Satmar Rebbe’s Ultimatum: Turn in Smartphone or Get Out

(Wednesday, May 30th, 2012)

Following the unprecedented event at CitiField led by gedolei yisrael shlita, the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, has laid down an ultimatum for his chassidim; to rid themselves of their smartphones within a month of look for a new rebbe.

As the chassidim gathered towards the end of Shavuos for the tradition ‘baglitein dir yomtov’ the rebbe addressed the tzibur in the beis medrash. After giving his chassidim a bracha the rebbe surprised the tzibur by coming out in a very strong tone against the smartphones, making his position on the matter crystal clear.

The rebbe reminded chassidim that one may not have a computer in one’s home, as has been the takana for some time. There are exceptions regarding a computer with internet access pertaining to making a living, but only with filtered internet.

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The rebbe went on to address the smartphones, stating that all “klei kodesh”, referring to avreichim, talmidim, magidei shiur, mashgichim, shochtim, bodkim, and sofrim may not have such a device – no exceptions. The rebbe called on directors of mosdos Satmar worldwide to begin enforcing this in four weeks, permitting chassidim an interim period to readjust their lives and acquire an acceptable phone. Anyone who does not comply will no longer be permitted to continue in his position, whether this involves an avreich or any of the others mentioned.

The conversation then turned to the women, with the rebbe explaining they too may not have a smartphone under any circumstances. For men, it is permitted towards earning a livelihood, but only with internet filtering.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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43 Comments

  1. akuperma says:

    Satmar has a long tradition of adopting humrahs for itself designed to preserve the community. In all fairness, what exactly is a smartphone necessary for as everything it can do can be done more cheaply otherwise.

  2. modern orthodox says:

    MODERATORS NOTE: Why do all of your comments say “I dare you to publish my comments”?

    Do you think that makes a moderator say, wow, I’m scared! I better do what Mr. Modern Orthodox, or LukshenKugal99 says?

  3. farmisht says:

    To Moderator.

    Before signing up here I already learned that any comment, regardless as to whether it mirrors the truth, that doesn’t tow the line (unless it sounds really stupid) doesn’t get published.

    Moderators Response: We are just wondering why you are using multiple screen names here……

    PS: We have posted many of Modern Orthodox comments in the past. Just when he starts with the “I dare you to post it”, is where we draw the line.

    PPS: We dare you to publicly tell everyone what your other screen name is.

  4. yosse says:

    is it one of there humrahs not to make peace amongst themselves to.

  5. Breslever says:

    To be fair, a smartphone isn’t really that essential. Also, while it might seem like a stern warning, it’s really not. If you go against the wishes of the Rebbe of your chassidus then you are only excluding yourself.

  6. arc says:

    Think he regrets banning the asifa?

  7. Yserbius123 says:

    Who said this, Reb Aharon or Reb Zalman?

  8. farmisht says:

    Moderators Note: Actually, we couldn’t approve your comment due to the fact taht you chose to use profanity. Secondly, cut the garbage, “Mr. Ichbin Farmisht”

  9. AWoman_outside_bklyn says:

    In Israel many kollel families use kosher phones. Is it asking too much for us to do the same?

  10. FunNsmart1 says:

    ARC: As a Lubavitcher, I feel pride in the Satmar Chassidim. As my husband says, they live in a bubble, and for the most part they are happy. There are those who rebel, and I feel bad for them, and of course there are those who claim they are frum, but dont treat their family right, and that is not what yiddishkiet is about. I commend the Satmar Rebbe for not wasting his Chasidims time with the citifield asifa. He didnt make them travel for over an hour, so that they could sit for 7 hours to be told the same thing he did at the tail end of his farbrengen, and his ultimatum is one that will entail serious soul searching by his chasidim. I wish my Rebbe was down here neshama b’guf to do the same here in Crown Heights.

  11. baron says:

    Some people express themselves in unique ways or in convoluted fashions

    But yeshiva world has always been one of those sites that always posts even comments that seem to show individualistic perspectives and takes

    Soo give credit to where credit is due

    Am Yisroel chai

  12. YonasonW says:

    …just what did “modern orthodox say?”

    In answer to akuperma, I am one of I am sure thousands who requires a PDA in order to access work email through an enterprise server…in my case work is a law enforcement agency, but it is true in all walks of life today.

    If you read up on the history of the telephone you will easily find articles from the early 1920s warning that the telephone was a harbinger of the end of meaningful social relationships…that it would destroy the family.

    I also think that we need to look at who else heavily restricts access to smart phones and the internet…totalitarian regimes. An uninformed public is a morec easily controlled public…and I find it hard to believe that some element of that is not at work here…the last thing Chareidische Rebbeim want is a base of more worldly and informed chassidim.

