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How would you answer this question from an 18 yr old boy?

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 11:42 am
Ds is really struggling with yidishkeit. He has a very straight and practical personality and needs everything to make sense. And by make sense I mean really make full 100% sense. So to begin with he has questions about Judaism and how we are 100% sure everything is real. I don't have good answers and I'm not sure anyone has perfect answers to that.

On a more day to day level he is asking things like why should he daven and bentch. I tell him to get closer to and to thank hashem. He insists davening doesn't get him closer and instead of davening and bentching, why can't he just say "thanks hashem"? Can anyone suggest a good response or idea?
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ShishKabob




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 11:44 am
You need to find someone that does have the answers and there are plenty of them out there. You just have to find someone that has the right style for him. (There can be a chance that he's just not interested in doing these things and nothing that anyone says will do it for him) Hugs and lots of hatzlocha getting him the right shaliach!
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1ofbillions




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 11:48 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Ds is really struggling with yidishkeit. He has a very straight and practical personality and needs everything to make sense. And by make sense I mean really make full 100% sense. So to begin with he has questions about Judaism and how we are 100% sure everything is real. I don't have good answers and I'm not sure anyone has perfect answers to that.

On a more day to day level he is asking things like why should he daven and bentch. I tell him to get closer to and to thank hashem. He insists davening doesn't get him closer and instead of davening and bentching, why can't he just say "thanks hashem"? Can anyone suggest a good response or idea?


This is a normal struggle for an older teen. He is mature and intelligent enough to think for himself - that’s amazing! Don’t get scared, and good for you for looking to help him out with finding answers to his questions.

There definitely are answers out there. I highly recommend that he check out Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz’s shiurim on YouTube or Torah Anytime. He is an educated, intelligent rabbi at Ohr Sameach that addresses questions about Judaism’s validity and practices. I heard a shiur on evolution by him that was so mind blowing. He’s been excellent for my spirituality.

He isn’t an inspirational, flowery rabbi - he’s very logical, rational, and source based, which I think your son will appreciate.
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LovesHashem




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 11:52 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Ds is really struggling with yidishkeit. He has a very straight and practical personality and needs everything to make sense. And by make sense I mean really make full 100% sense. So to begin with he has questions about Judaism and how we are 100% sure everything is real. I don't have good answers and I'm not sure anyone has perfect answers to that.

On a more day to day level he is asking things like why should he daven and bentch. I tell him to get closer to and to thank hashem. He insists davening doesn't get him closer and instead of davening and bentching, why can't he just say "thanks hashem"? Can anyone suggest a good response or idea?


Get him in touch with Rav Gav, Rabbi Leib Keleman (who can trace his family back to Dovid Hamelech), or some other Rabbanim who work for Aish - all the rabbanim there have great answers for all these questions!

In short we don't know anything 100%, but there's a lot of evidence, evidence that makes a lot of sense when you learn about it.

There's definitely answers, and much more deep ideas than "Getting close to Hashem". I've learned a lot on this topic - too much for a post though.
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 12:17 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
On a more day to day level he is asking things like why should he daven and bentch. I tell him to get closer to and to thank hashem. He insists davening doesn't get him closer and instead of davening and bentching, why can't he just say "thanks hashem"? Can anyone suggest a good response or idea?

As others have said, don't get unnerved. It's good he's asking and questioning, he's trying to make his Yiddishkeit his own instead of just the default that he was taught.

As some food for thought for the above question, ask your son: "If I buy you flowers, how will you feel? What if you buy ME flowers? What if you buy me chocolate? What if I tell you I'm on a diet, and you buy me chocolate anyhow?"

Discuss the idea of giving in a relationship being based on what the other person appreciates.

Discuss how if someone doesn't know me well, their gift of chocolate might be a nice gift, but since you know I'm on a diet, our relationship is deeper, and you would need to get me something else to be a nice gesture.

Here Hashem has told us what he wants. That is mitzvos, and words of Torah and Tefillah. We may not connect so much to the words, but we are making Hashem happy.

Additionally, has he spent time trying to understand why Hashem finds these words so meaningful? There are many seforim now that explain the nusach of davening and why we say them when. By trying to understand why Hashem wants these words, we are deepening our connection to Hashem, just as talking with me and understanding why I enjoy flowers so much enriches our relationship.
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amother




Oxfordblue
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 12:22 pm
This is one answer you can give him for tefilla...
Both davening from the heart/your own words and following the nusach of davening are good things but they have different powers.
It's a long thought and I'm sure that there are others but tefila is referred to as 'charbi vkashti' a sword and a bow and arrow both are essential but have different strengths.

