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19 Elul 5776 - September 22, 2016 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Rules and Principles for Internet Use; "WhatsApp" Can be Addictive

by Yechiel Sever

Our most prominent poskim, rabbonim and dayanim warn outspokenly against the danger of the "WhatsApp" connection which sucks in users to a dangerous addiction that destroys the soul. Their letter published in Yated Ne'eman defines the halachic safeguards in the obligation of distancing oneself from the Internet and technological devices.

After a long period during which the rabbonim of the various communities have warned against the hazards of the Internet in many public gatherings throughout the country, a need has arisen to establish specific protections and impose distances based on halachic foundations. These foremost poskim clarified the halachic safeguards based on sources in Shas and Shulchan Oruch and defined them with relation to the parameters of the modern reality vis a vis the various technological devices.

The rabbonim note that in every case one must use the strictest filter that is consistent with the actual need to use the Internet. If the strictest filter is not used it is called, Ikka darka acharina, meaning that there is an alternative that is not being used, and someone who subjects himself to such a danger is called a rosho.

In addition, the rabbonim also arouse the public with regard to use of unscreened Internet "which has destroyed homes and souls, and removed sons and daughters from Torah-true homes to a decadent society."

These rabbonim also warn against ineffectual partial screens and forbid their use. Similarly, the poskim warn against the use of programs conveying group messages like WhatsApp etc. which were initially used for work purposes but are also used for entertainment and serve to spread mass slander and inane gossip, frivolity and mockery and occasionally, forbidden film clips and other adverse material. Exaggerated use of these programs lead to addiction which destroys the soul and leads to the user's severance from his home and parents which, through a mere push of a button, can lead to perdition, by way of loshon hora, malevolent gossip and humiliation of others.

The Beis Din rabbonim of Bnei Brak added their observation that devices that connect to the Internet and which are under their supervision are intended solely for businessmen etc. who need to use them for livelihood purposes and are designed to save them from the use of forbidden contaminating devices which lead to the direst and most severe sins. The public is urged to use only those phones certified by the Vaadas HaRabbonim for communication matters.

Beis Din
Letter from the Beis Din of Bnei Brak

The following related letter was issued by the Chachmei HaTorah


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