Television: A Cry of Anguish and Appeal to Our Jewish Brethren 📺
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- This topic has 261 replies, 61 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 2 months ago by Joseph.
December 11, 2008 3:40 am at 3:40 am #588851
We Jews have been designated by G-d to be a “kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” Unfortunately, however, in the two thousand years of our Diaspora, the nobility of the Jewish character has suffered from considerable onslaught. In recent times, particularly, the protective walls that gaurded our sanctity have crumbled. As a result, we are sadly witness to the fulfillment of the pasuk: “They mixed witht he nations, and learned from their actions.” Many, including even Torah-observant Jews, have sunk to the practice of seeking their pleasures and enjoyment in the most vulgar, un-Jewish manner. This has occured to the extent that they are willing to open their homes to the worst sort of depravity, through the medium of televesion.
We must realize that the day will come when each of us will have to account for all of our actions, and we will be hard-pressed to justify how we could have permitted obscenity and indecency to enter our homes, to be absorbed by our children, the pure Jewish souls entrusted in our care. Lately, especially, each day’s programs seems to outdo in perversity those of the day before, as wanton murder and violence, immorality and nihilism, are protrayed for the pleasure of the viewers.
How can we Jews permit ourselves to watch these proceedings – and that, with complete equanimity? How do responsible parents allow their sons and daughters to sit and look at continuous graphic depictions of the three cardinal sins of Judaism – immorality, murder and mockery of faith? Is this the formula for raising an upstanding generation, developing students of Hashem’s Torah, refined in character and striving for Yiras Shomayim?
Even non-Jews with a sense of decency are deeply dismayed at the moral deterioration that society has suffered as a result of the television-spawned culture, the terrible toll it is taking on the country’s youth, and how it is directly responsible for the unrestrained, insolent attitude that prevails in the land.
What, the, are we to say – we who are commanded to keep the mitzvos, we who are instructed to excrcise restraint and to distance ourselves from all manner of licentiousness? We are enjoined both by the Torah and by all standards of derech eretz and deecensy to purge corruption from our midst.
We must free ourselves and our children, once and for all, from the addictive task-master – the television set – that rules our entire lives. If until now we’ve been remiss about this, it is high time we take strength and encourage one another, to eliminate from our homes this spiritual pollutant that toxifies the very atmosphere.
It is incumbent upon every man and woman, every family and circle of friends, to purge television-viewing from their homes, thereby fulfilling the commandment that “our camp be holy,” our eyes pure, and our hearts noble, bringing blessing upon the Jewish people – achieving a life of sanctity, and proving worthy of the Torah of Life, “whose ways are ways of pleasantness.”
In response, may Hashem Yisborach accept our teshuva and our tefillos with compassion, and ave us from all our flaws, so that we can serve Him wholeheartedly, and soon merit the full redemption.
