BAN CONTINUES: Maran R’ Lefkowitz Shlita: Internet Worse Than Television


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According to a front page article in the erev Shabbos HaMevaser, HaGaon HaRav Michal Lefkowitz Shlita stated the internet’s threat to kedushas Am Yisrael is far worse than the threat from television, adding those using it bring themselves down to a low level, compromising their share in “both worlds” because in this world, the internet takes one down to a low place and of course, the spiritual world to come. The Rav warns that if not brought under control the internet chas v’sholom may result in the loss of an entire generation. Those using the internet separate themselves from the klal bnei Torah, the Rav adds.

The article goes on to quote the gadol hador, who addresses the so-called ‘chareidi websites’, accusing those sites of taking down the entire generation – calling upon every rav in every community to make his voice heard clearly on the matter.

The article goes on to quote R’ Gershon Edelstein Shlita, who relates to the internet as the “opening to the gate of gehenom”.


(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. Now that it is established that all YWN participants are standing at the gate of gehenom, we may ask the esteemed rabbonim if they believe they have a viable solution to the problem. Do they expect (not want, but expect) the hamon am to sit and learn ktzos and nesivos all the time? No, they don’t expect it. But if they keep bashing the internet as a whole,and don’t connect to reality, they will indeed lose an entire generation.

  2. Wile I am sure that Harav Lefkowitz is a Gaon Olam, I’d be curious to see the hard facts upon which he has made this determination.

    This conversation is getting stupid. If YWN is going to keep reporting on this, should you have a banner on top saying that the WEB site is up against the wishes of the Gedolei Yisroel?

  3. I think there must be very powerful askanim feeding false information to the gedolei yisroel. Obviously the rebbeim speaking have not used the internet themselves … yet, they seem to think that every site is pornographic. Where are our choshovah rabbanim getting their information? I think it is from some very low-life sources. We all know that the internet can be navigated as safely as the local mall, the telephone and our very streets. Why don’t they see this?

  4. Then why do we see the organizations associated with the rabbanim continuing to use voice applications over the internet (what used to be telephones in the predigital era), and accepting payments by credit cards and checks (all of which are internet applications for transfering funds).

    When I see the rabbanim switching to cash-only, and not using telephones, I’ll take the “ban” seriously. Until then, we should assume that the people making the ban don’t know the difference between the “internet” and various applications that use the internet (some of which are quite bannable, but others are quite critical for daily existence).

  5. To #4: I’m sure he does realize and in fact desire that his comments, if indeed he did make them, appear on the Internet, so that people like “shlomozalman” can redicule them. : )

    Seriously though, the question of whether or not there are gedolim banning the Internet aside, I think we all agree that the Internet has a tremendous potential for evil. I just wonder why there wasn’t any letter issued directly by HaRav Lefkowitz, on his stationary (bearing his letterhead) and his signature, stating what was reported by HaMevaser.

    why does ywn think that this only applies in “ISRAEL”? If the internet is banned that applies to all Jews everywhere. It’s not any better or worse depending on your location!

  7. To #7:

    The reason why the letter wasn’t issued directly by Rav Lefkowitz is probably because he never made the statement.

    Other than the rantings of chareidi newspapers, which are dying together with other print media because of the rise of electronic media, there is no independent, verifiable information that any Gadol has made an informed psak to ban the internet.

  8. akuperma,

    I think it’s fair to assume that when the gedolim say “Internet” they really mean the World Wide Web. They just don’t have the technical knowledge to know the difference. I highly doubt that the gedolim have problems with people using the phone or banks or processing credit card charges.

    The Wolf

  9. #10 – I agree. They probably are not even objecting solely to the WWW, but primarily to graphic interfaces (anyone for switching to PINE and LYNX), and to blogs (at least to anonymous blogs full of defamation and insulting behavior). My son (in yeshiva) thinks they also object to texting since it facilitates boys and girls communicating without anyone knowing – though this problem is common in almost every culture that has arranged marriages.

