Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lesson in true modesty


Tzfas Get: Use of Zichoi for Vegetative Husband: Collection of Views

  update: Received permission to allow downloads. There will be a new corrected version that will be available in a few days.   
בעז"ה בימים הקרובים תצא מהדו' מתוקנת עם כמה הוספות, אשלח אותה בעז"ה, ותוכל להכניסה להורדה.

Tzfas Get by Zichoi for vegetative husband 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Marc Gafni:A Spiritual Leader Gains Stature, Trailed by a Troubled Past

In his home office overlooking Monterey Bay, Marc Gafni is trying to remake American spirituality. He reads, he writes, and he works to bring a little-known philosophy called integral theory into the mainstream of New Age.

Integral theory “is based on the understanding that evolution itself is an expression of a spiritual universal force of creation embodied in each one of us as us, as unique selves,” said the futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, who described Mr. Gafni as a leader of the movement.[...]

“We take the best of all the major disciplines of wisdom from the premodern period, the modern period and postmodern period,” Mr. Gafni said. “And we integrate them in a kind of renaissance project.”[...]

But the growing prominence of Mr. Gafni, 55, and his think tank has alarmed many Jewish leaders who know him as a former rabbi who was accused of sexually exploiting a high school freshman and who then moved to Israel to start a mystical community, only to lose it after having affairs with multiple followers.

Mr. Gafni, who talked about his past during several interviews, and his supporters say he has put all of that behind him. He said that old claims against him were all exaggerated, the result of professional resentment, and that he had been the victim of pseudofeminist witch hunts. (He handed this columnist a copy of “Sexual McCarthyism,” by Alan M. Dershowitz.)[...]

Mr. Gafni was born Mordechai Winiarz to an Orthodox family in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1960. His family moved to Ohio, and he attended an Orthodox Jewish high school in New York City. “He was one of the most brilliant students I have ever taught,” said Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who ordained Mr. Gafni but later rescinded the ordination. [...]

Should approving adult-child sexual relations prevent a person from being a teacher?


The University of Hawaii didn't violate First Amendment rights when it denied a teaching certificate for a Caltech-educated aspiring high school teacher who expressed views condoning adults having sex with minors, a panel of federal appeals court judges ruled Tuesday. [...]

"Oyama's statements concerning sexual relationships between adults and children were of central concern to the faculty," according to a ruling by the panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a class assignment he wrote: "Personally I think that online child predation should be legal, and find it ridiculous that one could be arrested for comments they make on the Internet."

He went on to write that "real life child predation should be legal" as long as it's consensual and that the age of consent should be "either 0, or whatever age a child is when puberty begins."

When a professor discussed the statements with Oyama, he said it would be fine for a 12-year-old student to have a consensual relationship with a teacher, but that he would obey the law and report the relationship, according to the ruling.

Oyama made other comments his professors found concerning, such as disabled students being "fakers."

The comments were relevant in determining whether he should be allowed to work as a public school teacher, the panel concluded, and the university's decision was "directly related to defined and established professional standards" at state and national levels.

"Therefore, the university's decision was, by necessity, prospective in nature," the ruling said. "Oyama stood in the doorway of the teaching profession; he was not at liberty to step inside and break the rules. But that does not mean that the university was obligated to invite him in. Rather, the university could look to what Oyama said as an indication of what he would do once certified." [...]

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ultra-Orthodox Lawmakers Boycott Swearing-in Ceremony of New Gay Likud Knesset Member


Ultra-Orthodox Knesset members Monday boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of new Likud MK Amir Ohana, the party's first openly gay parliamentarian.

Ohana has entered parliament after Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I am here with all of who I am and what I am, what I’ve chosen and what I haven’t, and am proud of this: Jewish, Israeli, Mizrahi, gay, Likudnik, security-ist, liberal and a free-market-economy man,” Ohana said.

He said that as a Likud member he was sometimes considered a settler, and he was sometimes considered a Mizrahi, a Jew with roots in Muslim countries. [...]

ln an unusual step, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the ceremony and gave his blessing from the Knesset podium.

“I want to make a clear point that may not be clear. Amir is the first clear, candid representative of the gay community who was elected in an open primary when he was completely out [of the closet]. He was elected by thousands of voters in the Likud primary,” Netanyahu said.

“Amir represents very well our view of liberal nationalism. He believes in the rights of the Jewish people in their land, in protecting the country’s security, civil rights, capitalist economics and a free market.” [...]

A source in United Torah Judaism said the party was not as enthused. “The UTJ Knesset members did not leave the Knesset hall demonstrably, they simply were not enthusiastic to enter,” he said. “There is no decision not to cooperate with him. A few [ultra-Orthodox] MKs went up to Ohana after the swearing-in and congratulated him.”

Israeli Women’s Groups Decry Lenient Rape Sentence of Community Service


A Tel Aviv court’s decision Monday to sentence a convicted rapist to community service rather than jail has sparked a storm of protest among rape victims’ groups and a Facebook page calling for the resignation of one of the judges.

However, some legal experts say that the lenient verdict is not unreasonable given the circumstances. 

Yaniv Nahman was originally indicted on three charges of rape, attempted rape two counts of indecent acts and dozens of instances of invasion of privacy. Police also suspect Nahman drugged the women, but because this could not be proven by lab testing, it was not included in the indictment.

Before the evidentiary phase of the trial, Nahman reached a plea bargain with the prosecution in which the indictment was significantly changed, and included only one count of a forced indecent act and one count of rape. Nahman pleaded guilty to carrying out forced sexual acts on a woman with whom he had been in a sexual relationship for years before the incident.

One complainant refused to testify in court and problems with the evidence emerged with regard to another woman’s complaint. [...]

Dr. Dana Hadar Danzig Rosenberg of Bar-Ilan University agreed. “Any case of rape is very serious. But when one reads the verdict, one must understand that it has to relate to the specific case…If I were the judge I would have given a harsher sentence, but this is not an extreme case, considering that the offender was in jail for six months and underwent rehabilitation. From the perspective of the victims I actually think that jail is not the solution. Sometimes an apology and compensation are more significant.”

The prosecution said it would appeal the sentence.

