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Unread 04-25-2002, 08:06 PM   #76
Jac
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<<Now, flameonacoal writes that under certain circumstances, it is imperative to consult a therapist and a Mashpia is insufficient. Perhaps he or others could specify cases in which they think that this is necessary, and explain why?>>

For the simple reason that a Mashpia is a spiritual mentor, not a therapist. Though it's possible that you'll find two in one, it definitely is not a requirement. While most run-of-the-mill people's Mashpiim are capable enough to be acting therapists, occasionally there is the need for a professional (in cases of more severe problems). Of course, it's crucial for the therapist to be frum and 100% in our derech of life (as explained throughout this thread).

However, it's become a problem that going to a therapist has such a negative connotation, has such a stigma --this is really unnecessary and terrible, because people get the wrong impression that therapists are for "real problem cases" only! Yes, it's true that we do not need to go overboard as the secular world does, but we've gotta remember that there IS a need at times for this--and many a mashpia will suggest that to their mushpa!
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Unread 04-26-2002, 01:06 PM   #77
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I'd like to juxtapose some lines of your post and then comment:

<<While most run-of-the-mill people's Mashpiim are capable enough to be acting therapists>>

<<need for a professional (in cases of more severe problems)>>

<<because people get the wrong impression that therapists are for "real problem cases" only!>>

if mashpiim can generally handle the usual "stuff" and you think professionals are needed in more severe cases, then NATURALLY, if someone DOES go to a therapist, (and somehow people find out about it, though I wonder how), they WILL think it's a real problem

I'm curious: what do posters think professionals can do in "severe" cases?
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Unread 04-26-2002, 01:10 PM   #78
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i'm sorry, i dont think you can compare the way a regular mashpia is going to handle a severe case and the way a professional frum person will

you wanna tell me that when faced with someone who's severely depressed, ready to commit suicide and anorexic/bullimic, the mashpia will know how to handle it?

sometimes, these problems come from chemical imbalances in brain. sometimes these problems come bc of psychological problems (not chemical). psychologist know how to deal with these. regular ppl who are conceited enough to think they can handle these cases might sucede or might end up messing up the situation further.....wanna gamble on that?
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Unread 04-26-2002, 01:18 PM   #79
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don't be sorry! just asking ...

btw - if you read Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser's books - one called It Happened in Heaven and the other one Starving to Live about anorexia - you might reconsider.
He's a Rav, not a psychologist, yet he's had amazing siyata dishmaya helping people with those very problems you mention. He's not opposed to professional help. He might even suggest it in some cases. It's just that he himself has had remarkable success in helping people.

Last edited by Jude; 06-05-2002 at 05:57 PM.
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Unread 04-26-2002, 01:28 PM   #80
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People who are cliniclly depressed cant be helped by RabbI Goldwasser, they need pills. But when is a person cliniclly depressed? I thinks today the doctors claim very easily that a person is cliniclly depressed.

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Unread 04-26-2002, 01:31 PM   #81
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you bet!
they have 'em standing on line for lithium, prozac etc.
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Unread 04-26-2002, 03:42 PM   #82
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<<if mashpiim can generally handle the usual "stuff" and you think professionals are needed in more severe cases, then NATURALLY, if someone DOES go to a therapist, (and somehow people find out about it, though I wonder how), they WILL think it's a real problem >>

That's the problem, and that why a miserable soul who is suffering and is need of professional help is denying it of themselves. Worse , parents themselves are fearful for their children's shidduchim and reputation and will deny their child their right to happiness because of their fear!
So yes, a regular person in a regular situation would not need professional help. But there does not have to be such a stigma surrounding therapists--I said MORE severe cases, there's not necessarily something severely wrong (though there may be).--That does not mean that they are a nutcase with a mental illness and are doomed for life!
It's a hard balance, because the impression is that only people with really messed up lives see professionals--OTOH, the fact is that a regular run of the mill person will not see a professional.

Are you saying that people should NEVER be seeing therapists? Most mashpiim will tell their mushpa to see a therapist if it's necessary! Unfortunately, lots of people will not do so, because they are convinced that only "not normal" people do it, and they ARE "normal" (whatever normal is anyway)!

