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Oct 14, 2012

iPhone Singled Out For Teshuva Success

With all the attacks on the iPhone (no, I do not have an iPhone) by haredi rabbonim and gedolim, the last thing I would have suspected was that the iPhone could be singled out as a necessary tool in an activity as holy as that of bringing disassociated Jews back to religion. I mean, if it has such a holy usage to it and is uniquely successful in that role, it should not be under such attack. And if it is so bad, either it's success in one role should not matter, or perhaps any success should not necessarily be attributed to the use of the iPhone but perhaps to a different aspect of the activity involved.

In an interesting sidebar, Rav Amnon Yitzchak was caught using an iPhone. I say "caught" because he has been as vocal as anybody in regards to the issue of not using the iPhone and other smartphones and how destructive they can be. So with him being opposed to using the iPhone, being spotted, on camera, using one himself is like being caught in hypocrisy.

Rav Amnon was getting a lot of heat after the picture was publicized, and decided to respond. On his website, Shofar.net, he publicized a statement justifying his use of the iPhone.

Rav Amnon Yitzchak writes that he (and his staff) has special permission from Rav Shteinman to use the iPhone for the purpose of being machzir b'tshuva. He is not just responding to those questioning his sincerity, but he is really going on the attack - he also says that anyone who questions or suspects his rebbi is as if he suspects the shechina [of wrongdoing], as well as starting off the message stating "regarding what the idiots are asking..".

Either way, permission or not, Rav Amnon Yitzchak is basically saying that the iPhone has a very holy purpose that cannot be performed as well by other means. Perhaps he is the first of the public rabbonim to acknowledge the benefits of technology and the affects their usage can have on Judaism...

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  1. Methinks the rabbi doth protest too much. Can you spell "hypocrite?"

  2. That is so ridiculous. Someone who is an official anti-internet etc. should serve as a model of purity to those he preaches to.

    And if there is a need to have first-level kiruv outreach toward those who are - nebbech - on the iphone or otherwise off the derech, that should be by specially appointed members of the organization but not the spokesmen against it.

    And if there is a need to have "explorers" who research just how bad it is or how to advise those who need to get detached or filter for work purposes, again specially appointed people should do it.

    So either Rav Amnon is immune to the pitfalls of the iphone that is forbidden to anyone, or it isn't as bad as they say.

  3. classic case of do as I say not as I do which is almost always used most effectively by cult leaders.

  4. Can he get Rav Shteinman to say that on tape - and post it on the internet for us?

  5. Umm. Many rabbis are certified to deal with marital relations and checking women's stains. I think that anyone else should mind their business.

    The smartphone is really a bad tool in the hands of most people. I really just heard about a relative who is ignoring his wife who found him surfing pr0n sites. His bar mitzvah son also found pictures on his phone. I trust rabbis to be able to use the tools and do not find this as being hypocritical at all.

    1. Wrong. I see NO reason why he would need a smart phone (neither do I understand why he needs to drive a BMW).

      Rabbis are also normal people, by the way.

    2. Uh, you can bring your stains to him if you want to. I'll stick with a Rabbi that doesn't insult his followers about doing things that he gets secret dispensations for.

  6. PS I think he really shows what caliber he is by calling people 'idiots'. Would Rav Steinamann call people idiots? He is not a gadol, just a charismatic kiruv guy who seems to enjoy mocking people and living a luxurious life.

  7. I like how he had someone else ask the shay'lah for him, so that he wouldn't risk having to be bound by the answer, just in case it came back: "No iphone. Period."


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