Rav Shlomo Miller strongly denies the Kaminetskys allegations that he retracted his protest letter


Demonstration Tuesday 6 p.m. at Binyanei HaUma against the Kaminetsky Heter for Tamar Epstein


I was asked to post this notice about the demonstration. Have no idea at present who is organizing it or who is endorsing it. Hope to have more details Tuesday morning

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tamar Epstein's heter: An invitation to Rabbi Bechhofer to defend the heter as valid or possibly so

 Update: One of the solid questions addressed to Rabbi Bechhofer is that in view of his extreme concern with being fair to Tamar, the Kaminetskys and Rav Greenblatt - he is willing to ignore the very consistent and strong evidence against them because maybe maybe - there is another explanation in their favor. The problem is that his extreme avoidance of making judgments only applies to Tamar and her supporters - he does not apply this approach to Aharon Friedman but has called repeatedly called him a rasha and makes no attempt to find circumstances that might justify his actions. Why the double standard?
 =========================

Rabbi Bechhofer - you are probably the only person in the world who is aware of the outrage about the heter given to Tamar Epstein - and yet claims not to have yet made up his mind about whether the heter is valid. 

You have made a number of inaccurate statements in your comments defending the Kaminetskys and Rav Greenblatt - such as that everyone agrees that the facts presented to Rabbi Greenblatt by Rav Shalom Kaminetsky are true and the only issue is whether they justify the heter. You also claimed that the Baltimore Beis Din did not say that Aharon did not have mental health issues. You have claimed that the rabbis signed letters without any independent knowledge of the facts. That Aharon Friedman did not have his child taken away from him. And finally that this heter is none of our business - contrary to what is clear from all the letters.

Here are some of your comments
Whoa! They did not dispute the facts, they disputed the conclusion. A psychologist who dealt with Aharon directly related his assessment to a frum psychiatrist who gathered additional data and came to a conclusion. That is what R' Shalom said and that is what happened.
AF did not have his kid "taken away." He has her every other Shabbos, half the Yomim Tovim and half the summer. This is the biggest single piece of disinformation that has been put out there.
1. It's your word against the psychiatrist's. No more, no less.
2. I did not see that the Balto. BD said that. In any event, they are not experts in mental health.
3. So long as she was pursuing a get that she thought could be obtained, it was not necessary to reveal the mental health issues.
4. Again, your word against the psychiatrist's.
5. RNG is certainly entitled to his own opinion - much as you may resent it.
6. Mekach ta'us does not require "total craziness." I did not see RSK assert he was a lunatic.
To reiterate: "No one was tricked. The facts as set out by Reb Shalom are accurate. Reb Shmuel and Reb Nota based their heter on those facts. You can dispute the heter - as I have said numerous times, I am not taking a position on it - but the facts were and are correct."
I just received the following letter and I think it is a good idea. I would like to publish a cogent post from you defending the Epstein Heter - or at least showing why an intelligent person would have trouble deciding whether it is valid
Shalom Rabbi Eidensohn,
First, let me begin by saying thank you for your excellent and diligent posts regarding the Epstein situation. It has really allowed people such as myself to engage this situation with a level of access and scrutiny that would have been impossible just a few short years ago.
I am, as I assume you are as well, growing somewhat tired with Rabbi Bechhofer's attempts to justify the circumstances. I find that his comments are obfuscatory and only serve to dodge the issue with an unfortunately condescending undertone.
If I could make a suggestion which is why not publicly offer him a chance to present a coherent and cogent defense with a guest post?In that way we could understand exactly what he intends clearly on the record and hopefully have a more meaningful conversation. I suspect it would also expose just how flimsy his stance really is, especially if he were to refuse to engage.
Kol tuv and hatzlacha rabba with the important work,
 ----------------- Here are some comments Rabbi Bechhofer recently made in response--


This and a number of other his statements are found in the comments section to this post:

I am not sure how to defend my views if in the end I have my own doubts as to the validity of the heter! How about this summation:

1. The Haifa teshuva and others provide basis for the applicability of mekach ta'us. There is room to argue whether they apply to this case or not.
2. I do not believe anyone is lying or distorting anything. There is enough material for halachic uncertainty even if we assume everyone is telling the truth.
2a. There has been far too much twisting and extruding of the facts to the detriment of honest disagreement. This is unfortunate and demoralizing.
3. I disagree with several of the a priori assertions made here, in posts and more so in comments. I have noted these disagreements individually, and do not feel that it is necessary to collect them into a guest post.
4. I became involved in commenting on this issue here because I see it as directly linked to the last time my picture (the same one!) graced the masthead of this blog: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/...
============================
Perhaps Rabbi Bechhofer's most important claim - and one that I feel is totally unreasonable - is that the reason that Tamar did not make any claims of severe personality disorders either to the Beis Din of Baltimore, the secular court during the hearing regarding custody and visitation or even in the privacy of her own diary - is because she felt that she would receive a Get, obtain custody and proper visitation without having to mention that Aharon suffered from severe mental health problems.  This is his point #2 concerning the major discrepancies between Tamar's statements about Aharon while she was seeking a Get versus the claims about Aharon made when she decided she didn't need a Get.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Torah and Psychology: Fundamental Issues by Dr. Baruch Shulem

This is a response to the recent post about Torah and Psychology.  It is very concise but covers most of the issues raised. Read it slowly and carefully.


I. Partial list of potential relationships between Torah and psychology/psychiatry.
1. Torah and/or  Psychology i.e. a relationship between equals – compare and contrast these separate entities
2. Torah versus Psychology  i.e. a relationship based on adversity or competition (between equals)
3. Torah analyzes Psychology i.e. Torah as the superior entity determines the value of all things in our world – including psychology.
4.  Psychology of Torah i.e. Psychology analyzes Torah from a superior position- found often in academic frameworks
5. Using psychology to ‘prove Torah as relevant or ‘true’ i.e. psychology being the gold standard and paradoxically superior.
6. Psychology as religion the standard to define goals, means and standards of ‘good living’ and ‘health’.

II. Different types of therapist

 I have encountered all of these relationships in my many years of working and teaching mental health professionals. I went through some of them myself before finding a home. I have categorized my colleagues and students into three very different groups:
1.     Secular therapists - #6 His or her training determines what language and techniques can and should be used. Religious issues are ‘just content’.
2.     A therapist who is religious - #1 His or her primary identification is with ‘psyc theory and interventions’. Psyc will determine health and goals. Religion is a person value not to be allowed to contaminate therapy.
3.     A religious therapist -#3 -  I use Torah language and goals supplementing my Torah work with people using secular instruments for measuring outcome and on occasion some medication.


