Shmuel Borger has produced a video, Still Your Child, superimposed on Shloime Daskal’s singing. It has provoked negative reactions by DovBear, Frum Satire, Hashkafah, and Failed Messiah. By my count, over 500 readers submitted comments on these blogs and YouTube. A reader of this blog, Avromie, submitted his own review of this film. It impressed me by its insight into why so many people find this video disturbing.
Borger’s Cancerous Understanding of Teen Rebellion and Tshuvah
Guest Post by Avromie
It is difficult for me to watch the music video by Shmuel Borger without condemning him personally. I know him only by his public statements and work. My negative experiences with people like him must be affecting my judgment. I feel compelled to highlight the corrupt outlook this video passes off as righteousness.
When people say that someone went Off The Derech (off the path) they are usually talking about religious observance. Many observant Jews regard someone who is OTD as an enemy of the faith. Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin observes, based on hundreds of cases, that the religious change is a symptom of an underlying problem, not the problem itself. The true problem is that the child correctly senses that his/her extremely self-centered parent(s) are not offering him empathy or respect.
This video is the work of someone who is extremely egoistic, lacking enough self-awareness to either learn from his mistakes or at least cover them up. Shmuel Borger’s Off The Derech video, “Still Your Child,” opens a window into the mind of such a parent.
This entire video is about a power struggle. The father has a friendly relationship with his son when he poses no threat to him. When the son is young and totally reliant on his father, he is an exact copy and is accepted. His father accepts him again when he is helpless because of cancer, r”l (have mercy on us), and does whatever his father wants. The father exerts his control by constant, frankly disturbing, touching. He slides his hands slowly over his son’s entire face when he is a child and the camera zooms in on them holding hands. The boy begs for the father’s touch on his deathbed and he gets a lot of it.
When the child doesn’t completely comply the father gets furious and kicks him out of the house. When the boy begs to be let in he is ignored. So he decides to choose his own friends again rejecting his father’s dominance. In real life the father would be unable to stop his son. In this fantasy, God immediately punishes the child with cancer.
The ending is the most disturbing part. The screenwriter honestly can’t seem to manage a relationship with a child who isn’t completely subservient. So he has the child die in a helpless, repentant state. How can a child growing up in a hostile environment like this — totally bereft of empathy or respect, let alone love — hope to cope with adult life? Such parenting destroys a child’s confidence and optimism. It is easy to see why such a boy would give up on living a life filled with pain.
(Hat Tip to DovBear)