<<regular ppl who are conceited enough to think they can handle these cases might sucede or might end up messing up the situation further.....wanna gamble on that?>>

Exactly! Who wants to take the risk --and all because it may be looked upon as not in the norm?!

[Speaking of therapists and stigmas, the whole feeling about mental illnesses (I'm not saying that all who see therapists are mentally ill, this is just related to the subject matter) are way off in the frum community. Why is someone who is injured badly someone to sympathize with and care for, and yet when it's a mental illness, the automatic reaction is to take five steps back??? It isn't his fault the same way a broken leg isn't a person's fault!]

Jude, Rabbi Goldwasser is obviously an exception. He is not the typical. And as masbir notes, sometimes people do need medication. This is no laughing matter.

Last edited by Jac; 04-27-2002 at 09:41 PM.
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Unread 04-26-2002, 03:55 PM   #83
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ah reckon that someone who talks about suicide, someone who writes about suicide, someone is quite open about the fact that they're depressed could be classified as clinicly depressed...no?

then again, that's simply mah humble opinion....perhaps there is an official definition of depressed that i wasnt aware of

and pills arent the only solution, you know. it could be that that person just needs to talk to someone who knows how to get them to really talk and who knows what to DO after. could be you have a mashpia who knows how to do this-and it could be that they're helping. then again, it could be you have a mashpia who can get the person to talk, but then feels totally lost, ie, what do i do next? they dont know how to handle such a flood of emotions....and then the person feels like such a loser, and will never share again, bc WHATS THE POINT...no one knows how to help
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Unread 04-27-2002, 11:51 AM   #84
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BS"D I discussed this matter with a psychologist. He said that obviously, if someone is severely depressed and/or suicidal, he really needs professional help, and even a layman can tell that. But sometimes his need for medication is unclear. There are many different conditions and pathologies, not just severe depression, for which medication is necessary. A trained psychologist will be able to detect them and offer the patient a reference to a psychiatrist for the appropriate medication.

<<they dont know how to handle such a flood of emotions....and then the person feels like such a loser, and will never share again, bc WHATS THE POINT...no one knows how to help>>

ChachChach: I believe you yourself point out elsewhere that listening sympathetically itself helps the person cope with his problems, and sometimes advice is not even appropriate.
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Unread 04-27-2002, 10:32 PM   #85
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depends on the severity of the problem. there are some problems that can be solved by passive action of the listener. and there are some problems that need to be solved with active actions....
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Unread 04-28-2002, 08:47 AM   #86
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The Jewish Observer (Aguda) had a recent letter to the editor in which the author expresses her thanks to the magazine. Someone showed her their original issue on Youth at Risk, and being that she had a son in trouble, the magazine was helpful. It was so helpful in fact, that she ended up contacting one of the frum therapists mentioned.
This "angel" of a frum therapist gave her the tools to disengage from her son's problems and to realize that he is "his own person", and she can "be there for him" and support him and encourage him, but ultimately "it's his life" blah blah, and "his issues" etc.
So of course she signed her name to this letter, because hey, she's not embarrassed that she failed her son, because her frum therapist with the "right hashkafos" did what lots of psychologists do: make sure you can live life guilt-free.

And this is ostensibly the Torah view?!
In yesterday's Chitas about the man who blasphemed, the man who was the child of an Egyptian father, on the words "of the tribe of Dan," Rashi says: this teaches us that the rasha causes shame to himself, shame to his father, and shame to his tribe, and so too for the good ..

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Unread 04-29-2002, 12:50 AM   #87
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In response to the story mentioned by rebayzl and the question raised by Jude, I have to agree with Noahide on this. Just as the fact that the Rambam read the works of Plato and Aristotle (who the Ramban refers to as the accursed one), does not mean that we can study them (as quoted from Tanya end of Ch. 8) - so too, the fact that the Rebbe perused the works of Raphael, does not mean they are for us.

As far as Jude's recent post about feel-good therapists, who think that their main job is to allay parent's fears and self recriminations, it reminds me of a cartoon I once saw. In the first frame a psychiatrist is telling two very concerned looking parents, that their son is ADHD. In the second frame, the parents are outside the doctor's office, and jumping in the air saying: "Hooray, it's not our fault!"