Rosh Chodesh Elul 5752
Rabbi Avrohom Pam
[Yeshivas Torah Vodaath]
Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin
[Yeshivas Telz, Chicago]
Rabbi Aaron Schechter
[Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin]
Rabbi Binyomin Paler
[Yeshiva Mkor Chaim]
Rabbi Binyomin Zeilberger
[Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud]
Rabbi Chaim Baruch Wolpin
[Yeshivas Telz, Chicago]
Rabbi Chaim Epstein
[Yesshiva Zichron Melech]
Rabbi Chaim Stein
[Yeshivas Telz, Cleveland]
Rabbi Elya Fischer
Rabbi Elya Svei
[Yeshiva Gedola of Philadelphia]
Rabbi Gavriel Giinzburg
[Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Toronto]
Rabbi Henach Leibowitz
[Yeshiva Rabbi Yisroel Meir]
Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan
[Yeshiva Toras Chaim, Denver]
Rabbi Joseph Rosenblum
[Yeshiva Shaarei Yosher]
Rabbi Leib Bakst
[Yeshiva Bais Yehuda, Detroit]
Rabbi Levi Krupenia
[Yeshiva Kamenitz, Toras Emes]
Rabbi Lipa Margolis
[Yeshiva Torah Temima]
Rabbi Malkiel Kotler
[Beis Medrash Govoha, Lakewood]
Rabbi Meir Stern
[Yeshiva Gedola of Passaic]
Rabbi Mordechai Gifter
[Yeshiva Telz, Cleveland]
Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum
Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky
[Yeshiva Gedola of Philadelphia]
Rabbi Shimon Shwab
[Rav, Khal Adas Yeshurun]
Rabbi Shmuel Faivelson
[Bais Medrash LaTorah, Monsey]
Rabbi Shrage Moshe Kalmanowitz
Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld
[Mattersdorfer Ruv, Yeshiva Ch’san Sofer]
Rabbi Simch Schustal
[Yeshiva Bais Binyomin, Stanford]
Rabbi Tuvia Golstein
[Yeshiva Emek Halocho]
Rabbi Yaakov Perlow
[Novominsker Rebbe, Yeshiva Novominsk]
Rabbi Yaakov Schnaidman
[Yeshiva Bais Moshe, Scranton]
Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg
[Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Baltimore]
Rabbi Yechiel Perr
[Yeshiva Derech Ayson]
Rabbi Yekusiel Bittersfeld
[Yeshiva Zichron Shneur]
Rabbi Yisroel Perkowsky
[Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud]
Rabbi Yitchok Feigelstock
[Yeshiva of Long Beach]
Rabbi Yosef Harari Raful
[Yeshiva Ateret Torah]
Rabbi Zecharya Gelly
[Rav K’hal Adas Yeshurun, Yeshiva Rabbi S.R. Hirsch]
Rabbi Zelig Epstein
[Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah]December 11, 2008 7:18 am at 7:18 am #1192747asdfghjklParticipant
your name’s missing from the list!!!December 11, 2008 9:16 am at 9:16 am #1192748
This letter was written on Rosh Chodesh Elul 5752 (August 30, 1992) – there was NO INTERNET THEN! (I guess this is what you’re hinting at Joseph, correct?)
1) TV stands for Tohu Vavohu
2) in Gimatria: ??????? = ??? ???December 11, 2008 9:24 am at 9:24 am #1192749
Also, what mussar I get from this letter – how many Gedolim from the list are no longer with us! Hashem Yerachem – let us all do teshuva!
(please correct me if I made any mistakes)
MAY ALL THE RABBONIM LISTED AS ????”? BE: “???? ????? ?????”
Rabbi Avrohom Pam – Yeshivas Torah Vodaath – ??”?
Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin – Yeshivas Telz, Chicago – ????”?
Rabbi Aaron Schechter – Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin – ????”?
Rabbi Binyomin Paler – Yeshiva Mkor Chaim – ??”?
Rabbi Binyomin Zeilberger – Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud – ??”?
Rabbi Chaim Baruch Wolpin – Yeshivas Telz, Chicago – ????”?
Rabbi Chaim Epstein – Yesshiva Zichron Melech – ????”?
Rabbi Chaim Stein – Yeshivas Telz, Cleveland – ????”?
Rabbi Elya Fischer – Kollel Gur – ????”?
Rabbi Elya Svei – Yeshiva Gedola of Philadelphia – ????”?
Rabbi Gavriel Giinzburg – Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Toronto – ????”?
Rabbi Henach Leibowitz – Yeshiva Rabbi Yisroel Meir – ??”?
Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan – Yeshiva Toras Chaim, Denver – ????”?
Rabbi Joseph Rosenblum – Yeshiva Shaarei Yosher – ????”?
Rabbi Leib Bakst – Yeshiva Bais Yehuda, Detroit – ??”?
Rabbi Levi Krupenia – Yeshiva Kamenitz, Toras Emes – ??”?
Rabbi Lipa Margolis – Yeshiva Torah Temima – ????”?
Rabbi Malkiel Kotler – Beis Medrash Govoha, Lakewood – ????”?