III. Two Basic Tenents of all modern Psychotherapy.

All of modern psychotherapy is predicated on two basic tenets: the use of talking to develop a ‘clients’ ability to productively decide and carry out his goals in life. All of the divergent theories and systems of psychotherapy have seemingly contradictory vocabularies:   Gestalt – emotional expression
                   Cognitive – thoughts and ideas patterns of decision making
                   Psychodynamic – early childhood memories and emotions
                   Jungian – dreams and symbolism
                   Family therapy – structure, boundaries, relationships
                   Solution oriented – identifying strengths planning future activities
This all too short summary does not do justice to the depth and vastness of these theories and descriptions of the helping processes.  It does though show that there is no one acceptable theory is recognized or ‘proven’ to be effective or efficient. All are based on human dreams, ideas, theories, or attractive nonsense. 

All of these, and many more other therapies, have two things in common: a central tool is ‘talking or speech’. The second common element is the goal to influence who I am talking with – to help him ‘get better, healthier, happier, more in control of his or her life.’
            Talking and helping the person to ultimately be more in control of some part of his or her life.
            Thousands of pages, books, and training seminars.  Each approach claims to be the ‘one’ way to help.

IV. My personal Torah based approach
            The Torah approach I use is based on 16 words:

Genesis II, 7
Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.[1]

We were given two gifts: the power of speech and freedom to choose. I work only with these two gifts.
            The non-Jews were on to something when the developed “psychology”. Like many things from Torah they didn’t understand the depth – they got only the outer covering, they were moving in the right direction, but stopped too soon . 
We have the whole ‘thing’ – Adam body and soul
I believe the ongoing discussion of about ‘psychology’: “Kosher or not” is at best misplaced.

These two gifts are enough to carry out a fully effective and efficient helping process plus they come from a trusted source.

Baruch Shulem



 [1] ספר בראשית פרק ב     (ז) וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו  נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Rav Gedalia Schwartz: Status as a married woman canceled without a get - by disqualifying a witness

We have discussed the annulment of a marriage by declaring that it was a mistake - mekach ta'us. We have also mentioned that the Krauss Beis Din annulled a marriage because a witness was disqualified because he wasn't Shomer Shabbos. Rav Gedilia Schwartz also does that. The question is if there are other people at the chasuna who are religious - the marriage would still be valid. In the following letter Rav Schwartz says he annulled the marriage because he has two witnesses that one of the two official witnesses was and is not Shomer Shabbos. However he doesn't say that he has established that there were no frum men at that wedding who also witnessed the marriage. Can it be assumed that he went through the wedding photos and established that there were no frum men there?

Here is the letter declaring  that the marriage was invalid and she does not require a Get to marry.



======================Here is a second case - details unknown ===

Vayechi 76 - R' David Pelcovitz - Balanced Parenting , a response by Allan Katz

Guest Post by Allan Katz

Here is a response to R' David Pelcovitz's views on parenting -' Balanced Parenting ' gleaned from the 3 keys of parenting talk - not the book. So the response is very much about what is stressed and emphasized in talks and what is missing. R' David Pelcovitz talks about the 3 keys of parenting. (1) Balanced Parenting – the balance between limit setting and love, (2) Perspective taking and (3) nurturing the Uniqueness of your child.
.
I will start with nurturing the uniqueness of your child as this is alluded in our Parasha. Jacob blesses his sons in a way that seems to be more about describing their personalities and sometimes being very critical when their inherent natures were used in an inappropriate way – like that of Shimon who with his brother attacked the city of Shechem. In fact, the city of Shechem is inscribed on the flag of Shimon, the flag representing the essence of the tribe. Rabbeinu Yeruchum explains that the blessing was a stimulus for personality growth based on the unique strengths and natures of Jacob sons'. Developing their inherent uniqueness would not only lead to character actualization and perfection but also have a ripple effect on other lesser dominant traits. 'So hoping that your kid will realize your dreams for yourself or a 'one- size fits all ' approach with the same parental expectations for all kids - everyone to Ivy League or Lakewood etc. Is not the way to go and certainly will not help the child to achieve his uniqueness.' Your wishes and blessings for your kid must relate to his innate talent and character , something for which you are also grateful - DP

I suggest it is not only about focusing on a child's strengths and sending a kid to a school that fits the kid, we need to also support his autonomy in order to help him realize his potential and give expression to his uniqueness. Kids should feel that they are the authors of their actions, 'self –determined - endorsing their actions on the highest level of reflection and connected to their inner –beings, souls and core values. When we support their autonomy, we enhance the uniqueness of the children.

'Perspective taking is a key skill and value needed to be successful in human relations like marriage and in the work place. When kids see parents treating each other with respect and parents being able to see the perspective of others with whom they disagree, kids internalize this value better than being told how to behave. ' - DP

R' David Pelcovitz advocates a balance between Love and limits, that a child's behavior is contained with limits but there is always love no matter what the kid does. He suggests that we are love specialists and weak on limit setting. To give context to his words and dramatic effect he refers to a book by Jean Twenge on how kids are becoming ever more narcissistic and this is due to permissive parenting and the fear to set limits and enforce them with consequences. He uses anecdotal evidence of silly parents from dysfunctional families , in the same way as many articles on today's parents show that instead of disciplining kids they coddle them and shield them from frustration and what we get is a generation of narcissists with a sense of entitlement . He quotes Twenge who says that the sign of the times is that ' obedience ' - to be obedient children is no longer a goal that parents have for their children.

I want to suggest that if we focus on one key - being responsive to a child's needs and particular supporting a child's autonomy, we have an integrated system and don't have to balance between love and limits and we promote perspective taking and the uniqueness of the child.

. DP talks about for a need for a balance between limits and loves and he says that if one does not have a good relationship with a kid, imposing limits will lead to rebellion. And this reminds me of the ADHD specialist who told parents that if they have a good relationship with kids, it will make your consequences and punishments more effective. And this is where I disagree. A good and loving relationship is our goal, relationship is also a skill kids need to learn and it depends on how we set limits and why we set limits while still supporting their autonomy. Relationship isn't for helping you make limit setting more effective. Everyone agrees that people and especially children need limits but the question is how you set limits, the parent or teacher alone, unilaterality or together with the child and how do we deal with problems and infractions focusing on CPS – collaborative problem solving and teshuva or with consequences. Is it a' working with' approach or a 'doing to' approach? When the parent's concerns are being addressed by the solution, a limit is being set, and the limit is also something which the child has participated in creating. If we are really interested in a child's moral development we need to help them to grapple with the issues at hand and try figure out the limits and boundaries needed and generate choices and solutions. We want kids to learn to set limit themselves, limits that are intrinsic to situations, limits that are decreed from the situation itself and this is done grappling with the underlying values of how to behave in the context of different situations. This is not about imposing rules and limits but rather helping kids to live according to principles and values.

