Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kosher Internet - cynicism =truth

Every time I am at my most cynical about the Chareidi community I REALLY hope that I am going over the top and will be shown to be a fool. Because every time that I find myself to be correct I end up becoming more and more cynical!

Today is the 'asifa' in Citi-Field where tens of thousands of Chareidim will gather to hear chidushim that the rest of the world has already known for years (When Rabbi Yehoshua said "There is no Beit Midrash without a chidush" (Chagiga 3a) he presumably was specifically excluding events orgaised by 'askanim' in sports grounds, which clearly can be without any chidush).

Five months ago I wrote that:

My hunch is that it won't take long for the posters to go up offering exclusive 'kosher' internet access. This will obviously have some kind of label so that it is clear to everyone in the world who is using the 'approved' version and who isn't. After a few weeks Haredi magazines and newspapers will ban advertisements from anyone not using the approved 'kosher' internet. And at the end of it will be a small 'committee' - working for the good of the community, who will be making lots of money out of this.

Those of you who have been reading some of the blogs will know that the whole event is simply a money making exercise (not for an organisation, but) for a single individual called Nechemia Gottlieb. He is using the event to marry of his children.

And now, on the day of the Asifa Rav Chaim Kanievsky has written a letter, posted on Yeshiva World News:

ובעזה"י יסדרו במשך הזמן אינטרנט כשר אם ישתדלו בזה הרבה ויהיק סייעתא דשמיא, וחובה להשתמש בזה

With the help of G-d with the passage of time they will arrange for a kosher internet if they work very hard at it. May they receive help from Heaven. It is an obligation to use this!
It is almost as if he has recanted his previous position that the internet is COMPLETELY forbidden (many schools made people sign forms agreeing that they will not use internet at all before agreeing to accept their children in the school). It also seems as though he has never heard of the many internet filters already available (some 'kosher' (i.e. made for Jews specifically) and some just plain filters for use by sensible people who want to limit what they (or their children) see on the screen.

I have had the internet in the house since we moved to Edinburgh in 1996. We have had a filter on our internet since we first got it in 1996. (It was not very sophisticated, but neither was the internet back then). Everyone I know has some kind of internet filter.

The Gedolim are truly great in their Torah knowledge. They have dedicated their lives to learning and teaching Torah. Yet 'askanim', for their own purposes, make these Gedolim seem most stupid than your average 'man in the street' (not to exclude women, but I couldn't afford to build a mechitza on my blog). It truly makes me sad and upset to see such a perversion of Torah for the sake of making a few bucks.

Please make sure that your internet has a filter on it (I'm sure it does already). Please also make sure that you know that no filter is perfect (far from it). It excludes things that should be included, and includes things that must be excluded). If you don't have an internet filter, do a search and find one. There are free ones and pay ones and many other options.

Please do not cave in to Chareidi extremism and believe that only the one with the hechsher is kosher.

And to the 'askanim' - PLEASE LEAVE THE GEDOLIM ALONE! It is bad for my cynicism!

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