Bully

Over Shavuot, I had some more guests from the place where my daughter works for abused girls from chareidi backgrounds.

Many of these girls have stories that would mamash make you weep, about the level of cruelty and depravation they have been exposed to – within their own families.

But not all of those girls were physically or bodily abused.

And the girls that were *only* having to deal with emotional and mental abuse and manipulation actually have it the worst of all, in many ways. Because very people understand the torture they’ve actually been through.

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I was having a conversation with someone yesterday who has small kids in gan in Jerusalem, about what parents can really do, to keep our children safe from abusers.

The first response is to pray, and to ask God to protect our kids from all harm. Because parents can’t hover over their kids’ shoulders 24/7 – and even if we could, somehow, that would still be mentally-ill behaviour and very harmful for our children’s development.

Getting that balance between ‘protection’ and ‘suffocation’ is tricky, for sure, especially in our world.

Personally, if I didn’t really believe in Hashem, and really try to work on my emuna that Ein Od Milvado, I would probably also be one of those psycho parents who won’t let their children out of their sight, and who uses their kids mobile phone to eavesdrop on their conversations (without them knowing…) and to ‘track and trace’.

Sigh.

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So, prayer is the parent’s first line of defense.

But there is something else that can also have a very powerful effect on whether our children will be targeted by abusers, and that’s how much the parent themselves creates an ‘atmosphere of abuse’ in the home.

I’ve written a bit about this before, but today I wanted to do more of a deep dive on the subject. It’s not an easy topic to cover, and I hope God will give me the right words, here.

Let’s start with a story.

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On Shavuot morning, I walked over to the Rav’s ‘outdoor shul’ on Ido HaNavi.

It was totally packed, and there were no chairs, so because I had a long walk to get there, and also a long walk to get back, I went to the back of the courtyard, where I knew there was a wall I could sit on.

The area was full of small Shuvu Banim boys, throwing half-full bottles of water up in the air tied to plastic bags that acted as parachutes. I nearly got hit in the head by one as I walked over the wall, which is when I realised why no-one else was sitting there…

So, I sit down, and keep my eyes peeled so that if a ‘bottle rocket’ heads my way, I can hopefully move or duck before it hits me, and that’s when I noticed an older boy, around 11-12 years old, that just didn’t look like a Shuvu Banim kid, despite his peyos.

This older kid was engaged in ‘wrestling’ games with the younger kids – not unusual at all.

But over the next five minutes, I noticed a couple of things that were starting to disturb me.

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This older kid was really trying to hurt the smaller boys he’d ‘captured’.

And not only that, when the small boys had clearly had enough, he wasn’t letting them go.

And not only that, at one point, he ‘captured’ two small boys, and started roughly marching them away from the courtyard, to take them ‘to prison’.

The boys were struggling to get away from him, and he was just doubling-down, with a pretty nasty look on his face, and basically man-handling them out the back of the courtyard.

At that point, one of the kids, who was maximum 5-6 years old, started screaming at the top of his voice ‘Don’t touch me!! Don’t touch me!! Get away from me!!’

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I’d been watching the bully for 5 minutes, but I still didn’t know if it was just a game, albeit a sadistic, yucky one.

But as soon as I heard that small kid say those words, I got up and went over to the bully, and asked him what the hell he was doing.

He glared at me, but let the kids go.

And I returned to my wall.

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On the walk back home, I was thinking about what happened a lot.

And I was thinking about how that small Shuvu Banim kid had been excellently trained by his parents, to stand up for himself, to respect and validate himself, and his feelings, and to firmly assert his boundaries, in the face of an ‘abusive outsider’.

As soon as he started yelling out ‘don’t touch me!!’, that gave me, the adult passerby, the clear message that I could come and intervene.

But if he hadn’t have reacted like that….it would have been much harder for me to read the ‘cues’ to know if I should get involved or not, to chase the bully away.

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Sometimes, it’s hard for us to create an environment where our kids can really stand up for themselves, respect and honor their own experience of what is occurring, and assert healthy boundaries.

And it’s particularly hard if we’re training our kids to ‘obey us’, or to ‘back down’ from doing what is right for THEM, but may be inconvenient or against what we, as their parents, prefer.

I’m not even talking here about physical abuse.

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It’s clear, obvious, that if a parent is physically abusing their kid, then they are already teaching their kid that their physical boundaries effectively don’t exist.

If you are slapping your kid around, and not letting them fight back, and punishing them even more harshly if they dare to try and fight back – you may as well just paste a big ‘come and abuse me’ sign on their foreheads.

