I have a hunch that most people who are reading this blog have not read my book (how much self-inflicted punishment can one take?). Even those who have, I presume most have not made it so far as my Youth-at-Risk chapter at the end of the book. I say this because I hold it is such an important chapter yet I have received surprisingly little feedback on it. It must have gotten lost somewhere.
In this chapter, I present a chareidi's-eye-view of the phenomenon of youth from our society going Off the Derech and analyze the causes and suggest preventive measures. The main claim of the chapter is that owing that "chareidi-ism" is an ideological condition, it is not inherent and it must be acquired. Hence, when we see people from chareidi backgrounds who drop out, it typically indicates that they have not truly acquired the ideology, or, in other words, they haven't "bought the product". Accordingly, our job as parents and teachers is to properly "sell the product". Inversely, a most important first step in preventing fallout is to avoid "botching the sale" and thus "losing the customer".
These are the preventive measures that I was alluding to and they are enumerated toward the end of the chapter in the guise of 12 "Sales Tips". One of these - Sales Tip #9 - embodies a lesson that we learn from the juxtaposition of Yisro's visit to Moshe to the monumental event of Mattan Torah. Even though I wrote in the book that both of these concepts are sourced in Parshat Yisro, the actuality is that the pronouncement of Naaseh V'Nishma that is discussed is really recorded in this week's parsha, Parshat Mishpatim.
To stimulate the taste buds of those of you who have not [yet] read the chapter, I wish to post Sales Tip #9 as an excerpt. Of course it goes without saying that the potency of just one excerpt is greatly diminished if one has not read the entire chapter.
Buyers and Shoppers