Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inspired? Not.

I'm going to post this even though it may be controversial. I'm posting this for a very good reason. I promise. I don't mean to hurt or offend anyone, but if you're going to subject me to something this stupid by forwarding every idiotic email you get, this is what you can expect.

So if you're the type to get offended easily, stop reading. If not, read, like, dislike, whatever, but DON'T, I repeat DO NOT use my comment section to turn this post into a back and forth forum and discussion.

This is MY blog. MY opinions. NOT yours. You're welcome to them but if I have to referee I'm going to shut down all further comments for this site.

Now. *deep calming breath*

I received an email the other day:

I heard a beautiful story in a shiur given by Rabbi Avrohom M. Alter that is available online. He said the story in the name of Rebbetzin Kanievsky.

In March, someone packed a car with 100 kilos of explosives and parked it at the CineMall in Haifa. It was parked hear a supporting pillar. Had it exploded, not only would it have destroyed that pillar, but other cars in the lot would have caught fire causing the gas tanks to explode. In that very popular mall, the consequences would have been too horrendously tragic to contemplate.

The explosion did not happen. A passerby spotted some smoke coming from the car and alerted the police whose sappers were able to come and defuse the explosives.

Even Ehud Olmert recognized this was a miracle, although he attributed it to the alertness of civilians.

Here's what really happened:

Several weeks before this event, a girl in Haifa who had been sick and went for tests was told she had stomach cancer. The tumor was so big, and had metastasized, and there was nothing the doctors could do. They told her to go home for her final weeks.

This non-religious girl and her non-religious parents pleaded with the doctors to try. They begged them at least to make an effort. The doctors finally agreed and told her to come back the next day for surgery.

She was assigned a young, inexperienced surgeon. They felt it would be good practice for him, and since there was nothing that could help her, it didn't really matter.

The night before the surgery, this non-religious girl pleaded with Hashem. She said to him, "HaKadosh Boruch Hu, when we had the Bais HaMikdosh people could bring you korbanos to plead their case. Now we have no Kohanim, we have no Bais HaMikdosh. But I still want to bring you a korban."

She went to her closet and took out all her immodest clothing and took it out to the yard and burned them. As the her clothes went up in flames, she cried out, "This is my korban."

The next day this girl went to the hospital in her nightgown. She had burned her entire wardrobe and this was all she had left. She had the surgery. The giant tumor had not metastisized, as was previously believed. It was totally contained. It was easily removed. And it was benign.

She told all her non-religious friends about the miracle. When the girl had recovered enough to get out of bed, her friends brought over all their immodest clothing and made another fire.

Left with nothing to wear, the girls needed new clothes. When that bomb was supposed to explode at the CineMall, these girls were inside buying themselves new, modest clothing.

A miracle that a civilian saw some smoke? Or a reward for tznius?


Now instead of ranting at the idiocy of the above story, I'm only going to post some discrepancies a friend and I found and sent back and forth in email. There are more, but you can do the rest yourself.

Okay you know this was made up, right? Because of course Reb Kanievsky spoke to the girl and knew exactly why she was in the mall. Oh, and were all the friends there in their nightgowns too?

Yes, I know that email was made up. I mean, have you, or anyone you know been told, "I'm sorry, your cancer is too advanced, we'll give you the young, inexperienced surgeon to practice on you?" I haven't. And if this girl was takkeh left with no clothing bec they were all untznius, does she sound like the type to have a tznius nightgown??? Still puke-worthy. Just because you stick in the part about her cancer, all of a sudden, we're all supposed to tzitter.

It just makes me nauseous how people make up stuff like this and then go and repeat it and think that we're supposed to like do teshuva over it etc and then the worst part are those girls that actually forward it because they DO believe it and they get all inspired and emotional lol.

And lol about the part about her owning a tzniyus nightgown- I didn't even think about that but really duh- im FRUM and I didn't own a tzniyus nightgown until i got married. *rolls eyes*

Yuck, cant stop thinking about that story, its like a bad Yair Weinstock book.

