Ben Sorer u-Moreh: Using a Biblical Metaphor in Diagnosis and Therapy

הבר, לאה, וג'ודית גואדיליה. "Ben Sorer u-Moreh: Using a Biblical Metaphor in Diagnosis and Therapy" JME 5,1, עמ' 49-55.

Ben Sorer u-Moreh: Using a Biblical Metaphor in Diagnosis and Therapy

Ben Sorer u-Moreh: Using a Biblical Metaphor in Diagnosis and Therapy

Judith S.B. Guedalia, Ph.D., and Leah Haber, Ph.D.


The Bible’s account of the Ben Sorer u-Moreh (recalcitrant, or literally, “stubborn and rebellious” son; Deuteronomy 21: 18-21) is one of its most puzzling and, at first, psychologically incomprehensible, passages. However, upon closer investigation, it can be understood as a passage that relays the Torah’s understanding of individual psychopathology, dysfunctional behaviors of the couple as individuals and as a parental unit, and the impact of these factors on family dynamics.

We propose to discuss how this passage acts to guide and give a role to the larger community (through the Beit Din, the Jewish court system) in taking responsibility for children in unhealthy, abusive family environments. In this paper, we hope to use a specific case and demonstrate how a formulation of the Ben Sorer u-Moreh aided the therapist in both comprehending the family dynamics and proposing therapeutic change.


The Ben Sorer u-Moreh is identified as the recalcitrant son (defiant child) who does not listen to his parents, one who steals money,[1] presumably for food. He eats not to satiate his physiological hunger, but rather in a gluttonous[2],[3] manner. Specifically, he drinks wine[4] without diluting it, as was the custom at that time to make the thick brew palatable. He eats a grotesque amount of meat[5] in a thoughtless manner. He acts out of control to his parents’ wishes in this fashion and in regard to ‘hanging out with a bad crowd.’[6]

The procedure that must be followed, according to Jewish oral tradition, is that both[7] parents must approach the elders[8],[9] of the city and use identical words in order to describe the behavior of their son.

Although the text of the Bible seems to state that the BSM receives the death penalty, the Sages explain that if he runs away until such time (three months[10]) that secondary sexual development occurs, he is free, as he no longer fits the legal definition of a BSM. We propose that he is actually held under observation by the courts until he reached puberty, at which point, he is no longer his parents’ responsibility, and may go free.[11]

Our hypothesis is that this passage presents a mechanism to remove this child from an untenable and abusive family situation.[12] We view the BSM as a child who is desperate for attention and affection, who turns to food for nurturance. It is well documented that eating disorders are highly correlated with childhood experiences of physical abuse,[13],[14] and we see the “symptoms” that the Bible reports as indicative of family pathology.

Jewish oral tradition links the description of the BSM with one of the passages which immediately precedes it (Deuteronomy 21:10-14), which deals with the laws of the Yefat Toar (literally “woman of beauty”), a woman who is taken captive in war by an Israelite man, and who he chooses to marry after going through a process of masking her physical beauty and allowing her to mourn her lost family. In other words, this man chooses a wife who is isolated: alone, debased, forcibly removed from her society, her family, her support system, and all else that is familiar to her. According to the Talmud, the product of this union is destined to be a BSM. A picture emerges of a marriage between a controlling, abusive man, and a vulnerable, dependent woman. Emotionally abused and neglected and desperate for attention, he is forced to resort to desperate measures in his attempts to obtain emotional nurturance.

