Oct 1, 2009

Interesting Psak from Rav Sherlo: Blogging on Sukkos

Somebody asked Rav Sherlo, on the Moreshet website, a shailo if blogging is permitted on Chol Hamoed.

The question is posed three-fold, specifically, but not limited to, his blog which contains Torah content:
  1. Is it prohibited to write a blog on Chag, especially if the content is not specifically connected to the chag and to the Chol Hamoed?
  2. Is it permitted to write a blog on Chol Hamoed about the question "if blogging on Chol Hamoed is a denigration of the holiday", especially if the authors conclusion or his posek's conclusion is that writing blogs on Chol Hamoed about general issues is prohibited?
  3. Would writing a blog on Chol Hamoed be considered a "Davar Ha'Aveid" - something that will be lost if not done in a timely fashion - as regular blog readers might stop following the blog [if they do not see new posts] (and this might cause them to read other blogs that have less Torah content)?

The questions seem a bit convoluted to me. I don't even know if I understand the 2nd question. He should have just asked is blogging about general content allowed or prohibited, and is blogging about Torah content allowed or prohibited? But I guess his shailoh was more personal and less general, so he was asking specifically about his blogging.

Rav Sherlo's answer was that: Blogs on Torah related materials can be written on Chol HaMoed, for a couple of reasons:
  1. writing on a computer is generally not considered by the poskim as writing, in regards to requiring it to be for the needs of Chol Hamoed.
  2. There is extra reason to be lenient when writing words of Torah.
  3. Even more so, it is preferable that people should surf to sites such as these [sites of Torah content]
If the conclusion of the poskim would have been that it is prohibited, it would be brazen to write a blog on Chol Hamoed, like toiveling in a mikveh while holding a sheretz, unlessit was for the purpose of avoiding issurim.

Blogs that are closed, that might cause its readers to abandon it for other sites, and they have intrinsic value in their existence, how much more so is it justified to be written on Chol Hamoed.

While Rav Sherlo is specifically addressing a site with Torah content, as he discusses the added value of the Torah content as extra reasons for allowing the blogging and updating of material and content, he is also allowing general blogging to be done on Chol Hamoed. Both with the hetter of it being considered "a loss" because of readers abandoning it, and with the hetter of it not being considered writing.

I particularly liked the hetter of it being a "davar aveid" because of the decrease in readership.

(Thank you David for letting me know about the tshuva on the train this morning)

5 comments:

  1. you mean you didn't read my magnum opus back in 2007? (without consulting with rabbinic authority):

    http://snurl.com/s96ab

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't see how loss of readership is a dovor ha'aveid. Consider:

    - a decrease in readership does not affect the blogger one bit (besides possibly his ego, which is probably symptomatic of one or more larger problems);
    - the blog itself is not less useful to remaining readers if the readership goes down; and
    - a reader who switches to another blog is not losing Torah learning - he's just getting it from a different source.

    If loss of readership is really such a serious concern, it would probably be best to put a note on the blog that the blogger will return after the chag.

    ReplyDelete
  3. originally, before I saw the psak but was told about it, I suggested that maybe the blogger is losing advertising revenue, which would be a davar aveid. then I said that would not count becuase the advertising revenue on jewish blogs is so low, it cannot possibly have significance in halacha as a davar aveid for a few days of lower revenue.

    The decreasing readership is something that can happen all the time, as readership fluctuates regularly, and the petitioner mentioned in his question that he posts only twice a week anyway. How many readers is he going to lose when they know anyway to only check in twice a week? Plus the vacation is only a week long. That is missing two posts. Not much.

    but, the fact is that a blogs only neches - "possession", is his readership stats. If that concerns any particular blogger, I see no reason not to call it a davar aveid. Even if it means he has an ego, so what?

    as far as the Torah learning, you are saying the questioner made a presumption that is not necessarily true. I agree. he is saying that if someone leaves his site, they will go to a non-Torah site. That may or may not be true, but he has no way of knowing.

    Personally I think the other reasons are better - it is not writing. and the fact that it is torah is another good reason. The rest is just pilpul

    ReplyDelete
  4. I still don't see the basis for a blow to one's ego (especially since it's not b'farhesiya - noone else sees those numbers) being a davar ha'aveid.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am the eponymous Yaakov of the shailah regarding blogging on Chol HaMoed.

    Regarding Yoni R.'s point about readership, there are actually many ways to access the readership of a blog.

    Also, originally I was talking to David about my blog which struggles to post once a week. But a blog which posts every day might suffer a huge hit in readership if the author took a break.

    I also posted about this topic, but apparently I was a couple of hours too late.

    ReplyDelete

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