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Brooklyn, NY - OpEd - CitiField Asifa: Filtering Ourselves, Not Just The Internet

Published on: May 14, 2012 10:00 AM
By: VIN News Op-Ed By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
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Brooklyn, NY - Much has been said, both pro and con, about the upcoming Asifa sponsored by the Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachaneh which will be taking place in CitiField on May 20th.  This article is not meant to criticize the forthcoming Asifa. Rather, it is an attempt to help us focus and shed light upon a fundamental achrayus, a responsibility, that we all share equally.  And it is this achrayus which we as a community have not, as of yet, adequately addressed.

The ubiquitous rise of the internet in the past decade has been quite staggering.  It has created a very new and different world in terms of the instant communication of ideas and news.  And the numbers are astounding.

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The data on the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) site shows that the estimated number of Internet users had reached 2.08 billion by the end of 2010, compared to 1.86 billion a year earlier.  By the end of 2012 it could very well reach 2.3 billion.

This boils down to the fact that 1 in every 3 people in the world actively surfs the internet.  And those one out of three are not hermits hiding in a remote shell.  They surely discuss things with others too.

Why should we care about all this?

Because now, more than ever before, we must be on the lookout to avoid Chilul Shaim Shamayim – a desecration of Hashem’s Holy Name.  It is, let us remember, a verse in Sefer VaYikrah (22:32), “Lo sechalelu es shaim kodshi - And you shall not profane My Holy Name; but I shall be sanctified among the children of Israel: I am the L-rd who sanctifies you.”

 Now, with the remarkable speed of the internet, any desecration of G-d’s Name on our part that is reported almost anywhere is known instantly across the world.

Both the magnitude and the ramifications of this notion are truly staggering.  And in this pasuk, lays the achrayus that we all share.

It is the violation of this posuk, which perhaps represents the greatest challenge that has been opened up by the breadth and scope of the internet.  The colossus known as the World Wide Web has brought us face to face with our greatest challenge - ourselves - and our internal commitment to literally choose life.

The upcoming Asifa in CitiField has the potential to be a major opportunity in addressing the underlying causes of Chilul Hashem and how to prevent them.

In our current day and age, news is reported not only in newspapers but online as well and while today’s newspaper may get tossed in the trash, what is posted on the internet remains available indefinitely for all to see.  The most horrific and egregious violations of decency are chronicled on a daily basis and whether it is an issue of molestation, theft, fraud, Ponzi scheming, money-laundering or whatever other ill, not a day goes by without a Chilul Hashem being reported.  The violations are of a proportion and scale that were unimaginable a mere twenty five years ago.  This is not to say that all of the allegations are completely true or even partially true, but we must make it our business to stay away from even the appearance of impropriety, and we are not doing that.

SERIOUSNESS OF CHILUL HASHEM

Rabbeinu Yonah (Shaarei Teshuvah 3:158) writes that Chilul Hashem is the greatest of all sins.  He writes, citing the Gemorah in Yuma (86a) that neither Teshuvah nor the hardships and travails of life atone for it.  Atonement can only be achieved at one’s death and only when accompanying the proper Teshuvah.

We stand now in the middle of Sefirah, in a state of mourning for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died tragically in a plague.  The Gemorah in Yevamos (62b) states clearly that their Aveirah was that they did not accord each other the proper respect.  The question is most blaring.  Granted, they violated the Mitzvah of Onaas Dvarim and maybe even negated the Mitzvah of V’Ahavta l’rayacha Kamocha.  But the death penalty?  Why was their Aveirah so severely punished?

The answer is that this lack of respect to one another constituted a grave Chilul Hashem.   The deaths of 24,000 students were on account of Chilul Hashem.  When we consider the much greater magnitude of Chilul Hashem in our generation, with the fact that there are two billion plus potential readers – the ramifications are mind-boggling!

A POSSIBLE SOLUTION

So how can we best address this problem?

True, we need filters on our routers, computers, and other products and gizmos.  But we need filters on our own selves, as well.

We need to filter out examples of improper behavior, and things that are antithetical to Torah-true ideals and midos.

We can begin by asking ourselves certain questions.  Are we really teaching our children and our students our Torah values?  Are we telling them that every person is a Tzelem Elokim and to attempt to be as honest as possible in all our business dealings?  Are we providing our children and our students with examples of MiDvar Sheker Tirchak in our day to day actions and activities?

The problem here is not that a Chilul Hashem is caused when the crimes of Jewish people are broadcast across the internet for all the world to see.  The problem is that there are Jews who are committing crimes in the first place.  By pointing the finger of blame for this Chilul Hashem at the internet, we are no different than the small child who covers their eyes thinking that if they can’t see anyone, then no one can see them.

If organizers of the Assifah are correct, and tens of thousands of people show up at CitiField, then this event will be the perfect opportunity to educate those assembled about the reality of life in 2012:  any time a Jew does anything wrong the chances are excellent that it will be reported on the internet.

There will be many prominent Rabbonim present at CitiField on May20th.  It is perhaps time for things to be told like it is: the internet is a fact of life whose use grows more widespread on a daily basis and each and every one of us has the achrayus to make sure that our actions are appropriate and just, because the reality is that if we do something wrong, it will very likely be reported on the internet, to a worldwide audience of over two billion people.

If we don’t want to see Jews with yarmulkas being splashed across the internet news sites, then we need to make sure that Jews with yarmulkas stop doing things that are wrong.

The words of Pirkei Avos are literally unfolding before our eyes.  Not just in the celestial realms, but even in this world, there are watchful eyes and listening ears who write down our actions in a book for all to see.  We need to take this reality very seriously, as each of us has the responsibility to make sure that the media has only positive things to report about the Jewish people.

Two further suggestions might also be instructive, here.

The first one lies in a common expression – “the best defense is a good offense.”  The best way to focus on preventing Chilul hashem is to actively try to create Kiddush Hashem, whenever and wherever we are.

When Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky zt”l passed away his family members discovered in his papers a kaballah that he accepted upon himself.  The Kaballah was to perform no less than two acts of Chessed per day.  Perhaps we can attempt to try to perform two mini-acts of Kiddush Hashem each day as well.   We should start off small, and without a neder, but a gradual entry into this mindset might go a very long way in avoiding chillul Hashem.  And no act is too tiny for Kiddush Hashem.  Helping someone in a supermarket line put their groceries on the counter, being a courteous driver, smiling and saying hello are all prime examples of mini-acts of Kiddush Hashem that we can do daily.  And there are bigger ones that we can perform too.

The second suggestion lies in the power of learning Mussar and inspirational texts.  Some of us may recall that long ago there was such a thing as a Mussar Movement, where Reb Yisroel Salanter promulgated the idea of learning Mussar not just as a text, but with feeling and inspiration.

He wrote that it should be studied with “sfasayim dolkos – with lips aflame.”  Don’t we remember our Roshei Yeshiva waxing emotionally about the grandeur of Kelm, of the Mussar regimen in Novardhok and in Slabodka?  Each of these Yeshivos had a unique brand of Mussar.

We need to give bring back the genuine Mussar shmuessim of the Yeshivos of yore.  The fiery words of a Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l must once again permeate our Neshamos. We need to bring back the half hour daily Mussar Seder, where Mesilas Yesharim, Orchos Tzaddikim and Chovos HaLevavos resounded in our Batei Midrashim for a half of an hour straight.  In short we need to reignite our dedication to improvement and the refinement of our neshamos.

Rav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l once explained in a Rosh HaShana Mussar Shmuess that a commitment to daily Mussar study may not resolve all our character flaws right away, and even over time it will take enormous effort if it works at all, but what it does do is quantify our commitment to change and to improve.  Doing so down here will earn us assistance in shamayim to reach these worthy and lofty goals.

Countless times throughout our day, we have the opportunity to create either a Kiddush Hashem or a Chilul Hashem with our actions.  Just as we apply much needed filters to our internet to keep the content appropriate, we must apply filters to our own actions so that they are appropriate as well.

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

Rabbi Yair Hoffman, is an an Orthodox Rabbi and educator, author of several Seforim on Halachah and a former Morah Desarah of a Shul in Long Island, Rav Hoffman is a well respected Torah figure with close contacts with many leading halachic authorities.


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Read Comments (80)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM Professor Says:

I dont believe that this is the point of "citifield". But what rabbi Hoffman writes is probably one of the most important issue today.
Obviously in order to make a kiddush hashem, we misst understand who we are. As rabbi hoffman states. We are after all Tzelem Allokim.