Rabbi Meir Stern – Yeshiva Gedola of Passaic – ????”?
Rabbi Mordechai Gifter – Yeshiva Telz, Cleveland – ??”?
Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum – Yeshivas Mir – ??”?
Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky – Yeshiva Gedola of Philadelphia – ????”?
Rabbi Shimon Shwab – Rav, Khal Adas Yeshurun – ??”?
Rabbi Shmuel Faivelson – Bais Medrash LaTorah, Monsey – ????”?
Rabbi Shrage Moshe Kalmanowitz – Yishivas Mir – ??”?
Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld – Mattersdorfer Ruv, Yeshiva Ch’san Sofer – ????”?
Rabbi Simcha Schustal – Yeshiva Bais Binyomin, Stanford – ????”?
Rabbi Tuvia Golstein – Yeshiva Emek Halocho – ??”?
Rabbi Yaakov Perlow – Novominsker Rebbe, Yeshiva Novominsk – ????”?
Rabbi Yaakov Schnaidman – Yeshiva Bais Moshe, Scranton – ????”?
Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg – Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Baltimore – ??”?
Rabbi Yechiel Perr – Yeshiva Derech Ayson – ????”?
Rabbi Yekusiel Bittersfeld – Yeshiva Zichron Shneur – ????”?
Rabbi Yisroel Perkowsky – Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud – ????”?
Rabbi Yitchok Feigelstock – Yeshiva of Long Beach – ????”?
Rabbi Yosef Harari Raful – Yeshiva Ateret Torah – ????”?
Rabbi Zecharya Gelly – Rav K’hal Adas Yeshurun, Yeshiva Rabbi S.R. Hirsch – ????”?
Rabbi Zelig Epstein – Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah – ????”?December 11, 2008 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #1192750000646Participant
But you obviosly hold that tv is not assur as you agreed with feivel in the “jews owning dogs” thred that watching tv all day and owning a dog are comparableDecember 11, 2008 2:39 pm at 2:39 pm #1192751
Shkoyach – VERY mature comment.December 11, 2008 4:37 pm at 4:37 pm #1192752
kitzur: where’d you get that gematria from? i’m not a big fan of gematrias, but that one’s cute. reminds me of R’ Frand’s “pere adam” class about yishmael.December 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm #1192753
brooklyn19: i got this gimatria from the baltimore teacher (forgot his name by now) who does internet awareness seminars in frum communites. (you’re right, i should have said it initially b’shem omro)
the Tohu Vavohu one i heard many years ago from an Odom Gadol (who probably wouldn’t want his name floating around the internet, so i won’t mention it)December 11, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm #1192755ddParticipant
Kitzur (and brooklyn),
Maybe you want to brush up on your arithmetic skills (or your spelling). That gematria is off by 3.
But if da’as torah says 326=329 then so it is.December 12, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am #1192756
who checks them?!?!December 12, 2008 2:21 am at 2:21 am #1192757yankdownunderMember
Television is ok with a unit on the set to watch kosher DVDs or CDS. Otherwise why watch it , when we have computers.December 12, 2008 2:40 am at 2:40 am #1192758
yank: neither of them are ok.
and just btw- i don’t mean to attack anyone- but a TV in the master bedroom just for the parents is the most hypocritical thind in the world. (well it’s high up there. i dunno about the “most”)December 12, 2008 5:41 am at 5:41 am #1192759yankdownunderMember
Brooklyn19-If computers are not ok, how did you respond to my post? Are you telepathic?December 12, 2008 5:49 am at 5:49 am #1192760
maybe! no really – i’m not as good as i should be. i’m doing the wrong thing too. and i could rationalize like everyone else from here to tomorrow. and some of my reasons really have basis… but when it comes down to it, i’m wrong. period.December 12, 2008 9:29 am at 9:29 am #1192761
dd, you don’t know the rules of gimatrias. Each word can count for 1 point, and the “kollel” (total sum) can be worth another point. (Note I say “can be”, since it’s not a MUST.) So therefore, add 2 points to each word of “pere adam”, and add 1 point for its “kollel”, and there you have it: 329=329December 12, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am #1192762
A television *in and of itself* is just a communication device. You have to use it responsibly. [same goes for a cell phone, house phone, radio etc] No need to make it assur just because you think not everyone can control themselves.December 12, 2008 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #1192763
“A submachine gun *in and of itself* is just a device. You just need to use it responsibly.”