תיבת טקסט: BSM as a child who is desperate for attention and affection, who turns to food for nurturanceAn example of the pathological family dynamic which the Jewish oral tradition elaborates on is that in order to be considered a case of BSM, both[15] husband and wife must use the identical language[16],[17] when describing their son to the court. The wife allows herself to be used simply to parrot her husband’s words instead of speaking in her own voice. Against her motherly instincts to do whatever has to be done to save her child’s life, this woman is prepared to say “He is a recalcitrant child and the only recourse is death.” This, in direct contrast to the classic story of King Solomon, who was approached by two women who both claimed that a baby belonged to them, and that the child of the other woman had passed away. In his wisdom, Solomon suggested that the baby be cut in half, so that each mother could have half.[18] He knew that a “real” mother would love her child so much that she would rather give him up than let him die. And indeed, that is exactly how he identified the true mother – while the other woman agreed to Solomon’s “compromise,” she insisted that the child be left alive, even if he was in someone else’s care. One can only wonder, what has happened to the mother of the BSM that has forced her to suppress her motherly instincts and allow herself to, in effect, sacrifice her child?

In the specific case we intend to use, a very similar family dynamic was present, in which a child referred to by his parents as a BSM exhibited remarkably similar symptoms to those presented by the Bible. Predictably, the relationship of the parents also matched that of the ‘conqueror’ and the ‘vanquished’ Yefat Toar in many ways as well.

We conclude that this formulation of the Biblical passage can serve to sensitize Jewish society to its social responsibility to provide for the welfare of “families in crisis,” and to alert its leadership to its social responsibility to intercede as a sort of “Child Protective Services” in certain cases.[19],[20] This mandate is not just limited to such extreme cases as the one outlined in Deutoronomy 21. We propose that using the BSM as a metaphor will sensitize both the religious community and at risk families in understanding and interpreting acting-out behavior in children. In using the biblical model in this fashion, we hope to focus on the mental health concerns of individual families as communal issues that must be addressed and remedied.

We see this case as an example of how ethnographic understanding of patients will benefit the therapist in his/her work, specifically in the Orthodox Jewish community (and certainly in the larger therapeutic community as well). Fluency with the cultural milieu of one’s patients allows the therapist to hear and be heard with a sort of “third ear,”[21] namely a sensitivity to the subtext that is unique to each ethnic group.

When working with a client (either an individual or a family), the metaphors that they use in their speech are an extremely powerful tool which can help the therapist understand conscious and unconscious dynamics operating in the family.[22] These metaphors are often cultural, and it is important for the therapist to be attuned to the meanings which resonate for the person speaking even if they do not hold the same significance for the therapist and/or someone with a different canvas of cultural symbols. Listening to the patient in this way opens up doors to understanding the patient on a fundamental level, and may also suggest directions for treatment.

This phenomenon was encountered when interviewing the family of a fourteen year old boy who had been referred for psychological evaluation. His parents reported out of control and aggressive behaviors on his part and expressed their frustration and anger at not being able to control him. Words which they used to describe his behavior were “loud, needy, clingy, uncommunicative verbose, lacking appropriate affect, aggressive, sadistic, spoiled, and grasping.” They went so far as to compare him to the “Ben Sorer u-Moreh,” the “incorrigible son” described in the Bible.

As both parents and the identified patient elaborated on the dynamics within themselves and within the family, a picture became clear, one that was remarkably similar to the genesis of the “Ben Sorer u-Moreh” as it is seen to evolve in Biblical and Rabbinic sources.

Sensing the importance of the metaphor, the therapist began researching the rabbinic sources to understand the ‘family’s language.’


Our first introduction to the concept of the “Ben Sorer u-Moreh” is in Deut. 21:18-21:

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken to them: then shall his father and his mother lay hold of him, and bring him out to the elders of the city, and to the gate of his place; and they shall say to the elders of the city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you, and all Yisra’el shall hear and fear.

Even with a very basic text based reading of this passage, it is clear that the Torah is determined to construct a society in which each family must not exist as a discrete unit in which it alone is responsible for its own problems. When a family experiences trouble, such as an uncontrollable child, they approach the Beit Din (BD), a communal body. It is the BD which has the authority to deal with this very difficult issue.

However, there seem to be some difficulties with this passage as well. Does not the death penalty seem to be a rather harsh punishment for a defiant child? What is the significance of the peculiar phraseology that the parents use when describing their son?