3

 May 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM UseYourHead Says:

What I found somewhat troubling is that the ads proclaim that the Gedolei HaDor have stated that it is a "Chovah" for every person to attend this event. However, I believe there are (ken yirbu) more than 40,000 frum men above the age of 18. So, this is literally impossible. How can they mandate the impossible and expect it to be taken seriously?

4

 May 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM Yechi Says:

Sounds like a Plan

doing acts of chesed,,, wow it might just bring Mosheiach

5

 May 14, 2012 at 10:51 AM shmielglassman Says:

very good points rav hoffman
all the gedolim that will grace the dais at citi field spend the other 364 days a year teaching by example & by 1000's of shmuessen STRESSING EXACTLY YOUR POINTS - one can pick up thousands of shmuessen on rabeinu yonah ,chovos halevovos....mesilas yesharim.. BY FOCUSING ON ONE HUGE ISSUE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE IGNORING ALL THE OTHERS!! ( if the siyum hashas stresses torah study as a prime avodah does that mean they are ignoring "sholom bayis" personally ive been spending more time on the road & one will be amazed at the amount of quality shiurim avail.

secondly if the internet has the ability to magnify & publicise our shortcomings than this asifa would do much in the area of damage control limiting the chillul hashem somewhat. our own perception of am yisroel has been inluenced in a huge way.
not publicising our own failings is not a virtue but it makes sense!
the success at citifield is proof to the level of " lishmah" that these 2 gedolim have invested.

6

 May 14, 2012 at 11:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Brilliant article.

I hope there is more an emphasis on this than on looking on stupid porn pictures.

Rabbi Hoffman, I think this is a bigger danger.

7

 May 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM a-simple-jew Says:

"The upcoming Asifa in CitiField has the potential to be a major opportunity in addressing the underlying causes of Chilul Hashem and how to prevent them." Thank you Rabbi Hoffman. A beautifully written article and something we must all learn from and seriously take to heart. The Asifa will certainly be that much more meaningful and successful if this issue is addressed.

8

 May 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM ayinglefunadorf Says:

"Not a day goes by without a Chilul Hashem being reported. Molestation,theft,fraud,Ponzi,Moneylaundering etc" Rbbi Hoffman is talking about the frumm community, without Internet and or filters. Leither its much worse than many not orthodox places with computers. Maybe its time to use the Internet for good of the Klal. Learning, Parnosoh, Chesed...

9

 May 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM inNY Says:

Reply to #5  
shmielglassman Says:

very good points rav hoffman
all the gedolim that will grace the dais at citi field spend the other 364 days a year teaching by example & by 1000's of shmuessen STRESSING EXACTLY YOUR POINTS - one can pick up thousands of shmuessen on rabeinu yonah ,chovos halevovos....mesilas yesharim.. BY FOCUSING ON ONE HUGE ISSUE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE IGNORING ALL THE OTHERS!! ( if the siyum hashas stresses torah study as a prime avodah does that mean they are ignoring "sholom bayis" personally ive been spending more time on the road & one will be amazed at the amount of quality shiurim avail.

secondly if the internet has the ability to magnify & publicise our shortcomings than this asifa would do much in the area of damage control limiting the chillul hashem somewhat. our own perception of am yisroel has been inluenced in a huge way.
not publicising our own failings is not a virtue but it makes sense!
the success at citifield is proof to the level of " lishmah" that these 2 gedolim have invested.

Your missing the point... this Asifah is about the Internet therefore Rav Hoffman points out since ur on the subject of the internet the Rabbis should addresses a much more important issue about the internet, which is Jews make chilul hashem almost daily and it's broadcasting on the NET...

10

 May 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM Ben_Kol Says:

Another excellent article by Rabbi Hoffman.

There are some yidden who believe that gezel akum is assur "only" because of Chillul HaShem. Therefore, they rationalize that if they can get away with it, it is permitted. That loophole no longer exists. Today, inappropriate behaviour is likely to be recorded on someone's cell phone camera, emails found on someone's server. And when the aveirah is discovered and publicized, IT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. There are videos on YouTube of yidden making a chillul Hashen that have millions of views.
If you care at all about Hashem and His Torah, please behave at all times with the utmost derech eretz and integrity. As Rabbi Hoffman writes, we must avoid even the appearance of impropriety (maris ha'ayin).

11

 May 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM shredready Says:

The problem here is not that a Chilul Hashem is caused when the crimes of Jewish people are broadcast across the internet for all the world to see. The problem is that there are Jews who are committing crimes in the first place. By pointing the finger of blame for this Chilul Hashem at the internet, we are no different than the small child who covers their eyes thinking that if they can’t see anyone, then no one can see them.


he is correct but what we see is the opposite. When something gets out most people robonum and 80% of the comments on this web site concentrate on who was the mosser? How could they talk to the NY Times, why did the person go to the police the media or whatever.

it seems most people are missing the boat, the messenger is not the problem people or blogs who expose it is not the problem, it is people who do these things that are the problem.


sadly this asifa will continue this mind set unless unles maybe they will allow Rabbi Yair Hoffman to speak

when is the last time we heard a asifa or anything like it, condemning fraud, scams. tax evasion, lying to get government programs? However, they are many times that we hear condemning people who expose it

12

 May 14, 2012 at 11:12 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Ben_Kol Says:

Another excellent article by Rabbi Hoffman.

There are some yidden who believe that gezel akum is assur "only" because of Chillul HaShem. Therefore, they rationalize that if they can get away with it, it is permitted. That loophole no longer exists. Today, inappropriate behaviour is likely to be recorded on someone's cell phone camera, emails found on someone's server. And when the aveirah is discovered and publicized, IT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. There are videos on YouTube of yidden making a chillul Hashen that have millions of views.
If you care at all about Hashem and His Torah, please behave at all times with the utmost derech eretz and integrity. As Rabbi Hoffman writes, we must avoid even the appearance of impropriety (maris ha'ayin).

Today, inappropriate behaviour is likely to be recorded on someone's cell phone camera, emails found on someone's server. And when the aveirah is discovered and publicized, IT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. There are videos on YouTube of yidden making a chillul Hashen that have millions of views.

it would be nice if emphasizes would be do not do it simply because it is wrong, instead of if one gets caught it will be a chillul hasem.

since the latter provides a loophole for many who think It is ok since I will not get caught, and it provides for the mindset that the problem is the exposure of the act and not the act itself

13

 May 14, 2012 at 11:18 AM moshe shmiel Says:

I think ppl are a little confused what a chilul hashem is. In my opinion a chilul hashem is to kick out boys from yeshiva. A chilul hashem that sep 1 girls have no school to go to. A chilul hashem is to force ppl to go to an asifa they aren't interested in... U get the drift...

14

 May 14, 2012 at 11:34 AM Anonymous Says:

רבי יוחנן בן ברוקא אומר, כל המחלל שם שמים בסתר נפרעים ממנו בגלוי. אחד שוגג ואחד מזיד בחילול השם.

The one misleading concept in this article, which I'm sure was unintended by the author but seems to be widely believed, is that chilul Hashem is that which is publicized. The above mishna makes it clear that publicity is not the criterion for something to be considered chilul Hashem. If the goyishe media reports it, it is because we are guilty for allowing such behavior. We have every right to have complaints about the anti-Jewish and anti-frum media. But the chilul Hashem issue is not about the reports or the getting caught. It is about our failure to direct our lives to fulfill the Will of Hashem in everything we do, in both physical and spiritual realms. We need to return to emphasizing ahavas and yir'as Hashem, not the externals of levush, photo ops, kavod, and the rest. When the insides are empty and bare, people look for the excitements offered by the yetzer horah.

15

 May 14, 2012 at 11:38 AM shredready Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Today, inappropriate behaviour is likely to be recorded on someone's cell phone camera, emails found on someone's server. And when the aveirah is discovered and publicized, IT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. There are videos on YouTube of yidden making a chillul Hashen that have millions of views.

it would be nice if emphasizes would be do not do it simply because it is wrong, instead of if one gets caught it will be a chillul hasem.

since the latter provides a loophole for many who think It is ok since I will not get caught, and it provides for the mindset that the problem is the exposure of the act and not the act itself

forgot to put my name to it

16

 May 14, 2012 at 11:55 AM Anonymous Says:

To internet or not to internet. A chasm of intellectual divide.

17

 May 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
UseYourHead Says:

What I found somewhat troubling is that the ads proclaim that the Gedolei HaDor have stated that it is a "Chovah" for every person to attend this event. However, I believe there are (ken yirbu) more than 40,000 frum men above the age of 18. So, this is literally impossible. How can they mandate the impossible and expect it to be taken seriously?