Yeah, I thought of another problem in the story- SINCE WHEN can you find tzniyus clothing in ISRAELI MALLS??? They should have been in Geula. Plus a bomb scare in Geula would have been a much better story anyway.

The whole story makes me queasy so I won't dwell on it any longer. Also, I didn't verify that Reb. Kanievsky really said the above- I'm just reprinting it the way me, and the 600 other girls on this friend's contact list got it. I doubt any of them verified the origin of this story either so I'm not going to feel too bad. Also, I don't even believe Reb. Kanievsky said such a story. But I'll leave that for you to decide.

Let me tell you what the WORST part of this whole thing is.

THIS is why I grew up with such an attitude.

When a girl sits for fifteen years in a school system where stories like THIS are the bulk of the "inspiration" her teachers pump into her for life- what is she supposed to turn out like?

This is utter fantasy. Supersized garbage. Bombs, explosions, promises to G-d, hidden spyware and teenage heroes. Oh, and of course the requisite ba'al teshuva aspect.

Where's the real inspiration?

I grew up hearing this stuff in class thinking "This is all nice and well for the people G-d loves and shows such wonderful open miracles to. Maybe Hashem doesn't love me as much and that's why He doesn't send such inspiring incidents my way?"

I'm almost tempted to say that when I was diagnosed with cancer I jumped off the doctor's table and did a happy dance because I just KNEW this proved G-d loved me and that now I was finally going to see open nissim.

I would say that, but firstly it's not true and second, if I did say that I'd be just as bad as the teachers I couldn't stand.

Where are the real stories? Like the kid who was nice to the retarded girl in her class that smelled.

My favorite sample of real inspiration comes from the book "Dovid Meyer" that I read growing up. It's the part where Dovid Mayer, an au pair for a non-religious family, ties his gartel (belt) to the baby's bassinet and the baby falls asleep to his singing and rocks along with his shuckeling as he learns a blatt of gemara.

Where are the simple, real stories that people can identify with?

Stories like the one in that email are big mistakes. We're desensitizing our kids from recognizing the real inspiration in their own lives. I want my children to grow up feeling that Hashem is with them EACH DAY. Not just in Haifa at bomb sights while He's rewarding some girl for throwing away her clothing.

I'm too worked up to even write more rationally. I think everyone gets the point.

30 comments:

Rachelli Dreyfuss said...

Wow... That was extremely powerful. Your anger/frustration is entirely palpable.
And I agree one hundred percent. Inspiration is great, but truth and honesty are even better. When it comes to tznius, the stories are great but need to be taken with a grain of salt. The sad thing is, if the stories aren't true, then girls have nothing to rely on but the halacha, and the words from the Torah and our Rabbonim... but that gets disregarded because, "Uch, it just doesn't make sense."
(Tznius, happens to be a touchy topic for me because people always take it out of context. I am quite content in my tznius though i KNOW I can learn more and I am willing to. And will do my best to integrate it into my life. For the girls who just shtuch it away, its so sad... they become so defensive for something that shouldnt be such an issue... but thats a different topic)
Anyhow, I can imagine it's even harder for you to read this because you lived it... those of us who BH have not been sick with something so serious think "Oh what a nice story..." But for you, the "inspiration" of this girl's survival is probably a twisted perspective on the connection between tznius and surviving...
Shkoyach on posting this.

anon#1 said...

Woah! Do you feel better now?

You definitely have a point. Personally, I like the book Mountain Climbers, where people have real challenges that they actually work to overcome. There are no instant fixes in real life.

Maybe, when you're less upset about this, you can rewrite it nicely and send it into the Yated. Let them be the referees. It would be interesting to see how people react.

Bassi said...

I agree with you on this, and you sure have a strong opinion you voiced.
also-anon1- totally! Yated reader's write would get all worked up, and then this one would write in how they asked Reb. Kanievsky and she said its true while another would *know* somehow it's not, etc. LOL it would go on for weeks
thanks for the food for thought, though

Rachelli Dreyfuss said...