When we parents and kids solve problems in a collaborative way, perspective taking and understanding the concerns of both parties is crucial to the problem solving process. Here, the parent not only models perspective taking by addressing the child's perspective and concerns, but the child acquires the skill as well, as he learns to articulate his concerns and take into account the concerns and the perspectives of the parent. CPS – collaborative problem solving is very different from a parent or teacher telling a kid how to behave, or even a parent making decisions taking into account the perspectives of the child. It is a collaborative dynamic where we support the kid's autonomy, his competence - as he learns to articulate his concerns, address both concerns by generating solutions that are mutually satisfactory to both parent and child. And in the process, the relationship is enhanced. So the obvious question is why not promote ' perspective taking and empathy' by the way you directly interact with your child instead of just relying for an indirect way of teaching this value?

For sure, there will times where we have to insist on a limit, thwart kids autonomy and kids will be unhappy about it, but the more we solve problems in a collaborative way , be open to discussion, they will begin to trust that our judgment takes into account their concerns and is in their best interests. This is a rather different take on limits from that of Twenge and DP who say that if we don't set limits and cause frustration and discomfort to children they will grow into narcissistic people with a sense of entitlement who won't be able to cope in the outside world. The question is are we using a 'doing to' approach ,imposing limits to contain children's behavior or are we ' working with them ' so that they grapple with ideas and figure out how the limits they need to set. 

I take issue with the idea that we are love specialists. The question is not whether we love our kids but how we love our kids. Is it with strings attached? – do we love them more when they behave themselves or do well at school and use love to leverage behavior. Even more important is how our kids experience our love, do they feel just as loved when they 'screw up and fall short.' In fact many – SDT researchers, and in the frum world R' Benzion Sorotzkin hold that ' conditional regard and acceptance ' is one of the main problems in parenting or teaching. When a kid's need for respect, love and unconditional acceptance etc. are not being met, kids compensate by becoming more materialistic but when parents are responsive to kids needs spoiling a kid never becomes a problem. Unconditional acceptance and love is not about being a permissive parent. In an illuminating passage from her book Learning to Trust (2003), Marilyn Watson explained that ' a teacher can make it clear to students that certain actions are unacceptable while still providing “a very deep kind of reassurance – the reassurance that she still care[s] about them and [is] not going to punish or desert them, even [if they do] something very bad.' Unconditional parenting means solving problems and dealing with a teacher or parent's unmet expectations using collaborative problem solving and enabling the child in an autonomous way to do Teshuva and engage in the moral act of restitution. This is rather different from imposing consequences if rules or limits are broken as suggested by DP and Twenge.

It is not the place to discuss Twenge's writings and the validity of her ideas and research Imho, difficulties with kids have to do the ever increasing demands placed on kids that outstrip their skills and development stage, a regime of high stakes testing, and an educational system that is driven by grades, the learning itself has no inherent value alienating kids from learning. I would like to comment on the negative way she and David Pelcovitz see the fact that ' obedience is no longer a goal that parents have for children. The fact is that hardly anyone would want their kids to grow up as obedient people and for sure kids themselves place no value on being obedient. Parents long –term goals for kids are usually more about being decent human being, kind people, happy and being concerned about the happiness of others, independent, critical thinkers, altruistic, fulfilled, self-reliant, inquisitive, responsible, competent, etc. Obedience and compliance are more about a parent's need for control rather than being responsive to the needs of kids. And the tools of gaining obedience and compliance are imposing limits and enforcing them with rewards, consequences and punishments which teach kids to ask what's in it for me – thus we promote the most primitive of moral behavior.

Imho it is not a balance between 2 opposing forces - loves and limits. A respectful and loving relationship with kids, nurturing their uniqueness and moral development, perspective talking and empathy is dependent on how we support their autonomy,love them, how we set limits - together and helping them grapple with issues involved, and solving problems and unmet expectations using CPS – collaborative problem solving with a focus on Teshuva - engaging in an autonomous way in the moral act of restitution.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom resigns from Cabinet and Knessest because of sex abuse charges


Vice Premier Silvan Shalom announced on Sunday he is leaving political life, after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Shalom announced he is leaving the cabinet and the Knesset after 11 women came forward alleging he had made inappropriate sexual advancements toward them.

His resignation preempted an expected decision by Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein to order the allegations checked.

Weinstein decided in consultations with the state attorney and the police to renew an examination into charges that Shalom sexually harassed women. ....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reb Leib Chasman's advice to Rav Shmuel Kaminesky and to Rav Nota Greenblatt on how to end the mess that they are in

From a  A Gut Vort for the Shabbos Table Vol. 1 Beraishis and Shemos Paperback – 2002  

 by Meir Chaim Gutfruend (Author)






 

Yehuda:  your brothers shall praise you. Your hand shall be on your enemies' necks. Your father's sons shall bow to you (Bereishis 49:8)


Chazal say that Yehuda merited this bracha for two - reasons. The first was the praiseworthy adrnission of his deed with Tamar, thereby saving her life and the lives of her two children. He also took Yosef out of the pit into which his brothers had flung him
Reb Leib Chasman, in his Sefer Ohr Yehal, says that the greatness of Yehuda' s deeds can be measured by the vastness of his rewards. In the case of Tamar, though, he was admitting  something for which he was completely at fault. In fact by withholding the truth, he would have caused their deaths!? Why was he worthy of reward for saving their lives?

There is a great lesson to be learned from Yehuda' s seemingly simple admission. When most people err, they try to convince themselves that they did not really make a mistake. Even a great ירא שמים  may attempt to correct his mistake in such  manner to hide it from the public. After all, he may rationalize, the confession of such a sin might constitute a  חילול ה desecration of Hashem's Name

On the contrary, an awareness of one's shortcommings is a sign of greatness. Admission of guilt is a glorification of Hashem' s Name, for we realize the limitations of man

Perhaps Yehuda could have found other ways to save Tamar's life. He could have obscured his mistake with the premise that as one of the Gedolai Hador, admitting this error might create a Chilul Hashem. Yet Yehuda was above this line of thinking. Despite all possible ramifications of such an acknowledgement, he admitted the truth and shouldered the  responsibility.

