Thursday, May 15, 2014

The myth of therapist/therapy neutrality e.g., sex education

The following important discussion was taken from the comments section of  Psychology: Jewish alternative  to a more prominent location as an important issue in its own right. My observation is not only are therapists often not neutral but even frum therapists often assume that in conflicts between halacha and the therapy they learned - therapy wins out. Issue such as lashon harah about parents or spouses - which is sometimes permissible but often alternatives are not used because it is done for the sake of therapy. In the discussion below the mere mentioning of sex education creates major consequences which are not necessarily handled properly.
Can JOE be more specific as to the aveiros the therapists are validating. Validating usually means acknowledging/ empathic understanding for a problem or a solution to the problem , but not that it is acceptable or the long lasting solution we want 


That's a tall order. I intended my comment for those who have independently arrived at the same conclusion as I have. I'm not sure if I can successfully clarify my comment for others. Also, if I mention a specific case, even with hiding the identity and changing details, someone who knows me may figure out who I am referring to.

That being said, may I have your permission to build a hypothetical case? For example, let's take a teenage girl in a day school that bills itself as Modern. Let's call her "B.Y." for Bas Yisrael. I am making this up in a way that is consistent with the kinds of outcomes I've encountered. Correct at will.

B.Y. [sitting in therapist's office]: Uh, do we start?

Therapist: Why don't you tell me what brought you here.

B.Y. [vehemently]: My parents! [almost spitting out the words] They forced me.

Therapist: [raising eyebrows slightly, look of intent concentration]

B.Y.: So it started out fine. I invited him to come to my house to do homework.

Therapist: Him?

B.Y.: Didn't my parents tell you ANYTHING?! My boyfriend...only he wasn't my boyfriend then. Just a classmate. We had a project due, and the teacher put us on the same team, so I said, 'Let's work on it at my house' and my parents were like, "OK."

Therapist: I'm sensing anger.

B.Y.: I AM angry. A few months before my parents had sat me down and we had a talk. They treated me with respect, answered all my questions -- I felt... [pauses]

Therapist: Yes?

B.Y.: ...I felt, you know, empowered! They were so sensitive and polite. We'd never had a conversation like that before.

Therapist: Do you want to tell me what you spoke about?

B.Y.: It was a candid and honest talk [voice drops to a whisper] about sex.

Therapist: Oh.

B.Y. [sparks flying] They said they TRUSTED me! They told me I was now expected to take on RESPONSIBILITY for my decisions!! [starts crying]

Therapist: [after a time, gently, not prying, almost like wondering to himself] Anything else?

B.Y.: [now composed] So, last week I told my parents that I wanted the same boy to work with me on some homework, and they said "No."

Therapist: [repeating] 'They said 'No.'"

B.Y.: "No." [catching herself] I mean, yes, they said "No." [Drawing out the words] So I said, "Why in the world did you talk to me about relationships if you didn't want me to have a relationship??" [puffing out cheeks, pouting, folding arms, withdrawing into herself]

Therapist: [silent]

B.Y. [after a long time of staring into nowhere, quietly, in a low monotone] The answer was they were trying to "prevent" me from having a relationship. [clams up again]

Therapist: So first they communicated with you in a way you understood to mean you had permission to have a boyfriend, while their intention was the opposite.

B.Y.: Oh, no. They DEFINITELY were signaling that they were willing to allow sex at home. I KNOW that because I found a link on their computer to an article that used the E X A CT same language they used in our original talk. Stuff like, "need not be a green light for promiscuity but can be a red light for undeclared, unpredictable, unsafe activity." They just changed their mind later when they were faced with the reality.

Therapist: Ah.

B.Y. [suddenly, looking up questioningly]: Do you you think that was right of them to act that way?

Now, Allan, I put it to you: what can the therapist possibly respond that is both professional and that will absolutely preclude the possibility of B.Y. saying to her friends: "My therapist says it's OK to have a boyfriend"?

I think I hear you. My 2 cents worth -Maybe the therapist can answer – I hear where you are coming from and sort of understand how you are feeling , but I would appreciate it if you could tell me more , I want to get a better understanding of your concerns and perspective. The boyfriend is only one solution to the kids concerns.

About your parents decisions – I think it would help if we could first get a better understanding of their concerns and perspectives

This will help the kid see the problem from the eyes of the parent and understand the consistency of their decisions. – if one finds oneself in a situation I can trust you to be responsible , but until marriage it is best build friendships with girls

A solution would be to take into account the concerns of both parties . When the concerns of parents are addressed we are setting limits. Sometimes a solution would be to give a kid more autonomy in another area to compensate


  1. In a mixed class the girl was already half way to base.

  2. I believe Joe orlow is making an extremely valid point.

    I'd like to add a bit of insight, from a scientific persoective.

