Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pain - Questions and Answers

The following two questions were submitted anonymously using the form on the right. (I usually do not post more than once a day, but the first question was just asked and must be answered immediately and so I'm posting this now and not waiting until tomorrow.)

Q: If one has a close friend and knows something that this friend is doing that is abusive to herself but has promised not to tell and is afraid of what might happen what should one do?

A: Your friend is lucky to have you in her life - someone who really cares about her. The fact that she told you that she is hurting herself is a message for you that she is screaming for help. She is in pain and needs someone to jump into her life and help her out immediately. Although it is hard for you, you must tell someone who can help her.

Your friend might get upset at you for telling someone. But as a good friend, this is your obligation. You want the best for her. The fact that she is hurting herself is a sign that she is in much deeper pain - she is hurting herself physically to cover up for the emotional pain she is in. She must be going through a lot and needs you to do something for her. So even though you promised not to tell, you need to, you must tell someone so that she can get the help she so desperately needs.

Know that even if she gets upset with you now, one day she will thank you for helping her get out of the mess she is in right now.

Wishing you lots of hatzlacha in helping out your friend!


Q: I recently heard a rabbi speak. When he was speaking, he said that whatever challenges Hashem brings we should be happy. Why should I be happy? Why isn't accepting it good enough? For example, I have a brother with special needs and why should I be happy? Of course I learnt to accept it. During the holocaust were the Jews happy being sent off to gas chambers? Were they suppose to be happy?

A: Wow. It must be quite a challenge for you to have a brother with special needs. But I want you to know that you can be happy even though you are going through pain. How? By focusing on what you do have. I cannot speak for those who went through the holocaust - their challenge was too great for me to fathom. I can speak for people in our generation who are going through big and hard tests. Even though Hashem makes us go through difficulties, a person can still be happy by thinking about and thanking Hashem for the good things He DOES have!

When you visit a doctor for the first time, you are asked to fill out a paper. One section lists a whole bunch of sicknesses and you have to check off if you were ever diagnosed with any of them. For example: Allergies, Altzheimers, Bipolar Disorder, Cancer, Diabetes...and it's a long list. If you can say that you were never diagnosed with even ONE of these things, you have many reasons to be thankful!

When you focus on the good things you have in your life, you can be happy. Every person has challenges. But those tests you go through should not pull you down and make you depressed, instead, realize how much you have to be grateful for and thank Hashem for that!

Here's just one post I wrote a while back on appreciating your eyesight. There are so many things that work right in your body, each one deserves a post on its own! For now, concentrate on the things in your life that are good, that are a blessing and you will be able to find the strength within yourself to be positive and happy!


  1. Also just know, that to tell an adult about a friend who is hurting herself means that you care more about that girl than about your friendship with that gir and you wont let your friendship get in the way of your love for her, as said by a teacher of mine who suffered in high school and a friend told an adult even though she was risking the friendship. Years later, guess who danced the hardest at my teacher's wedding? That friend.
    Everyone is put in the Zman and Ait that is hashgachicly appropriate for them. If you are put in the position of being the friend that needs to tell, then you were put there to tell, not to ignore. Hatzlacha rabba and use ur guts ;)

  2. And to the second question, also the concept of simcha in the torah- its not pure lightheaded enjoyment. It may be R' Tatz, coupled with some of my teachers' ideas, but real simcha comes from the proccess of going through pain, through hardship, and seeing how you've grown and gained from it. THATS quality simcha. Thats a feeling of joy that transcends any physical pleasure. mini mashal- its like getting back the test you studied hardest for with an A. the pride you feel and the happinness puts you on a cloud for the rest of the day. And in the good times, Ramban in Devarim 6:10 says- remember those low moments and how and why Hashem pulled you through them to get you to the high climax you're at today- and that gives you the perspective of looking at the area of lack you used to have and appreciating the good Hashem pulled you through and that's a way to constantly, daily live on a high- taking whatever you're going through, looking back on the process of how you got there, and gaining apreciation and clarity for how Hashem led you through, by the hand, for your best. Hatzlacha and may you be able to see through the sometimes difficult reality Hashem may have given you to the appreciation, love, and happiness of that reality.

  3. Oh and Devorah! Thanks so muc for posting your answers and your enlightenments so that we can all learn and benefit!!!

  4. This is to comment on question number one….
    I was in a similar situation as your friend. Tell someone. She’ll thank you for it later. At first I was furious with the friend who “told” on me, but I eventually came to realize that she was a true friend and she cared enough about me to get me help. She didn’t worry that I might hate her because of it, she just wanted me to get better. You know what, today I hate the friends who knew that I needed help and did nothing. Do the right thing, tell someone. She’ll get the help she needs and she’ll come to the realization and appreciate how much you truly do care about her.

  5. is also a great resource for teens and young adults who are going through problems in life. If you would rather direct her there than a real-life adult, it may be helpful.

  6. Sorry to disagree, but does not seem like a great place to gain healthy support for teenage issues. There is no moderator or "supervision" on the site, which is intended to allow teens to write openly about what they feel. However, in the end, this leads to teens supporting each other in risky behaviors and activities that directly go against halacha. Not necessarily the support you'd want this friend to get.

  7. at ner tehila last week rabbi nate segal spoke about the 1st question he said u mist tell and do something u will b saving a life and if chas vishalom u dont later on u will feel bad tht u cud hav saved this person weather phisicaly or spiritualy. the best thing 2 do is tell some 1 she mite hate u now and maybe even later but r u gonna not tell cuz wanna save ur frendship or will u give up ur frendship and save a life? i knw its a hard thing 2 do but its worth it!

  8. Tamar-thanks for both your comments. You make such good points. Caring about your friend more than you care about your friendship-I like that line!
    And simcha - that's the feeling of achievement, when you overcome a challenge it feels so good! That's not to say pain doesn't hurt but it helps to know that it's for a purpose and it will take you somewhere.

    Anon-thanks for your feedback, it's really good to hear from someone who has BTDT (been there done that) knowing that the right thing to do is to tell someone and not to keep quiet.

    Talia-I don't usually suggest that someone who needs help with such a crucial area in their life resort to online support for help from someone who has no background knowledge about the person's situation. It is important to speak to someone who knows you, where you come from and what your struggles are so that you can get the best help you need.

    Next Anon-I agree with you.

    Next Anon-thanks, it's true that it's hard to tell but it will be best for her friend in the long run!


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