Prominent Conservative Rabbi used money embezzled from congregation to pay blackmailer


Rabbi Barry Starr of Sharon, Massachusetts paid hundreds of thousands to cover up affair with male minor

Starr allegedly paid Zemeitus nearly half a million dollars — taken from synagogue funds and borrowed from his congregants. Much of the money came from the rabbi’s discretionary fund, including checks altered by the rabbi. Starr also borrowed thousands of dollars from an elderly congregant, a Holocaust survivor. [..]

Authorities have found no evidence that Starr had sex with minors, according to the Globe. Starr was charged last year with larceny and embezzlement. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Starr, a married father of two, is credited with expanding the congregation he served for 28 years to over 600 families. He has served on the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary and as president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, as well as the region’s Rabbinical Assembly.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Asarah B'teves, The Ninth Of Teves, And The Pope by Rav Shloime Pollak

The first Slichah that we say on the fast day of Asarah B'teves is.....
  "אזכרה מצוק אשר קראני, "בשלוש" מכות בחודש זה הכאני". 

The "three" tragedies, are elaborated in the Slichah.... and the source of two of them is from a Megilas Taanis that is quoted in the Shulchan Aruch Arach Chaim (580).

In understanding the Shulchan Aruch, it becomes clear, that in fact there are FOUR tragedies.... and one is missing??....

For questions and comments please email salmahshleima@gmail.com

Tamar Epstein's Heter: The battle against the heter has been won according to unconfirmed reports

I received an email this morning which said that according to unconfirmed reports from reliable sources - Rav Nota Greenblatt has told Tamar and Adam that they need to separate. Baruch HaShem!!!

Given the worldwide outrage from gedolim from diverse sectors as well as the shocked reaction of the common man - and yeshiva students - the only question is why it took so long for R Greenblatt to wake up to the reality that he had made  an incredible blunder?

An indication of the severity of damage to the rabbinic credentials of Rabbis Greenblatt and Kaminetsky - is the praise that they have received from non-Orthodox and feminist sources. The Times of Israel reported a Conservative rabbi who refers to Rav Shmuel as his colleague! 

However the issues is not completely resolved - even if the report is true - because they have not publicly retracted the heter. Without a public acknowledgment of the irresponsible manner they went about giving the "heter" it will be repeated again and again by rabbis saying "annulment for psychological irritation based on a note from a psychologist - even if he never met the husband - is accepted by gedolim". Furthermore it has become clear that the heter of Rav Moshe has been misused and abused to justify many annulments in situations that Rav Moshe would never have permitted - not just this case. A heter that Rav Moshe meant for very rare and severe conditions has become a "cure" for every ache and discomfort in the hands of certain Orthodox rabbis.

The crisis has also revealed the corruption of a number of Orthodox rabbis in giving not only annulments but also in allowing cohanim to marry divorcees and other transgressions. It is not the Open Orthodox that is the main danger to Orthodoxy - but some of our very own poskim and rabbinic leaders. "We have met the enemy and it is us!"

Hopefully this crisis will be used to clean house and provide a mechanism of oversight for the divorce process. Hopefully it will also motivate the rabbonim to work harder to ameliorate the conditions of not only abused wives (agunas) but also husbands that are being publicly accused of all sorts of lies by wives who are being coached by rabbis, lawyers and other women to game the system. Time will tell whether the proper lessons have been learned or whether this is just the beginning of a new era of rabbinic corruption.

Rav Nota Greenblatt's relying on a psychiatrist's report based solely on severely biased testimony is not comparable to the evidence that Rav Moshe Feinstein used

There has been some complaints that I have been unfair in criticizing Rav Greenblatt's relying on a psychiatric report that he did not understand. A report  which was largely based on Tamar's hostile comments without the psychiarist meeting Aharon or giving him a chance to explain the truth of the assertions or even the context. It has been claimed that Rav Moshe Feinstein also relied on such expert testimony to decide if the marriage was a mistake and that the evidence he used was also hearsay.

However it is obviously that the Rav Moshe was not relying solely on the biased and subjective reports from an alleged victim. He dealt with cases where it was possible to objectively ascertain the truth of the problem. Furthermore the evidence was not contested as it is in the present case. 

Below is one of Rav Moshe's teshuvos describing the evidence he based himself to decide that the husband was mentally ill and to annul the marriage. This is clearly not the type of evidence that Rav Greenblatt used.

שו"ת אגרות משה אבן העזר חלק א סימן פ
בדבר שוטה אם הוא מום גדול לבטל הקידושין אם לא ידעה כשא"א להשיג גט פטורין כ"ז ניסן תשט"ו. מע"כ ידידי הרה"ג מהר"ר זאב דרייזין שליט"א וכל ידידי הרבנים הגדולים והחשובים חברי ועד הרבנים בבאלטימאר /בלטימור/ שליט"א.

