Friday, October 19, 2007

Dangerous Message from Aish HaTorah: "Date From Hell"

Dangerous Message from Aish HaTorah: "Date From Hell"
Does Aish Ha Torah utilize cult like practices? 
© (2007) Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, ATR-BC

WARNING: Manipulative practices are used in this video: Date From Hell

Lori and Rabbi Yaakov Palatnik - Accused of using cult like practices
A few weeks ago a rabbi sent the following link out to his mailing list promoting an online video, "Date From Hell", which is produced by Aish HaTorah. I have to admit that I was appalled at the message that was being promoted by Rebbetzin Lori Palatnik (a rebbetzin is a title given to wives of rabbis).

The short film revolved around the fact that everyone has an opinion and how important it is to keep your opinion to yourself or that you need to be extremely careful before offering it.

Palatnik went on to say that: "You need to know the difference between fact and opinion". She goes on telling the story about a young male Baal Teshuva, who was learning with her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Palatnik.

As time progressed Rabbi Palatnik felt the man had "put his playboy lifestyle behind him." He wanted to know if Lori's knew any "girls" that she could fix him up with. Rabbi Palatnik said "the man wanted to get married."

Lori came up with a "great girl." After the date the woman called Lori and said "that was the date from hell." Later, Rabbi Palatnik asks Lori to fix the man up with another "girl." Once again after the second date the woman calls Lori saying "that was the date from hell." The same exact words as the first woman. Rabbi Palatnik once again requested that his wife fix the man up with a third woman -- this time Lori refused.

What is missing from the film is the reason why both women stated that "this was the date from hell." Was it because the man dressed funny or had a strange odor? Did the two women dating they think he was boring, rude, impolite, not gentlemanly enough, self-centered? Or could it be he was sexually inappropriate or had to do with some other issue regarding their safety? Without knowing this key information we cannot determine if dating this man was dangerous.

"Six months later the man got engaged to another great girl," stated Rebbetzin Palatnik. The woman was someone known to Lori. She continued by saying, "if this new woman was very lucky she never called her to find out about the man, because if she did -- she would have warned her to stay away."

Lori continued, "To this day the couple is happily married." She saw this as a life lesson and said "You can destroy things before they are started by giving your opinion...One woman's date from hell is somebody else's prince charming...You can stop things before they start by giving your opinion. You can destroy things once they are started by giving your opinion. Think before you speak. Keep your opinions to yourself"

There is some vital information missing from the Lori Palatnik film. She never let her viewers know why the two women called their experience with the man "the date from hell."

When I sent the video “Date From Hell” out to a few observant mental health professionals and survivors they made the following comments:
  • It appears that the fear is really about 'lashon hara.'
  • When two people had a terrible experience on a date with the same person the shadchan should be responsible enough to find out WHAT WAS WRONG before deciding to set up the man or woman again. The reality is that sometimes there is a serious problem. The person could be abusive towards women, for example. The clip gives the message that marriage is the priority above all else....Who cares what the issues are as long as they get married.
  • Getting people married seems to be the ONLY goal in life....what happens after... Who cares?
  • This is THE VIDEO FROM HELL. Another move toward the Taliban.
There are two very important books that everyone should read concerning dating in the orthodox world. They are “The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures.” Urim Publishshing Co., and also another one that will come out next year: “Every Pot Has A Cover: A Proven Method for Finding and Enhancing Relationships. University Press of America.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You profess to know nothing of this story and yet you lay a very thick web of blame and aspersions.
For the record, the term "date from hell" was an exaggeration used by Palatnick to make a point. Obviously she isn't as stupid as you would make her out to be and if you would know a little about her you would see that your fears are unfounded.

You, my dear, need some introspection.