  13. Ferd says:

    “I commend the Satmar Rebbe for not wasting his Chasidims time with the citifield asifa. He didnt make them travel for over an hour,”

    But he had the audacity to make the Skulener Rebbe, a man pushing 90 years old, not to mention very ill, get into his car and travel to Kiryas Yoel to meet with him.

    What chutzpah.

    Teh Satmar Rebbe should have gotten in his car and drove down to Boro Park – with one of the pathetic police escorts he abuses all the time – the second he heard the Skulener wanted to meet with him.

    This is who you “commend”?

    Really?

    The man is soooooooo worried about making “peace” with Belz for the sake of Shalom and “Achdus”. What about this Achdus event?

  14. YonasonW says:

    By the way…in a strong defense of YWN:

    My views are opposite many if not most of those found here…Mark Levin, I think, actually posted a few years ago that that I should be banned from here! (Sorry Mark if it wasn’t you)…but except for statements that I suppose might be construed as disrespectful of gedolim, the editors dutifully post my thoughts anyway One would have to be really in a bad way to consistently post items that YWN refuses to post

  15. sane conservative says:

    #9:

    If not for the Asifa, this speech wouldn’t have taken place. It effected those who were there and those who chose to stay away.

    Shame on you for castigating a gathering of most of Chareidi Jewry of this entire area, called and attended by Gedolei Yisroel from all over the world.

    Neo-Lubavitch is known for their non-participation of any activity attended by Klal Yisroel the last 50 years.

  16. jewish source says:

    A ferd bleibt a ferd.

  17. mark levin says:

    So for all you anti Satmar naysayers out there, are you ready to “man-up” and apologize for the horrible things you wrote a few weeks ago??

  18. apdsvys says:

    to 17#
    apologize for what?

    for HIM saying that a ‘heimishe yid’ does not belong at the asifa, and with those words ‘avek machen’ with roiv minyen and roiv binyan of Klall Yisroel???

    And for that we should apologize?

    HE HAS TO APOLOGIZE TO ALL THE GEDOILIM THAT HE FARSHEIMD WITH HIS WORDS!!

  19. bdtz says:

    In order to get the facts straight here.

    The satmar rebbe said that anyoneone who doesn’t need a smartphone for business purpose, should get rid of it.

    so the following quote is out of context; “to rid themselves of their smartphones within a month of look for a new rebbe”.

    Then further with his Daas Torah, he stated that people in the mentioned categories are not in need of of a smart-phone.

    Then he also asked from the tzibur that upon acquiring tfilin should check if the Soifer owns a smartphone.

    It should also be mentioned that already in 2001, on chof alef kislev, the satamr rebbe asked his chasidim not to use a computer for entertainment purposes, but only for business.

  20. YonasonW says:

    A nudnik bleipt a nudnik.

  21. modern orthodox says:

    Moderators Note: If you would like to publish an op-ed on YWN, feel free to submit it for review. You can always feel free to sound off in the YWN Coffee Room.

    We dare you to read this.

  22. modern orthodox says:

    BTW- I have no other screen name.

    All the best !

  23. percy says:

    If you look following decision , yo will see the
    heter from the Beirach Moshe for BOTH cell phone
    use and internet connections.
    http://www.e-ratecentral.com/FCC/DA_01_2457A1.pdf
    http://www.e-ratecentral.com/FCC/FCC_00_2A1.pdf
    Or was it funds from the medina so it is OK>

    They do it year after year and it is your money.
    What’s the problem?

  24. mms601 says:

    SR of Willi allegedly did the same. (He did state that those who need it, may have email on their phones)

    from kikar:
    האדמו”ר מסאטמר הכריז בבית-המדרש הגדול של החסידות סאטמר בויליאמסבורג שבארה”ב: מי שמחזיק ברשותו מכשיר סלולארי טרף – אין לו כל קשר לחסידות.

    עוד לפני חג השבועות התפרסם בריכוזי החסידות בארץ ובעולם כי האדמו”ר מהרז”ל מסאטמר מתכנן לשאת דברים לפני קריאת ה”אקדמות” בהיכל בית הכנסת. באותה שעה, היה בית המדרש של החסידות גדוש ומלא מפה לפה באלפי חסידים.

    מיד לאחר תפילת ההלל ולפני קריאת התורה והאמירת האקדמות עלה האדמו”ר, באורח נדיר, על הבמה ונשא דברים נוקבים אל מול המוני החסידים.

    הרבי עורר את החסידים מהתרחקות מהכלים המשחיתים ואמר: “עלינו להיזהר שלא נשקע חלילה בטומאת מצרים ובזוהמת הרחוב המרחיקים את עם ישראל מאביהם שבשמיים. ברצוני להכריז בזאת כי מי שמחזיק ברשותו מכשיר סללולארי שאינו כשר ומיועד לדיבור בלבד אינו חבר בקהילת סאטמר ואיננו חלק מהחסידות, ואין צורך לומר שלא נקבל את בניו ובנותיו למוסדות הלימוד של החסידות”.