To "Use YourHead":

When the Gedolei Hador say " it is a"Chovah" for every person to attend this event", your job is to look at yourself and if you are able to get a ticket.

If you wanted it badly enough you can get a ticket. Don't be so worried about everyone else getting a ticket.

Each person has the "Chova" upon themselves.

I looked at myself and took it upon myself to get a ticket... I was able to do so. It's not so easy anymore because they are sold out, but their are some organizations/Shuls that have some extra tickets floating around.

The bottom line is if there is a will there is a way and whoever REALLY wants a ticket can get one.

18

 May 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM Ben_Kol Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Today, inappropriate behaviour is likely to be recorded on someone's cell phone camera, emails found on someone's server. And when the aveirah is discovered and publicized, IT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. There are videos on YouTube of yidden making a chillul Hashen that have millions of views.

it would be nice if emphasizes would be do not do it simply because it is wrong, instead of if one gets caught it will be a chillul hasem.

since the latter provides a loophole for many who think It is ok since I will not get caught, and it provides for the mindset that the problem is the exposure of the act and not the act itself

You are 100% right.
I was addressing those who already believe that gezel akum is assur only if you get caught, and I was pointing out to them that even that very shaky "heter" is no longer viable.

19

 May 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM Anonymous Says:

when the speed sign says 30 or 55 or 65 and our kids see us speeding, or when they see the parents talk on the cell while driving, they learn by example how not to take the law, any law, torah or otherwise seriously. why should they listen to the gedoilim? why should they listen to them when they become adults? they got "good" practical education that they will carry with them for life!!! this is a small but powerful example how we fail in our education.

20

 May 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
shredready Says:

The problem here is not that a Chilul Hashem is caused when the crimes of Jewish people are broadcast across the internet for all the world to see. The problem is that there are Jews who are committing crimes in the first place. By pointing the finger of blame for this Chilul Hashem at the internet, we are no different than the small child who covers their eyes thinking that if they can’t see anyone, then no one can see them.


he is correct but what we see is the opposite. When something gets out most people robonum and 80% of the comments on this web site concentrate on who was the mosser? How could they talk to the NY Times, why did the person go to the police the media or whatever.

it seems most people are missing the boat, the messenger is not the problem people or blogs who expose it is not the problem, it is people who do these things that are the problem.


sadly this asifa will continue this mind set unless unles maybe they will allow Rabbi Yair Hoffman to speak

when is the last time we heard a asifa or anything like it, condemning fraud, scams. tax evasion, lying to get government programs? However, they are many times that we hear condemning people who expose it

Two wrongs don't make a right. Any Jew who commits any sort of crime will be punished accordingly. But there is NEVER a justification for going to the press, especially anti-Jewish rags like the NYTimes. That is pure Chillul Hashem and accomplishes only the satisfaction of revenge and a massive sin.

21

 May 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
moshe shmiel Says:

I think ppl are a little confused what a chilul hashem is. In my opinion a chilul hashem is to kick out boys from yeshiva. A chilul hashem that sep 1 girls have no school to go to. A chilul hashem is to force ppl to go to an asifa they aren't interested in... U get the drift...

You are stating many examples of problems which infuriate you, and while you are right to be frustrated by them, does not necessarily mean they fall into the category of Chillul Hashem.

22

 May 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM Anonymous Says:

instead of transcending the moment and shedding their kavod for the sake of klal yisrael, we see a fight over who will sit more to the center. why should the tzibur have respect for what they have to say?

23

 May 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM Vasserman Says:

This asifa will ultimately be the cause for chillul Hashem. The media will be focused on the protesters who will be highlighting the problems of pedophilia which has been a very hot topic with a very tepid response on the part of the Gedolim. There is no large gathering or unified consensus on how to remove the scourge of molestation from our midst which is far more damaging to us than any internet site. Molestation also affects families who don't use the internet. It affects us all.

24

 May 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM confused Says:

It's all very nice to wipe off all current problems on the internet. But what about our so called chinuch leaders who are supposed to be our prime example and fail in every sense of the word.
who can blame my kids for going off the deres when they've been good abiding students. Not the smartest academicly. So they got a just above average Or just below average on their mid terms/finals and they studied. So comes the menahel/principal calls them aside in front of other students and washes down my kids as though something terrible just happened and cuz of them the world will collapse c"v. These kids come out feeling sorry they ever tried. It's not their fault. They feel belittled not worth an iota in the principles eyes. They were just wrung out like a piece of garbage. It only starts here. These kids are not given a chance to prove themselves better. Ah they have golden middos that means zero to todays principals. A 90% pass must do or else get lost. So these kids start spiralling downwards. In the goyshe world they'll be looked up at and admired despite their academic possibilities. So that's where they turn to to feel humane again.
another issue is, when there is a problem in a class that a menahel/principal MUST take care of and they don't cuz these teens "will outgrow????!!!" It. How then can it be that a suffering child won't look elsewhere to be loved instead of looked down at by peers.
how many kids are left at home or forced to attend public school despite the vast difference just cus the local schools would not accept them (who knows why? Money? Schools kovod?) Then we wonder so many of our children fall away...
YES!! Its not the internet it's the personal kovod our so called leaders are seeking. So get a life and change the asifas topic.

25

 May 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM moshe shmiel Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

You are stating many examples of problems which infuriate you, and while you are right to be frustrated by them, does not necessarily mean they fall into the category of Chillul Hashem.

That's exactly the problem u think chilul hashem means that when the school takes the kids to prospect park they should behave and not make a "chilul hashem" that's not what chilul hashem is all about!

26

 May 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM grandpajoe Says:

Im ani li mi li - we are responsible for our own actions - wheather we get up to go to shule in the morning, eating properly, behaving in public in a positive way. We frum jews are always in uniform, be it the Kippa, clothes, hats, tzisis hanging out, whatever - these are reminders that Hashem watches us we have to be our own policemen for use of a term.
The Asifa is telling the world the frum community can't handle it - it is washing our laundry in pulic. What should be done is asifa's in the yeshiva's and shules telling the people how to handle and work with the environment. What the article is saying is we have to make personal Asifa's

27

 May 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM Insider Says:

Yair Hoff,man you're great. However, forgive me, the discussion is the personal use of the internet, and that is what is being addressed. Once we're off topic, may as well talk about bitul zman and bitul Torah. Perhaps, stressing the use of the internet to learn Torah (hebrewbooks.org, torah.org, etc., etc.) would be infinitely more productive. Using the Asifa as an instuctional on exploiting the internet for learning Torah and doing chesed would be a much more powerful suggesstion. Yair, take it and run with it.

28

 May 14, 2012 at 01:13 PM myownopinion Says:

Reply to #24  
confused Says:

It's all very nice to wipe off all current problems on the internet. But what about our so called chinuch leaders who are supposed to be our prime example and fail in every sense of the word.
who can blame my kids for going off the deres when they've been good abiding students. Not the smartest academicly. So they got a just above average Or just below average on their mid terms/finals and they studied. So comes the menahel/principal calls them aside in front of other students and washes down my kids as though something terrible just happened and cuz of them the world will collapse c"v. These kids come out feeling sorry they ever tried. It's not their fault. They feel belittled not worth an iota in the principles eyes. They were just wrung out like a piece of garbage. It only starts here. These kids are not given a chance to prove themselves better. Ah they have golden middos that means zero to todays principals. A 90% pass must do or else get lost. So these kids start spiralling downwards. In the goyshe world they'll be looked up at and admired despite their academic possibilities. So that's where they turn to to feel humane again.
another issue is, when there is a problem in a class that a menahel/principal MUST take care of and they don't cuz these teens "will outgrow????!!!" It. How then can it be that a suffering child won't look elsewhere to be loved instead of looked down at by peers.
how many kids are left at home or forced to attend public school despite the vast difference just cus the local schools would not accept them (who knows why? Money? Schools kovod?) Then we wonder so many of our children fall away...
YES!! Its not the internet it's the personal kovod our so called leaders are seeking. So get a life and change the asifas topic.

As true and important as the article itself. You took the words out of my mouth.

29

 May 14, 2012 at 01:42 PM Anonymous Says:

I mostly agree with Rabbi Hoffman. But ultimately, we need "filters" on ourselves. When a person has his own "filter", meaning he has his own teivas under control and leads a ethical life not just among yidden, but also among goyim, that person will not need filters on other aspects of life. One cannot lead an erhlichdike existence if that person leads a double life by being dishonest with government programs and non-Jews alike. This is just chilul Hashem and hypocrisy of the worst kind.