...We could explain it based on the way the Brisker Rov differentiates when Yaakov said he got land with “be’charbi uve’kashti” (sword and arrow). The Targum explains this as “biv-oisi u’bitfilasi-” with my supplications and davening. He explains the difference between kashti and charbi. A sword can kill by itself as long as you just stab someone with it, whereas an arrow by itself can’t kill unless you shoot it with accuracy from afar. The Tefillah of the Anshei Knesses Ha’Gedolah has its own power; therefore as long as you say it with kavana it is effective. Therefore, one who is a tzaddik ben rasha will take preference over a tzaddik ben tzaddik if his kavana is superior because he has “lev.” In a case of added tefillos, like when there may be a lack of rain; a little push is needed and may be compared to an arrow that can only work from afar. .....

There definitely answers out there find him a mentor that is knowledgeable
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amother




Magnolia
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 12:47 pm
Of course he asked that! He’s a teenaged boy! Davening really starts to hit home when you’re out of your parents house and with your own life. You really start to realize that you’re on your own and you need to trust and rely on Hashem.

When I ask my Rav about shaylos relating to tefilah, he tells me to just sit in a dark room and talk to Hashem. He doesn’t ask me why aren’t I saying krias shema or did I say tachanun. For women, saying “thanks Hashem” seems perfectly acceptable so your son’s question is a good one.

The truth is that they daven now to get used to the routine and the words in the hopes that one day it will all have meaning. That meaning arrives at a different timetable for everyone. For some it’s at 8 years old, for some 18, for others at 80. At my age, some days I have no kavana whatsoever, and some days a random tefilah section will hit home like never before, because of something painful or wonderful that’s happened to me. It’s not an inspiring answer, but it’s a truthful one.

You can tell him that he’s the most important person in the world to Hashem, and Hashem loves every tefilah that comes out of his mouth. Tell him his tefilah has unlimited power, and he’s a modern day superhero. Even if lots of words don’t make sense to him. And also encourage him to use his own words, just like he suggested, in the appropriate places in tefilah.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 1:11 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Ds is really struggling with yidishkeit. He has a very straight and practical personality and needs everything to make sense. And by make sense I mean really make full 100% sense. So to begin with he has questions about Judaism and how we are 100% sure everything is real. I don't have good answers and I'm not sure anyone has perfect answers to that.

On a more day to day level he is asking things like why should he daven and bentch. I tell him to get closer to and to thank hashem. He insists davening doesn't get him closer and instead of davening and bentching, why can't he just say "thanks hashem"? Can anyone suggest a good response or idea?

As his mother, given his age, I don’t think it’s in your role to be the answer-giver.
Tell him he’s a smart guy, you love him to the ends of the earth, and wish him the best of luck in his quest for answers. He will find his way.
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amother




Orange
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 1:15 pm
I think there is actually a very abridged version of bentching in the Gemara to the tune of “thank you Hashem”.

I can’t for the life of me relate to davening either.
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torquoise




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 1:26 pm
Haven't read through responses, but would he enjoy the Emunah series by Rabbi Dovid Saperstein? His talks are geared to FFB youth, and he validates and commends thinkers questioning yiddishkeit. The speeches that I've listened to were more along the lines of proving that the Torah is real, but maybe that's where your son needs to start - at the core.

I also can totally relate to hating long bentching and davening. My kids only need to bentch the first paragraph (fulfills d'orayasa, I think) and the rest is optional. It should come when the child has a ratzon for it.
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Thisisnotmyreal




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 1:33 pm
1. Going the extra mile to communicate using Hashems language.
2. Words have creative power and using the most holy purposeful words out there, you know for certain will accomplish what should be done.
3. He should still say the Thanks Hashem if he won't have kavana while actually benching. It's genuine, and Hashem appreciates that.
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amother




Lemonchiffon
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 1:42 pm
Is he in yeshiva? Important that he should be in an environment that's a good fit for him where he's surrounded by rebbes and mentors that he feels safe to ask these questions and explore his Yiddishkeit.

What an 18 year old boy needs is not necessarily a nice answer but the tools to research and find answers for himself. People posted nice ideas, but he will have to explore them for himself to figure out what speaks to him. Also clarity in what the real question is. Is he questioning davening because it's too long? Because he doesn't believe anyone's listening? Because he's questioning the whole direction of his life? Important to know what he's really asking and also that nobody can give you an answer. It comes from within. What we can do is give them support while they figure it out.
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amother




Lemonchiffon
 

Post Mon, Nov 29 2021, 1:48 pm
I also want to add that this is a burden that men have that women don't. I love Yiddishkeit learning Torah and I'm very spiritual but davening the whole davening is optional for me. Some days I'm in the mood for more sometimes for less, sometimes I have time for more sometimes for less. Men don't have this leeway. They have to daven 3 times a day every single day, put on tefillin, learn Torah regularly etc. That's why it doesn't particularly bother me that they say shelo asani isha. I'm happy serving Hashem as a woman but glad not to have the obligations of a man.
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