בדבר האשה שניסת לאחד ואחרי עבור איזה שבועות נעלם ממנה ועתה הוא בבית אביו וא"א להשיג גט פטורין באשר שאביו אינו מניח שום איש אליו משום שהוא חולה במחלת שטות שירא מאנשים וחושש אביו שיחלה ביותר עד שלא יוכלו להחזיקו בבית והיא עגונה זה כי"ד שנים ותובעת מהרבנים שישתדלו לתקנתה ונסעו שלשה רבנים לבית החולים של הצבא בפערי פוינט והשיגו רשיון לעיין בכל הנירות הנמצאים שם אודות חולה זה ששהה שם איזה חדשים והוריו הוציאו אותו משם למרות דעת הרופאים בהבטחתם שהם ישגיחו עליו בביתם ואמרו הרופאים להם כי הוא משוגע ממש לכל דבר. ובנירות נמצא כתב מרופא מומחה שנכתב בשנת ל"ח למספרם כי הוא משוגע גמור וגם היה הולך ערום ומאבד מה שנותנים לו וכדומה. ומכתב מפורט בחתימת ארבעה רופאים מומחים משנת מ"ד למספרם אשר ג"כ אומרים שהמחלה הותחלה בשנת ל"ח למספרם. ומשמע דעת הרופאים שאף בזמן שלא היה ניכר עליו עניני השטות שהרי בשנת מ"א למספרם היה חמשה חדשים בצבא ואחרי שנשתחרר מפני שנותיו נשא אחרי עבור שלשים את האשה הזאת וא"כ לא היה ניכר עליו סימני שטות דאם היה ניכר בו סימני שטות לא היו מקבלין אותו בצבא ולא היתה ניסת לו וגם אחרי שברח פתאם מביתו התנדב שוב לעבוד בצבא והיה שם ערך שתי שנים עד שראו שהוא משוגע והכניסוהו לבית החולים בפערי פוינט, מ"מ דעת הרופאים שמחלת השטות היתה בו בעצם בכל העת מפעם הראשון שנחלה בשנת ל"ח שהיה כשלש שנים קודם הנישואין. והאשה לא ידעה שהיה חולה בשנת ל"ח על מחלת שטות, לבד שמסתבר כן שהרי לא ידעו מזה אנשים אחרים כי הוריו הסתירו זה, ראו הרבנים שם בבית החולים מכתב אמו שמפרטת מצבו של בנה מיום הולדו הוזכר שם גם שכלתה היא אשתו של החולה לא ידעה מאומה ממחלתו הקודמת. ולכן מסתפקים כתר"ה אם יש להתירה מצד בטול הקידושין דאם היתה יודעת שהיה משגע לא היתה מתקדשת לו וכ"ש שהיה גם אז משגע כעדות הרופאים שודאי לא היתה מתקדשת לו. ומחמת שהוא ענין עגונה ששקדו חז"ל לתקנתה נזדקקתי לעיין בזה אף כי מה אני להורות בדבר חמור כזה והשי"ת יעזרנו שלא נכשל ח"ו ויורנו אמת להלכה ולמעשה.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Conservative Movement annuls marriages not only by mekach ta'us but also if their rabbis think it is a good idea - what do they think about this in Philadelphia and Memphis?


Tamar Epstein became an agunah — a woman tragically chained to a defunct marriage — when her husband, Aharon Friedman, unscrupulously and vindictively refused to grant her a get, a Jewish religious divorce. 

The case — similar to a scandalously large number of similar situations involving “chained” women and recalcitrant husbands — received intense public scrutiny in part because Mr. Friedman was a staff aide to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rabbinic suasion and public excoriation nevertheless failed to move this particular recalcitrant to fulfill his religious obligation and terminate his marriage in accordance with Jewish law and morality. The couple’s marriage had already been dissolved in civil court.

Ms. Epstein recently has entered upon a new marriage in a ceremony solemnized by a prominent Orthodox rabbi. Her marriage to Friedman was annulled — or, more accurately, declared to have been invalid ab initio — by (as of the publication of an article on the case in the Forward) an as-yet-to-be-identified Orthodox rabbi in Philadelphia. I wish Ms. Epstein and her bridegroom, Adam Fleischer, much happiness and mazal tov — and I wish to express profound admiration and support for my anonymous Philadelphia colleague. As the Almighty promised His covenant partner, Abraham: “Your reward will be very great” (Genesis 15:1). [...]

In its recent article, the Forward quoted Rabbi Aharon Feldman of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Yeshiva as calling for the former agunah (whose original marriage, and therefore whose status as an agunah, he deems to remain intact) to leave her new husband. Rabbi Feldman declares any future children born to the Fleischers to be mamzerim — “bastards”— themselves forever debarred from marriage to “legitimate” Jews. Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn similarly is quoted as describing the dissolution of Ms. Epstein’s first marriage as “a sad joke based on a clear corruption and misuse of halachic principles,” and declaring Ms. Epstein an “adulteress.” An organized effort (likely to exceed in volume and vitriol even the considerable campaign to persuade Mr. Friedman to grant a get in the first place) is underway to reject the Philadelphia-based annulment, to discourage like-minded rabbis from similar findings of law, and to deny the legitimacy of any such rabbinic actions that might be taken in the future. [...]

In addition to the principle of “mekach ta’ut,” the Talmud also asserts the far more controversial power of the rabbis to annul marriage (with cause) as an exercise of sheer authority. This extraordinary power is based on the premise that every Jewish marriage is contracted on rabbinic authority, and that the rabbis retain the concomitant prerogative to undo the marital bond unilaterally. The Forward quotes an anonymous Orthodox source as stating that this rabbinic power “has never been used in modern times.” This is untrue.

While the exercise of such sweeping rabbinic authority should be used rarely, only as a last resort, and with the utmost discretion, the Joint Bet Din of the Conservative movement does just that. Rabbinic authorities who not only delegitimize this mechanism of marital dissolution but who reject those who rightfully and courageously wield this power, on the basis of partisan religious politics alone, are complicit in creating agunot. They abet recalcitrant husbands in chaining their wives.

As a Conservative rabbi, it pains me to say it, but the efforts of the Joint Bet Din to free more agunot are impeded not only by the partisan attacks of our detractors, but by the religious laxity of some among our supporters and constituents. There are traditional, knowledgeable, pious Jewish women — including some affiliated with Orthodoxy — who would come to Conservative rabbis for relief from their status as agunot. They are dissuaded from doing so, however, by the fact that those authorities serve a constituency often lacking a fundamental commitment to Jewish law and observance. This leads observant agunot to neglect an invaluable (perhaps exclusive) resource for legitimate halachic relief. Conservative Jews who champion egalitarianism and pay lip service to the religious enfranchisement of Jewish women — yet whose personal halachic disengagement undermines the stature of their rabbis as religious decisors — thus are complicit in creating agunot. They abet recalcitrant husbands in chaining their wives. [...]

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mendel Epstein's torture for Get gang: Sentences for all members


Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Sentenced To Eight Years In Prison For Conspiring To Kidnap Jewish Husbands, Force Them To Consent To Religious Divorces

TRENTON, N.J. - An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi was sentenced today to 96 months in prison for conspiring to kidnap Jewish men in an effort to force them to give their wives religious divorces, referred to as “gets,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Jay Goldstein a/k/a “Yaakov,” 61, of Brooklyn, New York, was previously convicted by a federal jury of Count One and Count Five of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping. Jay Goldstein was convicted following an eight-week trial before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

On Dec. 1, 2009, in Lakewood, an Orthodox Jewish man, Israel Markowitz, was assaulted, placed in a van, tied up, beaten and shocked with a stun-gun until he agreed to give his wife a get.