I should add...
I just got that email today...
Made me think twice

J.A.P. said...

Rachelli- I hope you're joking about the thinking twice part! :-)

Observer said...

If I got the email I would also think twice - about the intelligence of whoever sent it out! And the Hashkafa of whoever made up the story. Sorry, there is no way to educate someone in ANY area without honesty and integrity. Making up stories (even truly inspiring ones rather than this "glurge" - see snopes for a definition) and passing them off as true is no way to be mechanech child.

By the way, it's quite obvious that the author of this piece of fiction knows nothing about cancer and its treatment. Besides everything else, if doctors had decided, reluctantly or not, to treat a cancer they thought had metastasized, they would not have started with surgery, they would have started with chemo and / or radiation. But, why let reality interfere with a good story?

J.A.P. said...

Observer- that last night- why let reality interfere with a good story- is AWESOME! I'm going to use it in a book someday. :-)

Rachelli Dreyfuss said...

Whoops! Not what I meant...
I meant, it made me think about what you wrote and how the email is really off...
Like, I was reminded of what you wrote again.

kasay said...

:thumbs up.
Off to the schools you go , to teach the next generation.... some common sense.
Nu?!

little sheep said...

one of the biggest problems with stories like this is that it makes us skeptical of even those stories that are truly inspirational...it's hard to know what to believe these days!

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, why doesn't somebody go check the Rav's speech to make sure he did or did not say it?

nmf #7 said...

I definitely hear your point...but I should say that sometimes a fantastically absurd story can be true. Now I'm not saying this one is, but sometimes strange things do happen.

Anonymous said...

I had always believed those stories, ad this got me thinking. And another thing, if this girl is noon-religous, the why does she talk to Hashem with His name Hakodesh Baruch Hu, and how doe she know about korbans and that Beit Hamikdash?

YP said...

I don't know, but in our school they stressed very much on the small little things how much they count, sometimes even more than what we think are big.

I even remember giving a public Speaking in class about it, but I guess every teacher is different. You did bring out a strong point, though.

And nmf#7, yes your right, sometimes strange things can be true. Did anyone check up on it? I'm really curious!

me said...

Anon, secular Israelis are familiar with the hebrew language. It is not unusual to hear them refer to Hashem with the name Hakadosh Baruch Hu. They are not as ignorant as you imagine them to be. There's a big difference between secular Israelis and secular Americans.

RivkA with a capital A said...

I know this post was really a rant, but I found it very funny!!

I also get really annoyed about all these stupid, super emotional stories that float around with more holes than Swiss cheese....

JAP said...

When I first read the story I was like ,hey, thats amazing.
Then, when I read the discrepancies you and your friend found I was like, hey, she's right! Why didya havta spoil such a fantastic story, although you believe its not true? (yeah, i guess you can call me gullible. whatever you, or anyone for that matter, says i'll believe it)

Waiting for your next post already. Can you make smaller breaks between one post and the next,please?

mekubal said...

Hey, just found your blog. I agree that it is annoying. My question is, in today's world, why is it always tznius?

It seems like, "Oh your husband has cancer, well if you only had worn an extra five denier in your stockings it never would have happened"... Well that isn't actually fair as I know that was actually said to someone and isn't an exaggeration.

Or in this case, girl decides to keep tznius, not only is she miraculously saved from life ending cancer and the hands of an in-experienced butcher of a surgeon, but also an entire mall full of people is saved from a terrorist event in her merit. Wow!!! Sign me up!!!

J.A.P. said...

Yeedle- I would totally have posted your comment but since you POINTED to whom you believe is the culprit here, there is no possible way "not to get into this".

And by the way, I disagree. I was raised by your "culprits" and they always focused a lot more on the way things were in the past and the quiet ways of doing things.

But we're not getting into that.

