Pedophile Dreams

Pedophile Dreams

I watched the girl walking down the office building stairs, and somehow I knew immediately.

She was about 10 years old, wearing a Bait Yaakov uniform, tugging up her black tights as she headed down towards where I was standing on Ben Yehuda street.

“Did somebody do something immodest to you up there?” I asked her.

She nodded wordlessly, and motioned to the top of the stairs with a wave of her hand. She wasn’t crying or hysterical or even upset. I understood from the passive look on her face and her sad eyes that she had been molested so many times that she no longer understood that she even had the right to protest.

And she walked up the hill to her home in Nachlaot.

My heart was filled with terror as well as excitement. I had discovered the pedophiles in action! Now they would be arrested and the children of Nachlaot would finally be safe!

I rummaged around in my purse for my cell phone, to dial the police…but my stone-age phone wasn’t working.

I tried to scream “Police!” but only a whisper issued forth from my mouth.

And then I saw him walking down the office building stairs, and I watched him starting to head up the hill back to Nachlaot.

I’d never seen him before. He had strange pinched lips and eyes. His bare head was shaven but his face was stubbly.

I grabbed hold of his arm. “I know what you did!” I yelled at him. But he just shot me a scornful glance and shook his arm out of my hand with a single shake, and walked away up the hill.

And then my alarm clock rang. It was 6:30 AM, time to get out of bed and to get my kids out of bed, but I just lay there awake until my alarm stopped bleating.

If only I had had a cell phone with a camera…I thought. If only I could have run up the stairs and taken a photograph of that pedophile molesting a child, then the police would be able to catch him! Or better yet, if I’d had a cell phone with a video option… Maybe I should buy one?

The strange thing was that it took me a full 30 seconds of kicking myself for not catching the pedophile to realize that I had only been dreaming…

A few hours later, I heard Rabbi Michi Yosefi’s voice on the radio. Rabbi Yosefi’s weekly talks on Chassidut are usually too mystical and esoteric for me to comprehend, so I flipped off the radio. But then something inside my gut made me flip the radio back on. I felt, for some reason, that he was going to say something that I needed hear…

And this is what Rabbi Michi told me…

He said that when we are in a reality of darkness, a reality of despair, then we are actually not living in reality. We are living in a world of illusion.

And I think that he was telling me that those 30 seconds when I didn’t realize that my dream was actually a dream has been my ongoing reality for the past 4 months.

It’s true that this dream (well, actually, this nightmare) that I am experiencing is based somewhat on reality. It is true that there are over 100 Nachlaot children currently in treatment for trauma resulting from sexual abuse. It is true that some of the major pedophiles in this ring are still wandering freely around Nachlaot and other Jerusalem neighborhoods. It is true that Nachlaot mothers of children under the age of 12 should not let their children walk around unaccompanied, and that all Jerusalem mothers should warn their children against accepting candy or money from any men or teenage boys. We should also emphasize to our children that they have our permission to bite, scream for help, curse, pull hair, kick, if anyone ever tries to take them anywhere by force.

And it’s true that this is really scary stuff. Our children are being threatened by the heart of darkness, the essence of evil.

But with that said…when I allow this darkness, this fear, to eclipse all the goodness, all the light that fills this amazing world around me, then while I might believe I am awake, in fact I am only dreaming.

This week I read an incredibly inspirational article called Miracle Daddy by Riva Pomerantz in Mishpacha Magazine. This article tells the story of Rabbi Yehuda Simes, a Kiruv/chinuch dynamo and pillar of Ottawa’s Jewish community who became a quadriplegic as the result of a freak car accident. From one moment to the next, Rabbi Simes became a person who is completely reliant on others. He can no longer feed himself, dress himself, or even take care of his most basic physical needs.

And yet Rabbi Micha Shotkin, an old friend of Rabbi Simes, told Mishpacha about how Rabbi Simes, despite the unfathomable losses he has suffered, feels intensely grateful to Hashem:

“Rabbi Shotkin remembers the joy and enthusiasm that Yehuda displayed as he reflected on how grateful he is for the gift of swallowing. It was an ability he had lost for several months after the accident.