30

 May 14, 2012 at 02:02 PM Heshy Says:

I bought extra tickets for friends but I think teenagers should not be allowed any cell phones that have computer connections. Also parents who need internet for work should keep their computers locked up in a room as if it were a loaded gun. Or the community should have a central location with hundreds of filtered computers available for adults needing them for work and not having to keep it at home. Another option is for local yeshiva heads to be connected to all parents computers and thus monitor any site the parent body acceses. Also the marriage age should be lowered to 16 for boys dropping out of yeshiva.

31

 May 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM a yid Says:

Reply to #11  
shredready Says:

The problem here is not that a Chilul Hashem is caused when the crimes of Jewish people are broadcast across the internet for all the world to see. The problem is that there are Jews who are committing crimes in the first place. By pointing the finger of blame for this Chilul Hashem at the internet, we are no different than the small child who covers their eyes thinking that if they can’t see anyone, then no one can see them.


he is correct but what we see is the opposite. When something gets out most people robonum and 80% of the comments on this web site concentrate on who was the mosser? How could they talk to the NY Times, why did the person go to the police the media or whatever.

it seems most people are missing the boat, the messenger is not the problem people or blogs who expose it is not the problem, it is people who do these things that are the problem.


sadly this asifa will continue this mind set unless unles maybe they will allow Rabbi Yair Hoffman to speak

when is the last time we heard a asifa or anything like it, condemning fraud, scams. tax evasion, lying to get government programs? However, they are many times that we hear condemning people who expose it

I agree, I am truly sceptical on how elaborate the speakers will be when it comes to curbing our own negative issues. More likely they will blame the internet as the cause of all bad etc... and it will truly be a missed opportunity.

But thanks for the Internet I am able to read amazing chizuk like this article from rabbi that understand what's going on. Certainly a confusing world we live in today....

32

 May 14, 2012 at 02:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
Heshy Says:

I bought extra tickets for friends but I think teenagers should not be allowed any cell phones that have computer connections. Also parents who need internet for work should keep their computers locked up in a room as if it were a loaded gun. Or the community should have a central location with hundreds of filtered computers available for adults needing them for work and not having to keep it at home. Another option is for local yeshiva heads to be connected to all parents computers and thus monitor any site the parent body acceses. Also the marriage age should be lowered to 16 for boys dropping out of yeshiva.

"Also the marriage age should be lowered to 16 for boys dropping out of yeshiva.”

Will he be able to support a wife and children at age 16? They can barely function now at that age. Shame on you for suggesting this.

33

 May 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
confused Says:

It's all very nice to wipe off all current problems on the internet. But what about our so called chinuch leaders who are supposed to be our prime example and fail in every sense of the word.
who can blame my kids for going off the deres when they've been good abiding students. Not the smartest academicly. So they got a just above average Or just below average on their mid terms/finals and they studied. So comes the menahel/principal calls them aside in front of other students and washes down my kids as though something terrible just happened and cuz of them the world will collapse c"v. These kids come out feeling sorry they ever tried. It's not their fault. They feel belittled not worth an iota in the principles eyes. They were just wrung out like a piece of garbage. It only starts here. These kids are not given a chance to prove themselves better. Ah they have golden middos that means zero to todays principals. A 90% pass must do or else get lost. So these kids start spiralling downwards. In the goyshe world they'll be looked up at and admired despite their academic possibilities. So that's where they turn to to feel humane again.
another issue is, when there is a problem in a class that a menahel/principal MUST take care of and they don't cuz these teens "will outgrow????!!!" It. How then can it be that a suffering child won't look elsewhere to be loved instead of looked down at by peers.
how many kids are left at home or forced to attend public school despite the vast difference just cus the local schools would not accept them (who knows why? Money? Schools kovod?) Then we wonder so many of our children fall away...
YES!! Its not the internet it's the personal kovod our so called leaders are seeking. So get a life and change the asifas topic.

You are certainly confused. There is no question that the internet presents a great challenge to all, and the risks are serious. Gedolei Yisroel, who are much smarter than you, have concluded that the asifa is a forum to address the problem. While we may be unsure or even skeptical, we need to shed our own egos, and follow the direction of our gedolim.

You are correct, there are other issues in Klal Yisroel, and many are serious. I could campaign about the complaints about our yeshivos as well as you, perhaps with an additional flair of eloquence. If you care to hold an asifa on that subject, go ahead and organize it. You might also find several gedolim that agree with you and the importance of the topic. But you have no right to tell this asifa what to discuss. Disagree if you wish, but recognize, as we all do, that their chochmoh is greater than ours.

34

 May 14, 2012 at 02:46 PM ayinglefunadorf Says:

Reply to #30  
Heshy Says:

I bought extra tickets for friends but I think teenagers should not be allowed any cell phones that have computer connections. Also parents who need internet for work should keep their computers locked up in a room as if it were a loaded gun. Or the community should have a central location with hundreds of filtered computers available for adults needing them for work and not having to keep it at home. Another option is for local yeshiva heads to be connected to all parents computers and thus monitor any site the parent body acceses. Also the marriage age should be lowered to 16 for boys dropping out of yeshiva.

"keep their computers locked up" How about the Heilige Torah? you lock it up? If not, how do you explain to your kids: The story with Noach daughters, Sdom, Miskav zochor, Miskav behemo?

35

 May 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM UseYourHead Says:

Reply to #32  
Anonymous Says:

"Also the marriage age should be lowered to 16 for boys dropping out of yeshiva.”

Will he be able to support a wife and children at age 16? They can barely function now at that age. Shame on you for suggesting this.

No, shame on you. The GEMARA teaches that it is mitzvah min hamuvchor to marry at 13.

36

 May 14, 2012 at 03:02 PM Lonewolf Says:

As Someone who has extensive experience with the OTD (off the derech) community , I can point to one of the big problems we have. Children today see Rebbe's and frum people keeping almost all mitzvos, with just 1 exception, for some this exception is "Veohavta lreiacha comocha" , for others its "Lo samoed al dam reechah" , for others yet its become a way of life living off the "Fetter" And for all of these They find a justification or Hetter.
The children however also want to omit only one mitzva, ( it always starts with only 1) since it's not kovod their after, they choose something else.
A bad example is being set by the emperor/s and when they find out he has no clothes ( anyone that can fight his brother or his brother in law has no clothes, what are they fighting for? Kovod? Money? Is it worth all the lost souls? If you're a true Tzadik Your followers will follow you regardless of the name of the congregation you're using. The Chillul H coming out of these fights is horrendous.)
That's an even bigger problem.

37

 May 14, 2012 at 03:18 PM Chova to attend: on "everyone"? Says:

What if you belong to the group that was not davkah invited and then reluctantly invited - is it a chova on them to attend also?

Like, did the belated invitation serve as a giluy da'as that they are indeed part of Klal Yisroel, or was the invitation simply like an onnas and kofoy shed - therefore we cannot take it as a yesod, binyan av and limud?

Is it indeed better to daven b'yechidus then in their minyan (even when a chiyuv)? Likewise if travelling, is it better to not eat their shabbos meals and instead simply buy the minimal non-kosher food to just survive (avoiding pikuach nefesh)?

38

 May 14, 2012 at 05:19 PM UriLevi Says:

Best editorial on V.I.N yet.

39

 May 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Great point regarding improving inner Yiras Shamayim. Proper Mussar Sefarim can be helpful. It is time, though, that the importance of studying Chasidus (especially Chabad Chasidus)be emphasized not just by Chabad Chasidim. This incredible comprehensive Limud has awakened hunreds of thousands of Yidden with inner Yiras Shamayim and spirit. Many people have not studied it due to false impressions and ideas of what this is about. Certainly Yiras Shamayim is ultimately dependent on the individual, but the inner connection of the Neshama these teachings accomplish by anyone who studies them cannot be overestimated..

40

 May 14, 2012 at 04:19 PM ayinglefunadorf Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

To "Use YourHead":

When the Gedolei Hador say " it is a"Chovah" for every person to attend this event", your job is to look at yourself and if you are able to get a ticket.

If you wanted it badly enough you can get a ticket. Don't be so worried about everyone else getting a ticket.

Each person has the "Chova" upon themselves.

I looked at myself and took it upon myself to get a ticket... I was able to do so. It's not so easy anymore because they are sold out, but their are some organizations/Shuls that have some extra tickets floating around.