B.I. said...

I actually did read this story before, but it was a different version.
It was a version that made sense..(no inexperienced surgeon, no burning clothing...)
But in general, I do agree with your points.

be careful said...

the story is written up like this on many websites... i think that due to its contraversial issue, someone should research in order to varify/or disproove the story. and untill that is done, this pointless talk will just lead to lashon hara.
"I heard a beautiful story in a shiur given by Rabbi Avrohom M. Alter that is available online. He said the story in the name of Rebbetzin Kanievsky.

In March, someone packed a car with 100 kilos of explosives and parked it at the Cine Mall in Haifa. It was parked near a supporting pillar. Had it exploded, not only would it have destroyed that pillar, but other cars in the lot would have caught fire causing the gas tanks to explode. In that very popular mall, the consequences would have been too horrendously tragic to contemplate.

The explosion did not happen. A passerby spotted some smoke coming from the car and alerted the police whose sappers were able to come and defuse the explosives.

Even Ehud Olmert recognized this was a miracle, although he attributed it to the alertness of civilians.

Here's what really happened:

Several weeks before this event, a girl in Haifa who had been sick and went for tests was told she had stomach cancer. The tumor was so big, and had metastasized, and there was nothing the doctors could do. They told her to go home for her final weeks.

This non-religious girl and her non-religious parents pleaded with the doctors to try. They begged them at least to make an effort. The doctors finally agreed and told her to come back the next day for surgery.

She was assigned a young, inexperienced surgeon. They felt it would be good practice for him, and since there was nothing that could help her, it didn't really matter.

The night before the surgery, this non-religious girl pleaded with Hashem. She said to him, "HaKadosh Boruch Hu, when we had the Bais HaMikdosh people could bring you korbanos to plead their case. Now we have no Kohanim, we have no Bais HaMikdosh. But I still want to bring you a korban."

She went to her closet and took out all her immodest clothing and took it out to the yard and burned them. As the her clothes went up in flames, she cried out, "This is my korban."

The next day this girl went to the hospital in her nightgown. She had burned her entire wardrobe and this was all she had left. She had the surgery. The giant tumor had not met metastasized, as was previously believed. It was totally contained. It was easily removed. And it was benign.

She told all her non-religious friends about the miracle. When the girl had recovered enough to get out of bed, her friends brought over all their immodest clothing and made another fire.

Left with nothing to wear, the girls needed new clothes. When that bomb was supposed to explode at the CineMall, these girls were inside buying themselves new, modest clothing.

Depending with what eyes we are looking at it...

Is it a coincidence that a civilian saw some smoke?


Or a miracle reward for tznius?

Lichvod Dear Klal Yisrael,
After I read this, Hashem gave me a great machshava. Let's all get together and make a bonfire, and pray to Hashem to accept it as a korban for all of Klal Yisrael for refuah, yeshua, baracha, hatzlach, parnasa, shiduchim, shalom bais, and for the geula. If you are interested in getting involved and participating in this mitzvah please text or email us.


By getting rid of any untznius clothes or by getting rid of any untznius books magazines etc. Let's pray to Hashem to accept it for all of Klal Yisrael for refuah, yeshua, baracha, hatzlach, parnasa, shiduchim, shalom bais, and for the geula....."

Anonymous said...

I was just at Rebitzen Kanievsky at the begining of the year (October 09) and she told us a story very similar to this.

She didn't mention any cancer patient at all if I remember correctly. She just said that there was a group of non-frum girls (I think it was even in a different city so no smoke-seeing involved) who burnt their non-tznius clothing and that same day they found the truck full of explosives before it went off.

No seeing smoke, no mall saving and no cancer patients.
Just a lesson about what you do does effect others and you can be saving lives and doing good for the world when you grow. (Reb. Kanievsky's point was to inspire us to grow - c'mon we were in semianry!)

YP said...