    Moral emotion theory has in recent years clarified the important role that MORAL EMOTIONS play in the day-to-day creation and functioning of human morality.

    In other words, feelings of Contempt, anger, and disgust serve a positive & adaptive purpose.

    Haidt (2003) puts it this way:

    "Contempt, anger, and disgust ... act as guardians of different portions of the moral order. People are exquisitely sensitive to the propriety of the actions of others, even when those actions do not affect themselves. .... As guardians of the moral order, all three emotions motivate people to change their relationships with moral violators. ....

    He therefore concludes:

    "Whether the moral emotions are ultimately shown to be the servants, masters, or equal partners of moral reasoning, it is clear that they do a tremendous amount of work in the creation and daily functioning of human morality."

    The question can be asked; Why wouldn't an approach of reciprocal understanding, similar to what Alan Katz advocates be enough?

    It seems Alan himself is aware of the limitations, based on his choice of words like "sometimes" & "I think it would help".

    Premarital sex in a religious household is however much too much of a big deal to leave it open to the vagaries of such modes of persuasion.

    Haidt explains why moral emotions are important & for whom:

    “… imagine a perfectly selfish creature, the mythical Homo Economicus(2), who cares only about her own well-being, and who cooperates with others only to the extent that she expects a positive net payoff from the transaction. Homo Economicus may experience negative affect when some resource is taken away from her, but she would only retaliate if she thought that the benefits of retaliation outweighed the costs. And she would have no affective reactions when good or bad things happened to other people. An alternative definition of the moral emotions can therefore be stated as the difference between the emotional life of Homo Sapiens and the emotional life of Homo Economicus (or of a psychopath, whom Homo Economicus resembles; Cleckley, 1955).”

    Haidt therefore rightfully concludes:

    "The capacity to feel contempt, anger, disgust, shame, embarrassment, guilt, compassion, gratitude, and elevation may or may not separate humans neatly from other animals, but it certainly separates humans from Homo Economicus. Morality dignifies and elevates because it ties us all to something greater than ourselves: each other."

    Based on the above, I wholeheartedly endorse Joe's enlightened commentary & believe that עסקנים of "at-risk" youth should not make light of the importance of moral emotions in the creation of human morality, or lack thereof.

    Haidt's article is available in HTML format @

  3. I would like to add that it isn't surprising that many therapists trained in earlier decades don't put much relevance to the subject of moral emotions and moral development, from a scientific viewpoint.

    As Hadt points out in the above referenced article, "moral emotions have been growth stocks in the 1980's and 1990's. While the output of journal articles on morality and moral reasoning rose in the 1980's and then began to decline in the 1990's, the number of articles on emotion in general, and on the moral emotions in particular, has increased greatly."

    This trend seems to be continuing, as evidenced by research done by Lapsley & Carlo @ Dev Psychol. 2014 Jan;50(1):1-7. doi: 10.1037/a0035225.

    Here's the abstract:
    This article introduces a special section on moral development. We claim that the
    field is now undergoing a resurgence of theoretical and methodological innovation
    after the eclipse of paradigmatic moral stage theory. Although research on
    prosocial development, moral emotions, and social domain theory has sustained
    interest in moral development, recent additional trends have contributed to its
    resurgence. This includes research in neuroscience, sociobiology, and social
    psychology; broad interest in moral-character education and virtues; and the
    appearance of recent handbooks and special journal issues. We review 3 broad
    possible future themes (early development, self and personality, and culture) of
    moral development research and introduce a set of new contributions in this
    special section as examples.

    It would perhaps be useful to educate practitioners that MORAL DEVELOPMENT isn't some tired paradigm, but rather on the cutting-edge of research.

  4. May I respond to Joe's dilemma even though I am not a psychologist?

    Just because the therapist isn't intended to be the client's Moreh Derech doesn't mean he needs to play games. If he says "I hear where you are coming from and sort of understand how you are feeling , but I would appreciate it if you could tell me more , I want to get a better understanding of your concerns and perspective." as Allan suggests, he is not being honest, because that isn't the TRUE answer after being presented with the question. Sometimes silence is a lie. Does the profession of psychotherapy instruct therapists to lie and mislead their clients? If giving direct advice is not 'therapeutic' as I gather from this discussion of people in the profession, then why doesn't the therapist just say the honest truth. "You didn't come here to be told what's right and what's wrong, because you're smart enough to either know it on your own, or find a source whom you trust, from where you can get the answers. It would undermine the therapy if I would just become another person who tells you what to do. I am here to help you get to that point, that is the point where you can do what you know is the right thing."

