Ponevezh Bans Technology, Including Using One’s Computer To Write Chidushei Torah

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At Ponevezh Yeshiva a meeting was held on Wednesday, 14 Iyar, addressing the war against technology. The aseifa was held in the office of the yeshiva’s president HaGaon Rav Eliezer Kahaneman together with Roshei Yeshiva HaGaon Rav Gershon Edelstein, HaGaon Rav Baruch Dov Povarsky, Mashgiach HaGaon Rav Eliezer Ginzberg and other members of the yeshiva staff.

The aseifa was a closed-door event, and Rav Edelstein was first to address the forum. It was concluded that talmidim will be instructed to distance themselves from all forms of technology, including a computer used to write one’s chidushim.

Despite the fact using a computer has become an accepted norm in other yeshivos, beginning this week, it is prohibited in Ponevezh.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


11 COMMENTS

  1. They are entitled to adopt whatever policies they wish, however misguided they may seem to others. However, its sad to see such a highly regarded yeshiva stick its institutional head in the sand and deny its talmidim an opportunity to use a fundamental tool for learning and expression. Fortunately, there are many other yeshivos and kollels whose leadership is more willing to adopt these tools within limits and take advantage of the knowledge and innovations offered by the Ebeshter to his yidden both to learn torah and function in society.

  2. To the mod that censored my comment: Like I’ve said in the past, quality journalism is not afraid of critics; they publish other people’s views too. Only lousy journalism censors comments that disagree with them; they need to do so to feel confident about their work. Post my previous comment. Or just remain immature and unconfident. Your choice.

    Moderators Note: We have no idea what you are talking about. No comment of your was censored. In fact, this is your first comment on this story. But thanks for the flowery compliments!

  3. The article said banning all technology, but the article also said banning use of computers for academic work. That’s hardly the same thing. If one rejected all post-Sinai technology, one cold not use paper, or cotton, or artificial fabrics, or plastic, or electricity or antibiotics. Whether banning computers in academic work is hardly the same thing, and many goyim have expressed similar concerns. Computers are, to use their expression, a double-edged sword than can be counter-productive (e.g. too distracting, less effort to record notes compared to hand writing, etc.).

  4. There are stories told (without real verification) that some gadolim from the early 19th century refused to learn torah at night by electric light in the Alte Heim and restricted themselves to using oil lamps and candles even when their towns were wired for electric lights. While that may sound irrational to us since it would appear to make limud torah more difficult and likely result in fewer hours of learning, such resistance to technological change is fairly pervasive in our own mesorah and analogies can be found in other religious faiths. As noted, restricting access to computers also will restrict the access to new writings and divrei torah only available on the internet.

  5. The precise nature of the prohibition needs to be clarified. If an avreich won’t type up his chiddushim on a computer, someone else will. There is quite simply no way to publish a sefer nowadays without technology. No printing establishment anywhere in E.Y. uses printing plates (“platot”) and moveable type. The author or editor emails a pdf file of the sefer to the printing house. The publisher’s computer is a rather sophisticated device that spits out finished book pages. Of course, the pages need to be bound, and that is also done by computerized machinery. This is how all printed material (sefarim, booklets, newspapers, etc. — everything) has been published for as least the past 2 decades. Trying to prohibit this is tantamount to forbidding publication of any new sefarim.
    It’s entirely possible that the Ponevezh administration wants to ban working on a computer in the Bais Medrash during seder. This is not quite the same as “banning all forms of technology.”

  6. Would love to hear a recording of the talk, or read a transcript. I may not be able to understand or appreciate this, but fools they are certainly not.