    יצויין כי הרבי סייג את דבריו ואמר כי מי שנצרך לעבודתו יכול להשתמש במכשיר סלולארי הכולל תיבת מייל.

    הדברים החריפים עשו להם הד והתפרסמו במהירות עם צאת החג בכל ריכוזי החסידות. אחד החסידים הסביר שהיתה זו שיחה היסטורית שכן עד עתה לא נהג האדמו”ר לשאת דברים בחג. “הפעם, באורח חריג, האדמו”ר ראה צורך להזהיר את הרבים”.

  25. cherrybim says:

    “I wish my Rebbe was down here neshama b’guf to do the same here in Crown Heights.”

    No problem, just get yourself another successor Rebbe like everyone else does. Asei L’cha Rav! Better a warm Rebbe to guide and teach the children and chasidim and to join Klal Yisroel than no Rebbe at all.

  26. Dovid from Modiin says:

    Why are SMS blocked on kosher phones?

    Why can’t you use a smart phone without internet access basically as a fancy phone book and date planner?

  27. OrLeOlam says:

    There aren’t many filters for Smartphones, and the ones out there are child’s play to remove.

  28. mkatz says:

    In Pittsburgh, Rabbi Swift announced that no one in the Kehila should go on the internet at all for any reason, no excuses, period. He did make exceptions when asked that it is allowed for parnossah, banking, Yeshiva World, mapquest, paying bills, scheduling appointments, updates on Eretz Yisroel, zmanim, shul emails and a few other items.

  29. byepluto says:

    I bet there will be Chassidim who ignore this ridiculous demand and get hounded and attacked for it. Mark my words, that’s what will happen.

    It’s silly, really. Should we ban the public mail system and institute our own “kosher mail” system where every letter is examined? Why not have our own telephone network where there is hashgocho on every call placed? If one follows this madness down its natural progression, אין לדבר סוף!

    In the 21st century, an Internet connection is as important a telephone line. Too much commerce, communication and information is only available via the Internet. You can’t put a hechsher on it, any more than you can put a hechsher on a telephone. This is madness.

  30. YECHI says:

    FunNsmart1

    Your Rebbe ( I assume you mean the REBBE) would never say such a thing,, These guys are just about power.

    how about Halacha ,,ie fighting a court battle with your brother over money..

    Think again

  31. FIXTHEWORLD says:

    “Dovid from Modiin says:”

    Hmm, Why don’t you think before you leave your comments. Your comment sounds like that of a kid in school.

  32. lkwdmama says:

    The comments on here are turning into mudslinging and name calling. Perhaps the achdus of the asifa should be continued. We have enough enemies who want to destroy us, must we implode through sinas chinam as well.
    The easiest way to promote achdus is for comments to be eliminated altogether. Why must everyone always stick his two cents in? The best place to put your two cents is in a pushka where it’ll do some good.

  33. bpkj says:

    My neighbor is an IT technician, and for the last few weeks (long before the Asifa) he and 5 other ITs have been working, at the behest of R’ ZL Teitelbaum (Satmar Rebbe W’msbg) for hours on end to produce an internet filter that would not impede a businessman’s use of the internet (the way that Jnet does.)
    He said that R’ ZL told them that the whole Asifa would be for naught if there wasn’t a kosher solution to the sometimes necessary use of the internet.
    Just today there was another (of many) meeting in Ateres Avrohom with the Satmar yungeleit regarding this urgent issue.
    It is very easy to tell people to throw out their phones and computer, but we all know that most people won’t, so isn’t it much more admirable to work on a solution?
    That was the whole point of the Asifa.
    Ironically, despite R’ Aron’s banning the Asifa to his chasidim, photographs don’t lie, and there are numerous pictures of his followers (including some of his hierarchy) who did attend.
    Since he has been regularly accused of being the less stringent of the two Satmar Rebbes, R’ Aron miscalculated by assuming that his younger brother would boycott the Asifa because of the mix of Rabbanim attending. When word came that, after conferring with his Dayanim, not only would R’ ZL himself be there, along with those dayanim, his chasidim and talmidim, it was too late.
    Of course, when the Skulener Rebbe and Rav M. Solomon went out to KJ to invite R’ Aron he never dreamed that this Asifa would turn out to be the historic event that it was. But unfortunately, for him even a stadium was too small to contain both him and his sibling.
    So now, as Johnny-come-lately he is trying to catch up. Too much, too late!

  34. Shlomo2 says:

    I just find it interesting that men can have access for business purposes while women are totally banned.
    What do the Satmar women who work do?

