May 9, 2018 8:18 am at 8:18 am #1517981
Will anything change??May 9, 2018 8:51 am at 8:51 am #1518041
Wait, did’t this happen like a few years ago?May 9, 2018 8:55 am at 8:55 am #1518057
I favor gun control. But guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yet, anyone with an ounce of brains knows that a gun in the hands of someone who cannot be trusted to use it properly is a grave danger. The smartphone has immense capability, and this needs to be used with proper restraint and mature judgment. Yes, it needs to be properly filtered. Placing this device in the hands of someone who will use it improperly is a risk. I do not think there is an argument to that.
The issue implied in this psak seems to have a different focus. What I am detecting here is attention to the addictive quality these devices have. They attract, and this attraction can intrude on much else of life, especially areas of kedusha that are precious to us. Even if the device is filtered, there is still that attraction, and someone drawn into it can be easily snared and trapped. Allowing ourselves to become dependent on anything is dangerous, and probably ossur. The Chofetz Chaim once admonished a smoker, who was told by his doctor to stop smoking due to a lung condition, “Who allowed you to accept on yourself a dependency?” We are to be dependent on HKB”H, not any other type of dependency. These devices easily take over a person’s life, whether by phone calls, texts, social media, checking news, etc., the “kosher” things.
Has anyone noticed the phenomenon of people standing in shul, with tallis and tefillin, talking on their phones? It is not uncommon. Have we lost our moral and halachic compass? Have we concluded that this is not the “hesach hadaas” that is forbidden with tefillin? Or are all of these mundane, non-pikuach nefesh issues suddenly elevated to “high priority” status?
I happen to disagree with the details of this psak halacha, in that this will not likely lead to much improvement, just in people hiding their activity better. I do not feel that barring kids from yeshivos and schools is useful, just damaging the younger generation. But not because the smartphone issue is not real. Perhaps this psak is useful for Eretz Yisroel, which they are able to assess, but maybe not for America. The issue is a real one, and needs to be responsibly addressed everywhere.
Lastly, as a generation, we are deficient in promoting Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Hashem. Smartphones fill that void well. If our focus was on building the strength of the Yiddishe neshomoh rather than banning and making issurim, we might actually grow better and stronger.May 9, 2018 11:03 am at 11:03 am #1518457
TLIK, how are you in a position to know better than them that it may be appropriate in Eretz Yisroel but not in America? Perhaps your assessment about America is wrong and theirs is right?May 9, 2018 11:05 am at 11:05 am #1518486
I used to absolutely need a smartphone for my work, but now i have a new job. It looks like i might be able to get rid of it 🙂 . If not for that article i totaly would have forgotten that i only had it for my previous job. Hopfuley in a few weeks from now, I wil not have this smartphone (just have to make sure I have everything I use it for can be achived some other way)May 9, 2018 11:06 am at 11:06 am #1518498
If they can make a push that using a smartphone in a shul should be socially unacceptable, then this will have had a great success.
I hope it succeedsMay 9, 2018 11:58 am at 11:58 am #1518512
TLIK, how are you in a position to know better than them that it may be appropriate in Eretz Yisroel but not in America? Perhaps your assessment about America is wrong and theirs is right?
Im sure he /she consulted dass torah.May 9, 2018 11:59 am at 11:59 am #1518516
Even if this unsinged letter is authentic, the Moetzes of E”Y can certainly rule for that country but until the Moetzes of America issues a similar letter for this country and they absolutely won’t, it has no bearing on Jews here. I have personally witnessed enough Rabbeim, Rabbonim and even Roshei Yeshiva in the U.S. on smartphones to know that it won’t change anything. And no, I’m not going to encourage your nastiness by naming them.May 9, 2018 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #1518517
yitzchokm – Agree 100%. Every shul should have a box by the door, where mispallelim are required to deposit their smartphones (or any cellphone) before they enter. There is no excuse for a phone going off in the middle of Shmoneh Esreh.
As for addiction, maybe someone can do some research in the frum community about smartphone use? Given our very different life-style, I’m not sure research done on other groups would apply to us, but we definitely need to do something. I see people walking down my street on this beautiful spring day – with a phone glued to their ear, oblivious to HKBH’s wonderful world, and I feel terribly sorry for them.
