Some two hundred community rabbonim from all over the country assembled in the beginning of this week through the auspices of the Ve'idas Rabbonei Hakehilos, the Rabbinical Committee for Fortifying the Walls of Jewry, in the Concord Hall in Bnei Brak. The impressive gathering was presided over by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman and HaRav Chaim Kanievsky for the sake of establishing safeguards for the Torah public in light of the devastation caused by the Internet which has ruined many families and threatens to undermine the fundamentals of Yiddishkeit and of wholesome Jewish families.
This emergency meeting is the product of a long list of painful testimonies reaching the tables of rabbonim everywhere and subsequently presented to the gedolei hador. The latter have decided upon the necessity to fortify the bastion of our chareidi camp through measures and amendments established encompassing the entire phenomenon of the Internet and technological advancement. These have already been laid out in past years by HaRav Eliashiv in his time, and sustained by HaRav Shteinman and HaRav Kanievsky unequivocally.
The call for this assembly was decided upon in the home of HaRav Shteinman and HaRav Kanievsky, both of whom saw the urgency of it. At this preliminary meeting, the various community rabbonim were privileged to receive their blessings and encouragement in anticipation of the assembly by HaRav Nissim Karelitz and HaRav Gershon Eidelstein, and in a unique visit of chizuk arranged by HaRav David Cohen in the home of HaRav Shalom Cohen, where all of them were called upon to extinguish the fire of dissension threatening to consume the homes of the devout.
A Letter from HaRav Chaim Kanievsky to the Ve'idas HaRabbonim
The end of Av, 5774
I hereby come to empower the rabbonim to stand in vigil against the Internet, which consumes the soul and from which there is no return, as declared by Chazal in Avodoh Zorah 19a.
After the chareidi public has substituted kosher cell phones and imposed screening for their [Internet] needs, the prohibition of using the former kind is doubled and all must abide by this in order to uproot this plague which wreaks havoc by the day.
Fortunate are all those who make this effort; may they enjoy the bounty of good reserved for the righteous.
The Words of HaRav Nissim Karelitz to the Ve'idas HaRabbonim
HaRav Sariel Rosenberg shlita:
Mori verabi shlita, may Hashem send him a complete recovery, requested me to reiterate and emphasize the message which he has said in the past, namely that this is a matter of pikuach nefesh. In this case, a spiritual life-threat, as is explained in Shulchan Aruch, in the laws of Shabbos, that it is permissible to desecrate the Shabbos to save someone from shmad. Here, it is more than a suggestion but a case of actual pikuach nefesh!
Decisions of the Rabbinical Committee for Fortifying the Walls of Jewry
1. Rabbis of chareidi communities in Eretz Yisrael regard with trepidation the spread of the terrible scourge of damaging technological advances which have wrought havoc upon families and individuals, especially the youth, who, through incidental or meditated exposure to the vileness and filth of Internet devices have plummeted to the void, while we look on helpless to do anything.
2. Therefore, we have gathered, with the encouragement and blessings of our gedolei hador who directed us to gather, in the self defense of ourselves and our children, and we seek wise counsel to fend of the danger with the strength of the many and to protect our camp.
3. There shall be established active committees composed of men who are attuned to the subject and will work within the community.
4. Torah leaders have established that during this period of selichos, and especially on the Shabbos before Rosh Hashanah, community rabbis will rouse the pubic about the seriousness of the subject, as expressed by HaRav Chaim Kanievsky that "the Internet can lead a person to violating the three cardinal sins about which we are commanded to lay down our lies rather than succumb. The local rabbis shall exhort against it through their ongoing shiurim and droshos and at every possible opportunity of public gathering so that the public be made aware and aroused of the severity of the subject and be informed on how to forfend it.
5. In these days, the Ve'idas HaRabbonim committee are establishing a high level headquarters base for guidance and counselling and suggesting various professional solutions to institutions and individuals who require use of the Internet with the proper screening.
6. The rabbonim will act with the full authority in all educational and public institutions to ask the administrations thereof to work with the parents, both through guidance in lectures pointing out how they are liable to lose their children forever, and fight it with enforcement and not be complacent that `it won't happen to me'. The administration will have to make it very clear to parents that they cannot allow [exposure to Internet] since they are responsible for the entire student body and one child thereby exposed to its filth can destroy an entire class, as has actually happened. The rabbonim are urged to initiate assemblies with all the educational and administrative heads of educational institutions on this subject.
7. A comprehensive list shall be drawn up of all chareidi askonim who shall be called upon to be briefed on the great personal responsibility invested in them not to use unacceptable devices, even though many misguidedly believe that it is permissible for their purposes where the means justify the end but their only heter is, so to speak, `one who sins repeatedly comes to regard it as a heter.'
May Hashem help us, for the sake of His Name, to realize the dictum that "one who comes to be purified is duly assisted therein."
See the summary of the
remarks of HaRav Meir Kessler.
See the summary of the
remarks of HaRav Aharon Feldman.