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Monday, November 06, 2006

Dear Rabbi Wachsman . . .

In the spirit of 'eish es ray'ayhu ya'azoru', here is a letter to Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, upcoming speaker on 'blogs' at this year's Agudah Convention. If anyone knows of an e-mail or other means to get this to him, or can give it to him, I will be grateful.

Dear Rabbi Wachsman,

Over the past several years I have heard your name more and more as a speaker at various asifos and events.

The only time I heard you speak, to my knowledge, was at the last Siyum Hashas. The Siyyum proved to be an important event for me. A haphazard Daf learner before, I strengthened my chevrusas (with siyata d'shmaya) and am reasonable current with the Daf now, with some effort.

Occasionally I have a shverkeit in Daf Yomi, and when I do, the blog dafnotes is available, and staffed by a talmid chacham eager to help, as well as the Israeli daf yomi kolel answering questions by e-mail, and the video shiurim and Q & A from Sochatchov, the OU, and YU.

Please forgive me, but while R' Yissocher Frand's speech at the siyyum was really my inspiration to strengthen my sedorim, I felt discomfited about your drasha. At the time, I felt the tone to be one of an outsider yelling at me, and I feel there is only one person who can occasionally do that (and you are not her).

In addition, I felt you were bashing yiden without offering constructive suggestions, and felt the same way when I read reports of your address to the Monsey Internet Asifa.

There is, undoubtedly, danger on the 'net, and in blogs. Perhaps Rabbonim/Mechanchim in your position see the worst, and don't realize what a small percentage of all internet users these horrific cases are. It would be worthwhile to do a survey, and have the facts.


Similarly, the history of blogs in the outside world illustrates that the truth comes out in the end. It is much easier to show a blogger the errors of his ways, then to answer the fellow in Bais Medrash who makes a base allegation about a Rov bein govro l'govro.

Respect for Gedolei Torah is not increased when one feels they have no connection with what we view as the 'real world'. Like the secular smears that have appeared on the internet, the supposed smears of Gedolim on blogs probably will be self correcting, and those bloggers will lose readership. Klal Yisroel survived rags like Panim Chadashos, and will survive these blog rags, too.

I, for one, am open to a tightly reasoned, practical suggestion which will improve my internet safety. But there is no emotional or 'scare' argument here.

Rov Wachsman, please do not assist the spread of the 'all-forbidding' forms of yiddishkeit. The mikva I happen to frequent is owned by one of these groups, and I do not observe that this approach contributes to respect for gedolim and/or Daas Torah. The reality is that all-forbidding works out in the end to all-permitting, because it is an untenable position.

Meantime, there is much useful about blogs in the business, news and yiddishkeit areas. We should develop ways and means to control ourselves, an area where you may be able to assist, and crowd out the bad with good.

Signed,

A Sincere Blogger and Internet User

File:, ,

10 Comments:

Blogger Frummer????? said...

I'm interested how many of the "real bloggers" he has spoken with, whether he actually knows what makes people like myself tick.

Something tells me that he doesn't. He probably doesn't even think it neccesary.

6:10 AM  
Blogger TheProf said...

One of the biggest faults that many of our current set of "gedolim" public speakers have is being opposite of the Yisro-syndrome. Yisro's parsha actuallu begins at Lo Tov Ha'dovor yet Chazal named his parsha Vo'ato sechze. Because Lo tov isn't the answer, ato sechze is. A negative speaker will never win support. A positive attitude is always the answer.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, let us all agree to the fact that the internet is very dangerous, and for sure "rabbim chalalim hepilu". The Gedolim and Mechanchim are aware of, and faced daily with, the devastation that the internet created.
Surely there are positive aspects to this technology (as you say - in business, research, kiruv, etc), but that is of small comfort to those parents that are losing their children to Yiddishkeit.
So, someone has to do something, and they are trying to. Don't knock them for that - give them a big "yasher koach".
By the way, screaming, ranting, and raving is one method to get it the attention it deserves.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Avi Block said...

But, let us all agree to the fact that knives are very dangerous, and for sure "rabbim chalalim hepilu". The Gedolim and Mechanchim are aware of, and faced daily with, the devastation that knives create.
Surely there are positive aspects to this technology (as you say - kitchens, shechita, korbonos, etc.), but that is of small comfort to those parents who have lost their kids through the deadliness of knives.
So, someone has to do something, and they are trying to. Don't knock them for that - give them a big "yasher koach".
By the way, screaming, ranting, and raving is one method to get it the attention it deserves.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Sholom said...

Rabbi Wachsman and the Agudah must certainly not be referring to such esteemed Torah-true blogs as Dafnotes, Parshablog, or the Rif. Rather, they are referring to blogs such as Rishus, Seven Fat Cow, or this unmentionable Bizayon; which have a stated mission of corrupting the minds of the youth, in the tradition of Socrates and Ozzy Osbourne. These blogs abound in graphic sexual imagery, vulgarity, neo-Sabbatean heresy, and disrespect towards authority. They call for a revolution within Judaism, claiming that the leaders of Jewry are corrupt, and encouraging the impressionable youth to think for themselves. It is against these vile and disgusting repositories of knowledge that the Agudah mounts its attack, which is doomed to failure from the get-go.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Leapa said...

Avi - well said. And may I add automobiles (especially if you live in Monsey or Lakewood) and the invention of printing.

Sholom - Judging by history they well may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Remember, too, one has to go search for the blogs you mention. I, for one, was unaware of them. But then again, I was unaware of pool halls on McGuiness (or Humboldt) Street in Greenpoint, until, stuck in traffic late one night, I saw some white shirts and peyos sauntering out of them.
Influence of the internet, I guess.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous BYS said...

Positively not bashing Yidden or the way Yidden communicate. I believe that there is no hidden agenda. Parents wake up, your kids are starving for attention. Spouses wake up, your spouse is starving for attention. No I don't mean gratuitous attention, that's flowers and chocolate candy. I mean attention. By the way, Wachsman knows his wife's name and his kids names - do you?

2:04 PM  
Blogger problem-charedim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:37 AM  
Blogger thanbo said...

>do a study

Right. Like Our Gedoilim (tm) believe in the scientific method? Science is possul treif apikorsus, haven't you kept up with the latest bans?

OK, maybe Chazal used scientific method (hypothesis, experiment, observation) (see the discussion of which grains are kitniyos in Yerushalmi Pesachim; don't remember the page ref. offhand), but they were on a higher level. That was OK for them, but not for us.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Avromi said...

thanks for the plug, btw. I appreciate the chizuk.

12:51 PM  

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orthodox jews and the internet.