TLIK – It wasn’t so long ago that some gedolim were all for banning computers. For various reasons that didn’t work. I suspect the same thing will eventually happen with smartphones. One thing that does alarm me is that schools are punishing kids for the perceived transgressions of their parents. Throwing out kids because of their parents’ phone use sounds like a good way to make those kids wonder about Yiddishkeit, and sometimes go off the derech. Being machmir in a negative way isn’t always productive.May 9, 2018 2:44 pm at 2:44 pm #1518534
You missed my point. I am not dictating what they should do in E”Y or in America. The two regions are very different, and each has its own norms and issues. It is common that the Gedolim of E”Y defer the standards for America to be determined and guided by the Gedolim there. It is likewise common that the Gedolim in America refrain from guiding or paskening about E”Y deferring to the Gedolei E”Y. It’s not about assessment. The facts on the ground are very different, and all the Gedolim have referenced that at some point in time.
In America, the consequence of denying admission to yeshivos, or expelling kids is a death sentence. Using this as a method of control is problematic. Rav Vosner ZT”L advocated this over the hookup at Citifield Asifa. Later that week, he publicly retracted that statement, and stated that he could not recommend this as a consequence for having internet access, and that the Gedolim in America would need to make determinations for America. It seems he recognized the risk of this as different from E”Y, and could not push to impose that for America.
I am privy to other shailos that were posed to gedolim in both places, and the tendency is to withhold anything close to a psak, stating that E”Y and America must follow the specific direction from its own Gedolim.May 9, 2018 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #1518560
Today, all Batei Din, and nearly all Dayanim have computers. I have corresponded with many of them via email. Many, if not most Rabbonim have Otzar Hachochmoh, and this often includes internet access. There is a reality – computers are here to stay. It will not be long before such access will be mandatory for every home, even if only for paying bills. Prohibiting computers proved to be am impossibility, and working to that goal became irresponsible use of time and effort. As you suggest, addressing smartphones that way appears doomed to the same result. We all seem to agree that there are problems posed with these devices, and that we must do something. Yet, the knee jerk reactions tend to bypass critical thinking, and the results of impulsive reaction just make problems much bigger. I watched people in chinuch addressing the impact of smartphones on their talmidim, while pushing them out into the streets where there is unbridled exposure to all of that and worse.
Yeshivos claim to be punishing parents by rejecting their children. That contains a grain of truth. If your kid was expelled or denied admission, you would be hurt and offended. But the child is the true victim here, and we do not truly have authority to inflict pain and rejection on him/her. There must be a better answer.May 9, 2018 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #1518563
There is a concept called “The Forbidden Fruit” (Obviously taken from Bereshis) meaning if you try to ban something, people will want it more. These band and riddiculing have backfired, people claim they dont want the phones and then you see them constantly in frum communities not even clandestinlyMay 9, 2018 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #1518564
Phones can be put in airplane mode; no need to put them somewhere where they can be stolen.May 9, 2018 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #1518693
All the cubicles I have seen in shuls have numbers and keys. I’m no locksmith, but how do expect the phones to be stolen? The location might not be a central area, but it is certainly not private and without traffic. Who would be picking at a lock to find a phone of questionable value? What’s the risk of being stolen?
On airplane mode, the phone can vibrate in your pocket. If the goal is that the phone not disturb anyone, this vibration in the pocket makes that goal unattainable. Why is that preferred? Are you a doctor on call?May 9, 2018 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #1518763
Ask someone who has a phone.May 10, 2018 7:09 am at 7:09 am #1518835
Surviving without a smartphone I do believe will be possible in Israel at least for many years. There’s enough of a population here that is not willing to touch one with a ten foot pole that forces the government and institutions to make sure they can access things without a smartphone.
Even so as crazy at it sounds, there’s lots of other groups and people living in the USA that don’t own smartphones and who aren’t Jewish. Everyone has their own reasons, but their are lots of non-jews who dislike the affects of smartphone use too. When I was trying to get rid of mine finding other people who weren’t Jewish and had no push from anyone or any community or religion nor knew anyone living without a smartphone besides for themselves really gave me chizuk.May 10, 2018 7:52 am at 7:52 am #1518886
It probably will eventually be impossible not to have a smart phone, but I don’t think that’s relevant to their current status. Let the rest of the world use them so that the dangers will be realized before b’nai Torah start using them. I would say the same about a potentially helpful/potentially harmful medicine.May 10, 2018 10:15 am at 10:15 am #1518919
how many people read this back and forth on a smartphone ?
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