollars here, $180 dollars there. Even this website keeps pushing these scams on us. In the meantime, issues like this are not being addressed. Charity starts at home.

      • Charity does start at home. Kol Yisroel Areivim Zeh Lozeh, all of K’lal Yisroel is one, every Yidishe Neshomo should be considered as our own. Giving to each at and every good cause might not be within ones means, and that’s ok. Feeling for the cause without participation is also OK. However “feeling bombarded” might be somewhat of a sign of disconnect from Acheinu Bnei Yisroel.

  6. To the imbecile concerned about the photo: YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. YOUR ATTITUDE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. Open your eyes and realize that your cultish attitude is what causes a lot of these children to be in pain in the first place!

    Go hide your head under a rock if you like, but there is no place for your misguided piety in Yiddishkeit. Your narrow-minded view is #NotJudaism and has nothing to do with Hashem or His holy Torah.

    There is no issur and no issue to view a woman’s face. Pushing that shallow issur on children (and adults) leads to the unnecessarily objectification of women and leads to most of the problems we deal with in the first place.

  7. Seems like a PR campaign to blame the schools. Maybe it is their fault. Maybe not. I give them the benefit of the doubt. The parents are being portrayed as people that did everything right. Has this been verified? Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. Sorry but I give our schools the benefit of the doubt here. This is an insult to thousands of dedicated teachers and schools. Any improvements to our system should be implemented but to “blame” this way seems very wrong and likely baseless. I would like to see the response of the school or schools in question but they probably feel that commenting when the wounds are fresh would be too hurtful.

  8. I don’t know who wrote this but Malky’s life was personal she would never want people to read about her life. I knew her personally and she went through way more pain than that. So part 1 should be the only part. I can’t read anymore of this!

    • I agree Malky would never want this personal information dragged across the internet. I feel this an invasion of her life that was so much more than a learning disability.

  9. Sara C, Thank you for many of my thoughts that I could never have written it like you did.

    We are all talk and no action. Rabbonim who are able to make change are scared to speak up. No one Rav can change the system. It has to be a bunch of REAL Askanim and Rabboinim to do what is needed. That also includes the regular folks.

    Now realistically speaking I feel only organizations like Agudah and Torah Umseroah can make change happen with education. We need to group together and tell Agudah and Torah Umseorah you are on notice!!! If no change is done (I give them until January) they should resign and let new leadership take it’s place. I truly like these organizations and they do lots of good, but I have come to the conclusion they are totally out of touch with reality with the most serious issues of our community.

    Our current system is absolutely killing our children. To think that I just wrote this is mind boggling. Our system needs to change ASAP.

    • Wow. You are so strong to put down Rabbanim like that? You stupid little otd jerk. Why don’t you get lost? Go hang out with your girlfriend and do more avairos.

      • 100% yes I blame the Rabbonim! At the same time THEY and only THEY can change the tide!!

        It’s funny how you try to put me down as someone as OTD. Doing what all Rabbonim do best when things they see that they do not like, which is shoot the messenger! Those days are over buddy!

        I used to think like you. But over the years we have learned of all the misdeeds of coverups blame everyone but themselves etc… Their policies are hurting our young. If you cannot see that then you are not being honest with yourself.

        But it’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. So all is good.

    • “No one Rav can change the system. It has to be a bunch of REAL Askanim and Rabboinim to do what is needed. That also includes the regular folks”.
      So comes Rechnitz and blasts away at the podioum in front many Roshei Yeshivos on a topic that needed fixing in the Oakwood communitiy and then had to retract, explain, correct, apologise for what he said the it was to harsh.
      So who wants to stand next at the podium and then being smacked down by the corrupt leaders/askunim/ R’y for exposing them.

      • Exactly. It cannot be one person! It needs to be a strong well known group which consists of lay leaders and Rabbonim who are center-right.

        Today’s leadership is mostly extreme right ring, which maybe 20% of the tzibbur is actually on this level. That’s a problem.

  10. The photo is inappropriate.
    Let’s stop blaming our schools for the actions of OTD children, it’s much more complicated than that.
    Let’s be honest about how she was nifteres instead of using it as another crowd funding initiative.

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