The Talmud elaborates on this passage in the Eighth Chapter of Sanhedrin (titled “Ben Sorer u-Moreh”), and succeeds in minimizing the possibility that such a phenomenon will ever come to pass. A minor cannot become a BSM, it is only possible for someone to achieve this status in between the appearance of primary sexual characteristics and secondary ones – a very narrow window of time. Only a son can become a BSM, not a daughter. The Talmud and Mishneh Torah remark that the BSM must continue his habits, such as eating raw meat and drinking unadulterated alcohol and they reason that a female would not continue these acts for a protracted amount of time, which is a necessary element of the identification of a BSM.

Very specific amounts and types of food and/or drink must be ingested, as well as the type of people whom the food is eaten with (and they people of ill-repute?[23]) and the reason for the feasting (if it is to honor the new moon, he does not qualify), and the source of the money used to buy this food and drink (if it’s ma’aser sheni funds in Jerusalem, he is OK) to ‘qualify’ as a BSM, the Mishna and Gemara go on to specify that the money used to purchase the food must have been stolen from the parents of the youth in question, and the food must have been eaten in property not belonging to his father, as well as in front of his father in a gluttonous fashion and the food considered ‘uneatable’ under normal circumstances: wine that is unadulterated and meat that is undercooked if not even raw.

In addition, both parents must agree that their son is indeed a BSM. They must be similar in appearance and height, speak in an “identical voice” and say the same words. To become a BSM, the youth must continue his wayward behavior after he was warned by his parents in front of a court of three judges, and flogged by this court. The chances of both parents being the same height, weight, and have the same timbre of voice is well nigh impossible. As is the ‘requirement’ that they will use the ‘same words’ to describe their son. Then, he must be judged again by a court of twenty three judges which includes the original three. However, if his secondary sexual maturational characteristics appeared before he was judged this second time, he is exempt from punishment as a BSM.

Chazal also puzzle over the fact that any mother would willingly turn her son over to be stoned. Didn’t we learn from Shlomo HaMelech’s famous ‘decision’ that no normal mother would let her child be killed; she would sooner give him up.

Moreover, if he is ‘taken’ to the zekeinim of the city[24] (there is a discussion about if there are no zekeinim in his city – he is taken to another city[25]) we posit that this period of three months for ‘observation’. During that time he will certainly develop secondary sexual characteristics.[26]


There never[27] was a Ben Sorer u-Moreh, nor will there ever be one in the future. Why then was the law of Ben Sorer u-Moreh written in the Torah? God says: Expound the passage and you will receive reward for doing so (Sanhedrin 71a).

In other words, use this case as a prototype. These sometimes painfully specific and detailed halachic wranglings accomplish a dual purpose for Chazal. First, they for all intents and purposes negate the possibility that the event of a BSM will ever come to pass. How could one person possibly fulfill all these criteria? Secondly, they manage to create an abstract psychological portrait of a child and a family who are desperately in need of the community’s intervention, both of whom are screaming out for help, in action as well as in behavior.[28]


תיבת טקסט: When a family experiences trouble, such as an uncontrollable child, they approach the Beit Din, a communal bodyBy using the metaphor of the “Ben Sorer u-Moreh,” David’s[29] parents were drawing a parallel between their domestic situation and that of the one cryptically described above. On the surface, they no doubt were referring to the frustration and help-lessness that they experienced in dealing with David, as well as their sense that there was nothing that they could do to change the situation, and their desire to hand him over to someone else, no matter what the consequences. However, a sensitive listener would also be attuned to the subtext of what they were saying. David’s parents were unconsciously touching on the toxic undercurrents in their own family relationships which led to their disgusted and despairing feelings – dynamics which are also present in the family of the Ben Sorer u-Moreh.