The bottom line is if there is a will there is a way and whoever REALLY wants a ticket can get one.

" It is a Chovah for every person to attend this event" Every person means most of Lakewood and a small part of BP? Chassidim, Young Israel, Plain Yidden (Not Kollel) are not invited, or their Rabbis didnt approve it.

41

 May 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #37  
Chova to attend: on "everyone"? Says:

What if you belong to the group that was not davkah invited and then reluctantly invited - is it a chova on them to attend also?

Like, did the belated invitation serve as a giluy da'as that they are indeed part of Klal Yisroel, or was the invitation simply like an onnas and kofoy shed - therefore we cannot take it as a yesod, binyan av and limud?

Is it indeed better to daven b'yechidus then in their minyan (even when a chiyuv)? Likewise if travelling, is it better to not eat their shabbos meals and instead simply buy the minimal non-kosher food to just survive (avoiding pikuach nefesh)?

Chova to attend - You have a valid point but what could you do - as #33 said "that their chochmoh is greater than ours." This leads me conclude that we are dealing with leadership issues. I wonder who will point out to the rabbis' who support this asifa that we are dealing with flawed leadership.

42

 May 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM maxedout Says:

I dont know about everyone else, but I wish this stupid asifa would just be over already.

43

 May 14, 2012 at 06:13 PM sechelyoshor Says:

Reply to #40  
ayinglefunadorf Says:

" It is a Chovah for every person to attend this event" Every person means most of Lakewood and a small part of BP? Chassidim, Young Israel, Plain Yidden (Not Kollel) are not invited, or their Rabbis didnt approve it.

the problem with you, yingle, is that you live in a dorf. Now if knew where to live, you'd be part of klal yisroel too!

44

 May 14, 2012 at 08:44 PM shmiell Says:

Rabbi Hoffman, you have a very valid point, which indeed is something which should be mentioned. Many Gedolim of previous generations expressed similar ideas when various technologies became available, such as telephones and cameras; we are all familiar with the Mishna in Ovos: "da ma limaala mimcha, ayin roeh v'ozen shomaas" and you have certainly made the case that the internet teaches us "v'chol maasecha basefer nichtovim" and may I add "vinechtomim l'alter" because people automatically will believe whatever loshon hora they hear or read, thus effectively "sealing the case" before the trial has begun.
This, however, is only one issue; the problem of internet is multifaceted, and there are many issues which need to be addressed.
(Of course, whoever releases the information or attracts the media's attention is guilty of loshon hora, which is exponentially magnified, as you have pointed out; the organizers of the "counter demonstration" should take this into account)

My only question to you is: if you truly mean this Lsheim Shomayim, why don't you speak to the people in charge of the asifa? Why bring it to VIN to open another round of bashing? Call your "close contacts" instead!

45

 May 14, 2012 at 08:45 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #5  
shmielglassman Says:

very good points rav hoffman
all the gedolim that will grace the dais at citi field spend the other 364 days a year teaching by example & by 1000's of shmuessen STRESSING EXACTLY YOUR POINTS - one can pick up thousands of shmuessen on rabeinu yonah ,chovos halevovos....mesilas yesharim.. BY FOCUSING ON ONE HUGE ISSUE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE IGNORING ALL THE OTHERS!! ( if the siyum hashas stresses torah study as a prime avodah does that mean they are ignoring "sholom bayis" personally ive been spending more time on the road & one will be amazed at the amount of quality shiurim avail.

secondly if the internet has the ability to magnify & publicise our shortcomings than this asifa would do much in the area of damage control limiting the chillul hashem somewhat. our own perception of am yisroel has been inluenced in a huge way.
not publicising our own failings is not a virtue but it makes sense!
the success at citifield is proof to the level of " lishmah" that these 2 gedolim have invested.

Before we count the "success" of this aseifa lets understand and realize that the leaders are already "back peddling" and have changed their agendas from "removing the internet" to "learning how to filter the internet". We all knew the real purpose of the aseifa and that is to stop everyone from getting the information that they couldn't get before the internet. THEY don't want anyone to know what "they" or so many of "them" are doing wrong and are doing against the "TORAH". What the author here is saying is so on the mark and believe me I don't agree with him very often. In this case he has hit the nail on the head. I would go one step further and say, if they don't take this opportunity to stress "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omed", then they will have lost a tremendous opportunity, because that is the basic foundation of Yiddishkeit and our moral values and moral code.

We are here to serve Hashem and follow the Torah. Hashem does not sleep, nor does he take lunch or stop for breaks; nor does he go on vacation. He sees and knows everything we do, everything. Whether we go into areas on the internet that we shouldn't or harm others in private while we pretend to be Tzaddikim (cont

46

 May 14, 2012 at 06:27 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #3  
UseYourHead Says:

What I found somewhat troubling is that the ads proclaim that the Gedolei HaDor have stated that it is a "Chovah" for every person to attend this event. However, I believe there are (ken yirbu) more than 40,000 frum men above the age of 18. So, this is literally impossible. How can they mandate the impossible and expect it to be taken seriously?

Oimdim tzifufim umishtachavim revochim.

You just have to live comfortably enough in NY to think NY is Yerusholayim and after a little while Citifield starts to look like a new bais hamikdash.

47

 May 14, 2012 at 06:40 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

To "Use YourHead":

When the Gedolei Hador say " it is a"Chovah" for every person to attend this event", your job is to look at yourself and if you are able to get a ticket.

If you wanted it badly enough you can get a ticket. Don't be so worried about everyone else getting a ticket.

Each person has the "Chova" upon themselves.

I looked at myself and took it upon myself to get a ticket... I was able to do so. It's not so easy anymore because they are sold out, but their are some organizations/Shuls that have some extra tickets floating around.

The bottom line is if there is a will there is a way and whoever REALLY wants a ticket can get one.

I beg to differ.

One can certainly make a convincing case that rabbnim and roshai yeshiva declare attending an event in a forty thousand seat facility an absolute obligation for hundreds of thousands of people diminishes the prestige of all those involved, beginning, as always, from the top down.

Chachomim, hizoharu bidivraichem........

48

 May 14, 2012 at 06:51 PM ayinglefunadorf Says:

Reply to #43  
sechelyoshor Says:

the problem with you, yingle, is that you live in a dorf. Now if knew where to live, you'd be part of klal yisroel too!

B'H I am not part of the Klal who need this asife. Following the footsteps of frumme Yidden who lived in the dorf of Satmar,Munkatch,Kassow,Lubavitch,Lizensk,Bobev,Klausenburgh, etc. Instead of the Huge cities os Paris,Moskva,Bucharest etc. If you would get out from your big city you would see the true Yiddishkeit. Tzou Urue ezehu derech hayosor. In Englisch: Get up and get out to see the right way. Than you wont need it either. You will be to busy to learn, chesed, business etc with the internet

49

 May 14, 2012 at 07:13 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #30  
Heshy Says:

I bought extra tickets for friends but I think teenagers should not be allowed any cell phones that have computer connections. Also parents who need internet for work should keep their computers locked up in a room as if it were a loaded gun. Or the community should have a central location with hundreds of filtered computers available for adults needing them for work and not having to keep it at home. Another option is for local yeshiva heads to be connected to all parents computers and thus monitor any site the parent body acceses. Also the marriage age should be lowered to 16 for boys dropping out of yeshiva.

Why? Are you a divorce lawyer or simply a concerned citizen worried that the divorce rate in our communities isn't high enough yet?

Unless of course you are in the asifa business and hope to make money when someone reacts to the glut of divorced 17 year olds with another asifa?

50

 May 14, 2012 at 07:15 PM 4dr8er Says:

Reply to #3  
UseYourHead Says:

What I found somewhat troubling is that the ads proclaim that the Gedolei HaDor have stated that it is a "Chovah" for every person to attend this event. However, I believe there are (ken yirbu) more than 40,000 frum men above the age of 18. So, this is literally impossible. How can they mandate the impossible and expect it to be taken seriously?

For those of us who cannot attend will it be broadcast on the internet?

51

 May 14, 2012 at 07:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

To "Use YourHead":

When the Gedolei Hador say " it is a"Chovah" for every person to attend this event", your job is to look at yourself and if you are able to get a ticket.

If you wanted it badly enough you can get a ticket. Don't be so worried about everyone else getting a ticket.

Each person has the "Chova" upon themselves.

I looked at myself and took it upon myself to get a ticket... I was able to do so. It's not so easy anymore because they are sold out, but their are some organizations/Shuls that have some extra tickets floating around.