Except you don’t have to.

Because abusers have a sixth sense, and they can sniff these kids out all by themselves.

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That’s hopefully obvious.

What’s way less obvious, is that emotional and mental manipulation of our kids can also achieve the exact same dangerous ‘conditioning’, that abusers can so easily exploit.

When kids grow up in homes saturated with the message that ‘the grown up is always right’, and that ‘the grown up can never be challenged’, and that ‘the grown up must always be obeyed, even when that feels totally wrong to you and is against your best interests’ – then that kid’s protective boundaries are also being dangerously eroded.

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As parents, we try our best.

But we also have to recognise that we are also bonkers, at least some of the time.

And at least some of the time, we are operating from a place of bad middot, and not from a place of ‘perfect chinuch’.

And at least some of the time, we do put our kids in situations where we want them to go along with what is best for us, and not what is necessarily right for them.

If any parent believes they never do this – they are totally lying to themselves.

We all do this, at least some of the time.

(Wherever you hear lots of speeches about how important it is to ‘respect the parents’, you can be sure what’s described above is happening on a regular basis…)

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The point here is not to say we can never put our needs and preferences ahead of what our children’s needs and preferences.

That’s not realistic, and this is not about pinging from one extreme to another.

What I AM trying to put across, is that even if we expect our kids to do certain things that they feel are not in their best interests, we can’t just pull the ‘I’m the grown up here, so obey me or else’ shtick on them.

We have to encourage them to have their own opinions – even if they are diametrically opposed to ours.

And we have to RESPECT and protect their right to have their own opinion, even if we strongly disagree with it.

And that needs to start at a very young age.

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Let me tell you another story.

One of my kids has very different opinions from me on the whole ‘gay’ issue.

She’s much more accepting, much more understanding of the struggles that is going on inside the souls of many gay people, at least in the modern orthodox community of Jerusalem.

Over the last couple of years, we have been having some very interesting discussions, and I have been learning a great deal from here about what is really going on.

Like, for example, all of the gay young women she knows come from very broken, very dysfunctional homes, where ‘marriage’ and ‘family life’ were synonymous with hell on earth. (And that’s the ones who weren’t being sexually abused by their ‘frum’ fathers and brothers…)

Before Rosh Hashana, when she asked me if I’d be OK if three of her gay friends came and stayed in my house for two days, for the chag, we had a full and frank discussion, about what I would and wouldn’t tolerate.

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I told her straight: I’m very happy for them to come, on the condition that I don’t have to sit at the table on Rosh Hashana listening to a whole bunch of LGTB++123whatever cack.

If they want to come to the house as my fellow Jews, and to leave all the ‘labels’ behind for two days, then let them come b’simcha.

They came, and we all got on well.

Why?

Because they were accepting me for who I am, and I was accepting them for who they really are – beautiful souls that have been through tremendous trauma, and who needed a place for Rosh Hashana.

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On Shavuot, one of them came back again, this time covered in even more tattoos, including a massive ‘pattern’ in black, all over her wrist and lower arm.

I hate tattoos.

Mamash, I hate tattoos, and the more tattoos a person has, the more I understand that they are suffering tremendously, inside, because tattoos are just a socially-acceptable form of self-harm.

So, I was feeling bummed out about the tattoos, when my daughter explained something to me:

Mum, her arm was covered in scars from where she’s been burning herself and cutting herself. Since she got the tattoo to cover all the scars up, she’s had a lot more self-confidence.

Let’s be clear, I still hate tattoos.

But now I understand way more about why my guest was going nuts, covering her body in permanent ink, and that understanding is helping me to feel a lot more compassion towards her.

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Let’s bring this back around to ‘abuse in the home’.

That tattoo’d guest of mine was not physically or bodily abused in the home.

If you met her “Class A Narcissist’ mother, you would think she was the cutest, frummest, kindest little woman on the planet.

But my guest endured such horrible mental and emotional abuse from that ‘cute, frum woman’, she is still struggling to hold herself together (and in many ways, she’s not holding herself together.)

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The Jewish community currently has a massive problem.

For the last 350+ years, we have been getting our cues and our messages about how we should treat our children, and how we should treat others, from a bunch of spiritually-corrupt, mentally-ill, highly abusive hypocrites.

These hypocrites hold others to impossibly-high standards in public, while giving themselves carte blanche to do whatever they want behind closed doors.

These hypocrites teach us that ‘might is right’, and that children, and people generally, should be ‘forced’ into doing things against their will.

They teach that people in positions of authority can never be questioned.