The point is, that it is important to realize that therapists can also be swayed by the profit motive. Since their business relies on having happy customers (especially ones who keep coming back for more), they may sometimes tell you what you want to hear, rather than what is best for you. It is common knowledge that many doctors over-prescribe anti-biotics for kids, whose parents want to feel as if they are DOING SOMETHING, even for the common cold and other viral ailments which will pass with bedrest and lots of water. The same is true of many "mental health professionals," who rush to prescribe pills for problems which could easily be resolved through less radical means.

The therapist who told the parents that ultimately it is their son who has to make the decisions, is absolutely correct, but that doesn't absolve the parents of their responsibility (past, present and future) towards their son and his behavior. Yes, according to the Torah, the behavior of a child does reflect on his/her parents, and ultimately on the entire community.
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Unread 08-17-2002, 09:03 PM   #88
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Sorry to reopen an old thread...

But I have a Taina with "That's the problem, and that why a miserable soul who is suffering and is need of professional help is denying it of themselves. Worse , parents themselves are fearful for their children's shidduchim and reputation and will deny their child their right to happiness because of their fear! "

I hate to break it to you- but this fear about Shidduchim is VERY valid. Many a Shidduch has been broken off for an illness such as diabetes- which is not their fault, may not be genetic, one can live a normal life with, and is considered relatively "normal" in der velt. A Kal Vachomer for i.e. depression, which many blame on the one suffering (whether this is true or not), and DOES carry a terrible stigma. ESPECIALLY if it was considered severe enough to need to consult a "professional" (learned in college) therapist.

Until the stigma of the illness goes away, it is unrealistic to expect a teenager going through even severe depression to consult a therapist which he/she knows will be on their record forever... and cause tremendous problems... when it usually goes away after a while even untreated. (If you have good friends and a good Mashpia.)

I know this sounds extreme, but having a lot of experience with such issues, I'll have to say that the stigma IS NOT WORTH IT.
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Unread 08-18-2002, 07:09 AM   #89
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Quote:
Sorry to reopen an old thread...
Until the stigma of the illness goes away, it is unrealistic to expect a teenager going through even severe depression to consult a therapist which he/she knows will be on their record forever... and cause tremendous problems... when it usually goes away after a while even untreated. (If you have good friends and a good Mashpia.)
I know this sounds extreme, but having a lot of experience with such issues, I'll have to say that the stigma IS NOT WORTH IT.
2 points:
1) If it is the type of depression caused by a physical problem - i.e. a chemical imbalance - can it just go away?

2) If there was no stigma attached would you agree that it's a positive thing? Then the problem can be solved by using therapists "out of the neighborhood"; and all those therapists who actually discuss their clients with others - it is hard to imagine a greater rish'us (evil)!
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Unread 08-18-2002, 02:32 PM   #90
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Yes, it can go away...
I discussed this with a psychiatrist, and they said that it works both ways... they can't even tell whether it was a chemical imbalance in the beginning, because your emotional state CAUSES an imbabalance if it isn't already there... Your emotional state CAN correct an imbalance. Medication (officially) is just to get the person TEMPORARILY to a state where they can work out the issues before being bogged down by the emotional ramifications. It is used as a painkiller. I won't even bring up the terrible side effects caused by these drugs....

I still can't say going to a therapist is a positive thing... A Mashpia approaches you as someone who cares about you, a therapist has a different agenda. You choose your Mashpia based on their Hergesh, because what they say will affect your Hergesh. Why would you go to have your outlook rearranged by someone you would never choose to be your Mashpia?

And, vusveisich, just FYI- the stigma is not because the therapist shared information, but because the school will- or the parents will, etc. It goes on your record.
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Unread 08-22-2002, 02:29 PM   #91
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BS"D The Beis Din in Montreal ruled that a Rov must be consulted before ANY consultation with a psychologist/psychiatrist EVEN IF THAT PROFESSIONAL IS KNOWN TO BE VERY ORTHODOX.
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Unread 08-22-2002, 05:37 PM   #92
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There is a "frum" shrink in the kehilla here and he says that if he actually followed what he was taught, he would be going completely kineged haTorah.
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Unread 08-22-2002, 05:44 PM   #93
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I wish he'd say that to a broader audience, like in magazine articles for frum people to read. People think that a "ben Torah" who's a psychologist is the ideal person to consult, but they fail to acknowledge that this "ben Torah's" secular education is neged ha'Torah, so how does the fact that he regularly attends shiurim, help?
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Unread 12-16-2002, 03:42 PM   #94
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a psychologist wrote the following:

Out of the blue, a preschool boy started taking sharp objects and using them to scratch himself, even drawing blood. His parents took him to a child therapist who asked a lot of questions, took a detailed history, and talked with the little boy. The therapist then told the parents that the little fellow was "hurting inside." He did not prescribe any solution, mind you. Rather, he tried to persuade them to enroll the boy in play therapy.

