Monday, November 16, 2009

R' Shmuel Borger's Audio Message

What can I say about the recording R' Shmuel Borger created to honor his son's memory? What can anyone say?

The message, which is being circulated with Rabbi Borger's blessing and encouragement, calls on all of us to heed the lesson of the tragedy. According to Rabbi Borger this lesson is: Make peace with your enemies.

As far as messages go, this one is rather banal --and also a bit condescending in its assumption that all of us have relationships to repair.... and a little presumptuous in its attempt to speak for the Almighty... but a bereaved father is entitled to leeway.

I was made aware of this recording by someone who shares my appraisal of its content, but adds that he hopes someone else, someone operating from a healthier distance, will make a better attempt to tell us what can be learned from the tragic death of Motty Borger.

His own takeaways included:

A. More truth in packaging from parents seeking mates for their children. Too often parents who can imagine no greater tragedy than being unmarried will conceal - or even lie about - their child's shortcomings.
B. Zero tolerance for molesters Too many Jewish schools are still making too many excuses for people in authority who have abused children. To put a spin on the famous Yankie Horowitz line all you have to do it treat the molesters as if they had been handing out treif candy in shul. Sadly, its often a struggle to get people to see this.
C. Change the way we think about mental disorders. We need a sea change in the Charedi attitude toward mental illnesses. Let them be understood as something that can be treated rather than as shondas to be hidden and suppressed.
D. Return to basics Let's re-infuse the "religion of chesed" with a compassion that understands human frailty, and recognizes that all of us are flawed, instead of propagandizing false paradigms of excellence and perfection.

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