Did you read what the Rabbonim wrote about television?December 12, 2008 2:55 pm at 2:55 pm #1192764tzippiMember
SJS, you have a very valid point about control. BUT there are many valid reasons NOT to have a TV. Leave the frumkeit aside for a moment, and read Rabbi Keleman on TV in To Kindle a Soul (great parenting book to get, BTW).
And bringing frumkeit back into the picture, you may be too young to remember old time TV. Not that I think we can learn middos from the Three Stooges (actually, horribly violent) and old time TV comedy was full of double entendres, but then father knew best. Now fathers are irrelevant, or if present, they know nothing. (And think twice about bringing the Berenstain Bear books into your house too.) The point is, I hope that you think very, very critically and never leave the thing unattended.
I grew up with one and I don’t ever plan on having one in my house. Yes, a computer offers lots of viewing opportunities. Even with heavy filters I was able to watch part of the presidential conventions. But I don’t think I’ll be doing things like that again so soon.December 12, 2008 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #1192765
SJSinNYC. Well said. I should remined everyone that 2 weeks ago, when all anyone could think of was the murder victoms (unconfirmed at the time) in Mumbai, YWN embedded live feeds from India. It was CNN India, otherwise known as (Cable) Television. Technology is not inherently bad. It is how you use it and what you use it for.December 12, 2008 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #1192766
Have you read what rabbonim have wrote about the internet? If it’s not about control and how you use it, then I don’t see any possible heter for you to be on here.December 12, 2008 3:25 pm at 3:25 pm #1192767
illini, have you looked at the mod thread?December 12, 2008 3:26 pm at 3:26 pm #1192768
Joseph, your analogy is wrong. A television is a communication device. A machine gun is a device for killing/maiming.
Tzippi, I totally agree that there are many valid reasons not to have a TV! I agree with the deterioration of the content! I watched a lot of “old TV” growing up on reruns.
I just think this call to everyone to “to eliminate from our homes this spiritual pollutant that toxifies the very atmosphere” is a bit much.December 12, 2008 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #1192769
SJS, you seem to opine much of what the Rabbonim say ”is a bit much.”December 12, 2008 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #1192770
Joseph, I dont believe in assuring something that is muttar. There are plenty of things that are perfectly fine to watch on television, so long as you can self regulate. Same with the internet.
Luckily, my Rabbi does not have a problem with television itself, just some of the content.December 12, 2008 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #1192771
”Luckily my Rabbi does not have a problem with a submachine gun itself, just the bullets.”
SJS, let me put it as simply as possible, and this is a truism; Having a television in the home is more dangerous than having an unattended loaded submachine gun on the dining room table.December 12, 2008 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #1192772
SJS, thanks for pointing out the faultiness of the machine gun analysis. He tried to do it in the cell phone discussion too. But logical fallacies are nothing new to conversations with Joe.December 12, 2008 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #1192773
illini, and you likewise take exception to generally any takna the Rabbonim issue. This is no surprise.December 12, 2008 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #1192774
Probably being one of the only families in the community that we live in that doesn’t have a television, it attracts a lot of questions, and frankly disbelief. In the line of avodas hakodesh that we’re in (kiruv), when yidden come to our home and witness on their own that we don’t have a TV, our experience has been with 100% of the adults, that they express admiration that we don’t have one. Many say they wish they had the inner strength not to have one. And numerous parents lament how television has destroyed the fabric of wholesomeness and innocence in their children.