They came to my office (J.S.B.G.), on the face of it, no different than the hundreds of other parents that have made appointments to see me over the years regarding their children. What made this family different was how they ‘introduced’ their son. They said he is a ‘Ben Sorer u-Moreh.’ I tried to discover if they were using this term as a metaphor. They said that he stole food, acted in a disrespectful and surely he fit the total description of a Ben Sorer u-Moreh. Coming from an orthodox family, who knew the biblical ‘punishment’ concerning the intransigent son, death, their identification of him as such was jarring.

What type of food did he ‘steal’ and from whom, I asked. Well, for example, said the mother, I buy my seven children Bamba for Shabbat. Okay, I thought, so? Well, I give each child five Bamba for Shabbat, and he has taken more than that at times. More than five bags of Bamba, I ask. No, more than the five pieces of Bamba that he is given at the beginning of Shabbat.

This mother was speaking about giving each of her seven children, five pieces of Bamba for the entire Shabbat, as a treat. She also added that her son stirs the food in the pot, when he knows only his father and mother are permitted to do this. I’m not sure I understand, I say, the food is cooking on the stove and…

That’s right, she says, my husband’s rule is that only he or I can stir food in the pots, you know how some people taste the food in the pot, only we – he and I –  are allowed to do this.

Questions kept popping into my mind:

It might have been better not to give them any ‘treat’ than to create a situation such as they did.

What kind of ‘nurturing’ environment exists in this family?

What was the family history, of each parent?

If this son was the oldest, was he ‘acting out’ to help his other siblings too?

What was going on with the other children in this family.


As firm believer in looking at the ‘symptoms’ as a ‘window’ to the problem, as when a child presents with a problem of ‘selective mutism’ (“the persistent failure to speak in specific social situations, (e.g. school, with playmates) where speaking is expected, despite speaking in other situations.”[30]), I consider ‘selective mutism’ a pathnomonic sign. This ‘sign’ directs my ‘diagnostic search’ for a developmental disability in the area language. This is not always the case but in my experience[31] it has been found to be a reliable indicator. In this case I felt that the use of the BSM description of their son was a ‘pathnomonic sign,’ a clue, to the answer to these questions.

As clinicians, we are constantly on the lookout for an entrée into the internal world of our clients. Exploration of the individual’s conflicts and dynamics is an important way to enter into this world. However, there is also a social/cultural context that also expresses itself during the session. Being attuned to this context and using it as a tool in therapy is an extremely effective way of understanding the individual and working with him or her in therapy. This paper will focus on the utility of being sensitive to this cultural context as it appears in the metaphors used by the client.

A metaphor is an image, idea, or story captured in a word or phrase, and yet much more evocative than simply a piece of vocabulary. It expresses a very specific and meaningful belief system inherent to a specific culture.

By understanding the metaphors used by our clients, we are able to enter a sphere of consciousness which is more primitive, yet at the same time more powerful than the conscious and the rational. We can tap into a very fundamental belief system, communicated through metaphors as a “meta-language” and use this language to then communicate more effectively, and at a more “visceral” and genuine level with our clients.

The efficacy of addressing the potency of a particular culture’s specific images and “meta-language” has been acknowledged by the greater psychological community. We know, for example, that Ethiopian shamans are able to cure mental illness in traditional Ethiopians where other forms of more current treatment have failed. Other examples of this in various cultures are the phenomena of the “Debuk” in Eastern European Jewish lore, and the idea of the “Exorcist” in some forms of Christianity which has some manifestations in our contemporary culture. (In fact, some of these terms appear in the appendix of the DSM![32]) All these methods can be successful because of the ability to “meta-communicate,” not through mere words but through larger beliefs and assumptions about the nature of reality that a particular culture holds true. It seems clear that for meaningful psychological change to take place, it is best that communication occur between “practitioner” and client at the deepest, most fundamental level possible. This level is not a conscious, rational one, but rather the most primal way that we have of expressing ourselves, through communal images that we have taken in before we even knew how to express ourselves verbally.

