Sunday, February 6, 2011


I wanted to take a second to mention privilege. It's something with which most American Jews nowadays were born and raised.

There was a time in the generation of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents when Jews struggled and worked several jobs. They took whatever jobs they could find and they were greatful to work.

However, nowadays, the greatest privilege afforded is the gift of extended childhood. Parents are allowing their children to live at home in order to attain a college education as a norm. This is a privilege that many have. However, some people don't have such a privilege. When your parent dies when you're in high school, you lack a privilege that your peers have. Why is that we spit on and look down on those who've faced a lack of privilege?



  2. Why? Because people have their priorities completely jumbled, that's why.

    Have you read The Road Less Traveled? Dr. Peck describes precisely how lonely it is to be a spiritual person. Ergo, most people just aren't there. In fact, they can't possibly relate to a spiritual struggle one whit.

    Welcome, and I'm sorry for your loneliness. Try not to be so bitter about it.

    Oh, and if it matters, I was orphaned at the age of seven months. They spit on me too in the shidduch parsha. Welcome to the club.

    What doesn't break you makes you stronger.

  3. All I can say is 'I'm sorry' for what you are going through and I wish I had a magic answer. I can relate--I lost my dad unexpectedly before I finished college. Rest of my small family, while good people, are markedly out of town middle class. I am fortunate in that I did get through college on merit based scholarships and working two part time jobs. I do see strength in you that you are finishing school on your own later in life. It is much harder as you get older and life and responsibilities get more complicated.

    This has been held against me in shidduchim as well, both my dad and that I worked my way through school. I've lost count the number of times my inability for my family to fully host a large luxury wedding means don't bother with me. Nevermind that my personal tastes are mostly simple. Or that my entire family left, including small children, wouldn't even fill a single table at a wedding.--It's not a potential choson's family's issue to be sensitive or reasonable, but to hold out for the best 'deal' possible. But really I wouldn't want to be part of such a family anyways.

  4. >"When your parent dies when you're in high school, you lack a privilege that your peers have. Why is that we spit on and look down on those who've faced a lack of privilege?"

    Hmmmmm.... I have many thoughts but no great answers. But my immediate reply would be..... because many people are undeveloped fools and can't see outside the four corners of their own little head and the street where they grew up.

    The reference by The Choir to Scott Peck is very interesting to me..... IMO The Road Less Traveled is a really important book today, particularly for Americans and certainly for Jews everywhere. What he terms 'the spiritual struggle'..... Somebody who has never been through that kind of struggle will feel dwarfed or frightened in the presence of somebody who has.

    (I think the 'spiritual struggle', BTW, is a term that really encompasses the quintessential human fight to discover identity, mission and destiny..... things that can be called "transcendent".... and which have roots that go beyond the physical world and also touch Olam ha'ba.)

    I know people who have been through that kind of struggle.... and interestingly they can't be pinned with any given personality 'type'.... but I do consistently feel an air of reality and truthfulness coming from them.... sometimes intensely. That kind of contact with plain reality can be very intimidating to people who've never had to grapple with it.

    I don't think it's possible to experience that struggle if one remains insulated from risk by privilege. Avram doesn't become Avraham until he leaves his "country, motherland and father's home" and departs for a journey to destination unknown...

    If somebody could have become Avraham but demurred, how will he feel when he meets the real Avraham? Scared, regretful, angry.... at himself.

    The name "Yisrael" was earned by Yaakov through his struggle with the divine angel..... a quintessential 'spiritual struggle' in which he "wrestled with gods and men -- and won!" Am Yisrael's identity in this world is founded in that fight.... and if we can't identify ourselves with it, it means we're failing.

    IMO you're unfortunately running into the brick wall built up by some serious cultural problems in both frum and Western societies.

  5. Don't know. I wasn't brought up that way, I don't do it, and I get pretty pissed when others do even though I was lucky enough to receive that privilege. I think you're generalizing a bit too much. "frum people do this" "jews do that" Our mosaic of mini-soceities is at least as disjoint as the general culture if not moreso.