BANNED: Say Goodbye to the MP4?


mp4.jpgAccording to the weekly Belz-affiliated BaKehilla newspaper, HaGaon Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv is going to comply with the growing number of requests from rabbonim and roshei yeshiva and will be prohibiting MP4 players.

Roshei yeshiva visited Maran this week, and one case that was shared was a bachor who he noticed was totally engulfed in the gemora, swaying back-and-forth rhythmically as he stared at the sefer, prompting the rav to go over to his talmid to experience the event. It was then that he noticed the bachor was swaying to the music and not his gemora, hooked into his MP4 player which was well hidden.

The report adds that seminary rabbonim concur, fearing many good students may be corrupted by the influence.

When Maran asked “what can I do?” he was requested to publish a letter prohibiting the device.

Rav Elyashiv asked, “The tzibur still pays attention to such letters?” to which they responded the letter lends credibility to their statements that the players are problematic. It also gives rabbonim in yeshivas and seminaries the authority to send students home if found with the “portable TV units”.

Rav Elyashiv indicated a letter would be released, a letter that other Gedolei Yisrael will also sign, but it is unclear if the letter will be directed to talmidim and talmidos, or a general ban on the device.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. Were there other cases of bochrim bringing MP3 players into the bais medresh? There will always be some people misusing things. You can’t ban EVERYTHING.

  2. I’ve recorded hundreds of shiruim and what not on my MP3/4 player. Banned in the beis medresh while learning is one thing- but an all out ban is something else. It’s a great review tool. It just needs some restrictions.

  3. MP4 players are different than MP3. MP4 players (like the ipod touch) play video, not just audio. They probably want to discourage watching secular videos, just like the gedolim encouraged us to eliminate TV and movies

  4. Rav Elyashiv asked, “The tzibur still pays attention to such letters?”
    So sad that we do not listen to our Gedolim! Atleast Rav Eliyashiv is aware of this.
    Where does the problem lie? In my opinion? With some Rabbonim and many other “do gooders”!
    In my Beis Tephillo, I personally saw my Rov reading the notice board and tore down a notice assering mobile phones with text facility. His words were “Why don’t they stop trying to enforce the un-enforceable?”
    When we are told that everything is ossur, even devorim she’ain odom yochoil la’amod bo, emunas chachomim gets watered down.
    Instead of assering the internet, the Rabbonim should make a hachlotto that a filter MUST be in place – efsher yochoil la’amod bo (although my experience has shown that there is no foolproof filter). If anyone knows of one please let me have the details.

  5. Those people who came to rav elyashiv are just bored. true the mp4 is a problem but don,t ban everything let people use there own bechire. I think that this is a new trend in israel every other day a new “va’ada” is formed. last week it was about the kosher hotels, before theat the vaad for mehadrin busses etc. people, get a life. only because you have a pressure for staying in learning must you open so called “ruchniessdige” vaadot.

  6. You mean they are banning all digital files (what about computers, laptops, telephones, etc.). What about devices such as a reader for digital files?
    What about using systems that utilize such devices to function, such as package deliveries, postal systems, and transportation systems. Is he really saying we should try to be more backwards than the Amish (who reject much technology as a matter of principle).

    Or is he saying you shouldn’t bring electronic devices into a Beis Medrash (which really isn’t a hiddush), unless they are being used for learning (such as a hand held book-size reader)? That’s no different then telling people not to bring a newspaper into shul, which isn’t a hiddush at all.