That it’s ‘bad’ to have your own opinions, and to stand out from the crowd.

And some of their biggest weapons of control are guilt, manipulation and threats of being ‘shunned’ or ‘cancelled’ for daring to disagree.

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We win this spiritual battle against the Erev Rav ‘leaders’ who have taken over our Jewish community by distancing ourselves from their tactics and their teachings, as much as possible.

Sometimes, it is so very hard for me to give my children the space they need, to become healthy, spiritually-connected, self-aware adults.

Sometimes, my fears about ‘what can happen’ really get in the way of just letting them figure life out on their own terms, in their own way.

But the biggest present I can give my children is teaching them how to think for themselves, and not just to blindly follow the dictates of other people.

Even when that ‘other person’ is their mum.

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Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, for all of us.

But the point is this:

Encouraging your child to ‘be them’, and giving them the space to say and do things that you don’t always like, and don’t always agree with, and respecting your child’s mental and physical boundaries is the single best line of defense against abusers.

Together with praying for their safety.

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Let’s end with this, a quote from the self-righteous ‘Message’ from Penina Taylor, the editor of the Reform-funded ‘Unorthoboxed’ website.

“This blogger is of the opinion, and she is by no means alone in this, that trans people are invalid and should not be given a voice, but rather, must be silenced at all cost – and these anti-trans activists will go to no end to silence them.”

I’m pulling this out, because I want to give you an example of how ‘unhealthy dialogue’ looks, in real time.

(Taylor is talking about me, here, BTW, in case you hadn’t grasped that)

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God forbid, I don’t think any human being on the planet is ‘invalid’.

I DO have huge problems with ‘invalid ideas’ and agendas and behaviors, that are evil, anti-God, and piggy-backing off young people’s inner turmoil to encourage them to undergo radical surgery and other harmful experimental procedures that can never be reversed if they change their mind in the future.

If Taylor was really interested in giving people with different opinions a voice, instead of just pushing the anti-Torah agendas and brainwashing of the Frankist-Reform paymasters of ‘Unorthoboxed’, then the right thing to do would be to give someone like Miriam Grossman a column next to ‘Shuli Transwoman’.

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Or maybe, Taylor should run a column from the growing numbers of people who went through the ‘trans’ process – only to find that it left them scarred, ill, and even more miserable than when they began. Like Chris Binford, below. For example.

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That’s what real journalism looks like – it provides balanced, helpful content for readers to make up their own minds about the issue, instead of just trying to brainwash them.

How is that, for a radical idea?

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If my daughter asks me if a ‘trans’ can come for a meal on Shabbat (and at this stage, anything is possible…) what am I going to tell her?

I am going to tell her that IF that person is:

a) A nice human being and pleasant to be around generally;

and

b) Can respect me, and my belief in God’s Torah, at least enough to focus on other areas of their life that are not LGFT123++whatever related for 25 hours – then come with pleasure!

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I live in a world where people are so much more than their sexual orientation.

I live in a world where I can find so many other things to talk about and discuss than just ‘gender’ or relationship preferences.

There is so much more that connects us, as people, as Jews, than all this ‘trans’ or gender cack.

We’re souls, remember.

Not just bodies.

And if people are connecting to their souls and transcending their bodies, in whatever modest way that might be happening, then we’ll find plenty of things to talk about and ‘connect’ through.

But if someone is a mentally-ill narcissist, who wants to spend a whole day forcing others to listen to inappropriate details about their personal choices and private life – then stay the heck away!

Because that is grossly abusive behavior.

And ‘respect’ goes both ways.

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UPDATE:

I just spent the last two hours watching Matt Walsh’s ‘What is a Woman’ documentary on the Daily Wire.

I paid $14 to do that, and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!

Watch the official trailer below (not at all shmirat eynayim  friendly, FYI.)

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I watched it with my daughter (the one referred to above) – she was totally blown away.

All the lies being told about biology literally just exploded in a puff of smoke…

Highly recommended.

(And btw, just watch how totally abusive all these brave ‘fighters for transgender rights’ actually are…. We have to agree with whatever they believe – even when that flies in the face of objective reality – but they get to tell us that all our beliefs and ideas are wrong and ‘bad’. Classic.)

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8 replies
  1. jr
    jr says:

    ” she got the tattoo to cover all the scars up”
    The פוסקים deal with the question of tattoos to cover up scars. (This kind of tattoo differs halachically because it doesn’t involved letters/images or עבודה זרה). We should give this lady the benefit of the doubt and assume that she received a היתר from one those major פוסקים.

