Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mental disorders in the haredi World


I am writing this according to my own experience: 
When you are part of the haredi world and may enter an emotional crisis such as depression, the most popular solution among the haredi world is “Pray to G – d – Titpalel le’HaKadosh Baruch Hu”. Closed haredi societies in Israel would not necessarily recommend the depressed person to go and ask for psychological help. On the other hand, the person in question may neither ask for help nor even mention his problem because of shame and fear that this current weakness could cause all kinds of disadvantages for him. There is a possibility that his environment would call him mentally ill or a nut. Mental weaknesses enjoy a bad reputation in haredi even though depression and emotional crises aren’t mental illnesses.

When I was suffering from a crisis while leaving haredi society I was desperately looking for other Haredim to talk to. The problem was that no one really understood what I was suffering from and told me to pray, give Zedakah or concentrate on doing more Mitzvot. There were also some who suggested that I should get married and then there wouldn’t be any crisis anymore, as I was busy with children and standing in the kitchen. All those suggestions don’t help because the only solution a depressed person is searching for is leaving his deep black hole he is stuck in emotionally. And then your closer environment tells you to pray.

There was another group of Haredim who didn’t want to listen to me, as they thought that they may enter their own personal crisis. All this different types of neglecting behaviour led to giving up and searching for other people in order to find a solution and get help. Many Haredim who want to be seen as so terribly religious are not aware of how they turn others away from religion.


  1. on a different topic -- why did rav meir bransdorfer go with the avrahom yitzhak and not stay with the toldos aharon ?

  2. B"H

    There is an opinion that Rabbi Brandsdorfer made a promise to Rebbe Aharon Roth before he passed away. That he, Rabbi Brandsdorfer, would take care of Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Roth.

    Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov was in his youth a kind of slight "rebel" and thus well known for introducing changes. The TA members knew this beforehand and thus didn't want his, as most of them feared any changes. In fact, he made quite a few changes in the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak. e.g. He introduces a few Vishnitz customs.