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Event Held On Compulsive Behaviors In Matters Of Kedusha For Educators And Mechanchim in Yerushalayim

An event was held last night in Yerushalayim for Torah educators to help identify compulsive behaviors in the area of Kedusha. The event focused on recognizing Signs indicating a serious problem and how to guide talmidim towards appropriate resources for help and healing.


An educational chinuch event was held last night, Motsei Shabbos, march 4, in Alumim hall located in Ramat Eshkol Yerushalayim, on the topic of compulsive behavior in matters of Kedusha.

The event was held for mechanchim and Torah mentors, to help identify and understand compulsive behaviors in matters pertaining to Kedusha, so that they can offer proper assistance, guidance, and referral, to talmidim suffering from unhealthy behavior patterns.

The event was sponsored by SHLAVIM, a nonprofit organization serving the Anglo community in Israel, which is dedicated to bridging the gap between people in need of phycological and emotional treatment, and the professional community.

The event was hosted by Rabbi Avi Tenenbaum, expert in addiction studies and founder of JNARS, Jewish Network Addiction Recovery Support- a professional network for improving recovery from addiction in the Jewish world.

JNARS is currently the largest platform for addiction specialists serving the Jewish community, working together to help solve the problem of addiction in our communities with over 250 members worldwide.

Although there are many emotional and phycological disorders which are more prone to certain communities, the disorder of addiction is across the board, all communities are prone to, and suffer from it.

No one is spared from the problem and no community can claim immunity to the problem, no matter how religious or secular they are.

Therefore, it is imperative that mechanchim are aware and familiar with the problem, how to recognize it, and to have the necessary tools to deal with it when confronted by it.

The topic is especially shrouded in confusion for mechancim, since when confronted by improper behavior, one can easily say that the talmid is merely experiencing a tough nisayon and not a full-blown addiction

To shed light on the confusion, Rabbi Tenenbaum first laid out the signs and criteria indicating a compulsive behavior. These sign have to first be confirmed before a mechanech can rule out “a difficult Nisayon” and declare it an addiction, which would necessitate serious professional intervention.

“Just because a talimd was nichshal with forbidden things on the internet, does not mean that they have an addiction” explains Rabbi Tenenbaum.

“Being nichshal on something forbidden doesn’t mean the talmid needs intense rehab- that is what mechanchim are for, that is what musser sfarim are for, to help guide our talmidim on the right path”.

Rabbi Tenenbaum explained the three major factors which comprise and in many instance define an addiction.

First, there has to be a loss of control, “the person has to have been engaged in the behavior far more than intended, whether in length of time, or in intensity, there has to be a loss of control”.

Second, there has to be consequences; “the person has to be engaged in the negative behavior despite him suffering adverse consequences due to his behavior”.

Third, the person has had to attempt stopping in the past but was unsuccessful. The combination of these three is what usually defines an addict.

“Of course, there has to be a significant amount of time involved” says Rabbi Tenenbaum. “If the problem has only been going on for two days, that can’t be called an addiction, perhaps a difficult nisayon, but not an addiction”

Unfortunately this is a problem that even Chashuvah people from the best institutions struggle with, and they desperately need outside help to overcome it.

“There was a bocher that I was seeing” Shared Rabbi Tenenbaum, “that would toivel in the freezing natural Mikveh behind Kever Shmuel Hanavi in the dead of winter, to preform teshuva for past actions and to deter himself from future negative behaviors.
But it did not help, the bocher continued to fall.

Another bocher added extra time to his learning sedarim, but was also unsuccessful in halting the negative behavior he was engaged in. These bochurim mean well and Hashem definitely has nachas from their efforts to improve, but they need professional help”.

Once the mechanech has identified the problem his/her responsibility is to seek the right help for the one under their aegis.

The evening also included fresh bagels and cream cheese for Melava Malka, and light drinks that was served to those present.

Rabbi Tenenbaum concluded the evening by reminding the audience “we need a lot of Tefillos” and there are solutions, even for serious problems.

By Eli B.

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