Q. Recently I read “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok. Is it true that some Chassidic fathers deliberately ignore their children?
A. There are many types of Chassidim – some of them quite jolly, others rather sombre – but I am not certain that Potok is claiming this as a Chassidic practice, just that a certain fictional father acted in this way. He might have known a father of this kind, but readers should not generalise from a possibly lone example.
The general Chassidic approach is quite different. They enjoy their children and their family life is warm and exciting – and parents and children certainly talk to one another. Some people who have no sympathy with Chassidism have the rather dangerous attitude that anything and everything can be blamed on Chassidim.