“You don’t really appreciate what you have until it’s gone. It’s a good lesson for us — who ever thinks to be grateful for swallowing? Yet Yehuda constantly speaks about the chasdei Hashem, the Divine kindnesses, in his situation.”

I’m a person who works hard on being grateful. At least once a day I make up a list of blessings in my life I feel grateful for.

But swallowing? That had never occurred to me…And it made me think of ALL of the things that had never occurred to me.

What about feeling thankful to Hashem for the fact that my fingers are able to type these words? Or the fact that I have hair? Or the fact that I breathe without difficulty? Or the fact that my pancreas functions as it should, not to mention my liver and my pituitary gland?

If I wanted to, I could make a list of thousands, even tens of thousands of things to thank Hashem for…

If somebody offered me a billion dollars for my eyes, I wouldn’t sell them. But that is a gift, one of a multitude of priceless gifts that Hashem has given me completely for free!

And that is the reality. I live in a reality of infinite Divine mercy and kindness.

I’m not denying that there is darkness, that there is pain, that there is tragedy. I know there is. I see darkness and pain and tragedy in the faces of certain Nachlaot mothers and children every single day.

But this pain is just one aspect of reality. The entire rainbow of life isn’t black.

And it’s true that it’s easier written than done. Most of my life nowadays I’m still stuck in those dreamy 30 seconds…

I am stuck in the fear, even the despair of this ongoing trauma.

It’s hard to wake up. So hard to wake up.

But you know what, JewishMOM? I’ve decided I’m going to try.

Click here to read Miracle Daddy by Riva Pomerantz

Photo courtesy of user Hartwig HKD


  1. You can do it!

  2. My sweet friend.
    If only these dreams were only dreams…

  3. So true, so powerful, so beautiful. Thank you!

  4. thankfulness: to get into the habit of focusing on the good beautiful blessings, try starting a list, even a special notebook and each day write down one more thing you notice to be thankful for. If you commit yourself to this, it can work wonders bsd.
    Heard from Rav Shlomo Levenstein,shlita: in Tehillim it says: “Widen your mouth & I will fill it.” {Harkhev pikha…}To fill someone’s mouth, we expect to say, “OPEN!” when do we WIDEN? When we smile! Hashem is teaching us, “Smile! Show that you are happy & notice all the blessings with which I am showering you! If you appreciate what I have already given you, then I will fill you up with more good!”
    Have a good smiley day and
    HAPPY DREAMS also!

  5. Sharon Saunders

    You know that I am right there with you. It is very difficult. The anger and frustration are almost overwhelming.

    Lately, when I met someone on the street and they say, “Hi, how are you,” my answer is, “B”H, I woke up this morning. Everything is fine.” It helps me throughout the day to realize that yes, I have this day, B”H and can do something with it of a positive nature.

  6. I know that this is not the point of this beautiful essay, but I have to say that when you wrote “It is true that Nachlaot mothers of children under the age of 12 should not let their children walk around unaccompanied, and that all Jerusalem mothers should warn their children against accepting candy or money from any men or teenage boys”, I cringed.

    It’s not just parents in Jerusalem that should teach this to their children, it’s parents everywhere. It doesnt matter where you live, children should be taught to not go anywhere with and never take candy or anything from anyone they do not know – man or woman,Jew or not, it does not matter. And if it’s rude, it’s rude. It’s too bad, that’s unfortunately the world we live in.

  7. I for one am thankful for the dream or rather the nightmare that you had. It is what I survived as a 5 year-old. I had nightmares until I was an adult. Your dream inspired me to fast on behalf of these little ones. We cannot be too careful when it comes to our children or others in our neighborhood. I agree to pray that you will have sweet sleep and that the issue will be resolved.B’H

  8. I notice in this post and in another post on this blog, the pedophile is characterized as being someone who looks strange:, “He had strange pinched lips and eyes. His bare head was shaven but his face was stubbly”.

    It is very important to realize that there isn’t necessarily a pedophile “look”. A pedophile can be young, charming, good looking, groomed etc, etc, etc, and not just a caricature of a dirty old man. Oh and that sometimes, there may be a woman involved.

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