  5. I think Joe Orlow has no valid point here.

    1) It is definitely not a therapist's task to reinforce the parent's conviction that BY should not have a boyfriend. If the parents want someone to drum into her that she is not allowed to have a boyfriend, they should send her to a tzius teacher or to a rebbetzen or to a governess. the notion that therapists are a superior authority who serve to reinforce the parent's rules is plainly wrong (and against the ethic standarts of the profession)

    2) There are plenty of possible answers that will not lead to the conclusion "my therapist said it was OK". It is easy to say

  6. Joe Orlow's hypothetical teenage girl has a real problem. She has Orthodox parents who look for childrearing advice in the Forward.

    She is right to be angry and indignant; her parents have seriously let her down. No wonder she wants a way out.

    The problem is, she doesn't have the vocabulary or the wisdom to find a safe and healthy one.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Patience,

    You are making my point.

    What some parents want is to be "Orthodox" and "Modern". And when a child is unable to integrate and synthesize these two disparate worlds, the societally programmed reaction is often, "Get thee to a therapy."

    The Torah requires 100% allegiance. A little bit of unkosher milk added on purpose to kosher milk can make the mixture forbidden. A little bit of Modern consciously mixed with Torah can be a volatile combination.

    The parents in a way are captive victims of a culture drenched in sexual immorality: they are entangled and can't extract themselves.

    In my example, they sent their daughter to the therapist to ensure that their daughter becomes mired in the shmutz in a proper Modern Orthodox way. The parents want to be sure that they are leading their child to the fire of Molech in a way like everyone else in their close-knit community does, so that they, the parents, don't get called out by their peers. The parents bungled it: first they said "yes", then "no", and then, out of desperation, they called in a professional.

    At Mount Sinai we were as One Man, One Heart. Each tribe was distinct and at the same time part of an integrated whole.

    The harsh reality is that some of us have now seemingly broken into groups where each group chooses their poison: for one it is sexual immorality, for another stealing, etc. Each has their drop of unkosher milk.

    Enter the therapist not as Moral Authority but as the Immoral Arbiter, the one who is given the task of drawing the lines, of deciding what sinful behavior is TOO sinful. The therapists are as locked into this Kabuki dance of hiding in the Garden from G-d as anyone else.

    Patience: if the girl in my example reported that a teacher touched her somewhere, the therapist would report it to the police, and elements of the criminal justice system, media and community would come to bear on that teacher. Yet if the girl reports that her boyfriend touched her, that would only be of tangential concern.

    From a Halachic perspective, there ain't that much difference between the teacher touching or the boyfriend touching: it's just that the mental health profession in American society as of today has collectively come to a consensus that one is kosher and the other is not.

    In short, the parents can sigh in relief and relax knowing that whatever sin their daughter does, it will be under the watchful eye of the therapist as agent of society. The parents can have their Modern Orthodox mish-mash of keeping the Torah and being unfettered too. And when B.Y.'s boyfriend dumps her and B.Y. becomes unhappy and withdrawn, the parents can fret -- but not too much -- in comfort, confident that now that their daughter is diagnosed as "depressed" and on "medication" that none of this is their, the parents', fault, because they, the parents, were dutiful slaves to societal mores.

    I'm not sure if any of this makes sense. To those of us on the front lines of the battle it's difficult to simultaneously be a soldier and an Ernie Pyle.

    1. "From a Halachic perspective, there ain't that much difference between the teacher touching or the boyfriend touching"

      Are you saying that halacha makes no difference between consensual sex and rape?

      If this is true, it is a huge problem in my view.

      I see a huge difference between a teacher or person of authority molesting a girl (like Webermann) and consensual sexual relationships.

      If you fail to see the difference, I see it as a huge problem.

    2. "I'm not sure if any of this makes sense."

      No, not really. What you wrote does not make sense.

    3. Mr. Patience...

      Yes, not to make light of forced touching, but from a Halachic perspective, premarital sexual relations are indeed worse than the teacher's touching.

      You didn't know that?

      Is this why nothing Joe writes makes any sense?

