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Help for my father

Rabbi Jonathan Blass10 Shevat 5763
342
Question
Dear Rabbi, I’m 16 years old and I attend Bais Yaakov in Detroit, Michigan. I was raised Orthodox, and so were my parents. They have been divorced since I was 10. My father, however, has completely left Judaism . He is not observant at all. He was raised frum, and my aunt and uncle are completely frum. I don’t know what went wrong, and I don’t know what to say to him or do to help him change and do Teshuva. My sister and I are closest to him and I feel that if anyone can help it’s we. I just don’t know what to do! I can’t sit by and watch him destroy his Neshama!
Answer
You are not responsible for your father’s decisions. The Rambam in Hilchot Teshuva emphasizes that each person is responsible for his own decisions. You are correct in thinking about your father when you daven in shmone esrai “ V’hachzireinu bitshuva shleima l’fanecha”. Don’t despair. It really is not so easy to destroy a Neshama. Teshuva is always possible. Set a good example and since you and your sister are close to him and clearly love and respect him, try to see his positive sides- I assume he still identifies with the Jewish People and keeps mitzvot “ben adam l’chavero”.
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