Friday, February 24, 2012

Better He Should Be Dead!

Last week Mishpacha Magazine had a letter to the editor responding to a Lakewood resident who defended a parent’s right to wish his OTD children dead. You did not misread that. (I missed the original issue so I never saw the artilce this letter was based upon.)

I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that letter. Not by the letter itself - which had the right attitude in calling it incomprehensible that any parent would have thoughts like that. But by the fact that any decent parent can be so warped by their Hashkafos that they would rather see a child dead than OTD. What made this letter all the more poignant was that it was written by an OTD son to his father who wrote a letter defending that attitude.

Does this parent not understand the concept of Teshuva? Does he think an OTD child can never come back on track? Does he think that wishing a child dead is a Torah value? Does his “Drasha” comparing an OTD son to a Ben Sorer U’Moreh make it so?

I doubt that there is a single Rav, Rosh Yeshiva, Posek or rabbinic leader of any kind – no matter how right wing - that would condone such an attitude, let alone promote it. And yet I am not surprised to find that it exists among supposedly normal people in the Charedi world. It is kind of like the Burka women phenomenon in Israel. Or the exaggerated sense wisdom they see in a Rav they look up to. Calling everything out of their mouths - Daas Torah.

When certain values are constantly harped upon and exaggerated by religious figures in leadership position, things like this are bound to happen.