First and foremost I congratulate you on being willing to take on this topic, it is definitely needed.However, one area that I believe is lacking is the person's response to their abuser, especially when that abuser, be it physical, mental, spiritual or sexual, is a parent. Quite simply how do that laws of Kavod Av V'Em apply in such a case?To give a more personal example, I lived a large part of my life with my mother, as my parents were divorced when I was young. I suffered severe physical and emotional abuse under her into my early teens when finally I couldn't hide it and reported it. I was removed from her care and only saw her under supervised circumstances for the rest of my adolescence.When I was an adult and attempted to form a normal and healthy relationship the emotional abuse began yet again. Which has lead to disengagement with her, where she has not spoken to me or responded to my communications for over two years.So here a question would be, does the victim have the responsibility under Kavod Av V'Em to continue to put themselves into a position of danger?Is one required to expose their own children to their previously abusive parent(s)? To what degree and under what circumstances?Personally I think that overall the work would be incomplete without this vital bit of information.
mekubal said... However, one area that I believe is lacking is the person's response to their abuser, especially when that abuser, be it physical, mental, spiritual or sexual, is a parent. Quite simply how do that laws of Kavod Av V'Em apply in such a case? ... Personally I think that overall the work would be incomplete without this vital bit of information.==================Agreed - thanks it is a vaulable suggestion. Will add material.There are a number of issues 1) if parent has emotional problem - what is the requirement of honoring them2) If they serious hurt you - is there any requirement of honoring them or even having a connection3) If a parent is a rasha - what happens to kavod4)If the parent makes unreasonale demands - how to respond 5) If the parent insists on restricting freedom - such as how you spend time or who are your friends or where you go to school or whom you marry - do you have to obey them?
There is also the question of one's obligation toward an abusive teacher or rabbi.
I can't say much about a literal rashei peraqim, but..."Halacha supplants natural human values" and "Human values - modified by halacha -- are essential" are not how I would put it.It would run against Hillel telling the prospective ger that halakhah is rooted in "that which you loathe..." The Rambam also seems to say as much in his take on what Hashem means when He offers Moshe to "pass all My goodness before you" -- that it's an offer to show Moshe the morality by which the world is run -- and that that revelation is the revaluation of the Torah (Moreh 1:54)!Halakhah is there for the "... now go and learn" at the end of Hillel's reply. The universe is too complicated to be able to succeed in deriving all the individual behaviors from first principle, so Hashem gave us the Torah.In this light, halakhah is a clarification of natural values, not a supplanting or modification of them.-micha
A stylistic point: you switched from capitalizing the "s" to making it lower case. In my opinion, writing Hashem is a more normative convention. Same thing with Lashon HaRah, I think the R should be lower case. In Lashon Hakodesh, the Hey hayidah becomes part of the word. I'm pretty certain that this is also normative usage in modern Ivrit. People, to their credit have a sensitivity about how to write HaShem in the most respctful fashion, but there is nothing disrespectful about writing lower case s if that is in fact correct.Just my feeling.Chillul HaShem - Chillul Hashem –
Looking forward to your sefer, particularly the overlooked mitzvah of, Lo sonu, Do not distress another with your words. While I can certainly testify that sexual abuse is a significant problem, quantitatively it pales in comparison to the emotional abuse we Jews daily heap upon each other, at home, school, work, shul, everywhere. Its almost become a sporting contest, and some of us are quite good at it, including me. There really is nothing new here though; the Jewish insult has a long tradition - just think about the prototype Jewish waiter, as seen in films and comedy. Historically, we Jews have been less than active in sports, so it seems we substitute verbal jousting as our tribal blood sport. The insults flow from parent to child, rebbe to talmid, boss to worker, vice-versa, and all sorts of other combinations. Of course, G-d says, No to all this. Perhaps if we staunch the verbal abuse, some amount of physical and even sexual abuse can be eliminated. One sin leads to another...
I am a bit worried about the chapter "Forgive or take revenge on perpetrator"1) Forgive or take revenge are not the only two possibilities present2) According to the structure presented here, I am worried that you will insist that the victim should forgive.In my perspective, it is very important to say1) in general, there is no obligation whatsoever to forgive as long as the perpetrator did not honestly ask for it AND repair the damage he did.2) often sexual predators are very cunning manipulators and therefore you can never be sure, even if the ask to be forgiven (which, in general, they will only do once they are cornered and have no way out), that it is really honest.3) the victims should not forgive until they really feel they can. They should by no means be pressured to do so, and under no circumstances should religion serve to pressure them (especially without the two conditions above fullfilled).5) Therefor, in most cases it is perfectly OK not to forgive4) Even after forgiving, the victim should avoid dangerous situations in the future: Forgiving does not necessarily mean seeing the person again.
And I forgot, most important:Forgiving does by no means imply to renounce a trial. There is no contradiction between "forgiving" and "bringing to court".
micha wrote:In this light, halakhah is a clarification of natural values, not a supplanting or modification of them.===============I agree fully with you. What I am trying to point out is that a significant part of the problem has been an attitutde of dealing with it largely as a techinical issue without significant attention to natural values
Michoel said... A stylistic point: you switched from capitalizing the "s" to making it lower case. In my opinion, writing Hashem is a more normative convention. Same thing with Lashon HaRah, I think the R should be lower case. In Lashon Hakodesh, the Hey hayidah becomes part of the word. I'm pretty certain that this is also normative usage in modern Ivrit. People, to their credit have a sensitivity about how to write HaShem in the most respctful fashion, but there is nothing disrespectful about writing lower case s if that is in fact correct. Just my feeling.==============you are correct regarding normative usuage - I'll save this to the final edition.
shoshi said... I am a bit worried about the chapter "Forgive or take revenge on perpetrator"================I agree will all your points. The issue is that there are so many statements regarding the need and desirablity of forgiving - it is important to know when and if they apply.
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