What does it mean practically, to use metaphors in contemporary psychotherapy? How is the therapist to use this idea as a therapeutic device or tool? Of prime importance is the ability to listen for metaphors in the client’s presentation. Once a therapist has an idea of what this metaphor may mean, he is able to use it in therapy as a way, not only of coming to an increased understanding of the patient, but as an extremely effective way of communicating with him or her and determining which intervention will be most constructive.[33]

The use of metaphors as a therapeutic tool assumes that no client is “incomprehensible;” the skilled therapist will be able to, through careful listening, learn how to speak to each client, no matter how “disturbed,” in his or her own language (the language of the client).[34]


תיבת טקסט: The Talmud understood this behavior not just as an inherent greediness in the BSM’s character, but as a public cry for helpUsing both professional and religious literature, we were able to detect and use a metaphor which the mother of a client used in the initial consultation. In describing her sixteen-year-old son, she said, “He is a Ben Sorer u-Moreh.” We used the metaphor of the biblical Wayward Son in formulating the case and determining treatment.

Looking at the metaphor of the BSM, the gluttonous eating, the alcoholic intake of wine that was unadulterated with water and therefore considered ‘undrinkable,’ we get a picture of the BSM who is giving us the signs of the pathology that he is living with at home. The requirement that he do this behavior not just at home, in front of his parents, but also ‘outside’ is an all important factor in demonstrating how the Talmud understood the behavior as a ‘call for help.’ He is eating food publicly in a clear fashion that his eating is not nutritious. As if to say: ‘look at my symptoms, I am not getting nurtured properly in my environment. I am ‘raising the volume’ to demonstrate the problem in my family.’[35]

In discussing the family and etiology of the possible family dynamics and history of the parents original ‘getting together and courtship,” Rashi brings forth (because of the proximity of both passages) the hypothesis that the father was the soldier who on the battlefield could not ‘control’ his sexual/aggressive urges, and ‘took/raped’ the ‘Yefat Toar’ – the beautiful woman of the vanquished ‘tribe’–  as a spoil of war, as it were. The Gemara/Halacha ‘connect’ on the Biblical reference, discusses that if he cannot control his urges and may ‘have her once,’[36] if he still wants to marry her, she must undergo a month of mourning –separated from her and kin forever, ‘letting herself go’–  by letting her hair and nails grow long, becoming ugly.[37] If he still wants to marry her under those circumstances he may. These then, according to Rashi, are the parents of the BSM.

When the BSM parents go to the BD separately and ‘speak in the same voice,’[38] and be identical in size, etc, what are we seeing? We propose that this woman is acting as an abused wife/mother and/or suffering from co-dependency similar to the Stockholm Syndrome/Effect,[39] whereby the captive strongly identifies, and feels protected by the aggressor.

This woman, the mother of the BSM, seems not to have a shred of her own personality, so much so that she even sounds and looks like his husband. The man who vanquished her, separated her from her family and cultural ties, her emotional support system and denied in her the normal vestiges of ‘Ezer Kenegdo[40] that we learn are created with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When Abraham our forefather, asked god how he could send away his second son, god said ‘Everything Sarah your wife says, listen to,’[41] she had seen that the son of his Egyptian handmaiden was a bad role model for their son and the future of Am Yisrael. Clearly not a case of the wife echoing exactly what the husband requires of her, clearly not the case here.

So great is her separation from normal maternal feelings supplanted by this man who having terrorized her, denied any aspect of an individualized ego.

The father, a man who could not control his basest aggressive/sexual urges married a woman he vanquished and then made her devoid of all that is attractive physically and spiritually.[42] How could she nurture his child when she didn’t exist as a separate entity in this family’s dynamic?

One might see the BSM’s behavior pointing up the pathology of his nuclear family. (He had no maternal grandparents to go to for help, as his mother was cut off from all his familial ties[43]). The stealing of ‘money’ from the father ‘the currency’ of sustenance, points to the lack thereof from the father. The gluttonous eating in public is not for sustenance, but just to be full[44] (we posit: to be nurtured by his parents?). This behavior which was enacted publicly may be seen as to point to the lack of maternal nurturing; bring this family to the ‘wise-men’[45] of the community. Might he be saying ‘I am approaching manhood and don’t have my most basic needs of nurturing met. Help me and help my mother/parents who are unable to help either of us.’