  7. There’s an interesting fact of life that has become part of our generation. Rabbonim have basically assured almost anything that came into their view. When was the last time you saw a kol koreh that said muttar? What this has brought is a general feeling of resentment towrads them and a facetious attitude, if they assured it, let’s go do it. You want your music CD to be a success? Get a kol koreh out against it. The answer to any type of situation is the same answer that has been around for decades. Education, chinuch. Let the roshei yeshivos give musser shmuesen. Let them talk to bochurim about the holiness of Torah and learning and living yiddishkeit. And chanoch le’naar al pi darko. If a bochur is caught, analyze the situation. Most bochurim can be educated and persuaded to do teshuva. Those who have exhibited hard attitudes should be told to leave. I remember before every bein hazmanim the rosh yeshiva would tell the bochurim that they’re going home, that they are holy and they should act holy. Assuring publicly every new technological device is not going to work. If you tell a 4 year old not to touch, the child will touch. Just as rashi explains, if you explain that touching will hurt you, the child generally will not touch. The yetzer hora can be beat by making a bochur feel that he is something special, a holy part of klal yisroel because he is learning the holy Torah. A bochur should have that shmini she’bishmini of gaavo, to be used against the yetzer hora. That’s the answer to ensuring that the yeshiva be v’hoyo machnecho kodesh.

  8. Not really getting the story. Is the issue MP3 players which are music devices, or is it MP4 players which are video devices? In the case of the student, it sounds like he was just listening to something, not watching. I can understand banning video players, but MP3 players are no different than tape recorders in the sense that it will play whatever you put into it, so why now?

  9. It is a Bizayon to Kovod Hatorah the way they go about getting these bans. When they report that Rav Elyashiv “is going to comply with the growing number of requests” as the article says, it is obvious that there are people hocking him to sign on things. People should have respect for Gedolim and should seek their advice and hadrocha, but its not b’kovod to have them “comply” to your requests.

  10. If this is a ban on bringing these players into the yeshiva then I can understand it, but if its to totally ban it altogether I don’t see how you can do that.

  11. Good point #1. Also alot of times if you come into a beis medrash you hear bachurim singing while they learn so maybe we should ban all music let alone mp3 players and it could be he was listening to a shiur in the gemara he was learning nowhere does it say that the bachur said he was swaying to the music

  12. just me… You are right we cannot ban everything in the community at large, but surely a Yeshiva board can legislate against anything in their own grounds and buildings. A bochur bringing an ipod or cell phone in beis hamedrash or internet in the dirah etc etc etc of course it should be banned.

  13. We need to be PROACTIVE. We need to teach Emunah in the yeshivos. Most young men are WEAK in their Emunah. Appreciation for our yidishkeit is very weak. We need to strengthen Emunah, belief in the truth. Especially when the tied from the outside is so strong we MUST strengthen our appreciation for out tradition. It CANNOT just be tradition. We need to learn about EMUNAH. There is no other way to protect ourselves and our children from the outside influences.

  14. Ho Hum.

    Is anybody really surprised that bochurim are using digital media, and that rabbonim are banning it? Dog bites man – move along, nothing new to see here.

    What IS noteworthy, however, is that we frum Jews are still missing the forest for the trees:

    We still don’t get it.

    The plain,pashut truth is this: TECHNOLOGY IS NUETRAL. IT IS A TOOL THAT IS NEITHER INHERENTLY GOOD NOR INHERENTLY EVIL. The same way it can be used to watch or listen to things that are forbidden, it can also be used to learn Torah and to save lives.

    Instead of expending so much time,energy, and money into banning the newest items, our rabbonim should direct their efforts into teaching and training us to harness our yetzer hara so that we may enjoy the proper use of technology, and not it’s misuse.

    There will always be a new device that is better,smaller,cheaper,easier to use, easier to hide, etc. that can be a potential stumbling block to us.

    But it is not the device – it is how you use it.

  15. It always amazes me how strong of a hold the יצר הרע has on the rationalization of people who can’t seem to accept the words of Gedolim. For example, had the Chofetz Chaim ZT”L put an איסור on telephones because of all the Loshon Harah that it causes, besides the Bitul Torah, everyone would have been up in arms on how out of touch he is. Yet, he and all the Gedolim going back to Avrohom Avinu, as well as any frum Ben Torah, has accomplished infinitely more then those who decry them. Believe it or not, they did it with out email, text messaging and all the works of the שטן.