    4. You might want to go over your halachot again, because I might believe what you say.

      You might want to consider that there are mitzwoth bein adam lamakom (like the question of premarital sex, niddah, etc) and mitzwoth bein adam lechawero.

      Not so long ago, a commentator wrote on this blog that some Rabbanim routinely committed errors in Ketubot or at the Chuppa when marrying off non-orthodox couples or told their followers to do so.

      How bad can premarital sex be in their view, if they consider that a whole category of jews do not deserve a valid marriage, and therefore will have non-marital sex all along their married life?

      By the way: I think the trick with the error is a great idea, it also would solve the get issue.

    5. By the way: I also see a huge problem if you were to state that spousal rape is preferable to non-marital sex or even masturbation.

    6. Tke this case, for example:

      A married man goes to see his rabbi. He tells him, that he has not had sex for 3 months and that he is about to explode, so he wants to masturbate.

      The rabbi answers that he is not allowed to masturbate, that he should have sex with his wife.

      The reason why the man did not have sex for 3 months is because his wife refused to have sex with him.

      The reason she refused is because he treats her poorly and she cannot bring herself to have marital relations with a husband who treats her the way he does.

      the husband comes home and says: the rabbi said i should have sex with you. turns out she has just been in the mikwa, so he rapes her.

    7. Patience not sure where you get these issue from - you have been falsely claiming that I approve of spousal rape.

      I am not aware of any heter to rape one's wife - perhaps it is only found in your Shulchan Aruch?

      Not sure where you got the idea that a mistake in the kesuba invalidates the marriage - never heard of such a thing.

    8. A man forcing himself on a woman is wrong.

      A masked commenter forcing a thinly veiled and snidely advanced agenda on a blog is also unwarranted.

    9. I'm trying to stay out of these fights during the omer, and possibly after as well, but this demands a response.
      The reason she refused is because he treats her poorly and she cannot bring herself to have marital relations with a husband who treats her the way he does.
      the husband comes home and says: the rabbi said i should have sex with you. turns out she has just been in the mikwa, so he rapes her.

      I don't know from whence you are getting your information but this is completely against halakha.
      If a woman with holds marital relations from her husband the Shulhan Arukh is very clear what is to take place. First the Beit Din warns her that she is entering into the status of a moredet. If she has a good reason, such as he beats her, or that he wants to have unnatural relations with her, then it is in the eyes of the Beit Din how to proceed.
      However, if she lacks a good reason, then she enters a period of 30 days in which according to Maran we announce every day in the Beit Knesset that she is a moredet. The Rema says on Shabbat suffices. If she has not changed after that month, then she is removed from the marital home for a year. She receives no support from her husband, though she is allowed to keep the work of her hands as her own support.
      If after that year has passed the husband may marry another woman, and the Rema says that he should give her a get. There is some debate as to what that last part of the Rema means, and I will leave that aside.
      However, please note, and take very careful note, that nowhwere is spousal rape allowed.

    10. 1) as far as I know, a moredet is not a wife who does not WANT marital relationships, but a wife who DOES want them, but refuses them in order to obtain something from her husban.

      2) Ashkenasim may not remarry without prior divorce. they have to give a get first, then they may remarry.

      3) I personally know a few hareidi women who underwent spousal rape repeatedly. furthermore, kalleh teachers see to preach that a wife should never refuse sex, even if she does not want.

    11. 1) A moredes is a a wife who refuses to have sexual relations with her husband - see below for the different types

