Roshei yeshivas around the country are conveying the message
from gedolei Yisroel that the time has come to
eradicate cellular phones from the yeshivas.
Following the meeting motzei Shabbos Vayeishev to alert
roshei yeshivos about the urgency of the problem, Maran HaRav
Eliashiv, who was also among the gedolei Torah in
attendance, said that if there are bochurim who are
unable sever themselves from cell phones, then special Torah
institutions not known as yeshivas should be set up for them.
"A yeshiva where bochurim have cellular phones does
not deserve to be called a yeshiva," he said.
At Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Nosson
Tzvi Finkel, delivered a moving talk about Chazal's
exhortations not to interrupt one's learning. His remarks
were later printed up and circulated widely.
"Today one sees bochurim and avreichim walking
around with this little box in their pockets. It's repulsive,
it's painful to see—much worse than any other
interruption," said the Rosh Yeshiva, his voice choked with
"In our present situation anything that we could say has a
positive side and a negative side. I was thinking that the
deciding factor will be when I step into the beis
medrash. Then I'd see if the olom wants to hear.
The olom is here and wants to listen. It's evident
that the public is thirsty to hear, is waiting to do what it
can. And if they want to, then they can. There's nothing they
can't do . . .
"We are in a state of bitul Torah befarhesiyoh, a
state of deterioration in terms of Torah and yiras
Shomayim, a state in which every little thing interrupts
our learning. We are in a state of sakonas nefoshos,
in the plain sense of that term. There is no excuse to have
one of these devices, particularly when it is connected to
the most defiled things. This does not fit the image of a
ben yeshiva . . . this is not the pure heart of
yeshiva students. This appears to be a new habit, a habit of
smallness, nareshkeit. This appears to be a decline in
He then announced a total ban on cell phones at the yeshiva,
both in public and private. "In this I have the power to make
a prohibition. During sedorim it is also forbidden to
touch. This, too, I have the power to prohibit. The yeshiva
will not make any allowances and every individual should
alert end encourage others. When going outside one should
stay away and alert [others]. In the beis medrash,
within the walls of the yeshiva, inside the yeshiva buildings
I believe I have the power to prohibit it. Make sure it is
not found in the botei medrash nor anywhere within the
yeshiva buildings. Each of us should reproach his fellow if
he sees this instrument enter our daled amos. During
sedorim it is strictly forbidden, this I have the
power to prohibit. And I ask Hashem to forgive us for having
come to the point where such matters have to be discussed.
"Gedolei Yisroel issued a ruling regarding this
destructive device: for bochurim no [use] at all, not
even in private—perhaps even more so not in private.
Today we will sanctify Sheim Shomayim, young and old,
and be'ezras Hashem may you merit a kosher wife. Pure
and beloved bochurim, come to the rescue! Remove the
destructive device from our midst. Sanctify Sheim
Shomayim. This is a situation of `the evil Greek kingdom
standing up against us,' and there are no excuses. In fact,
excuses are needed for the converse.
"Every bochur who is yirei Shomayim cannot have
this instrument at all. The biggest kiddush Hashem
will be to stop using this thing, which is connected to
defiled things, and this depends entirely on you. Ribono
Shel Olom, save us! Never was there such a situation.
Kiddush Hashem makes demands of our yeshiva more than
all other yeshivas. There is no [alternative] . . . This
situation must be shattered, the decree torn up. You are not
doing me a favor, you are doing yourselves a favor!
"It is very hard for a person to change a habit, but we must.
There is an answer to every question, a solution to every
problem. If we do not search for solutions there are none.
And when we look every matter can be worked out. I have the
merit of gedolei Torah, ameilim beTorah, in all
of Eretz Yisroel and the whole world. In fact, you tell me
solutions. In the merit of the holy Torah, in the merit of
gedolei haTorah, in the merit of ameilim
beTorah, both here and everywhere else, sanctify Sheim
Shomayim. If one has a will it can be done, even a habit
can be uprooted. It all depends on you. Make, `Ulecho
osiso sheim godol be'olomecho' come to fruition through
At the end of the talk, rabbonim including HaRav Binyomin
Finkel and HaRav Refoel Shmuelevitz reportedly smashed their
personal cell phones immediately.
Inspired by the charged talk and moved by HaRav Finkel's
tears, many bochurim who still had cell phones in
their possession went to the homes of the Rosh Yeshiva and
the rabbonim to turn in what HaRav Eliashiv referred
to as "avizraihu de'arayos."
Many other roshei yeshivos delivered similar talks to their
talmidim, and yeshivas around the country are
following the lead set by Yeshivas Mir to eradicate the
plague from all botei medrash.