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New York - 170 Days Before Siyum Hashas, Agudah Pulls Plug On Siyum App After Rabbis Rebuke

Published on: July 17, 2019 08:00 PM
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New York - An app created by Agudath Israel of America to promote Torah learning in advance of the upcoming global Siyum Hashas of Daf Yomi has been retracted in response to complaints from several rabbis who felt that it might encourage smartphone use.

The Siyum App is just one of multiple initiatives launched by the Agudah to increase Torah study as the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi draws to an end, with tens of thousands expected to celebrate its conclusion at MetLife Stadium on January 1st, 2020.  In a statement released today, Agudah executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel noted that the app was never intended to encourage smartphone use and was instead developed to give existing smartphone users a platform to further their Torah study.

Previously available for free on Google Play and the App Store, the Siyum App gave users the ability to choose from a variety of topics including Daf Yomi, Mishna, Jewish law and the weekly Torah reading, creating a customized learning schedule based on a chosen end date.  It also included a full media library of Jewish texts and lectures, review questions and daily learning reminders.

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Rabbi Zwiebel explained that he had heard from an unspecified number of rabbis, some of whom are rosh yeshivas, that the app undermined their efforts to minimize smartphone use and also seemed to imply the Agudah’s tacit endorsement of the devices. Those concerns were brought to the Agudah’s rabbinical advisory board, Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America, who acknowledged that while smartphones may be required for some in business and that multiple Torah-related apps exist, an official Agudah app was an entirely different matter.

“They felt an organization like Agudas Yisroel - whose hallmark has always been uncompromising fealty to da’as Torah and the highest Torah standards- must avoid taking any steps that could be misinterpreted as encouraging those who do not need smartphones to start using them,” said Rabbi Zwiebel.  “Accordingly, at the direction of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, Agudas Yisroel has withdrawn the Siyum App.”



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Read Comments (22)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 17, 2019 at 08:18 PM eagle Says:

Kol Hakuved for them to listen to their rabbis, despite having spend Thousands on the app

2

 Jul 17, 2019 at 11:08 PM ubgeriser Says:

Just thinking out loud.. Why is this any different from mosdos raising money on line chardy yeshivas and chesed lavroham run by the skulener chasidus allowed to use the internet for their purposes. I would appreciate for a explanation if there is one. I really agree that one should not use it, just why are there exceptions for raising money ..

3

 Jul 17, 2019 at 11:17 PM AH Says:

Reply to #1  
eagle Says:

Kol Hakuved for them to listen to their rabbis, despite having spend Thousands on the app

Indeed. This is "lo sasur min hadavar" and "emunas chachamim" in action.

4

 Jul 17, 2019 at 11:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
eagle Says:

Kol Hakuved for them to listen to their rabbis, despite having spend Thousands on the app

I use my phone and iPad to learn my daily Torah classes at any free time I have. As a business person, not someone sitting in yeshiva all day, I rely on this amazing technology and use it for research into Torah topics daily. I fully understand those that will not have a smart phone, but I think that 99% of the Torah world uses them today anyway. I have vast libraries available to me of Torah knowledge throughout the ages in the palm of my hand. If the app was created and at great expense, it should be available to those that will benefit from it. I also have the zechus to donate to tzedakah throughout the world in seconds through the same technology. Hashem created everything for our use and those people that email me to help out Torah scholars should not prevent me from receiving Torah knowledge in this efficient manner.

5

 Jul 18, 2019 at 12:06 AM Shalomfeivish Says:

I Don't understand how people could publicly (and in many ways even privately) question and argue a psak which has clearly been directed from the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah... once we start doing that ... .... ... ... ...

6

 Jul 18, 2019 at 12:56 AM Anonymous Says:

Is there a way we can get a list of these rebuking rabbis?

7

 Jul 18, 2019 at 01:19 AM Anonymous Says:

What a refreshing change. Usually it is the rabbonim who play catch up to the chumrahs that are driven from the bottom up. This is the rare occasion when the rabbonim themselves initiate a chumrah from the top down. Having said this, it is a terrible decision. Because not one smartphone carrying Jew will get rid of his smartphone because of this. Too much of today's business activity is smartphone dependent, as is the money the rabbonim schnorr from those who carry a smartphone.All they have achieved is that the smartphone owner will look at something else during his commute or wherever he may find himself with nothing else to do.And the ony ting we know about that something else is that it will not be Torah.

8

 Jul 18, 2019 at 02:41 AM Stamm ah yid Says:

Perhaps we shouldn't have siyumim in stadiums or arenas because someone might decide to go to a traifa sporting event or concert.

9

 Jul 18, 2019 at 06:47 AM Reb Yid Says:

Another failed opportunity. Explains why the average person hears about AI only once every 7.5 years.