      שו"ע אבן העזר עז

      סעיף ב
      האשה שמנעה בעלה מתשמיש, היא הנקראת מורדת; ושואלין אותה מפני מה מרדה, אם אמרה: מאסתיהו ואיני יכולה להבעל לו מדעתי, ( ודוקא שמבקשת גט בלא כתובה, אבל אם אומרת: יתן לי גט וכתובתי, חיישינן שמא נתנה עיניה באחר, ויש לה דין מורדת דבעינא ומצערנא ליה) (ב"י בשם תשובת הר"ן וכן פירש"י בגמרא), אם רצה הבעל לגרשה אין לה כתובה כלל, ותטול בלאותיה הקיימים, בין מנכסים שהכניסה לבעלה ונתחייב באחריותן, בין נכסי מילוג שלא נתחייב באחריותן, ואינה נוטלת משל בעלה כלום, ואפילו מנעל שברגליה ומטפחת שבראשה שלקחם לה, פושטת ונותנה, וכל מה שנתן לה מתנה מחזרת אותו. ( וי"א דאף מנכסי צאן ברזל אינה נוטלת אלא מה שתפסה. וי"א דאפילו נ"מ אינה נוטלת אלא מה שתפסה) (ב"י בשם תשובת הר"ן שכ"כ בשם הרשב"א). ואם מרדה מתחת בעלה כדי לצערו, ואמרה: הריני מצערת אותו בכך, מפני שעשה לי כך וכך, או מפני שקללני, או מפני שעשה עמי מריבה וכיוצא בדברים אלו, שולחין לה מב"ד ואומרים לה: הוי יודעת שאם את עומדת במרדך, אפילו כתובתיך ק' מנה הפסדת אותם. ואחר כך מכריזין עליה בבתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות, בכל יום, ד' שבתות זו אחר זו. ( וי"א דא"צ להכריז בכל יום, אלא ד' שבתות ממש), (הר"ן והגהות מיימוני וכן משמע לשון הטור), (וכן נ"ל עיקר). ואומרים: פלונית מרדה על בעלה. ואחר ההכרזה שולחין לה ב"ד פעם שנית: אם את עומדת במרדך הפסדת כתובתיך, אם עמדה במרדה ולא חזרה, נמלכין בה ותאבד כתובתה, ולא יהיה לה כתובתה כלל; ואין נותנים לה גט עד י"ב חדש; ואין לה מזונות כל י"ב חדש, ( ואפילו היא מעוברת) (ב"י בשם תשובת רשב"א); ומעשה ידיה שלה, אבל נוטל פירות (טור); ואם מתה קודם הגט, בעלה יורשה ( וחייב בפדיונה וקבורתה (טור); ולאחר י"ב חדש אין לבעל עליה כלום, וכן היא עליו; מאחר שאבדה הכתובה, אין לה כל תנאי כתובה, מאחר שיוכל לגרשה בלא כתובה והוא מעכבה מרצונו) (דברי הרב וכן משמע במהרי"ל סימן כ'). כסדר הזה עושין לה, אם מרדה כדי לצערו, ולאחר י"ב חדש לא מהני חזרתה, אלא אבדה כתובתה, ואם רוצה לקיימה, צריך לכתוב לה כתובה אחרת. אבל תוך י"ב חדש יכולה לחזור בה, ויש לה כתובה. ואם מת תוך י"ב חדש, יש לה כתובה מן היורשים (כל זה בהר"ן פ' אף על פי). ואם רוצה לגרשה תוך י"ב חדש נותן לה צ"ב שלה, וכתובתה וכל מה שכתב לה (ב"י בשם תשובת הרשב"א). וי"א דבזמן הזה שאין נושאין שתי נשים, לא משהינן לה י"ב חדש אם רוצה לגרשה, ואם אינה רוצה, מתירין לו לישא אחרת (מרדכי סוף אף על פי בשם ראב"ן). ויש חולקין שאין להתיר לו לישא אחרת (שם בהגהה ותשובת הרשב"א סימן תת"ס ומהרי"ק שורש ס"ג), וכן עיקר. ודוקא בנשואה, אבל ארוסה המורדת על בעלה ואינה רוצה להכנס לו, יגרשנה בעל כרחה, או ישא אחרת, ומתירין לו (שם). ונ"ל דוקא תוך י"ב חדש, אבל לאחר י"ב חדש אם הוא רוצה לגרש צריכה לקבל ממנו בעל כרחה, או מתירין לו לישא אחרת, דאין כח ביד האשה לעגנו לעולם, וכן נראה (להורות). וי"א דאפילו תוך י"ב חדש אם עבר ונשא אחרת מחמת מרידתה, אין כופין לגרש. (מהרי"ק שורש כ"ט) ואפילו היתה נדה או חולה שאינה ראויה לתשמיש ואין חילוק בין התחילה למרוד קודם חליה או אח"כ (הר"ן פרק אף על פי, וכן משמע במרדכי בשם ראבי"ה ובהגהות אלפסי), (ויש חולקים) (שם בשם מוהר"ם) ואפילו היה בעלה מלח שעונתו לששה חדשים, ואפילו יש לו אשה אחרת. וכן ארוסה שהגיע זמנה לינשא, ומרדה כדי לצערו ולא נשאת, הרי זו מורדת מתשמיש. וי"א שגם יבמה שלא רצתה להתייבם כדי לצערו, כסדר הזה עושין לה.

      2) Ashkenaz men may not marry without a divorce unless they have a heter meah rabbonim

      3) Spousal rape is against halacha. Kallah teachers who teach that should be reeducated or find something else to do.