To see a similar relationship between father and son, man and wife, in ‘more modern’ times (19th century), one is directed to the unique study by Morton Schatzman. He describes schizophrenia and family psychopathology in the famous Schreber family.[46] The father of the family was a famous pedagogue and physician Daniel Gottlieb Morrtiz Schreber (1808-1861). His sons were Daniel Gustav, who went mad and committed suicide,[47] and Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911),[48] an eminent German judge, who went mad at forty-two, recovered and eight and a half years later went mad again. The father practiced his ‘philosophy’ on his own children, forcing them to sleep in halters tied to the bed, wear head restrainers to keep from fidgeting their heads, and other similar contraptions. He proposed to ‘battle the weaknesses’ of his era by making children obedient and subject to adults. The title of the book describing the surviving son’s schizophrenic ‘visions,’ most of which were parallel to ‘torture’ in the guise of child rearing, is called Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family. Where was the childrens’ mother, Anna, you might ask. As Schatzman writes: “We can infer from Dr. Schreber’s own writings what sort of role his wife played (interestingly her name never appears in the entire book!):

“When the man can support his opinions by reason of demonstrable truth, no wife with common sense and good will want to oppose his decisive voice. If one wants a planned upbringing based on principles to flourish, the father above anyone else must hold the reins of upbringing in his hands.” (p. 17)

Schreber, the father, was wont to consider himself a god in his home. This is brought home in an excerpt from a letter by his daughter, Anna Schreber after he died. In the letter she writes:

“… how God was present in their childhood world at all times, not merely in their daily prayers, but in all their feeling, thinking, and doings.

“All this was finished with the sudden death of our beloved father.”

In relating the process the BSM undergoes might not we posit that the Beit Din hear the BSM’s plea. The requirement that there be ‘Elders’ in the city, seems to create a situation where both the parents and the child are under ‘supervision’? Might this not be a sign that the BD recognizes that this home is a poisonous environment and mandates, during this final stage of a child’s emotional and spiritual development, to take the child away from the parents.[49] This ‘process,’ obviated by inadequate and odious parenting, would most assuredly create a sick individual, uncaring and unable to understand and appreciate the life of another – a murderer,[50] whose own soul was murdered by his family.

Here then, we see the glory of the Torah and our Hachamim (Elders), having identified the problem they are presenting us with a solution. There is community responsibility[51] for inadequacies of individuals. In this case, the Elders provide a means of saving the soul and life of a child of a troubled environment. [52]




The authors wish to thank Prof. Moshe Halevy Spero for his contributions and suggesstions.

1. Maimonides, Mamrim, 7:7.

2. Ibid 7:1.

3. חוץ מרשות אביו

4. Sanhedrin 70a.

5. Ibid 72a.

6. בחבורה שכולם ריקנים ופחותים

7. אומרין להן –בננו זה סורר ומורה Ibid 7,7.

8. בית דין של שלשה  Ibid 7.7.

9. If there are no elders in his city, he must be brought to a city with elders.

10. Sanhedrin 69a  – כל ימיו של בן סורר ומורה אינם אלא שלשה חדשים

11. If he runs away and there is a change in his ‘status’ – secondary sexual development, he is free. Sanhedrin 71b 

12. תשובות הרדב"ז חלק א, סימן רסג Where it is discussed that the Beit Din should remove a child from a ‘toxic’ family situation and place the child with another family.  The main author would like to thank Harav Naftali Bar Ilan for sharing this source.

13. See Footnote 27

14. The Body Betrayed: A Deeper Understanding of Women, Eating Disorders, and Treatment by Katheryn J. Zerbe, M.D. – Gurze Books, 1995.