10

 Jul 18, 2019 at 08:37 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

What a refreshing change. Usually it is the rabbonim who play catch up to the chumrahs that are driven from the bottom up. This is the rare occasion when the rabbonim themselves initiate a chumrah from the top down. Having said this, it is a terrible decision. Because not one smartphone carrying Jew will get rid of his smartphone because of this. Too much of today's business activity is smartphone dependent, as is the money the rabbonim schnorr from those who carry a smartphone.All they have achieved is that the smartphone owner will look at something else during his commute or wherever he may find himself with nothing else to do.And the ony ting we know about that something else is that it will not be Torah.

The rabbonim weren't banning anything. All they were saying is that for Agudah to promote such an app may be seen as tacit approval for blanket use of smartphones. In simple terms, you have someone who is thinking of buying a smartphone. Maybe he needs it. He's not sure if he needs it. Aguda promoting this app may give him the incentive to buy one. As for those that already have a smartphone keep using technology for what Hashem wants it to be used for.

11

 Jul 18, 2019 at 08:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
ubgeriser Says:

Just thinking out loud.. Why is this any different from mosdos raising money on line chardy yeshivas and chesed lavroham run by the skulener chasidus allowed to use the internet for their purposes. I would appreciate for a explanation if there is one. I really agree that one should not use it, just why are there exceptions for raising money ..

Very good question. I'd like an answer too.

12

 Jul 18, 2019 at 09:59 AM Mark Levin Says:

I'm sorry but I believe the moderators are incorrect In this case and how they present the story. The headline stinks of sensational journalism! Shame on you! This is a headline I would expect on the New York Daily Snooze or the New York Slimes!

If you are a frum Jewish oriented website as you claim to be, you have to take the achreyis on yourself to make sure certain things, such as this, or presented in a positive light.

13

 Jul 18, 2019 at 10:00 AM DAAS TORAH! Says:

What happened last time when the oldest rebbe in the world, Viznitz-Monsey Rebbe ZT"L asked Agudah not to invite Rav Lau from Israel to speak at the syum, why didnt agudah listen to him then.?!

14

 Jul 18, 2019 at 12:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Shalomfeivish Says:

I Don't understand how people could publicly (and in many ways even privately) question and argue a psak which has clearly been directed from the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah... once we start doing that ... .... ... ... ...

Das Torah? Do you know that at least two of the big guns are against vaccinations?
Please gimme a break. We are an orphaned generation with weak leaders.

15

 Jul 18, 2019 at 12:51 PM Ina Says:

The App is breathtaking! Hope they will sell it to a second party who will launch it for Klal Yisrael.

16

 Jul 18, 2019 at 01:31 PM Michel Says:

Another opportunity for spreading Torah missed. These rabbonim are living in the dark ages. Todays children go OTD because of psaks like this, withdrawing/banning Kaminetsky book, banning Slifkin, anti vaxing, etc. Stick your head in the sand and maybe it will go away? Not.
I like #15's suggestion. Dont kill the app, just give it to someone else to disseminate. (YU, OU, TOrah.org, etc.)
I spend at least an hour a day learning from apps and internet. An hour I otherwise would not have. And the Yam of Torah that is available to me is vast.

17

 Jul 18, 2019 at 02:36 PM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

why didn't they ask BEFORE? plus the Aguda chairman leon g regularly is seen endorsing liberals, does the moetzes support that?

18

 Jul 18, 2019 at 03:23 PM FormerlyFrum Says:

While they keep the flock in the dark ages I'm sure they will gladly continue taking donations from plenty a smartphone-carrying Yid.

19

 Jul 18, 2019 at 07:01 PM Anonymous Says:

aren't there FILTERS to filter out stuff you don't like on the internet. of course, there are. USE THEM, rabbis, and let us be.

20

 Jul 19, 2019 at 12:58 AM Shalomfeivish Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Das Torah? Do you know that at least two of the big guns are against vaccinations?
Please gimme a break. We are an orphaned generation with weak leaders.

what is your point! - those views are 100% daas torah as well!!
just because you (or even a large % of people -AND YES-EVEN DOCTORS don't agree ) dosn't make it it not da'as torah -which is what Gedolim say -not if you like or understand what they are saying...

21

 Jul 19, 2019 at 01:03 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Michel Says:

Another opportunity for spreading Torah missed. These rabbonim are living in the dark ages. Todays children go OTD because of psaks like this, withdrawing/banning Kaminetsky book, banning Slifkin, anti vaxing, etc. Stick your head in the sand and maybe it will go away? Not.
I like #15's suggestion. Dont kill the app, just give it to someone else to disseminate. (YU, OU, TOrah.org, etc.)
I spend at least an hour a day learning from apps and internet. An hour I otherwise would not have. And the Yam of Torah that is available to me is vast.

from your very own painful words against our gedolim -who are responsible from spreading torah to 1000's of talmidim and others... it's clear that the the concept of Da'as torah is very far from your understanding... Da'as torah is not dependent on your understanding or if you think the hashkafos are too old...shame on you..

22

 Jul 30, 2019 at 07:02 AM quackquack Says:

hi

23

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