The bottom line is if there is a will there is a way and whoever REALLY wants a ticket can get one.

How about the Rav who this past Motzei Shabbos gave out 300 tickets and told his crowd, if you want to come back to my shiur you have to go to the Asifah. The tone projected by the Gedolim is not a positive one. My Rav is not going either.

52

 May 14, 2012 at 07:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #40  
ayinglefunadorf Says:

" It is a Chovah for every person to attend this event" Every person means most of Lakewood and a small part of BP? Chassidim, Young Israel, Plain Yidden (Not Kollel) are not invited, or their Rabbis didnt approve it.

Nor Lubavitch, nor Satmar Aronis, now that's a lot of people!!

53

 May 14, 2012 at 08:42 PM NFH1956 Says:

Reply to #11  
shredready Says:

The problem here is not that a Chilul Hashem is caused when the crimes of Jewish people are broadcast across the internet for all the world to see. The problem is that there are Jews who are committing crimes in the first place. By pointing the finger of blame for this Chilul Hashem at the internet, we are no different than the small child who covers their eyes thinking that if they can’t see anyone, then no one can see them.


he is correct but what we see is the opposite. When something gets out most people robonum and 80% of the comments on this web site concentrate on who was the mosser? How could they talk to the NY Times, why did the person go to the police the media or whatever.

it seems most people are missing the boat, the messenger is not the problem people or blogs who expose it is not the problem, it is people who do these things that are the problem.


sadly this asifa will continue this mind set unless unles maybe they will allow Rabbi Yair Hoffman to speak

when is the last time we heard a asifa or anything like it, condemning fraud, scams. tax evasion, lying to get government programs? However, they are many times that we hear condemning people who expose it

When the Spinka Rebbe got out of jail (he served time for money laundering) he teamed with Agudah for a series of meetings to clarify the laws of non-profit organizatins.

54

 May 14, 2012 at 08:50 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #5  
shmielglassman Says:

very good points rav hoffman
all the gedolim that will grace the dais at citi field spend the other 364 days a year teaching by example & by 1000's of shmuessen STRESSING EXACTLY YOUR POINTS - one can pick up thousands of shmuessen on rabeinu yonah ,chovos halevovos....mesilas yesharim.. BY FOCUSING ON ONE HUGE ISSUE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE IGNORING ALL THE OTHERS!! ( if the siyum hashas stresses torah study as a prime avodah does that mean they are ignoring "sholom bayis" personally ive been spending more time on the road & one will be amazed at the amount of quality shiurim avail.

secondly if the internet has the ability to magnify & publicise our shortcomings than this asifa would do much in the area of damage control limiting the chillul hashem somewhat. our own perception of am yisroel has been inluenced in a huge way.
not publicising our own failings is not a virtue but it makes sense!
the success at citifield is proof to the level of " lishmah" that these 2 gedolim have invested.

Cont.
in public. Hashem has everything written down on our individual pages and we will have to give an accounting, our din v'cheshbon after 120 for every single one of our sins and actions. We can fool others and maybe even ourselves but we can't fool Hashem. We must always remember that we stand before Melech Malchei Hamelachim, and we must always conduct ourselves accordingly. If our Gedolei Hador would use this very unique opportunity to make that message very, very clear and burn that message into the hearts, minds and souls of our kehilos, then there would be no need to discuss the dangers of the internet and they would NOT have to worry about what information is being released and circulated.

It is very hurtful that they choose to worry about what information is being exposed rather than combat the the harmful and dangerous practices of abuse and the murder of innocent neshomos instead of protecting the guilty. The innocent and abused are doubly punished and abused by the guilty are protected and honored. For shame. Hashem is crying both for the innocent neshomas and for the horrific mistakes that we make in handling these "rodfim" who need to be put out of busine

55

 May 14, 2012 at 08:53 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #10  
Ben_Kol Says:

Another excellent article by Rabbi Hoffman.

There are some yidden who believe that gezel akum is assur "only" because of Chillul HaShem. Therefore, they rationalize that if they can get away with it, it is permitted. That loophole no longer exists. Today, inappropriate behaviour is likely to be recorded on someone's cell phone camera, emails found on someone's server. And when the aveirah is discovered and publicized, IT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. There are videos on YouTube of yidden making a chillul Hashen that have millions of views.
If you care at all about Hashem and His Torah, please behave at all times with the utmost derech eretz and integrity. As Rabbi Hoffman writes, we must avoid even the appearance of impropriety (maris ha'ayin).

How sad that the Rabbonim are more concerned about what others think that what Hashem thinks. Hashem is crying buckets and buckets of tears over all the horrible aveiros that are being committed. Our Rabbonim and Daas Torah should truly address THAT before anything else!!!!

56

 May 14, 2012 at 09:00 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

To "Use YourHead":

When the Gedolei Hador say " it is a"Chovah" for every person to attend this event", your job is to look at yourself and if you are able to get a ticket.

If you wanted it badly enough you can get a ticket. Don't be so worried about everyone else getting a ticket.

Each person has the "Chova" upon themselves.

I looked at myself and took it upon myself to get a ticket... I was able to do so. It's not so easy anymore because they are sold out, but their are some organizations/Shuls that have some extra tickets floating around.

The bottom line is if there is a will there is a way and whoever REALLY wants a ticket can get one.

If the topic being discussed was "the most dangerous issues effecting yiddin today, Hypocrisy and Technology" I would be out hawking tickets myself!!!!! If the Rabbonim were discussing how to keep children safe, how to report molesters to the police, how they are no longer protecting them, how to be the best Yiddishe role models for their children, students, neighbors, etc; if they were speaking about teaching children Yiddishkeit with love and how to always be b'simcha, then I would take out my own ads to promote it.

57

 May 14, 2012 at 09:02 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

when the speed sign says 30 or 55 or 65 and our kids see us speeding, or when they see the parents talk on the cell while driving, they learn by example how not to take the law, any law, torah or otherwise seriously. why should they listen to the gedoilim? why should they listen to them when they become adults? they got "good" practical education that they will carry with them for life!!! this is a small but powerful example how we fail in our education.

Agreed, parents and mechanchim both the Rebbes in school and in shul are all partners in the chinuch of a child. As are the neighbors, relatives and friends. And no one should take that obligation lightly. Everyone should realize that kids see everything you want them to see and everything you don't want them to see. Just as Hashem does. So everyone needs to learn to always be on their very best behavior.

58

 May 14, 2012 at 10:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
UseYourHead Says:

No, shame on you. The GEMARA teaches that it is mitzvah min hamuvchor to marry at 13.

“No, shame on you. The GEMARA teaches that it is mitzvah min hamuvchor to marry at 13.”

You can let your kinder marry at 13. Mine are waiting until they are college graduates. By then, they will be mature and able to stand on their own 2 feet.
CPS should investigate what is happening in your house.

59

 May 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM ChachoMoe Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

You are certainly confused. There is no question that the internet presents a great challenge to all, and the risks are serious. Gedolei Yisroel, who are much smarter than you, have concluded that the asifa is a forum to address the problem. While we may be unsure or even skeptical, we need to shed our own egos, and follow the direction of our gedolim.

You are correct, there are other issues in Klal Yisroel, and many are serious. I could campaign about the complaints about our yeshivos as well as you, perhaps with an additional flair of eloquence. If you care to hold an asifa on that subject, go ahead and organize it. You might also find several gedolim that agree with you and the importance of the topic. But you have no right to tell this asifa what to discuss. Disagree if you wish, but recognize, as we all do, that their chochmoh is greater than ours.

I don't know how confused he is, however, he indeed has a very valid point, as the Internet is an issue everyone is aware of, and the solution will most likely come from each individual on his own, whether there is an Asifa or not. whereas , the issue (seems like he is a victim himself, may hashem guide him) all these mosdos pose, is something that could indeed be solved ViA all these Gedolim; an Asifa with official takunos I.e regarding, accepting, expelling, etc. implementing and demanding every Mossod to follow is not so far fetched.