    Reply
  2. Molly
    Molly says:

    I’ve recommended this book any time I’ve had the chance. It was a huge blessing to find it right as my son was turning 10, when I realized parenting an older child is a whole different ballgame.

    The book is Hold on to Your Children: Why Parents Matter more than Peers. It’s broken down into 4 parts, and the final part about how to discipline without creating a divide, resorting to violence, etc etc. How to redirect behavior while maintaining a strong relationship with the child.

    That’s what I believe the general populace of children are missing: Strong unbreakable bonds with their parents. It’s the blind leading the blind with children hyper attached to each other and their devices. My husband and I keep a pretty thick netting of protection around our 3 children. Sheltered used to be a dirty word. Now it’s downright required. Guarding our children is harder and harder. The thing is tho, like you said, within your netting of protection you can’t be abusive yourself. Your home and your presence must be the most attractive thing in your kids life, because the “competition” out there will groom your child in a heartbeat and bring them over to “their side” heaven forbid. I honestly can’t recommend the book enough, it was so so so good. And validating to parents who might feel iffy about the approach when the whole world screams socialization is key! I’m like, have you SEEN society? anyway, great article and thanks for sticking up for those kids.

    Reply
    • האיש
      האיש says:

      ALWAYS REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE RAV ABOUT THE CELL PHONE !
      “POISON”
      ESPECIALLY IN TODAYS WORLD IT HAS LITERALLY TAKEN THEIR SOULS
      NOW YOU KNOW WHAT IS COMING IN ” META – VERSE “

      Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      There are clinics doing this already in Israel too.

      We are behind the curve… but the tsunami is still approaching.

      Reply
  3. Simon
    Simon says:

    Hello again.
    I do agree with what you said about being kind to homosexual/transvestite people as long as they don’t push the ideology upon you. I can *learn something from that* (“light to the nations”), as a gentile.
    May God abundantly bless you in your whole life for being (as far as I am aware) a righteous woman who stands strong for the truth. May the Master make you untouchable by whatever torture, murder, or slavery the elites may wish upon you.
    Jewish law is supposed to be so “sexist,” and yet you’re doing just fine with your commandments.
    Anyway, you are saying that the end is near. *Disregarding prophecies fulfilled*, what signs based on the current world state of craziness make it seem much more like we’re at the end as opposed to in, like, several years? Thank you, and may the Master bless us so we may witness these elites’ destruction during our lives, soon.

    Reply
  4. Biniumin
    Biniumin says:

    Hello Dear Madam Rivkah

    I will take the benefit that you kindly give us to comment on your precious blog.

    Personally I think your diagnosis is great and detailed, I also think you can go deeper into the subject of parents.

    Today in Orthodox Judaism, it has fallen in many cases into semi-cults focused on a lineage and not on the Torah itself, which is very much based on the leader for being a leader and not because of his leadership traits that place him there .

    You mentioned the screaming child, that teaching has always been a pillar in our family, because it is impossible to ignore reality. There are abusers everywhere and the best way to avoid them is for them to see that whoever they deal with is not “fertile ground” for their plans.

    And I think that there is the main theme and the beginning of everything, are we aware of reality? or are we unable to see it?

    When we get to this point, it scares us, because sometimes we have to do things that cost us a lot and are also very comfortable, things that we are already used to and getting closer to reality forces us to make decisions that can change our lives and even take away our comfort and even sometimes accept things that we do not want to accept.

    I will give just a small example, there are those who seek to marry their children at 18 years old, if they succeed, it is safer that they will be parents at 19 years old, these young people understand the true responsibility of being parents, they are advised in the best way to each situation? Are your advisers really qualified people?
    and so many more questions, if the true answer is negative, the child that comes into the world will be subjected to a chain of behaviors acquired by parents from generation to generation that it is not known if they are good or not, that is, this creature is exposed to misguiding his life, or much of it.

    Once I spoke with an old man named Green, Hasid of Vishnitz, I asked him about the phenomenon that is taking place today, that many young people leave Judaism, he replied that for his personal opinion it is education, today today we are not in the generation that came out of the Shoa, and education continues to have the same model.
    This same answer was also given to me by a Chabad Hasid (of those who are not fans) and a Pupa Hasid.
    They know that there is a terrible error in education, I at least add that this is focused on the subject of the human and mental development of the person, I do not see any problem in the study that there is today of the Gemara or Halachah. But how to change this, if they are already designed not to change, even a Rabbi I met said “we don’t change” as a slogan, this is scary.

    Reply

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