Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The following has been inserted at the beginning of the book

The subject matter of this book is one that is inherently upsetting and unpleasant. Consequently much consideration was given to what to describe and what type of language to use. It is typical in the Orthodox community that these things are not talked about and when they are talked about euphemisms are typically used (Pesachim 3a). Even the word "sexual" is rarely used. The Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 3:8) in fact asserts that is why Hebrew is called the holy language. [The Ramban (Shemos 30:13) disputes this view however]. Most of the material in this book is in fact presented in a neutral manner and the word "abuse" is typically used to describe the issue under discussion. However there are discussions which are more graphic and language which is more explicit. Some of this is simply the translation of classic sources such as the Talmud or Rambam (See for example Commentary on Mishna Sanhedrin 7:4). In Hebrew the descriptions are much more modest and acceptable and the terms are not explicit as they are in English i.e., they are not as shocking.

However it is impossible to adequately educate parents and educators as to how to protect children without explaining what the danger is. Euphemisms are appropriate when the reality is known but someone wants to allude to it rather then use lurid details. In fact much of what goes on is not known by the average person and therefore the horror can only be conveyed by more explicit language and detail. Much of the psychological damage is the result of abuse by those who are known and trusted by the victim. This betrayal must be described to be properly understood.

One of my early supporters backed out when he saw some of the essays. He said, " I thought that you would simply say abuse happens and is bad and therefore we need to protect our children. I thought you were writing a book that the typical Beis Yaakov graduate or Chassidic mother can read." Hopefully they will in fact read this book – despite it being an unpleasant experience - for the sake of their children

Therefore if you do not want to deal with these types of descriptions and language – don't read this book – or at least be prepared to skip or skim some of the material. This also means that one needs to be careful who will read it.

This concern is not so simple however. I once mentioned to the Noviminsker Rebbe that Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky had stated that children should be educated about sexual matters at the age of 16. His reply was, "It is too late for children today (this was 25 years ago). Even some 8 year olds know more than I do."


  1. You mentioned trouble finding a publisher. Did you try Ktav? They already have a book on the subject:

    And might be receptive to yours

  2. why dont you get him to give a written haskama on the writing of the book?


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