  35. mark levin says:

    YonasonW,

    Do I think you are seriously misguided? Do I think you are an uber leftist? Do I think your comment above about rebbes & chasidim showed a tremendous lack of derech eretz bordering apikorsis?

    YES, YES, & YES!!!, but I don’t think you should be banned. There is hope that one day your brain will take over and you will actually think about reality instead of liberal fantasyland.

    And, of course I forgive you for using my name in vain!

  36. modern orthodox says:

    Hashem gave us minds to think, learn, and make our own judgements and decisions. Sad that one can not have an open dialogue on this forum.

  37. AWoman_outside_bklyn says:

    If you want the “feel” of a smartphone, get an LG Extravert and have your carrier block internet access on it. It’s a touch phone, has capacity for 500 contacts and has a calendar. There, Dovid, that’s all your requirements.

  38. 147 says:

    Yserbius123 says:
    May 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Who said this, Reb Aharon or Reb Zalman? the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, FYI:- The Satmar Rebbe in Kiryas Yoel, is Reb Aharon.

    So Yserbius123′s next question should be:- Does this Pesak apply to the followers of Reb Zalman?

  39. shira1988 says:

    I think the whole thing is a huge mistake. They made a whole asifa for this?? When the amount of publicity it got they could have made it MUCH more worthwhile.

    Their target is to solve marriage issues? They are missing the point. The problem with marriage issues doesn’t come FROM the internet! The problem had to be there before and the internet is a nice scape-goat and an easy way to do something wrong.

    I think its a HUGE mistake. They need to focus on educating our children the difference between right and wrong and make sure that the next generation has SOLID foundations as to the ways of the world and what they SHOULD and SHOULDN’T be doing. Instead of educating them why and how wrong it is – which hello – there are PLENTY of sources in the torah that makes it so crystal clear to anyone who wants to know the Emes what is right and wrong.
    SO SO many teenagers fall simply because they don’t know and want to find out more!! Thats where the problem starts. THESE teenagers are becoming the next husbands and wives… THESE teenagers are the source of all the marriages that have problems. They’re the ones we need to focus on teaching them the RIGHT ways – because yes right now their only source of information is the internet and movies which is all wrong and against Torah ways.

    Blocking people never worked. Do we block people from walking past a non kosher restaurant juust incase they might be hungry one time and smell the food which smells so good and is so soo much cheaper than kosher food because we’re worried they might go and buy some?? No of course not because from when they are 3 years old and even younger they are taught about kosher and non kosher – my small children always ask me in the store – is that kosher? oh no.. so they know they can’t eat it no questions asked.

    Why on earth is internet different. Is that website kosher? No! its not. If they are taught when they need to be taught what is ok and not they will keep to it the same as they keep to everything else. And from there – they’ll become Adults that have already applied this method of Kosher and non Kosher online and when they come across difficulties in their marriage will be less likely to look for scapegoats – like the internet.

    Yeah I’m sorry to say but I’ve seen whats out there online and what ‘frum’ people have put up there – kosher filters do NOTHING. They just cause people who want to do wrong to find smarter ways of doing it….

  40. Gadolhadorah says:

    The unfiltered inernet is not the real problem. The Satmar brothers would make a much greater contribution to their resepective kehillahs and yidden in general by focusing their energy on resolving the stupid broigas and lawsuits they perpetuate for over a decade, and ending the chillul hashem resulting from their failure to use a din torah to resolve their petty disputes. More importantly, the comment that flatly bans ANY internet access by women shows the depths of misunderstanding underlying this whole charade. Chareidi women work from the home much more so than men and thus have a much greater need for internet access then their husbands, most of whom sit in kollel and don’t know from “work-related internet needs”.

  41. Yoni1891 says:

    Moderators Response: If you have a direct message for YWN, please use the “contact us” form.

  42. Yoni1891 says:

    That’s the problem! I’ve tried using that form hundreds of times, and it politely said “A representative will get back to you shortly.” Does someone ever respond? NO! That’s why I used this method of contacting you. It’s time for you guys to be mentchin and make sure your website is working properly. Fix the print problem so that I shouldn’t be printing empty pages anymore, and if you’re going to have a cell phone service form, don’t advertize one if you’re not going to send any messages!

  43. ari-free says:

    39: I don’t think you understand the taavas involved. They are much stronger than smelling non-kosher. Education doesn’t matter. If a teenage boy has access to unfiltered internet and he has a strong feeling, he will look when you are not around. That’s just the way it is. It’s like telling someone who is addicted to cigarettes that he shouldn’t smoke because of the warning label. The feeling is too strong for reason to matter.
    The solution is not to get entrapped in the first place.

    There is another problem which is that young men are so used to seeing carefully selected, photoshopped pictures of women in the media that they are extremely picky when presented with the real thing.

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