Apr 29, 2008

interesting psak from Rav Elyashiv and Rav Steinman - Haredi newspapers

The following clipping is from a recent edition of the Yated Ne'eman. The question (which is partially cut off) posed to Rav Steinman was "How much should a husband fight to stop his wife from reading magazines the Rabbonim do not approve of?"

Rav Steinman's response is: "It is already a bad situation when an avreich has to fight a war over this. It is much worse when it is a graduate of a Bais Yaakov school, and even more so when she is a teacher in Bais Yaakov. The problems of our generation are great; such as the dangers of the Internet, that brings all the dirt from the street right into the house, and has already destroyed many homes. But also these forms of media, they give false ideas. It used to be that anybody who wanted to be exposed to all these bad things, would have to go out and look for them. Now, the Yetzer ha'Ra brings them right into our homes.

In earlier generations the women's work was very hard. The housework was much harder. Laundry was backbreaking work. Today, it is much easier, and it is all done by pushing a button. In those years, who had time to read a newspaper? Today, having too much time available makes the problem much worse.
It is true that today the dangers are even greater. But we have to know that it starts with something less dangerous, and then the situation spirals out of control. This is where the breach begins. It starts with A, but ends up all the way at Z! At first it is just a slight spiritual decline, but it gets much worse.

To bring these types of media into the house of an avreich, is the beginning of the decline. This is how you get into the path of decline. Even worse is that it causes educational damage to the kids. He must explain to her that she is poisoning her kids and harming their education. When she will wise up, it will already be too late. When the kids see these things by their parents, they will go one step further, and that is how it begins..."

So if the husband sees he cannot stop her, should she at least be told to do it in private?

Rav Steinman responds: "That could be even worse. If the kids see their parents reading papers in private that the Rabbonim do not approve of, they will just learn that bad things need to be done privately and hidden. they will not learn that they should not be done.
The solution is that parents should not do these things at all!"


This post was already to go up when I saw today's Yated Ne'eman. They had an article continuing the above discussion.

I had assumed the above article was referring to non-Haredi publications (maybe National Geographic, various womens magazines, etc..). In today's Yated, they had an article in which they said they approached Rav Elyashiv and asked about the same issue. Today the Yated mentioned that it is referring to Religious and Haredi papers that have this bad influence.

It says that during Chol HaMoed Pessach, some Rabbonim and Educators went to Rav Elyashiv and showed him examples from these papers that are imbuing its Haredi readers with bad values.

Rav Elyashiv said these papers should not be called Haredi, as their content is in contrast to the values of the Haredi papers the previous Gedolim had established. Instead of imbuing its readers with the Torah hashkafah, they bring machlokes, gossip, lashon ha'ra, all under the guise of "Haredi Media".

It further states that these papers do not claim to have any educational value, rather are just to pass the time, for entertainment. These papers are unusually liberal, they have articles that are full of content that is illusory,
and advertisements that give a stamp of approval to organizations that are passul 9such as Yeshiva High Schools, Academic centers, Universities for Haredim, etc.). All this in an attempt to create a new world called "the New Haredi".

Furthermore, these papers give a place for external ideas to be brought in. They give a base for people who are passul, they interview people - sometimes a national personality, sometimes a marbitz Torah which gives the impression that they are all kosher to be presented to the public, each with his own truth.

The article goes on with more of the above...

What surprises me is that it does not give the names of any specific newspapers to stay away from. How am I supposed to know which Haredi paper is considered kosher and which is passul if they do not tell us what Rav Elyashiv and Rav Steinman were referring to?

I suspect a bigger problem is that the Yated is worried about their losing a lot of subscribers and market position to some very successful papers that have come into the market in the past few years. They are too scared to list names of papers, because that would mean an all-out war, which they would lose because of their lesser quality newspaper.

Instead of improving their own content and layout, they choose to "assur" the competition.


  1. "How much should a husband fight to stop his wife from reading magazines the Rabbonim do not approve of?"

    The "independant" magazines have all a Vaada Ruhnit, so they can consider themselves approved by the rabbonim. One needs to unwind and relax,especially housewives and sometimes this is the only way.
    I have though a lot to say about these magazines, who are only nominally "independant" but actually represent various interest groups who have their journalists in place. At least Yated or Hamodia represent more openly certain groups,so you know what you get when you read it. Better the devil that you know...

  2. I guess they're going by the maxim "If you can't beat them, ban them". Are they referring to magazines like "Mishpacha" and such?

    Once again, it's very sad to see rabbonim focusing on shtuyot instead of the real problems of the charedi community.

  3. In my house, I will not allow either the Modia or the Yated.
    I only allow the Mishpacha or and the Binah.

  4. this type of stuff leaves me speechless...but I cannot NOT say anything.

    Lets pretend these things ARE bad influences, what do the Rabbeim expect women to do? Throw their washing machines away and begin handwashing their clothes? But even then, what would they do on shabbos? Its not like these women have extrodinary lives...they're banned from everything already, including gossip!

    I'm shocked. I really am. This sickens me.

    I think its about time R' Elyashiv gives up the throne...He's either getting senile or power hungry. Scary to think about!

  5. anon: whats wrong with Modia and the Yated?

  6. I think the problem is that Rabbonim have allowed women to learn to read. If they wern't abel to read, they wouldn't read these magazines and infect their homes with such negative spiritual influencers.

  7. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz just told me the following story, related to the post... he knows the story firsthand, so it is a true story...

    When the first 'heimishe' soda -- mayim chaim -- was produced, the owners asked the rebbi to ban all other sodas (coke, etc.)

    On the spot, the rebbi is reported to have said, "Asser (ban) bishvil she'tisasher (so that you become wealthy)??" and refused to sign off on the ban.

  8. But when Tysens chicken (or was it Perdue, I cannot remember) wanted to get a kosher division, the Rebbeim said no because they wanted to keep the frummies in business.

    The new brand of kosher chicken woulda made it a heck-of-alot cheaper to buy kosher meats!


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