There is an on-going crisis in the once quiet community of Nachlaot. The residents of this Jerusalem community were recently shocked to discover that hidden amongst their trusted neighbors -- was an organized band of child-molesters who have been praying on their children.
According to the strict interpretation of Jewish Law, these men deserve to be taken out to sea and thrown overboard for what they have done. Jewish courts, today, however, are utterly powerless to deter or punish sexual offenders; and the secular law enforcement authorities are just making the problem worse: The average sex offender has molested almost 200 times before he is caught for the first time and sent to prison. Offenders typically have been incarcerated multiple times -- each time they are released from prison they come out angrier and even more likely to offend than before they went in. When offenders get arrested, it usually does not deter them from re-offending -- it may even appeal to their sense of grandiosity to see their names in the newspapers or to see themselves on television -- for the most part, child sexual offenders tend to ignore court orders of protection and are impervious to the Megan's Law in the United States which publicizes the names, addresses and pictures of registered sexual offenders and has had no demonstrable effect.
In more than three decades of clinical practice as a psychotherapist, I worked with approximately 1000 people who suffered some type of abuse -- mostly sexual.Hashem decreed that I spend these decades of my life wandering hopelessly in the midbar (the wasteland) of psychotherapeutic heresy - so that I could expose the truth about it now; and lead those, who still care about their souls, to something infinitely better - the teachings of my Rebbe - Rabbi Shalom Arush who I trust with my life and the lives of my children. You should recoil from secular treatments for child sexual abuse like you would recoil from a blazing inferno.
Dear Parents of Nachlaot,
The following is the message of hope that I think that Rabbi Shalom Arush would want you to have now.
* Know that the key to your child's complete recovery is his or her connection with you. Hashem specifically picked you to nurture your child because you are uniquely qualified to help his or her particular soul. Hashem lovingly placed everything that your child needs into you.
* Know that that essence of your child's soul has not been affected by this at all. It is just something on the surface of his or her soul that needs some attention; like dusting off a beautiful and precious jewel. His or her soul - itself, is as pure and clean as when it was first created by Hashem.
* The reason that so many of the children of Nachlaot have come forward and spoken out about what happened to them testifies to the great trust that they have in their parents and the very special parenting that they have received. I was involved in working with othercommunities in America where very few children were able to open up -- they were too fearful of their parents reactions. Continue to praise your child's courage and willingness to share with you at his or her own pace.
* Reality is Hidden. There is nothing in this lowest of worlds that is what it seems to be. Everything here is “vanity of vanities, a mere puff of smoke.” If we were lent the eyes of a Tzaddik, for even a second -- the cruelty and injustice that we are seeing now would instantly become something very different and understandable.
* The quickest way to end this ordeal, for your child, is to show the child that you are fully in charge of the situation. That means that you are viewing the situation with your emuna; without emuna it is virtually impossible to avoid rage, fear and the need to retaliate. Pray to know with complete certainty that Hashem is leading you though a series of tests where you are re-visiting “places” from previous life-times to see how you will handle the same situations now. This is one reason that glib advice from some therapist or prosecutor can be dangerous.
* Try to evoke Hashem's name in every interaction that you have with your child. Take this opportunity to teach them about how Hashem is moving us closer to perfection with every passing second through his awesome hashgacha pratis (Divine Providence).
* Intend for every single word that you speak with your child now to be just for his or her re-empowerment. Do not let your child speak to anyone who speaks to them or questions them in a way that, G-d forbid, does not empower them.
* Pray for the strength to accept that there will not be anything close to true justice here - But that Hashem's Justice is Perfect -- you can fully count on that -- asKing David said: “He who digs a pit to ensnare one’s fellow man eventually falls in the very same trap.” (Psalms 7:16)
* Don’t take revenge. Remember the Angel’s warning to Lot and his wife while they were leaving Sodom, “Don’t look back.” If you follow these guidelines, you too will be escorted to freedom by your own Guardian Angels far from the perverse and Sodom-like world of non-Jewish courts and mass media.
* Children are automatically strengthened when they see their parents openly turning to Hashem and his Tzaddikim for comfort and guidance. The most powerful tool that a parent can give his or her child is to educate them about how to talk to Hashem about their pain. When a child sees his parents crying to Hashem - the only One who can help - it is the most important chinuch (spiritual education) the child will ever get. You can further empower your child by teaching him or her to belief that he can also pray for the other children.
* The child-molester has forfeited his humanity. He is so evil that his soul has already left his filthy body and hovers somewhere above him. He secretly wishes to be defeated for even he knows that he must lose, and would rather be defeated by man than be completely and eternally destroyed and punished spiritually. Any child molester that is not properly tried and convicted by an earthly court is immediately convicted and sentenced to punishment by the much less merciful Heavenly Court.
* We understand nothing about how Hashem is running His world; but we do know that He is fully in charge of it and will soon lead us to a great joy and celebration. Hashem wants you to feel the happiness that you will soon enjoy in the Redemption - right now. He has given you the ability to "borrow" from the happiness that He promised to give you in the future. For example: If someone gave you signed documents proving that you will soon be receiving a trillion dollars what bank would not be willing to lend you a few million right now - they know that you will be receiving far more that this very soon. Hashem gave us the Torah which testifies that we are His children and that he will Redeem us with great joy. You can choose to get excited about the great relief Hashem is going to bring to you and your children this very second.
And finally: Encourage yourself with the words of Rebbe Natan of Breslev, “…you can always begin to conquer the evil and bitter thoughts which harass you, because their power over you (only) derives from the evil inclination. Just ignore such negative thoughts as best you can, given the situation, and do not allow them to take hold of you at all. Do not be intimidated by them and never fear them!”
May Hashem bring immediate Consolation and Deliverance to our dear neighbors in Nachlaot.
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Zev Ballen, LCSW has been a practicing psychotherapist for 32 years. He is licensed in Israel and the State of New York. Zev has the endorsements of prominent Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Shlita, Reb Yitzchok Fagelstock, Shlita, The Kasaner Rebbe of Forshay, Shlita, Rav Shalom Arush, Shlita, and Rabbi Lazer Brody, Shlita. He resides with his family in Jerusalem where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time practice. You can write to Zev Ballen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at: 845-362-8600 (US line) or 054-840-9499 (Israeli line).