Thanks Anon.
Now it makes more sense.
That's what happens when something gets passed over from mouth to mouth. the story gets blown out of proportion and no one believes it anymore. Instead of people learning a lesson from it, it does just the opposite.

Yehuda said...

wow, this is very powerful and what you said about not being inspired by cheesy inspirational stories is exactly how i got spoiled on it when i was growing up. I grew up in a lubavitch setting and i never really got much out of the stories of the rabbeim. I would just want to break them down and be like "that part is really great, too bad it could never happen to normal people."

Thanks for your writing. I really like your style.

mekubal said...

, but other cars in the lot would have caught fire causing the gas tanks to explode. In that very popular mall, the consequences would have been too horrendously tragic to contemplate.


FYI gas tanks only explode in cheesey action movies. If the gas tank gets hot enough it will rupture from internal pressure, adding more fuel to the fire, however about the only way to achieve that is to douse the car in gasoline, and even then there is no explosion as such. Gasoline is not an explosive material.

Add to that that the vast majority of Israeli cars run not on gasoline but on diesel, which while still flammable it is nowhere near as volatile as gasoline, further diminishing the chances of exploding cars.

Finally the vast majority of military grade explosives, which is typically what is used in terrorist attacks, do not give off significant heat at the time of explosion to cause secondary combustion. It may have been enough to cause the fuel in the car in which the explosives were placed to combust, but in all liklihood would not have set another car aflame.

Finally even if one support column would have been destroyed, while it certainly would have damaged the structural integrity of the building, it would have have brought the building down. It takes rather large amounts of explosives expertly placed at many spots in a building to achieve that. Take the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 for example. A moving truck packed with high explosives(far more than you can get into a car) was placed next to a support pillar and detonated. No exploding gas tanks from the cars around it. No secondary fires, and no collapsing building(though actually two supports were destroyed). Just the need for some expensive repairs.

That is just one of the problems with this story.

HS said...

I just heard this story on one of these Bnos Malachim Hotlines ( word per word from your post)I cant understand how they can take responsibilty of publisizing a story that wasn't confirmed as true.

Anonymous said...

you know what this reminds me of? You probably know...getting this urgent text on thursday nights saying a jewish boy yosef ben rochel was taken as captive by the arabs (b4 the shabbat in which there was that parsha)....what disgusts me the most is how ppl could actually think this is funny. my friends said that when she got that message her mom started crying and her siblings sat down to say tehilim. gosh, then they found out that someone was playing a prank.

the twinkel lives on..... said...

two comments number one i agree with you about the small stories that happen in our lives we should hear them write them down and inspire us!!!! however i really strong disagree with you about desensitizing. I too grew up in a bais yaakov school hearing all these stories all the time!\However i feel that sometimes the reason hearing tehse stories bother us is cuz we are afraid now we have to change. i mean if a non religious girl could throw out all her clothign how could we wear our skirt that is just a drop to short... We have to realize two things number one each on our own level. Just cuz this girl was able to do it doesn't mean Hashem expects us to be perfect. Next time your shopping and are not sure if somethign is tznuis thing of the story and that could be your karbon you don't have to throw out EVERYTHING! aND SECONDLY even if the details or even if the whole story is not true the point is the same... maybe the girl wore paints to the mall big deal the point is she did something! Were right before yom hadin maybe instead of making fun we could listen maybe not on the level to accept but just listen and don't put it down for others...

rochel dick said...

don't agree with you twinkle. Emes is major fundamental of torah. Moving people to change is NOT an excuse to spread false, made-up stories, inspiring as they may be. In the words of R' Dessler - Strive for Truth!
Lies won't get us anywhere...

Anonymous said...

Totally agree!! This past year I went to the Bnos Melochim and they had one feature supposedly about "inspirational stories from teenagers like you..." Most of them were about baalei teshuva who said they felt like Hashem was with them when they wore skirts which is amazing, but when I'm wearing a skirt that's more tznius than some other skirts that I own. I'm wondering why that was supposed to be inspirational...