  10. Seems to me there is a difference between the internet per se and the web. Would the rabbonim be against VOIP? I like Rav Mattisyahu shlita’s comment that there is an issur Yichud with a computer that is on the internet. Not that the Internet is bad but it is like the “Ohr Haganuz” that allowed a person to see from one end of the world to another that had to be hidden because of what the rishoyim would do with it. Considering that internet signals travel on light waves (using optical fiber technology, his comment really hits the mark.

  11. I use the internet daily for many years, so I’m in the same boat as the rest of you.

    Let’s keep an open mind here. Being on the web gives the user instant access to any type of pritzus that the person desires with a simple mouse click. That is indisputable. Even if you feel that you have somehow overcome your yetzer hora and will never check out something grossly inappropriate for the rest of your life (you know better), ask yourself one important question; have you ever surfed around the web for pritzus before? Be honest, you know you did in the past many times. The only reason you maybe don’t feel the need to check out the pritzus available is because knowing it is so easily available and always there if you need it devalues the magic of seeing the shmutz constantly. The taaveh is still in us and we absolutely want to know that we have anytime access to whatever we want to see deep down, it’s just that we don’t necessarily feel compelled to act upon the taavos because of the high degree of confidence that it is available whenever.
    Now question if all this is true (and you know it is) should your immature teenagers also have access to the web? How easy is it for a good kid to get addicted to the most vile shmutz in a very short time? A teenager with a cell phone having internet access (if they have any cell phone, they will most assuredly “upgrade” to a full featured one in a short time) is guaranteeing them to have horrible problems. They will suffer with these issues their entire lives.
    We have lost a lot of basic sensitivity to this very real problem. Even if we can’t change ourselves, at least we should be man enough to admit its a problem.

  12. I left the secular world and TV to go to yeshivah and was told I had to leave for lack of money to keep paying

    Then I was living in an extremly frum haemish community I found a good job with good pay and no TV and no internet.
    People in the community saying loshon hara baout me caused me to lose my job.
    They also caused me to lose a shidduch and lose out on any possible future shidduchim.
    Since I was not from a prominant family and was totally on my own no one even those who acted friendly to me and gave me advice did not even try and stop the loshon hara (even though some could have because they themselves WERE very prominant in the community and people would have listened to them).

    Since I was so rejected and forced oyt of the community (since I could no longer pay rent) I was forced into a horrible situation that was not exactly homelessness but in some ways was far worse.

    It was after that that since I had no real friends and living in a new place and realizing that many to claim to be such followers of Torah
    were hypocrites, I turned to TV and the internet to help with my lonliness.

    Now I ask how can the internet possibly be worse then the loshon hara and sinnas chinnam that drove me to it?

    If anyone wants to increase frumkeit and the idea of following Torah, the things that harmed me are far more important to wrok on then the internet.

  13. chgoachdus (#5): “I think there must be very powerful askanim feeding false information to the gedolei yisroel. Obviously the rebbeim speaking have not used the internet themselves …”

    If what you’re saying is indeed true, then they hardly sound like people who should be regarded as “Gedolim”. To the contrary, according to what you’re saying, they sound like very naive, undiscerning people who make their judgements based on false information coming from untrustworthy sources. And if that is the case here, then why should their judgment be trusted in any other case?

  14. it is terrible that the torah sites such as kol haloshon with THOUSANDS of shiurim online, are down. the so called askonim should be ashamed of themselves.

  15. Perhaps American Rabbonim do not condemn the internet because they use it and know what it is about. Lakewood Yeshivas, yeshiva katonos through bais medrash are refusing students who have internet at home. It started in one yeshiva and snowballed.

  16. The last time that I read that statement the rabbonim who signed it did allow for the internet where it is necessary and under conditions.

    Those rabbonim are the ones whom families go to to ask and cry what to do about their relatives who indeed fell right through the cracks and holes of the internet. Those victims do not publicize that which they know about on these forums or anywhere else. However, the rabbonim, roshei yeshivah and so on are much more intimately aware of what goes on than most other people who do not have to face these tragedies.

  17. shlomozalman:

    The gedoylim in E”Y do have a plan, and just because YOU don’t understand it,doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t follow. You pointed out:

    “Do they expect (not want, but expect) the hamon am to sit and learn ktzos and nesivos all the time?”

    The Pashut answer is the Gedoylim expect there to be no other choice.