Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Cheshvan 5761 - Noveber 2, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Maranan Verabonon Warn Against Radio, Newspapers Not in Spirit Of Torah
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel have warned against the stumbling block caused by radio and newspapers that are not published in the spirit of Torah. They call upon us to distance ourselves from them and to avoid listening to them. They exhort us to beware of newspapers whose presentation is not consonant with the spirit of Torah and to make certain to bring into our home only newspapers that are supervised by gedolei Yisroel and under their auspices.

Rabbonim and educators have long cautioned against the various media published for the chareidi community, stating that they wreak massive educational and spiritual damage in many homes. In the past, all G-d-fearing Jews knew that one must be cautious about every word read and spoken in the home out of an awareness and recognition of the warnings of gedolei Yisroel with respect to unfit literature.

Recently, however, caution has been thrown to the winds, and some chareidi Jews permit themselves to listen to radio and to bring newspapers and magazines into their homes -- whether distributed for a fee or for free -- that are not supervised by gedolei Torah. Even when published for the religious community and by religious people, these can include items which have a negative influence on our attitude towards sacred values, including loshon hora and rechilus.

Rabbonim and educators warn that the influence of non-kosher media penetrates and saturates youngsters' souls and also results in a "cooling" in many homes, and then ideas that have become deeply entrenched become hard to extricate, causing irreparable damage that corrupts pure hashkofo and creates an intolerable distortion which undermines the foundations of Torah education.

When the gedolei hadoros founded the chareidi press in past generations as a shield against the influence of secular literature and improper periodicals, they made certain that the newspapers would be under the aegis and constant supervision of gedolei Torah. They did so because they saw that any newspaper lacking such full supervision is liable to degenerate and to cause innumerable stumbling blocks.

Even when Yated Ne'eman was founded 15 years ago by maranan verabonon, Maran the Rosh Hayeshiva, shlita, said that the paper must have a va'ada ruchanis composed of outstanding rabbonim and talmidei chachomim operating in accordance with the guidelines of gedolei Yisroel, so that every Jew bringing the paper into his home can be sure that the material has been carefully examined and that he may allow his family and children to read it.

The penetration of unfit communication media and unsupervised periodicals into chareidi homes has already resulted in serious consequences, undermining the purity of the Torah camp. Many still recall how Maran the Rosh Hayeshiva cried out a number of times in his speeches at Yarchei Kallah sessions and on other occasions about radio and about periodicals which wreak havoc in kosher homes.

In a letter issued on Friday 28 Tishrei (October 27) entitled: "Keriah Kedoshah Le'acheinu Bnei Yisroel Hachareidim LiDvar Hashem," maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel write: "We wish to arouse and to implore about the various stumbling blocks which result in harm in ruchniyus and gashmiyus in our sacred camp which observes Torah and mitzvos.

"First and foremost are radios which are full of serious and forbidden things, Rachmono litzlan and, thank G-d, are not found in most chareidi homes. However, in light of the serious degeneration in regular programs and in the various stations, which constitute a very serious danger -- even for casual hearing and especially for youth -- we call upon the community to distance themselves completely from the radio and to be careful not to listen to it. They must also warn students not to listen to it.

"This also applies to newspapers not edited according to the Torah way which introduce coldness and scorn for sacred values, and stimulate strife, loshon hora, gossip and the disgrace of the honor of Torah, as is known, yet are widespread in many chareidi homes. As a result, it is clear that whoever brings a newspaper into his home should take care to bring in only those under supervision and the responsibility (achrayus) of the gedolei haTorah shlita."

Maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel close their letter saying: "In the merit of distancing ourselves from the offensive, from loshon hora, and in the merit of guarding our tongues and maintaining peace, we will be worthy of all that is good and of the speedy coming of the Moshiach."

The letter is signed by maranan verabonon the gedolei haTorah vehaChassidus: HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, the Admor of Vishnitz, HaRav Aharon Leib Steinman, the Admor of Gur, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapira, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, the Admor of Rachmastrivka, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach and HaRav B. Y. Zilber.

Rabbonim and educators have expressed their hope that in the wake of the clear, unequivocal call of the gedolei Yisroel parents and educators will take care not to use radios nor to bring in newspapers lacking supervision and/or the responsibility of the gedolei haTorah into their homes, and will warn others of this danger. In that manner they will be spared from the spiritual dangers these elements contain and will not be among those who cry out over past events that can no longer be changed.


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