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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Maginot Line

In the 1/29 gathering on 'Dangers of Internet Access' covered in the 1/31 Hamodia (we can't link because kosher news is trayfe on the 'net), a certain Mr. Richard Altabe, General Studies Principal @ Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Far Rockaway, spoke.

Parenthetically, and before my main point, I must express my encouragement that the General Studies Principal of a 'frum' Yeshiva is able to have his opinion taken seriously by Daas Torah, as evidenced by his speaking at a rabbinical and mechanchim assemblage. I presume that what he says goes inside the Yeshiva as well. If more Yeshivas adopted this attitude, we would have more efficient use of the time spent in secular studies, and hopefully more ability for alumni to have an adequate knowledge base to earn a living in an honest and honorable manner without government handouts.

Mr. Altabe, however, seems to compare the Torah to the Maginot Line (the speech and/or the reporting of it seem garbled). If so, this is an unfortunate analogy, and one which I hope does not indicate the level of academic rigor of yeshiva secular education.

The Maginot Line
Part of The Maginot Line

The Maginot Line was constructed by the French post WW I, to protect against a German invasion. The French then proceeded (characteristically) to deconstruct their army, particularly its mobile capacity, depending on the static defense of the Maginot chain of fortifications. In WW II the Germans easily flanked the Maginot line by coming through Belgium and Holland, as well as through forests the French considered so thick as to be impenetrable. The 'blitzkrieg' took France in a short time, since they left themselves with little internal defense capacity or flexibility. (An historical aside: the French reconstructed the line after WWII, then abandoned it when they left NATO's military command. Go figure!)

Is Orthodoxy's defensive strength like that of the Maginot line?
I believe Torah Judaism is deeper, more mobile more dynamic, and more flexible than a fortification which was obsolete before it was built.

More importantly, the so-called 'enemy' is already deep behind the line. If the internet could have been stopped, it had to be done in 1994. Unfortunately, a move to seize the internet's positive aspects and capitalize on them should have also been done 10 years ago - but there is still time for much positive action which will produce protection and new strength.

In short, it is not only insulting and embarrassing to Torah to compare it to a renowned failure, it is also after the fact and misleading.

Mr. Altabe, please spare us such facile and inaccurate comparisons. I hope they are not indicative of the psychological mind-set of the organizers.

The burning question remains whether we will actually do something, or just create a PR flak attack to confuse the radar, enabling our community to say "we tried!".


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orthodox jews and the internet.