Some years ago, I met a guy and we became friends. This guy used to be an alcoholic. When I met him, he explained to me how he had been to Alcoholics Anonymous and was already sober for a couple of years. We then went our separate ways, keeping in touch here and there. A few weeks ago he messaged me, and enquired whether I was willing to give him a shot and date him. After much discussion, I told him I have to think about it and that recovered addicts is something I need to understand more. I thoroughly enjoy his company and think the package deal is amazing: he makes me laugh, he is smart, witty, committed to Judaism, kind, compassionate, thoughtful and knows what he wants for his future home and life. To be honest, I would have never known he was an addict had he not told me so. But I have a history of addiction in my own family, and always dreamed of moving away from that in my future family. So my question is, should I completely steer away from this, or should I give him a chance? Can I trust his recovery, or is once an addict always an addict? Would you recommend dating him, or should I just move on?
Let me first commend your level-headedness, a quality that is exceedingly rare when it comes to relationships. You obviously have your head screwed on right and you are walking into this with your eyes wide open. So often people enter or avoid relationships without any clear thinking, just following their heart. That usually leads to messy situations. Your thought out approach will serve you well.
As Jews we believe in the power of Teshuvah - that people can really change. And those who do change, who pick themselves up and turn their lives around for the better, are among the most inspiring people in the world. While there are no guarantees of what the future holds, if someone is sincerely doing the internal work and getting the appropriate help, they truly can turn a new page in life and never look back.
From the sound of things, your friend has done some hard work and his addiction is under control at the moment. But you need to know more details about that. Is he still regularly attending AA or some other support group? Is he committed to an ongoing recovery program? Recovering addicts need that for life, whether daily or weekly or monthly. If he is getting appropriate support then he has every chance of staying sober. If not, then anything can happen.
Once you get a clearer picture of his recovery, and before you get emotionally involved, you need to think long and hard - are you up for this? Can you handle having alcoholism, even in its recovery, a part of your life after what you have seen in your own family? Every person has their story. Is this a story you can take on and make your own?
If the answer is no, you can't handle it, then that is fine. No need to feel guilty. It is a lot to carry, and maybe you have carried enough in your life. The last thing you want to do is replicate the dysfunction you have witnessed in your own family. You can't become his nurse or his therapist.
But if after hearing the facts and thinking it over you feel confident that he really has turned himself around and you can accept him for who he is, then give it a go. You may be lucky to have found one of those beautiful souls who has seen the darkness and conquered it. Take your time, get to know him well, and see where G-d leads you. May it be on the correct path.
Followed by Kiddush sponsored by Larnce Gold in honour of the yortzheit of his grandfather David Goldbaum (David ben Baruch)- Long Life.
Shabbos, 2 July, 2016 | 26 Sivan 5776
Chassidus Class......................9:00 am
Shabbos Morning Service........ 10:00 am-12:15 pm
Followed by Community Lunch sponsored by Henich and Esther Hirschowitz in honour of Chaim Ber's bar mitzvah anniversary and Rivka's birthday; and by Kevin Levine in honour of his bar mitzvah anniversary- Mazal Tov!
Why doesn't G-d make a flood to take away all the yucky people like He did for Noah?
Zac, I know you are a very good boy. But have you ever been naughty? Did you ever hurt your little brother, or say something rude to your mummy?
G-d wants us to be good all the time. But we don't always get it right. Even good boys like you can sometimes do the wrong thing.
It is a pity that we are naughty sometimes, but the most important thing is that we stop being naughty and say sorry. Then it's ok again, and we can start being good and doing what's right.
If a flood would come every time someone did something bad, then no one would get the chance to say sorry and change. So G-d has patience. He is waiting for the yucky people to realise that they are wrong and to start behaving.
In the times of Noah, G-d waited 120 years before He brought the flood. Only because no one changed their bad ways in all that time did the flood happen. They even watched Noah building the ark, and he told them the flood was coming, but they still didn't start behaving themselves. From that story we learn how silly it is to keep on being yucky.
Even if you have been naughty, you can change and say sorry and be good from now on. G-d always gives you a chance, because even when you do something bad, He knows how good you can be.
Zac wrote this question to me 9 years ago. He celebrates his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbos - Mazel tov!
Followed by Kiddush sponsored by Jon Shapira and Gilda Cohen-Shapira in honour of the memory of Gilda's brother, Eddie Cohen z"l - Tuvia Ben Moshe Hakohen (8 Sivan), Jon's aunt, Valerie Bennett z"l - Ariella bat Eliazer (19 Sivan), and father, Miron Shapira z"l - Meir Ben Yosef (24 Sivan)- Long Life.
Shabbos, 25 June, 2016 | 19 Sivan 5776
Chassidus Class................................................ 9:00 am
Shabbos Morning Service........ 10:00 am-12:15 pm
Kids Kiddush and program sponsored by Vitali Broyda in honour of the yortzheit of his grandfather, Pinchus Ben Lipa- Long Life. ............. 11:00am
Followed by kiddush sponsored by Rick Lawton & Edith Laurence to celebrate the birth of their son Zachary Oliver (Uriel Ya'akov) and in honour of their first wedding anniversary- Mazal Tov!
My wife wants another child. It is ridiculous. We are financially strained as it is, and I think it is irresponsible to add another mouth to feed when you can't afford it. Are there no limits to the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply"?
You are suggesting that finances should determine how many children we have. If you can't afford it, don't have babies. The stork should be strictly cash on delivery. Debt and diapers don't mix. It's all about the bottom line.
That sounds reasonable. But let's see if it makes sense.
Let's say my financial adviser assesses that I can afford to have four children, and no more. So I go ahead and have them. A few years down the track, my situation changes drastically for the worse and I can no longer pay the bills for a family of six souls. So I call in my youngest and say, "I am sorry, we made a miscalculation. We thought we could afford you. But you know how unpredictable the market is these days. We are going to have to let you go."
How are we supposed to measure how many children we can afford? Does anyone know the future to be able to say for sure what size family we can or can't fund? Who can say for certain that they can even afford one child?
A family is not a business. It's about people, not profits. Having a big family is making a choice that my wealth is my children, and though I don't know what the future holds, I will do all I can to provide for them in every way. If that means a few less European holidays or not getting a new car every second year, then the sacrifice is worth it.
There indeed are situations where Jewish law limits our multiplying. If the emotional or physical health of the parents is at risk, or if the strength of their relationship is in question, they may be advised to hold off from having children. But that will be determined by their spiritual mentor and their health practitioner, not their accountant.
I have often heard people say they wish they could have had more children. I have never heard anyone say they wish they had less. Each new soul is a blessing to the world and a blessing to the family. You think you can't afford to have another one? I think you can't afford not to.