On Oct. 16, 2010, in Lakewood, another Orthodox Jewish man, Ysrael Bryskman, was assaulted, tied up and beaten until he agreed to give his wife a get.

On Aug. 22, 2011, in Brooklyn, another Orthodox Jewish man, Usher Chaimowitz, and his roommate, Menachem Teitlebaum, were assaulted, tied up and beaten until Chaimowitz agreed to give his wife a get.

Based upon these incidents, the FBI began an undercover operation in August 2013 in which two FBI agents posed as a wife who was seeking a get from her recalcitrant husband, and her brother, who was trying to help her obtain the get. Over the next several weeks, the undercover agents had multiple recorded phone calls and in-person meetings with Mendel Epstein, 70, Lakewood, New Jersey. In those meetings, Epstein arranged to have his team kidnap the husband at a warehouse in exchange for $60,000.

On Oct. 9, 2013, Jay Goldstein, his sons Moshe Goldstein, 32, and Avrohom Goldstein, 36, and others – including Binyamin Stimler, 40, Simcha Bulmash, 32, David Hellman, 33, Sholom Shuchat, 31, all of Brooklyn, and Ariel Potash, 42, of Monsey, New York – traveled from New York to a warehouse in Middlesex County, New Jersey, to execute the planned kidnapping of the husband to force him to give the get.

They arrived at the warehouse in two dark minivans shortly after 8:00 p.m. Some of the kidnap team members put on masks and entered the warehouse office with the undercover agent posing as the brother. The remaining kidnappers walked around the outside with flashlights. Over the next 15 minutes, members of the kidnap team went in and out of the warehouse office wearing disguises, including ski masks, Halloween masks and bandanas. They discussed their plan for kidnapping and assaulting the husband, how they planned to grab him, pull him down, tie him up, and take his phone. Members of the kidnap team brought with them to the warehouse a 30-foot nylon rope, a blindfold, vodka, license plates they had switched out, and items used to ceremonially record the get. At 8:23 p.m., law enforcement moved into the warehouse office and arrested the eight men.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Jay Goldstein to five years of supervised release.

Avrohom Goldstein, Potash, Shuchat, Moshe Goldstein, Hellman, and Bulmash have all pleaded guilty to one count of traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion. Avrohom Goldstein and Potash were sentenced Nov. 19, 2015 to 45 and 14 months in prison, respectively. Shuchat was sentenced to time served on Nov. 19, 2015. Moshe Goldstein was sentenced Nov. 16, 2015 to 48 months in prison. Hellman and Bulmash were sentenced Nov. 17, 2015 to 44 and 48 months in prison, respectively. Martin Wolmark, 57, of Monsey, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to commit extortion and was sentenced Dec. 14, 2015 to 38 months in prison.

Epstein and Stimler were also previously convicted at trial of Count One of the indictment charging them with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Stimler was additionally convicted on Count Five of the indictment, attempted kidnapping. Epstein and Stimler were sentenced yesterday to 120 and 39 months in prison, respectively.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark, and the Lakewood Police Department with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Joseph Gribko and Sarah M. Wolfe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton.
15-464
Violent Crimes

Friday, December 18, 2015

Kashering by renaming. What is Jewish Psychotherapy?

 Update: I carefully read this post for the first time after receiving a strong protest by a frum therapist. I agree with his objection so I decided I needed to add a preface. The problem of accepting ideas simply because they are from Psychology and thus assumed to be tested and true - is in fact a real problem which is why I published this There are many ideas which are not tested, not true and are in conflict with Torah values. BUT there are also many valuable ideas and techniques. It isn't a choice between totally accepting Psychology or totally rejecting. There is a need for thoughtful vetting of ideas and techniques by people knowledgable in both Torah and Psychology. There is also a need to focus on evidence based Psychology. There is a lot in Psychology - just as there is in medicine - which seems to make sense but doesn't actually work or can be harmful. 

We also need to recognized that there is also a corresponding problem of frum people mechanically applying Torah ideas - without a sensitivity and concern as to whether these ideas are appropriate for the situation or people and whether they help or harm spiritual growth.

============================================
Guest post

May University Academic Psychology be imported en bloc into Judaism?

Does Hashkaffah have to be consistent with itself, or may incompatible ideologies be homogenized?

How are treif ideas introduced into the Haredi community?

If you take ideas from anywhere and just rename them, 'Psychology', they automatically become acceptable.

'Psychiatric diagnosis' 

Denigrating, labeling and degrading another Jew, an action previously called ‘lashon hara’, ‘motsi shem ra’, ‘onoas devarim’, ‘mitkabed bklon chaveiro’ and ‘yalbin pnei chaveiro berabim’, is now acceptable if it is renamed 'psychiatric diagnosis'. This is what they publicly did to the husband of the agunah. He has grounds for lodging a complaint.

Even if this ‘psychiatric diagnosis’ is valid, which I doubt, it may only be applied 1) to a patient and 2) confidentially. In this case, it is public slander.

I doubt the validity of the DSM5, the categories therein, and the application of these stigmatizing labels.

The names of the non-existent illnesses in the DSM5 are merely derogatory epithets.

Just rename these ideas, 'Psychology' or ‘Psychiatry’, they automatically become acceptable.

Practices which previously were forbidden by Torah, for example, onoas devarim, obscene speech or shaming, all of a sudden become permitted by renaming them ‘psychotherapy’.

‘Psychotherapy’ is really ‘Just Talking’, and does not have any special status which permits violating Hallachah.

Psychologists and psychiatrists are admired for the mere fact of being 'psychologists' or ‘psychiatrists’ and will be invited to speak at a shul. Speakers will be invited to tell us "the secrets of marriage", "how to handle stress", "’how to’ … many other things", parenting, relationships, education and "the meaning of life" and so, deviously they introduce Christian existentialism, mechanical behaviourism, carnal Freudianism, deterministic neuroscience and Eastern meditation into our culture.

Freud has been elevated from the anti - religious person he really was (he wrote, "Religion is the universal obsessive neurosis of mankind") into a 'ground breaking medical pioneer'.

Psychoanalysis has been elevated from the pornography it really is into a 'respectable medical treatment'. Any harmful practice to another person becomes acceptable just by calling it ‘doing chesed’ or ‘therapy’.

Besides the current topical agunah/eishes ish/mekach taut case, there is another questionable heter from psychology which needs to be examined.