The parents smelled a rat. They agreed that none of this made sense. There was no reason for their son to be "hurting inside." His life was good. So, instead of enrolling their son in play therapy (which lacks any evidence of efficacy) they sat him down and told him, in no uncertain terms, to stop scratching and cutting himself. If he didn't, they were going to punish him. Period.

He stopped, immediately and forever. End of story. What does this say about the "science" of psychology? And psychologists and other mental health practitioners? Does it suggest that we don't know what we are doing? That we use the capital letters after our names to hide the fact that we are groping around in the dark?

Parents frequently ask me for referrals to child therapists. I usually caution parents against taking this step without first considering that intervention from a therapist can make a problem much worse. It can open cans of worms that are better left unopened. This is not mere opinion on my part. Study after study has found that for every three people who seek professional help, one gets better, one gets worse, and one stays the same. Furthermore, studies have found that the educational level of a person who is "counseling" another person has nothing to do with the outcome -- that a good friend is as likely to help you successfully resolve a problem as a person with a Ph.D. in psychology. What is more important than the person's educational level is how much they care and how successful they are at staying "removed" from the problem. Another study found that mental health professionals couldn't distinguish between people who were truly mentally ill and people who were merely pretending to be mentally ill.

I am a psychologist; however, I no longer believe in psychology. I regard it simply as the most powerful secular religion ever developed. Psychology fools some of the people all of the time, but it no longer fools me. I am convinced that if The Great Psychological Rapture suddenly occurred, if every mental health professional suddenly disappeared, vanished, the quality of life in America would improve considerably.

For one thing, parents would slowly but surely stop thinking that behavior problems are psychological issues and start dealing with them for what they are: behavior problems that require not "understanding" but firm, loving, intolerant discipline. As such, the behavior of children would improve. And what a great and wonderful thing that would be!!!!
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Unread 12-17-2002, 02:18 AM   #95
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I don't think this genre of article proves anything. What if I posted something by a former frumme Yid, "exposing" the "myths" of Yidishkeit, would that impress you?

(This of course had nothing to do with the efficacy of psychologists, on which most of us are unqualified to offer an opinion.)
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Unread 02-24-2003, 03:15 PM   #96
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there were too many posts in this section to read them all before i gave my comment but i read a few and got the main idea that suposedly psychologists are not a good idea!! i dont believe that is a fair comment to say at all! i believe being given the oppertunity to talk to someone a little bit removed from your life ie: someone very objective, and to be able to say anything you want especially things you cannot tell to anyone else is a very good thing.
they say that if something is worrying you if u let it off your chest it already cures have the problem! reading these posts was the first time i ever heard there was something remotely wrong with psychologists- i still dont understand what u think is wrong with them.

