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2 Elul 5774 - August 28, 2014 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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We Have to build an Ark Like Noach's

HaRav Aharon Feldman, rosh yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel in America, said:

There was a gathering in America of tens of thousands who came to identify with the war against the Internet. We in American envy your position here. You have kosher cell phones, which also exist in America but it is hard to get people to use them. In the United States, one cannot pay taxes or get a driver's license without using the Internet. So there is a lot of pressure to use the Internet. We envy the situation in Eretz Yisroel where not every home has Internet and there is much awareness of the dangers of the Internet and cell phones. But the danger is very great and it penetrates here as well.

I was involved in a case of a family where the husband came from a prominent Torah family and had learned in top yeshivas, and the family almost broke up because of a small mistake that happened when they had to use the Internet to apply for a driver's license. It happens every day that people come to complain to the rov about a serious situation of someone using the Internet.

The danger of the Internet is not just with respect to the yetzer hora of physical desires. The Gra says in several places that man is made up of nefesh, ruach, neshomoh. The nefesh is the urge to preserve the physical that is found even in animals. The ruach is the character of a person. The neshomoh is the part that belongs to Hashem.

For each of these three parts there is a yetzer hora. The yetzer hora of the nefesh is the animal desires. The yetzer of the ruach is the bad character traits, such as pride and the desire to control others, the desire to be famous and the win friends and gain influence. The yetzer hora of the neshomoh is the "leitzoni" — to throw off the yoke of Heaven and to occupy oneself with devorim beteilim.

The Internet contains it all. We are most familiar with the fact that it has the yetzer of desire, but it also has the yetzer hora of illusions, of movies, of having control of others. There is a yetzer to connect with others, to send messages, to have a lot of friends, that they should know what I am doing and I should know what they are doing. This is a yetzer that encompasses the entire world in the social networks.

But the main yetzer of the Internet is that of throwing off the yoke of Heaven by being occupied with devorim beteilim. The Internet keeps one occupied day and night, and gives him a feeling of being busy with something. Instead of thinking about Hakodosh Boruch Hu, instead of thinking about his purpose in life, about what the neshomoh wants, he is busy with this yetzer that distracts him from deveikus to Hashem and his connection to the world of ruchniyus.

This is the worst yetzer. It can cause a person to spend hours, going from site to site, with nothing accomplished. It just passes time with a substitute for the pursuit of spiritual goals. This is the biggest yetzer there is, and even the goyim recognize this. In big offices in the United States there are special people whose task it is to check that the workers are not spending time on the Internet. Anyone caught doing so can be fired. There are many people in the United States, including shomrei Shabbos and shomrei mitzvos, who have lost any interest in reflection and deep thinking. Those who are exposed to the Internet are busy with it day and night, without concentrating, without thinking, without digesting the things that they see.

The Internet includes the yetzer of the nefesh, the yetzer of the ruach and the yetzer of the neshomoh with a strength that is impossible to describe. This yetzer can occupy a person day and night, and cause him to forget the Creator of the world. Boruch Hashem, here in Eretz Yisroel it has not reached such proportions, but in America it has. This wave is like a tsunami that can swamp the whole world! It's a flood. The Gra says that before the coming of Moshiach the gezeiroh of the Flood will come back. That is what is happening here. A flood of the yetzer hora that grabs a person day and night.

It is critical to take steps, even with sacrifice, to be separate from that society. To cut oneself off. There are things for which we must use the Internet, as I said. We cannot prevent public services from being put onto the Internet. This is sweeping the whole world. But we must build ourselves an Ark like Noach's to prevent it from reaching us. It is attractive. It is addictive. And, chas vesholom, it could change our life style. It is a danger. Boruch Hashem we have good chinuch for our children. We must teach them that this is forbidden.

We are prepared to do whatever we can, to make a barrier between ourselves and this danger, this yetzer, this combination of all the yetzer horas in one thing. We hope that HaKodosh Boruch Hu will give us good ideas to enable us to overcome this challenge, and that we will know how to prevail upon the kedusha of Klal Yisroel to ensure that they are not swept up by this wave. We will hear good news, with Hashem's help, and the vinyard of Torah will remain holy. We will remain upon the path to life, that contains only Torah, avodoh and closeness to HaKodosh Boruch Hu.


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