60

 May 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM elliot770 Says:

TO comment 39Although I agree learning chasidus chabad brings yiras shomayim it is naive to think the yeshiva world will embrace this limud. R ather there should be more of an emphasis on the lost learning of sifrei yira and mussar in yeshivos.Tounge in cheek I would call it mussar seder alov hasholom in yeshivos.Although I am Chabad by choice, I can still remember with awe Rav Elya Svei Z"L learning mussar in Philadelphia Yeshiva. Anyone Who heard Rav Shmuel Berenbaums Z"L shmuesen as I did his total comittment to learning lishmah was left with an life long impression.The way to fight this problem is to be mechazek learning ToraH and sifrei yirah and mussar .Those who want to learn chasidus should increase in chasidus . The main point is to ad in Torah. Making rallys and causing bitul Torah to yeshivaleit to fill up a stadeum is not in my humble opinion a way to combat the problem.I saw Rav Shmuel Berenbaum ZlL chol hamoed raising money his first question always before he asked for a donation VOS LERNST DU.I saw a diferent generation . He was my guest chol hamoed 30 yrs in Chicago Sukos. He came back12 am and was up 5 am learning .I doubt he would have sanctioned mass bitul tora.

61

 May 15, 2012 at 12:11 AM A Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

How about the Rav who this past Motzei Shabbos gave out 300 tickets and told his crowd, if you want to come back to my shiur you have to go to the Asifah. The tone projected by the Gedolim is not a positive one. My Rav is not going either.

One can only hope that this Rav's next shiur has 0 attendance. Threats are a poor way to get positive results.

62

 May 15, 2012 at 12:13 AM GreatGuy1 Says:

Thank u Rabbi Hoffman for this wonderful article
You are so right, this is the real solution to this whole internet problem
Its easy to say that we have no solution then let's gather 50K people and....

But to change our education system, upgarde our skills and manors, that's nobody willing to do

Why??
Probably there is no money or kuved involved in it
So that's how we look

63

 May 15, 2012 at 12:35 AM ablydec Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Brilliant article.

I hope there is more an emphasis on this than on looking on stupid porn pictures.

Rabbi Hoffman, I think this is a bigger danger.

To #6. I hope you realize that "looking at stupid porn pictures" is not just a lack of tzniyus, it is also an aveira bein adam l'chaveiro, degrading the tzelem elokim of the women (or men, or children) involved.

64

 May 15, 2012 at 02:11 AM el-duderino Says:

right on! I loved the op/ed rabbi h
2 points:
Of course we must worry about chillul H but the essence is shlaimus and avodas H. Chessed, hatavah, being dovek/domeh to H. BEING REAL. As rebbe said Tzu zayn gut un frum. Gadlus haadam, shlaimos, emmes, healthy relationships with others, and oneself, useful occupation, ameilus betorah, dedication to ones wife & kids etc. (mussar is the path to these). these are the cornerstone of chinuch. If you have these Kiddush H and no chillul H is memaila.
one of the biggest (and causative factors in most deviant behavior) issues we have is the systemic fakeness and judgementalism in the "Torah" world. We are so neurotic about how we appear and how "frum" we are. It all starts in my opinion with the idolizing and pedestalizing of gedolim and ends with ridiculous pressuring of our kids to be like them. we have lost the ability to be genuine ESPECIALLY ABOUT RELIGION or to be open at all about our issues if they want to help the issue the "gedolim" need to get normal. try on a grey hat or something. PREACH GUTSKAYT! JUST BE NICE! internet is not the problem I hope this asifa doesnt turn out to be a big Chillul H & cluelessness on display

65

 May 15, 2012 at 03:40 AM Sherree Says:

I have called local yeshivas in the past to send bochurim to make up a minyan in a shiva house and I was told they can't accommodate because it is a bitul Amanda torah. Go figure.

66

 May 15, 2012 at 08:19 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #45  
Sherree Says:

Before we count the "success" of this aseifa lets understand and realize that the leaders are already "back peddling" and have changed their agendas from "removing the internet" to "learning how to filter the internet". We all knew the real purpose of the aseifa and that is to stop everyone from getting the information that they couldn't get before the internet. THEY don't want anyone to know what "they" or so many of "them" are doing wrong and are doing against the "TORAH". What the author here is saying is so on the mark and believe me I don't agree with him very often. In this case he has hit the nail on the head. I would go one step further and say, if they don't take this opportunity to stress "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omed", then they will have lost a tremendous opportunity, because that is the basic foundation of Yiddishkeit and our moral values and moral code.

We are here to serve Hashem and follow the Torah. Hashem does not sleep, nor does he take lunch or stop for breaks; nor does he go on vacation. He sees and knows everything we do, everything. Whether we go into areas on the internet that we shouldn't or harm others in private while we pretend to be Tzaddikim (cont

Sherree:

Much of your comments after the first paragraph make up what is preached by others here. I hope to hear those messages at the Asifa, and I hope these messages become center stage for all of chinuch by schools and parents alike.

Your opening statement here is untrue and misleading. The asifa was never to ban anything, or "removing the internet". In the first place, it was to address guidelines for how to manage it so that we maximize protection from its dangers while recognizing that it is becoming a greater force in our lives. It is a lie that the goal is to stop the public from finding out information that is degrading to the gedolim. There are always multiple locations where this information is available, and no one will succeed in hiding it. Remember that stories spread like wildfire long before digital technology. The era of "banning" is coming to a close. Those in authority positions are learning how useless it is.

With all my skepticism, I have high hopes for this asifa. If we invest our energy into looking what to gain, we'll end up much happier. And we might even grow in kedusha.

67

 May 15, 2012 at 09:22 AM Butterfly Says:

If you must have a computer at home for work and your kids MIGHT go on it, you can install software that you can plau back to tell you what sites were used etc. You can block all sites you do not want!! You just need the right software!!

68

 May 15, 2012 at 09:36 AM BanningFacebook Says:

Reply to #66  
Anonymous Says:

Sherree:

Much of your comments after the first paragraph make up what is preached by others here. I hope to hear those messages at the Asifa, and I hope these messages become center stage for all of chinuch by schools and parents alike.

Your opening statement here is untrue and misleading. The asifa was never to ban anything, or "removing the internet". In the first place, it was to address guidelines for how to manage it so that we maximize protection from its dangers while recognizing that it is becoming a greater force in our lives. It is a lie that the goal is to stop the public from finding out information that is degrading to the gedolim. There are always multiple locations where this information is available, and no one will succeed in hiding it. Remember that stories spread like wildfire long before digital technology. The era of "banning" is coming to a close. Those in authority positions are learning how useless it is.

With all my skepticism, I have high hopes for this asifa. If we invest our energy into looking what to gain, we'll end up much happier. And we might even grow in kedusha.

Please don't be delusional. They WILL ban things. The message will be that yes, the internet is here to stay but stay away from social media such as Facebook, twitter, etc. This asifa indicates nothing more than that we have a serious leadership problem within the ultra-orthodox.

69

 May 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

How about the Rav who this past Motzei Shabbos gave out 300 tickets and told his crowd, if you want to come back to my shiur you have to go to the Asifah. The tone projected by the Gedolim is not a positive one. My Rav is not going either.

Where can I get ahodl of some tickets? I would like to scalp them.

70

 May 15, 2012 at 10:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #58  
Anonymous Says:

“No, shame on you. The GEMARA teaches that it is mitzvah min hamuvchor to marry at 13.”

You can let your kinder marry at 13. Mine are waiting until they are college graduates. By then, they will be mature and able to stand on their own 2 feet.
CPS should investigate what is happening in your house.

I got news for you dope, unless your kids are frum and in yeshiva learning, there is a high likelihood that they are not waiting till after college to get to know the opposite gender in an intimate manner.
Most non frim teens and their parents consider relations to be normal from 13 and up. That is why prophylactics are distributed and encouraged in the public schools.

71

 May 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM WhyTheNameCalling? Says:

Reply to #70  
Anonymous Says:

I got news for you dope, unless your kids are frum and in yeshiva learning, there is a high likelihood that they are not waiting till after college to get to know the opposite gender in an intimate manner.
Most non frim teens and their parents consider relations to be normal from 13 and up. That is why prophylactics are distributed and encouraged in the public schools.

Mr. #70, why the name calling? Why not just stick to the topic? No need to perpetuate name calling (sadly, probably a learned skill in yeshiva)

72

 May 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM Sherree Says:

Reply to #66  
Anonymous Says:

Sherree:

Much of your comments after the first paragraph make up what is preached by others here. I hope to hear those messages at the Asifa, and I hope these messages become center stage for all of chinuch by schools and parents alike.

Your opening statement here is untrue and misleading. The asifa was never to ban anything, or "removing the internet". In the first place, it was to address guidelines for how to manage it so that we maximize protection from its dangers while recognizing that it is becoming a greater force in our lives. It is a lie that the goal is to stop the public from finding out information that is degrading to the gedolim. There are always multiple locations where this information is available, and no one will succeed in hiding it. Remember that stories spread like wildfire long before digital technology. The era of "banning" is coming to a close. Those in authority positions are learning how useless it is.