also in broader societies where things like divorce etc.. are a more common occurance psychologists play a very important role. for things like trauma briefing therapists play a very important role. in comforting a bereaved one they play a very importyant role!
just because people have frthered their education which may not be your beliefs i dont think you can call them bad people! what if no-one studied medicine? wed have life spans of a tenth of what we now have! so too with psychology, we need psychologists as they play important roles dealing with the emotions of people which is just as important as their physical beings!
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Unread 02-24-2003, 04:26 PM   #97
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I respectfully ask you and all other posters this question: why comment about something that's been said when you haven't actually read all that's been said?
It's worth your while to spend the time reading what has been posted before commenting (although it might be hard to contain yourself and you're plotzing to post )
it's certainly an excellent idea to consult with someone objective with whom you feel free to talk - how about checking out the Mashpia thread?
Re psychologists in general and the vital roles they play as you describe - think about how we have dealt with crises like divorce, bereavement, and trauma for thousands of years before Dr. Freud came on the scene with his ideas that contradict Torah.
"Hafoch ba v'hafoch ba, d'kula ba" - turn it over and turn it over because everything is in it-Torah
Psychologists have not been designated "bad people" as a group, although it is true that more than other types of people, they are capable of, and have perpetrated, great harm. They are more dangerous since they work with people's emotions and motivations. You want to be sure of the values of a person who you allow (never mind pay) to do this.
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Unread 02-25-2003, 03:58 AM   #98
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ok, ill read them all but i just want to say that not everyone has someone that they are able to approach to be their mashpia and not every mashpia is interested in hearing abot someones emotional problems day in and day out! a psychologist who is trained in the job and whos life is devoted to that would much rather listen then someone off the street with no background knowledge! and take someone whos got emotional problems from when they were young eg: they were abused, they need help to get over something like that desperatly bc it is something that doesnt cure itself, they may end up abusing their kids etc..., they certainly need someone who knows what they are doing to give them advice and to council them and to onfide in bc any mashpia is not going to be able to help them with a problem etched so deep.
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Unread 02-25-2003, 03:32 PM   #99
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Quote:
a psychologist who is trained in the job and whos life is devoted to that would much rather listen then someone off the street
you know why he'd much rather listen? because he gets paid to do so ... let's not forget that

nobody's saying that finding the right mashpia or rav is easy, but it can be done
and it may even be possible to turn to a frum psychologist, it's just something that has to be done with great care
for thousands of years Jews turned to friends, family members, rabbonim or other objective parties that had the wisdom to help them out
if you know someone who needs special help, more than the typical person can handle, contact me for suggestions
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Unread 03-11-2003, 05:02 PM   #100
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I read an article by an English rav, Rabbi Rubinstein, who tells about meeting someone who had been trained by the non-Jewish Marriage Guidance Council who had brought the skills he learned there to the Jewish organization he works for. He was not someone who had attended yeshiva. The man described what he does as follows:

"In our organization we try to help couples see what is wrong with their marriage and see if they want to solve it. We do not give advice. We are not judgmental."

He complained that so few rabbonim have been trained like him in counseling and his most disturbing comment of all was when he claimed, "Our organization is seeing increasing numbers of religious couples who are coming to us with difficulties."

R' Rubinstein writes: Common sense would dictate that religious Jews, with their extremely complex and spiritual outlook, could only be well-advised by someone sharing the same experiences and outlook. There is no doubt that in secular society, counseling is a growth industry. The philosophies and trends that have led to so much societal suffering and the breakdown of marriage, are being applied to solve the same problems! It is self-evident that advice springing from such sources is totally inappropriate for religious Jews.

R' Rubinstein went on to describe an intensive counseling course he attended together with several other rabbonim. The cardinal principle being taught there was to be non-judgmental. No matter what the client is telling you he has done or plans to do, you must not indicate whether you approve or not. Among other rules, counselors are told it is essential not to become "emotionally involved" with their clients.

The participants of the course practiced in various scenarios, all taken from the trainers' experience. R' Rubinstein's trainer took the part of a heroin addict. Although he had nearly died from his addiction and had eventually given up drugs, he was thinking of starting again. R' Rubinstein's role was to help him explore why he wanted to do this (nonjudgmentally). If he found that the man honestly wanted to go back to drug addiction and was fully aware of the dangers, he was supposed to help him consider "safe" ways to go about it.

R' Rubinstein and another rabbi concluded that what they had been trained in was the absolute opposite of Judaism. Being nonjudgmental means you cannot offer advice. "You try to get the couple to find the solution themselves." But what is what they have not been able to do, which is why they have turned to someone else! Sadly, the person whose help has been sought may have been trained not to offer the solution, even if it is patently obvious where it lies. Judaism believes in offering advice. The Zohar refers to the 613 mitzvos as 613 eitzos, 613 pieces of advice!

And yes, Jews are supposed to get emotionally involved with other people and their problems. That is what ahavas Yisrael is about.

R' Rubinstein concludes that if we find ourselves turning to professionals and experts for advice, their expertise has to be applied through the filter of halacha and the judgement of Torah authorities to ensure that it is compatible with who and what we are, and that organizations that fail this test, should be avoided at all costs.
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