Dei'ah veDibur - Information & 

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22 Kislev 5773 - December 6, 2012 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Rubin: About the Internet and How to Deal with It

HaRav Yitzchok Mordechai HaCohen Rubin, rav and motz of the Bnei Torah Kehilloh in Har Nof and a dayan in the Beis Din of HaRav Nissim Karelitz gave practical advice and guidelines.

"Last Tuesday we went to invite Maran the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman to speak at this kennes. Maran Rosh Hayeshiva stressed that this is a constant battle and that we must be always on guard and talk about it morning and night. He said that the Torah says that we must tell the women [the Torah] in soft tones, and the men in tough tones. We will try to say things in the soft, gentle tones that are appropriate to the women of Israel.

"We are in the midst of a great and decisive battle. The main thing is victory, not the battle itself. Why is this war so much longer than the battle against television that the chareidi community won decades ago? Because the Internet is a tool of work [and television is just entertainment].

"Let us concentrate on summarizing the practical points. 1] What is the danger of the Internet? 2] What is the role of women in this holy campaign? 3] What are the solutions for one who needs the Internet for his work?

"The Internet has three problems: 1] Content that is posul and images that are prohibited, that to our pain have felled many and has a tremendous amount of victims; 2] A constant connection to matters of Olam Hazeh, and in particular a direct connection to the culture and content of the goyim; 3] A waste of time, that comes at the expense of learning Torah, ties and time with the children and a direct hit at the texture of the Jewish home.

"The common argument is, `It won't happen to me.' There are three answers to this: 1] No one gets up in the morning, says `Modeh Ani,' and plans to sin that day. But the yetzer hora ambushes a person when he is weak. But it is when a person has a strong amount of self-control that he must set up fences and blocks, so that he will be secure in time of need. 2] And what about the waste of time and the constant connection to the decadent culture that is projected via the Internet? 3] And how can they ignore that souls of their children who are certainly not protected?

Why did gedolei hador call women to this kennes? What is the role of women? 1] Women can influence their husbands; 2] Women can Project in their homes a single voice, with a clear lesson; 3] Women have a decisive role in the education of their children. Most of education is in women's hands in our generation, all of whom, boruch Hashem, grew up and received an education based on Torah and mussar. They are around and they keep an eye on what is going on around the home, and they have an inner yiras Shomayim so that they are wary and can warn.

The yeshivas and the seminars do whatever they can, but without the help of the parents there will be no victory in the campaign. We do not mean to imply that from now on every parent should begin to spy extensively on their children and suspect that every plastic thread that comes out of their jackets is connected to the Internet. This could hurt the hearts of our sons and daughters and cause great educational damage. One has to know how to comment and when to comment, and how to check without hurting the child. But on the other hand it is important for the parents to know the facts on the ground and they should watch from a distance and pay attention to who the friends of their children are and that they should not be exposed to improper devices and content that is posul. One girl in a seminar can spoil an entire class, whether it is because there is an uncensored Internet in her home or because she is exposed to a non-kosher telephone.

It is exceedingly important that the parents know that not every Internet block is effective. There are simple ways to bypass many blocks, such as connecting to wireless Internet or to use a disk-on-key that is connected to the Internet. Even a seemingly innocent thing like email can contain inappropriate content and non-kosher pictures.

It is the task of the parents to ensure that the home is whole in ruchniyus and gashmiyus. Like HaRav Sholom Cohen, rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef, said that now that HaKodosh Boruch Hu saved our physical homes from the rockets, it behooves us to respond by guarding our spiritual homes.

Even someone who is exceedingly careful not to bring the Internet into his home or, bedi'eved, to block it properly, is sometimes exposed at his place of work to an entirely uncensored Internet. A woman must not work at a computer that is not blocked properly. There is a method that is used by non-Jews and by non-religious Jews [to block the uncensored Internet in the workplace] since the Internet is a great time waster, and its use can cause an employer the loss of many hours of work. Therefore this a clear economic interest of an employer to block as much of the Internet as practical.

These last weeks I have been sitting with professionals of the first order [and they have told me that] there are solutions for everything. All it needs is good will and yiras Shomayim. Even if sometimes it requires a financial investment, we pay for the finest food and the education for our children, and all the expenses of fixing the Internet are certainly tzorchei mitzvah. As HaRav Nissim Karelitz said at the gathering of community rabbis, it is a matter of sakonas nefoshos and one must do whatever possible to fix the workplace.

It is important to reiterate and to stress that in all these matters, when a question arises in the place of work, one should ask a qualified moreh horo'oh who is conversant with the issues of computers and not to decide on one's own in these serious issues.

All groups and communities of the chareidi community have gathered this evening. Like the Admor of Vishnitz said, the Rambam says in Hilchos Taanis that it is a mitzvas asei of the Torah to cry and warn against any danger. The danger of the Internet is included in the idea of "Eis tzoroh leYaakov" and it is a mitzvah to cry out and to listen to the instructions of the gedolei hador. But since there are many different groups, the rule is "Ask you father and he will tell you," that each group should listen to the instructions of its rabbonim, admorim and chachomim.

Even if someone needs Internet in his workplace this does not permit him to have it in his home even with a block. HaRav Eliashiv zt"l always stressed that permission for the Internet is always "dechuya" and not "hutrah" and only for work. It is an instrument of bedi'eved and not lechatchiloh.

It is understood that everything that was said applies directly to all the advanced telephones. Even now people are trying to find a solution for someone who needs a telephone with email. The difficulty is to find a solution that will be only exactly what is necessary and to whomever it is necessary and will also be a successful instrument.

In the merit of righteous women our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt. Now in the merit of righteous women may we merit to hasten the full Redemption. We will also mention the brochoh of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky who blessed all who attend this kennes with hatzlochoh in ruchniyus and gashmiyus, to them and to their families.

We will close with the instruction of HaRav Shmuel Wosner who said that one must fight this war with intelligence and knowledge and that this war will certainly hasten the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu bimheiroh beyomeinu Amen.


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