  16. Why are people bothering Rav Eliyashiv with this?
    1) Yeshivas can’t handle this on their own?
    2) You really think you’re going to stop people
    from listening to IPods?
    3) The Beis Medrash is for learning. That’s obvious. Perhaps someone could list currently banned items.
    You know what’s offensive anyone’s cellphone going off *anywhere* and loudtalkers broadcasting their trivia to an audience that either doesn’t care or is offended by their volume. Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita said: “Someone should really ask these Gedolim if they should come to Israel to bother them. That’s the shaaleh they should ask them.”
    I guess Seichel has gone away to the country.

  17. # 5 Good answer

    BTW did the Rosh Yeshiva speak to the young bachur and ask him what is going on? Is life OK? What are you listening to? Can you come to the misrad (office) and let us talk for a few minutes?
    Just a question not an assumption that he did not!!

  18. i don’t understand,

    1. to put videos – or anthing for that matter – on a MP4, you need a COMPUTER — BANNED.

    2. even if you have a computer, to put on videos, especially goyish ones, you need either a DVD — BANNED, or internet — BANNED, or take it from your friends — (definately) BANNED (it’s pure GEZAILAH).

    So basically it’s IMPOSSIBLE to even own a MP4!

  19. Stan the Man: How about this:
    Hey young Jonny. I’m glad you’re in the Beis Medrash learning. You could be a thousand other places now, but you’ve made the right choice. Seeing that no music is leaking out of your headphones and disturbing anyone, and their is a sefer on your shtender, I want to say chazak to you for developing your simcha in learning. B”H you’re not on the phone or on a blackberry communicating nothingness to nobody. B”H you’re working your Kochos up for learning! How about that for an approach?

  20. #25: If the Chofetz Chaim ZT”L would have put an issur on telephones, he would have been known as a fool instead of a gadol! Now that our gedolim are letting their gatekeepers influence their thoughts and decisions, and signing on the dotted line whenever someone asks them “to comply with the growing number of requests”, they too risk devaluing their status as a gadol — much like banning the phone would have been.

    Rav Elyashiv asked, “The tzibur still pays attention to such letters?” is not a reflection on the tzibur, it’s a reflection of the blind overuse and abuse of the “gedolim sword”. Did any of the gedolim who banned R’ Slifkin ( actually sit and read his books? Do any of them understand the significance of the MP3, how pervasive it is, and how they can ‘kol korei’ until they’re blue in the face and nobody will care?

    #24 hit it right on the nose: IT [this can be said about anything, not just technology] IS A TOOL THAT IS NEITHER INHERENTLY GOOD NOR INHERENTLY EVIL. The Torah can be used for amazingly good or for amazingly bad (as in when it’s used to wrap up a tazddik and be set aflame). The Internet can be used for achieving a siyum haShas, or it can be used for a siyum of your marriage. You need to decide to use technology for good, since it’s obvious that the gedolim are losing their ability to decide on our behalf!

  21. last week in America 2 frum people went to jail for “prusta” behavior and another 3 went to jail for various swindles. did we hear one psak against such behavior. not even a peep. we are busy assuring MP, MP4, Lipa and other narishkite while the goyishe velt is getting a whole new perspective of how frum yidden are behaving. I work with goyim and a week doesn’t go by without another yid in the newspapers for various unorthodox behavior. the goyim are eating this up.

  22. To #5 the reason most people do not listn to notices is becuase more than half of them are fake (ie they are not actually signed by gedoli hador) they are put up by other people who just want to start trouble, so trying to figure out what is and what is not said by any gadol, especially Rav Elyashiv is quite hard.

    As for this i do not think any rav from israel should be getting involved if the teacher/rebbe thinks it is a pblm confinscate it but if u hapen to listen to it on your own time i think that should be ok