When women are allowed to have abortions or contraception, "in order to protect the "'mental health of the mother'" (rodef?), we have to question the vague, capricious, subjective term, "mental health of the mother".

Is the term, "the mental health of the mother" really an authentic illness and serious enough to warrant an abortion?

Some religious women may go through a doubtful "post natal depression" in order to get a heter for contraception...

I think the general practice appears to be meikel because we fear the risk of suicide.

Kids may try obtaining abusable, stimulant drugs through the questionable illnesses of ADD\ADHD and learning "disorders".

Shyness in a woman is regarded as being Tzniyus and is a very precious Jewish value. However, in the American value system, shyness is regarded as an "illness", "Social Anxiety", to be treated with tranquillizers.

In fact there must be many examples of the misuse of psychological conditions and behaviours, renamed as "illnesses", to make permitted the otherwise forbidden.

On the other side of the coin, there must be many examples of renaming bad practices as "therapy" to make permitted the otherwise forbidden.

What about electric shocking people against their will? Usually this would be assault, striking a person, but renaming this as "therapy" makes it permitted.

The Aseret HaDibrot forbids kidnapping. "Lo Tignov", Although this refers to one stealing a person for resale and being chayav mita, lesser degrees of confining people against their will are also forbidden, and involuntary psychiatric hospitalization may be a loophole through which this is done. Of particular danger are young girls, with anorexia nervosa, who are removed from their frum home environments and placed in very suspect circumstances where bad things and bad influences happen.

Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy. The only psychotherapy acceptable to Judaism?

In certain circles over the past 40 years, Viktor Frankl's has been promoted as, the only psychotherapy acceptable to Judaism!

Probably the reason Frankl's therapy is so popular in religious, especially kiruv, (and missionary) circles is his use of expressions like 'Religion', 'Values', 'Free Will' and 'Responsibility' as solutions. These are presented as opposed to deterministic Freudianism and mechanical behaviourism, and therefore appear to be an improvement. However these attempts to elevate psychology by "adding Spiritual Values" doesn't work.

Here we will show that Viktor Frankl's psychotherapy is the opposite of what it is advertised as. It is actually deviously introducing non-Jewish values and undermining Torah!

Both Logotherapy and Existentialism, which have been popularized, are actually alien to Judaism and we have been misled.

Viktor Frankl, prescribes 'Meaning' as a reason for becoming religious, and as the cure for mental illness.

Problems of living or whatever, are addressed by Frankl's followers with, "You need, Rx prescription, "Meaning in Life".

When someone is told, "You need to get 'Meaning In Life'" does that mean that 'Meaning In Life' is a commodity which you can "get"?

Actually, it's impossible to "get "'Meaning' in Life.""

It's impossible to get "'Meaning' in Life", because 'Meaning' is an abstract noun and does not denote any concrete thing.

What do Existentialists refer to when they talk about ‘Meaning’?

Let's search for the origins.

In the writings of the existentialist psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, he recommends "Meaning in Life" as a cure out of despair or alienation or mental illness, and yet Frankl does not say what that "Meaning" is! He certainly does not specify "Torah and Mitzvot"! "Meaning" can be anything, and is subjectively unique to the individual.

In the case of Sartre the French, "atheist existentialist", "Meaning" could stand for, or refer to, exercising his freedom and creativity in literature, or fighting in the French Resistance, out of having suffered the "meaninglessness of life". Once again Sartre also holds that, "Meaning" can be anything, and is subjectively unique to the individual.

For Jewish existentialist Martin Buber "Meaning" appears to be found in the "Encounter" between "I and Thou".

For German existentialist, Martin Heidegger, speaking in 1933, "The Führer alone is the present and future German reality and its law."

Let's go to the first existentialist in order for us to grasp the origin of the concept.

In the case of Søren Kierkegaard, the founder of Existentialism, as a Christian, Jesuit priest, "Meaning" seems to refer to, turning to the Lord out of the sickness of Original Sin. This seems to be the prototype of "Meaning" from Existentialism's creator.

From here by induction we may generalize out what Existentialists refer to by "Meaning".
Existentialist "Meaning" refers to "turn to X out of Y".

"X" = existential "Meaning."
Where "X" means any subjective meaning you want the variable to be.

However "X" has a quasi religious orientation, like "turn to the Lord", although atheist existentialists have given a non-theistic meaning to "X" like 'creativity' or 'patriotism' or 'French freedom'. Sartre described Existentialism as "theology without a god".

The variable, "Y" could be any negative state you'd like it to be e.g. 'nothingness', 'despair', 'mental illness', 'original sin', 'alienation', 'meaninglessness' etc.

"Turn" is of a therapeutic or quasi 'religious conversion' nature.

Existentialists tell us, "turn to X out of Y!"
An underlying principle behind the use of Viktor Frankl is the double agenda of therapy as religious conversion.' i.e. "Meaning In Life" as a cure, being the reason for becoming religious. This is not seeing 'Religion' as Truth, or the Essence of Creation, but rather pragmatically, 'Religion' as "therapy" or crutch.

Just to add a sad digression; If he had lived in his time, how would Karl Marx have understood Viktor Frankl's therapy?

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."
— Karl Marx.

It's because we have perspectives like Viktor Frankl's that we get responses like Karl Marx's.
Yidden,

We've been fooled!

By the way! Was Viktor Frankl really the spiritual, existential psychiatrist that propaganda makes him out to be? No! Who was Viktor Frankl?

Viktor Frankl was an extreme, institutional, organic psychiatrist who prescribed drugs, practiced shock treatment and carried out lobotomies! Surely many of these practices are excessive and violent and may be hallachicly questionable, but are allowed to slip through under the guise of "medical treatment"!

A further concern to Torah observant Jews is Jungian Psychology.

Is Jungian Psychology a gateway to cults?

Jung's concept of the collective unconscious led him to incorporate Eastern and Western religions. Are patients undergoing such therapy likely to be introduced to Eastern and other Religions?

Jung is embraced, because he also incorporated 'Religion' into his psychology. Once again 'Religion' and 'Therapy' is the program.

May we generalize this to an abuse of psychotherapy, the influence or conversion of the patient to the therapist's religion, or the opposite, the "dereligionization" of the patient to atheism? It must be noted that many patients are involuntary patients or coerced into therapy and do not have the choice of therapist with appropriate value systems and treatments.

Yidden, We've been fooled!