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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Never Miss a Chance to Miss a Chance

In the Wednesday issue of Hamodia (the kosher newspaper which turns trayfe on the Internet) page 6, Yonoson Rosenblum takes a gratuitous swipe at technology, presumably including the technology platform which he, I, and you the reader share. Mr. Rosenblum knows better. His name is itself found all over the internet ( and not only in the context of explaining the Orthodox position to outsiders) as well as appearing on the masthead of www.cross-currents.com, a fine blog.

Mr. Rosenblum takes his swipe en route to praising the role of technology (sans Internet) in disseminating Torah, a point in which we all agree with him.

I'll re-type what he says (Please kasher your Hamodia afterwards): "Our Gedolim made clear . . . (new technologies) fit into the category enunciated by Chazal when they said 'it's not the mouse that steals, but the hole'. These technologies lead astray some people with no inclination to be so led. They are not facilitators; they are the cause of destroyed lives (bolds mine). And no one is immune".

Now, Mr. Rosenblum effectively works for Agudath Israel, which cannot alienate any chareidi Rosh Yeshiva or Rebbe. He has also published biographies of Gedolim, a business with a future, so there is motive for him to keep well within the good graces of all Gedolim.

Moreover, Mr. Rosenblum also is a Yale educated attorney serving as a skilled 'media resource' for the Orthodox point of view. In contrast, this yohunk from Podunk (your loyal blogger) is not much of a shill, and certainly cannot compete with Mr. Rosenblum if it gets down and dirty in the art of debate and PR.

Mr. Rosenblum, however, certainly has the capacity to distinguish between the slogan "Guns don't kill, criminals kill" (which he quotes as a parable for those who feel technology is not the problem) and the reality of the internet. The Internet has both good and bad. Mr. Rosenblum himself is part of the good.

A gun, by contrast is made only to kill - something bad. The Internet was originated only for good, and the bad is a perversion of its original intent. While guns can be used for good, the means through which they accomplish good is itself destructive and bad.
While the Internet can be used for bad, that is a perversion of a technology which is primarily good.

If some Gedolim seem to be saying otherwise, it is the duty of those who around them to confirm and reconfirm the and make sure they are familiar with all aspects of the issue, and with how their own constituents are using, not abusing, technology.

In the end we have emunah in "im lo neviim, bnai neviim haim. . ", and the majority of chareidei klal Yisroel is and will be making their voices clearly heard on the Internet issue through their actions. They are online.

But the 'mouse hole' Mr. Rosenblum compares technology to still must be stopped up. It is a hole in our children's chinuch. Mr. Rosenblum says no one is immune. Does that mean no one can be immunized? I have witnessed Gedolim who have mass immunized young people against many spiritual diseases - all without prohibiting anything.

Where we must devote extreme attention is to modifying our chinuch to prevent "destroyed lives". And gratuitous swipes cause us to miss this opportunity to save nefoshos before they are soiled.

Let's not be like the Arabs, always trying to go back one step and missing today's opportunity. Let us be positive and proactive on the Internet.

When the Internet can and is used for so much good, why shoot ourselves in the foot, Mr. Rosenblum?

4 Comments:

Blogger kendall deerson said...

i would rather not write and promote a legitimacy to the opinions expressed on this blog. however this form of self expression i fear has only begun to fester on the internet. we are witnessing a democratization of orthodox jewish thought that speaks to a very innate american sensibility of free speech. However we are bound by the Shulchan Aruch whose parameters of speech are dictated by shimras halashon not the conventional wisdom of the street. Grand prouncements and bellicose statements smack of catholic pontification and that my friend is barking up wrong tree. Yiddishkeit is defined through a process of case by case desicion by decision. the truth for one circumstance with its mulitplicity of variable does not and most likely will not be the same in other individual situation. daas torah by definition cannot be committed to one uniform ideology. the basis to Daas Torah is found in a Tshuva establishing Halachic precendent. the discussion must remain halachic in nature and not political or theological. i would suggest a majority of this blog would cease to exist if actually scholarly talmudic research would be mandated before expressing an opinion.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Circle in Square said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Circle in Square said...

I agree.

Now what?

If you think we'll avoid the 'festering' phenomenon, look at
this.How do you expect to put the horse back in the barn?

And I try my best to observe shmiras halashon.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

Kendall:

How on earth can we listen to "Dass Torah" as you put it, when the "deciders" obviously have no idea what it is they are on about?

If we saw that they truly understood issues before offering their opinions, we might respect them.

What we actually see, is Rabbonim being fed selective details about selective problems by a select group of people.

They are not given the true picture.

8:48 AM  

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