I ask you all one question: Can you imagine what this world would be like if all yidden didn’t have a television in their home?
One more thing…..from what our not yet frum guests share with us on the topic of TV, it seems impossible to filter the commercials that are aired nowadays, and they aren’t something that can be responsibly monitered. The argument of viewing such a device responsibly doesn’t work.December 12, 2008 4:31 pm at 4:31 pm #1192775
illini – I just converse with Joseph for the humor aspect. I find him entertaining 🙂December 12, 2008 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #1192776Yanky55Participant
As I said, Joseph is ALWAYS here to monitor the discussion rather than being in the beis medrash where he should be.
I have no doubt all the Rabbonim mentioned would agree that if one is a Yankee fan, then TV is absolutely muttar. In fact, encouraged!
One should seek to emulate the gedolim such as Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, Murcer, Mattingly, Jackson, Munson(Z”L), Rivera et al.December 12, 2008 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #1192777
Lets not blur the lines here. The content that is available on television these days is certainly not what we want in our homes and surely this is what the gedolim then and now do not want in our homes. This content surely comes out of a TV, it can be found on the web and can be accessed via a cell phone these days. It can be viewed on an Ipod, DVD player and heard on the radio. For those who cant excercise any self control, perhaps not owning these devices is th ebest way to go. Perhaps there are those who dont want to put themselves in a situation where they want to tempt themselves. Also, great. Just dont let this degenerate into a “holier than thou” discussion about who put themselves into what situation, and when, where, why and how.December 12, 2008 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #1192778
Hmmm… Is Joseph a member of the NRA? Is that what he is trying to tell us?December 12, 2008 5:07 pm at 5:07 pm #1192779
Well said. I know many who choose not to have a television, and that’s great. I know more who do, and are very careful about what they watch. Personally, I enjoy watching certain sporting events and even moreso the History Channel/Discovery/National Geographic/Biography Channel when I need some R&R. As far as the latter goes, I still feel like I’m taking a break, but I’m learning things at the same time. No-lose situation there!December 12, 2008 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #1192780
kiruvwife – there are plenty of communities that dont have televisions in their homes (for the most part) and they still have plenty of the problems of general society (drugs, abuse etc). TV does not cause these things.
We just got a DVR which is a digital recording device. You can fastforward commercials. Mostly, commercials are geared towards the audience for the shows. Daytime television has more diaper commercials (stay at home moms are the ones likely to be watching then) etc. There are also commercial free channels (that you pay for).
Joseph, none of my rabbanim are on the list, so I dont have to follow that takanah.December 12, 2008 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #1192781tzippiMember
Jphone, I for one didn’t access the live feed. (Not sure if my filters would have allowed anyway.) I remember 9-11, listening to the radio as it was happening, seeing pictures on newspapers. It was awhile till I actually saw real moving images, with sound, etc. and I have to tell you, I was traumatized by it! I don’t think I could have handled the live feed of Mumbai. Believe me, I didn’t need it to be totally involved and inspired to daven and do what I could.December 12, 2008 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #1192782
One must see something that is offensive first to know what to fast forward. Even a moment of that exposure is not worth it. I’m not sure exactly what it is that is worth paying for when it comes to tv.
But, a thought to ponder….one doesn’t know how emancipating it is to live without a tv unless one tries it. (I grew up with a tv/vcr/movies etc. and it is one of the most liberating feelings I’ve experienced to now in the home I’ve built not be exposed to even the “best” of what the tv offers).
If that is not in your nekudas ha’bechira, I respect that. But at least give it some intellectual honesty and thought.
I agree that TV is not the cause of all bad. The point I was making is imagine how each yiddishe neshama would feel without tv….a deep thought that requires reflection.December 12, 2008 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #1192783The Big OneParticipant
Lets put it as bluntly as it is: television = gehenim.December 12, 2008 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #1192784
See, it’s THAT, The Big One, which causes people to leave Judaism. Not the idea that one shouldn’t have a television in the home, but that attitude.December 12, 2008 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm #1192785TOHIGHSCHOOLGUYMember
THE BIG ONE … clearly not.