With all my skepticism, I have high hopes for this asifa. If we invest our energy into looking what to gain, we'll end up much happier. And we might even grow in kedusha.

I have lost my faith in the system and trust only in Hashem. Leopards don't change their spots, we will soon find out what the true agenda is.

73

 May 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM Sherree Says:

Reply to #70  
Anonymous Says:

I got news for you dope, unless your kids are frum and in yeshiva learning, there is a high likelihood that they are not waiting till after college to get to know the opposite gender in an intimate manner.
Most non frim teens and their parents consider relations to be normal from 13 and up. That is why prophylactics are distributed and encouraged in the public schools.

Unfortunately many frum teens from the age of thirteen and up and even younger are also in this matzav and it wasn't because of the Internet. It is because the system in place has failed them. Kids are not taught the beauty of tznius, the holieness and specialness of staying pure and innocent until you marry and being able to NOT bring any ghosts into your marriage, relationship and your bedroom. That in itself is the most special gift one spouse can give another. But is that taught to kids? Is the joys of being an oved Hashem ever taught to kids? Is the beauty and fulfillment of doing a mitzva taught after preschool? Do you ever hear any joy or singing in the classrooms passed preschool? Only Hashem is perfect the rest of us just have to settle on being human and living life at our biological stages, so if the system would just allow our kids to be kids, and stop forcing them to grow up so early, maybe they will turn out to be well adjusted happy Jews.

74

 May 15, 2012 at 11:49 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #68  
BanningFacebook Says:

Please don't be delusional. They WILL ban things. The message will be that yes, the internet is here to stay but stay away from social media such as Facebook, twitter, etc. This asifa indicates nothing more than that we have a serious leadership problem within the ultra-orthodox.

That will be a good thing. The position, if that's what is taken, is that social media is off limits would be wonderful. Computers and internet are needed to run most businesses and to conduct other transactions. The artificial "relationships" done through Facebook and the others serve no useful purpose and constitute a formidable danger that is otherwise not controllable. There are many other ways to interact with friends and family. That includes phones, and the old fashioned face-to-face contact. The social media is one form of exposure to something that has no real need, just convenience and entertainment. That should be banned. I have no clue if this is the direction of the asifa, but I would welcome that enthusiastically. It just makes sense.

75

 May 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM Mendy162 Says:

>We stand now in...Sefirah, in a state of mourning for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died tragically in a plague. The Gemorah in Yevamos (62b) states clearly that their Aveirah was that they did not accord each other the proper respect.<

While I agree with the thesis of the article, one of the goals of Yiddishkeit must be emes. And the emes is that R. Akiva's students did not die due to lack of respect. The Gemorah did what people used to do before modern science. It attributed natural phenomena to demons' or gods' punishing man.

Polio/smallpox were plagues. Rabbanim used to tell victims that they must have done aveiros (sins). Along came Dr. Jonas Salk with his microscope and discovered the true cause--a virus--and polio was eradicated.

Does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Salk cured sin?

The 20th century saw over 100 million people killed by Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and genocide in Serbia, Rwanda, etc. Perhaps the most depraved century ever. And Hashem rewarded man for this depravity by doubling our life spans from 45 to 85?

It's this type of information that makes gedolim afraid of the internet.

Yiddishkeit contains much superstition.

76

 May 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM SocialMediaIsHereToStay Says:

Reply to #74  
Anonymous Says:

That will be a good thing. The position, if that's what is taken, is that social media is off limits would be wonderful. Computers and internet are needed to run most businesses and to conduct other transactions. The artificial "relationships" done through Facebook and the others serve no useful purpose and constitute a formidable danger that is otherwise not controllable. There are many other ways to interact with friends and family. That includes phones, and the old fashioned face-to-face contact. The social media is one form of exposure to something that has no real need, just convenience and entertainment. That should be banned. I have no clue if this is the direction of the asifa, but I would welcome that enthusiastically. It just makes sense.

Mr. #75, I hear you. All your points are valid points. That said, we can't wish social media away especially via banning them. The younger generation will be using them no matter what. Current percentage of teens using social media is staggering and will only grow. So we need to develop a value system which will guide the upcoming generation how to use these tools in a proper manner.
For the past 15 year our leadership failed to see that the internet is an interactive medium hence it would be impossible to ban (unlike TV which is a one way medium). Social media is evermore interactive. So I pray that at the asifa our leadership stays away from banning anything but instead talk about using these technologies in healthy way. Talking about the proper use of technology should not be viewed as a compromise to our yiddisha values but rather a catalyst for enhancing our values. There are segments of our population (e.g. some segments who are not attending the asifa) who are actually using these tools to promote Jewish values in English and in even in Yiddish.

77

 May 15, 2012 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #70  
Anonymous Says:

I got news for you dope, unless your kids are frum and in yeshiva learning, there is a high likelihood that they are not waiting till after college to get to know the opposite gender in an intimate manner.
Most non frim teens and their parents consider relations to be normal from 13 and up. That is why prophylactics are distributed and encouraged in the public schools.

"“I got news for you dope, unless your kids are frum and in yeshiva learning, there is a high likelihood that they are not waiting till after college to get to know the opposite gender in an intimate manner."

Who are you to call me dope? I'm a frum medical doctor and my kids desire to wait until after college to get married. My family does not agree with having our kinder marry at age 13. Hundreds of my patients get married at 16,17 and 18 and I see the myriad of problems this causes. I think you should apologize to me for being so nasty. I am looking out for the welfare of all of our children, not just mine.

78

 May 15, 2012 at 02:45 PM FredE Says:

Reply to #68  
BanningFacebook Says:

Please don't be delusional. They WILL ban things. The message will be that yes, the internet is here to stay but stay away from social media such as Facebook, twitter, etc. This asifa indicates nothing more than that we have a serious leadership problem within the ultra-orthodox.

I have to agree. The whole tone is Bdeieved. Nebich, we have the internet. What a shame! Perhaps we can minimize it in someway. Oy Lanu...

The Information Highway is not their thing. Clearly, what they are afraid of is not stupid porn. Its the free flow of information critical of them and their community.

79

 May 15, 2012 at 06:33 PM Anonymous Says:

A true ASSIFA for the sake of HASHEM MUST INCLUDE EVERYBODY AS MOSHE REBBUNE SAID TO PARO ; MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN WILL GO TO SERVE HASHEM'.

80

 May 15, 2012 at 04:25 PM FredE Says:

Reply to #78  
FredE Says:

I have to agree. The whole tone is Bdeieved. Nebich, we have the internet. What a shame! Perhaps we can minimize it in someway. Oy Lanu...

The Information Highway is not their thing. Clearly, what they are afraid of is not stupid porn. Its the free flow of information critical of them and their community.

Let me give an example of what I mean here. Last year, in the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid, a story broke of how a Charedi yiddish newspaper photoshopped out women -- Hiliary Clinton and a CIA counter terrorism chief -- from a photo. There was of course widespread condemnation for such behavior.

Now, I would argue that that publicity is a good thing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. But I think the Charedi leadership turned around and blamed the evil internet.
This is exactly what they want to avoid... not by modifying their behavior, but by restricting information.

81

 May 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM Sherree Says:

As far as social media is concerned lets just look at the theory and how it works. The roshei yeshivas decide twenty years ago that they would throw kids out for breaking the rules as an example in order to steer other students and scare them into conforming. They believed it would take only a few examples to get the point across and therefore only a few sacrifices. Please notice how wrong they were and how many actual korbonos have been slaughtered and sacrificed in the scheme of throwing out the "bad" children to protect the good. All they did was open the door wide by not dealing with issues and just allow an exodus to happen.

Did they learn from this? No! Of course not, they never do anything wrong, it is the kids and the parents that are always at fault, so now they continue to ignore the internal problems and they look at the external areas where the olam turn to deal with issues they themselves refuse to deal with.

You say kids should pick up the phone, or go visit? When should they go? Between the many hours of busy work the schools give them or the late hour they come home? Or should they chat at the very limited recess times they have. I shadowed a child many years ago in the third grade in a local yeshivish yeshiva. The teacher came back to the recess very disturbed. She said she just came from a meeting with the principal and she won't be coming back next year. She said he is nuts. He wants to cancel English recess so he can give limudei kodesh an extra 20 minutes next year. She almost cried, it was the third grade, they were only 7 and 8 year olds. They needed the break.

82

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