By now we have spoken on several uncomfortable subjects, and today is no different, because
"Before the world of truth can come, the world of lies must disappear"*. –
So let’s tackle a lie: The Revecha—it means the welfare department, and it’s not really a Jewish idea, in my experience. If you believe as I did with all your heart that The Revecha cares about your wellbeing, you’re in trouble. The sound in Hebrew, though not the spelling, is telling you that it’s a ravenous animal (in Hebrew, re-ev). The parent with a listening ear will rightly fear that The Revecha will swallow her children, cholila.
The scene plays out: you arrive in Israel and can read a siddur and a chumash, but can hardly speak and don’t understand what the lady in tight, black leather pants, The Revecha, is saying to you. You can’t decipher the forms and legal documents spread out before you. You could ask a lawyer but hey you don’t need to; these are your brothers and sisters, right?
So without much thinking, you sign your teenage son over to The Revecha. Because she promised you that, since your son won’t listen to a word you say—you know: he won’t go to shul; he won’t put on tefillin; he talks to girls--meaning you have no power whatsoever, then sign him over since the lady in black leather pants has behind her, in order to straighten out your son, the full force of police, the courts, and the jails.
And after you sign, and the dust settles, you realize she was nothing but the Samech-Mem’s wife, Lil.
Because here is what happens: The Revecha places your son in a government religious school far from home. To your sorrow, you don’t see him anymore, not even to wash his laundry. After a year, The Revecha calls you. There is trouble; come to a meeting. Everyone assembles in the conference room: The principal, the teachers, the counselors, and the school psychologist complain as follows:
Your son skips classes;
He goes to the pool hall.
He doesn’t sleep in the dormitory.
He doesn’t pray.
He goes out with girls.
He gets into fights.
And so on.
“Wait a minute,” I say. “Why are you telling me this? Let The Revecha revert to the full force of police, the courts, and the jails!”
On this point they are silent. The principal coughs and hands me a bill for 100,000 shekels and The Revecha hands me a bill from the orthodontist in the same amount.
And then what happened?
Come back tomorrow; bli neder I’ll tell you.
*Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, zal; h/t Shirat Devorah blog