This is the problem … everyone here is eschewing subtlety and do not realize that like everything else, there is nothing black or white. The issue is really in full technicolor (to those who understand the reference), and really is not simply yes or no.
I think the issue really has to be analyzed in its entirety, and not just be subject to the shallow opinions of some (not all) on this siteDecember 12, 2008 7:49 pm at 7:49 pm #1192786feivelParticipant
Rabbi Avigdor Miller: “anyone who has a television in their house will not have a portion in Olam Ha Bah.” said more than once.
accept his statement or not.December 12, 2008 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #1192787
Thank You Feivel.December 12, 2008 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1192788
I’ll prefer to let Hashem determine who will have a portion in Olam HaBahDecember 13, 2008 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #1192789
It’s not a question of assur or muttar.
It’s just a stupid thing to have in the home being that the potential harm WAY outweighs the potential good.December 13, 2008 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #1192790
From a religous perspective some things are good. Some things are neither good nor bad. Some things are bad.
Now, let’s examine the issue of TV.
How many Yidden have had their Yiras Shomayim improve because they have a TV in their home?
How many Yidden have had their Yiras Shomayim diminish because they have a TV in their home?
(Tens or hundreds of)Thousands.
Whether you like it or not, that qualifies it as a “spiritual pollutant” & for the Gedolim to express their position that it should be “eliminated from our homes” is not “a bit much” rather an expression of their concern for your spiritual welfare, for which you should be eternally grateful.December 13, 2008 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #1192791
I also heard Rav Miller zt”l saying: “There’s only one place for a TV in a Jewish home: out the window.”December 13, 2008 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #1192792
O.K. let’s see… I need to make a decision now concerning my spiritual well being.
On the one hand I have thirty seven Rabbonim & Roshei Yeshiva saying it’s no good. I also have R’ Avigdor Miller Ztz”l saying “anyone who has a television in their house will not have a portion in Olam Habah”. (I heard him say it as well).
Hmmmm……. BUT WAIT!! On the other hand I have yankdownunder, SJSinNYC, jphone & illini07 in the YWN cofee room saying that it IS ok….. Oh my, how am I gonna decide this one …..
Well, the good thing is, that at least I know that whatever I decide SJS will “accept & respect” my position. 🙂December 13, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm #1192793
i honestly have know idea WHY this conversation is taking place. it’s 100% predictable. the “black hats” are gonna state every single rabbi that says it’s assur and then the rest of the poasters will say “but i don’t hold by any of them…”
well good luck to you. you’d just better hope God doesn’t hold by them either… which i highly doubt…December 14, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am #1192794Yanky55Participant
I personally saw the TV in the YU apartment that the Rav used when he stayed at the yeshiva (Tuesday and Wednesday nights).
R’ Avigdor Miller’s statement that anyone who has a TV will not have a chaylek in Olam Habah implies that R’ Yoshe Ber ZT”L will not.
Now, if he claimed that I have no chaylek, fine. But to claim that the Rav doesn’t, is
“less than smart” (the only way to phrase this w/o getting censored)December 14, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am #1192795
Hashem doesn’t hold by anyone.
By your statement, there’s no point in anyone having their own rav to hold by. Believe it or not, it’s possible for 2 rabbis to hold differently, and both be “correct.”December 14, 2008 1:22 am at 1:22 am #1192796
There is a movement that has been advocating getting rid of TV’s that advertises to Torah day schools and beyond….”TORAH AND TV DON’T MIX”…I think there was even an incentive to trade in one’s TV for seforim (a shas?). They explain beautifully how the values of Torah are polar opposite to those the tv spews.
In any case I don’t think there is any valid argument that tv could bring one closer to HKB”H. TV= Time Vaster TV=totally vulgar (not usually my taste to share these “roshei teivos” but fitting in any case).
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