15. Had one or another parent refused to testify against their son, he would not be considered BSM Ibid 10.

16. מדרש תנאים בדברים כא' פסוק י'ט

17. ילקוט שמוי פרשת כי תצא-רמז ככקכ'ט –‘'-שוה בקול

18. I Kings 3:16-27

19. שו"ת רדב"ז חלק א סימן רסג

20. Torah S’Beal Peh, ed. Yizchak Rephael; Vol 12 pg 156; Mosad Harav Kook, 1970.

21. Listening With the Third Ear: The Inner Experience of a Psychoanalyst, Theodor Reik, Farrar Straus Giroux, Sept. 1983.

22. Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming, Richard Bandler, John Grinder June, 1979.

23. See footnote 6.

24. Deuteronomy 21 :19,20

25. Talmud Bavli Masechet Makkot 10b.  Interestingly this issue of having a city with ‘elders’ is discussed also regarding the Egla Arufa, the heifer whose neck was broker in the case of an untraced murderer.  Possibly the juxtepositioning of these two cases might be a seen as another example of the ‘perception’ of the BSM as an ‘untraced murder,’ a child whose very soul was at risk of annialation.

26. See footnote 10.

27. Sanhedrin Chapter 11.

28. Disturbed attachments as well as Reactive Depression Disorder are associated with breaks in the normal bonding process. (Ainsworth, 1972; Bowlby, 1975; Delaney, 1991; Cline, 1992; Fahlberg, 1991, Wilson, 2001.  We might also see: Disordered Eating: Many children with attachment problems are prone to stealing and hoarding of food, gorging, and in rare cases, refusal to eat. Kleptomania and Compulsive Lying: Chronic stealing and pathological lying are common in children with attachment problems. Defective Conscience: One of the most disturbing characteristics of the child with Reactive Attachment Disorder is the complete absence of guilt experienced after wrong-doing. Denial and projection of blame are also common. (Richters &Volkmar, 1994). Given the broad spectrum of problems associated with RAD, Richters and Volkmar (1994) propose that RAD may actually be a syndrome of maltreatment rather than a specific disorder of attachment.

29. An assumed name.

30. DSM-IV – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

31. The main author is the Director of the Neuropsychology Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, and a senior supervising specialist in the areas of Medical, Rehabilitation and Developmental Psychology.

32. DSM-IV – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

33. Conversations with Milton H. Erickson, Volume I: Changing Individuals. by Jay Haley, Milton H. Erickson. Norton Professional Books.

34. Ibid.

35. See “Psychosomatic Families: Anorexia Nervosa in Context,” by Salvador Minuchin, Bernice L. Rosman, Lester Baker (Harvard, 1978).

36. Deut. 21,11-13.

37. Ibid.

38. See footnote 7.

39. The Stockholm Syndrome is the case in which a hostage begins to identify with their captors and at times then join them. This was noted in Stockholm after a bank robbery when hostages were held in a bank vault. It has also been discussed in the legal case of Patty Hurst, a young woman kidnapped taken captive, repeatedly abused and raped, and then photographed robbing a bank with her captors.

40. Genesis 2:19.

41. Ibid 18:15.

42. Deut. 21: 10-14.

43. Ibid 21: 13.

44. See footnote 21.

45. See footnote 24.

46. Schatzman, Morton (1973) Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family, Random.  The main author (J.S.B.G.) would like to thank Prof. Moshe Halevy Spiro, for his recommendation of this book.

47. Is not suicide the murder of self?

48. One might note the fact that both his son’s carried his name (where normally just the first son would do so) as an example of his extreme narcissism.

49. שו"ת רדב"ז חלק א סימן רסג

50. Rashi Deut. 21:18 על סופו.

51. See footnote 24.

52. In the case at hand and using the lesson of the BSM, I recommended that the child be sent to his grandparents (elders?) for the period of three months during which time he would be under the supervision of the guidance counselor gauging his school work and behavior.   It is interesting to note that during this period no ‘acting out’ was observed.

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