      שו"ע אבן העזר כה

      ולא יבעול אלא מרצונה, ואם אינה מרוצה יפייסנה עד שתתרצה

    12. I think Patience’s senseless remarks do much to illustrate how sensible Joe’s are.

      Patience seems to prove that – as Joe said – “some of us have now seemingly broken into groups where each group chooses their poison: for one it is sexual immorality, for another stealing, etc. Each has their drop of unkosher milk”.

      Joe’s original comment noted (in part) that we have come to define morality by terms that are totally foreign to Torah values:

      “the girl in my example reported that a teacher touched her somewhere, the therapist would report it to the police, and elements of the criminal justice system, media and community would come to bear on that teacher. Yet if the girl reports that her boyfriend touched her that would only be of tangential concern. … From a Halachic perspective, there ain't that much difference between the teacher touching or the boyfriend touching.”

      I commended his astuteness, because I believe that the problem he mentions is very real and very widespread.

      So along comes “Patience” and totally ignores the very valid point made – ignoring Joe’s point of contrasting the hysterics surrounding sex-abuse (as witnessed by the false child sex abuse cases in Kern County, CA and in Wenatchee, WA – which accounted for the arrest of over one hundred innocent people), to the tacit acceptance of pre-marital sex (encompassing serious Halachic & sociological concerns).

      “Patience” does the tried and true “strawman” argument: He somehow conflates Joe’s words to mean he condones spousal rape & then shoots down everything he says, without a shred of evidence.

      “Patience”; Are you saying that the problem that we define morality by terms that are totally foreign to Torah values doesn’t exist? Why not come out and simply say so?

  9. Joe wrote: "I'm not sure if any of this makes sense."

    Joe – EVERY SINGLE WORD makes sense, and your ability to articulate your thoughts so clearly is exemplary.

    I would add:
    The therapists' role in appropriately expressing moral outrage is not only one of being the "Immoral Arbiter" for the sake of setting boundaries for the benefit of the teenage client, but his purpose would also include attempting to stem the tide of moral decay that could easily also effect the clients siblings, parents - and even the therapist himself.

    Just one citation concerning this phenomenon, which is clearly stated in the Rishonim numerous times, is from

    Here's the title and abstract:

    Ethically Adrift: How Others Pull Our Moral Compass from True North, and How We Can Fix It

    Celia Moore London Business School
    Francesca Gino Harvard Business School
    Research in Organizational Behavior (2013)

    This chapter focuses on the social nature of morality. Using the metaphor of the moral compass to describe individuals‟ inner sense of right and wrong, we offer a framework that identifies social reasons why our moral compasses can come under others‟ control, leading even good people to cross ethical boundaries. Departing from prior work on how individuals‟ cognitive limitations explain unethical behavior, we focus on socio-psychological processes that facilitate moral neglect, moral justification, and immoral action, all of which undermine moral behavior. In addition, we describe organizational factors that exacerbate the detrimental effects of each facilitator. We conclude by advising organizational scholars to take a more integrative approach to developing and evaluating theory about unethical behavior and by suggesting further study of interventions that might disempower these social triggers of unethical behavior, allowing us to regain control of our moral compasses. End quote.

    It is truly heart-rending to witness how many in society – including frum society – have been so conditioned to ascribe negative connotations to anything remotely associated with impinging on what society deems “ok”, that traits like “ethical”, “honest”, “self-controlled”, etc. have lost much of their positive affect, thereby precipitating a vicious cycle whereby those that are committed to attempt to “buck the trend” are often stigmatized, discriminated against & even sometimes dehumanized.

    I think that’s there is plenty of hope – in most cases people following the “mind your own business” mentality do so out of false convictions that such an approach is correct Halachically or/and out of fear of impinging on their livelihoods, and not because of evil intent.

    Perhaps the right approach to educating these sincerely Ehrliche people – based on clearly citing Halachic sources (similar to what you did) and correlating those sources to GOOD scientific sources that show the internalized benefits of attempting to live a moral lifestyle (which I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to do), could bring positive change, בס"ד.

    The Kafkaesque milieu we are witnessing doesn’t have to continue forever!


  10. Let's say a woman can't stand the husband and hates being intimate with him. The husband says "sleep with me or let's get a divorce" and she very unhappily agrees to do it. That is NOT rape under any definition of the term, halachic or otherwise. I do not believe the husband is doing the right thing by demanding intimacy in a bad relationship, but he is certainly not a rapist.


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