There was once a Ukranian peasant who worked all day long in the hot sun harvesting potatoes. At the end of the day, he looked inside his sack and lo and behold, there were only a dozen or so potatoes. Where'd they all go? He looked behind him and saw a trail of potatoes along the entire length of the field where he had been picking. What happened? There was a hole in the sack! Every time he put one potato in the sack, another potato fell out of the hole...
In recent years, I've sometimes felt like that peasant. We travel around the globe devoting our lives to bringing people closer to Hashem, yet loads of kids born into observant families are falling off the derech, the way of Torah Judaism.
In my humble opinion, the "off-the-derech" kids are the number-one problem that the Jewish People face today, not Iran or ISIS...
The kids themselves are not the problem. Having done extensive research into the subject and having spoken to hundreds of such young people, I've come to the conclusion that the problem is rooted in three main causes:
- The kids grow up in a home where the parents practice a stringent form of hellfire and brimstone Judaism, devoid of the joy that Judaism really offers.
- The kids grow up in a home where the parents honor material and/or secular values more than they honor Torah values.
- The kids never learn emuna, not from parents or teachers, so they have no motivation for Torah and mitzvoth, and no support system for life's challenges.
Fortunately, many of these young people are discovering emuna and the joy of their own personal relationship with Hashem by way of the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, which Hashem has given me the privilege of spreading in the English-speaking world. It's our goal to sew up the hole.