Feb 3, 2009

haredim and technology

The newspapers this morning had two separate articles, seemingly contradictory, about technology and the haredi community.

One article was about the haredi fight against the internet being stepped up to a new level. There was some recent meeting between various "committees" regarding the various problems in the haredi community.

It seems that the bulk of the blame was passed down to the internet, and they want to step up the fight against internet use. The article says notices will soon be plastered around with the various halachic decisions on the matter.

It continues that representatives went to Rav Elyashiv with a shailoh, asking, "Is it permitted to throw out a child from school [because] that has internet in his house?"

Rav Elyashiv's response, supposedly, was that not only is it permitted, but it is an obligation, so that everyone will take note.

This could be seen as being contradicted by another article..

The second article said that MIO has released a new model of GPS. The new model is a kosher GPS. It is programmed to have all the maps along with pointing out locations of shuls, yeshivas, mikvas, kosher and even mehadrin restaurants, holy sites, and more all around the country.

So, on the one hand, it looks like the haredi rejects technology, and on the other hand it looks like the technology is being embraced.

What do you say about it?


  1. There is no contradiction. Hareidim are not against technology as long as it is not spiritually dangerous. The internet can be dangerous while GPS isn't.

  2. In one of the videos of the seudas hoda'ah that R Grossman attended, R Grossman says that someone located the speech in which the rebbe talks of someone going to india and says they put it on the internet.
    He doesn't seem to have a problem with internet. He's telling people to go listen on the internet!

    So how did they put it on the internet if no one has internet?

    I realize he has Chabad family, but still.

  3. I don't agree. GPS is just GPS. hareidim are not anti technology. The internet holds the worst content in the world and is easy to access, even by accident. TV is a joke compared to the internet. the difference is that internet is often necessary for professionals, email, stocks, etc. TV has no purpose. But hareidim are not anti technology...just technology causious.

  4. btw thanks for putting those videos up!

  5. as they say in Israel - 'Shtuyot B'Mitz Agvaniot'. they came out against the radio, the telephone and every other modern invention...

  6. By far the most dangerous aspect of the Internet is that it threatens to dissolve the concept of inscrutible daas torah. Never mind threatens, it's happening here, now!

    Now that conversation abounds, information and resources are available to everyone who only seeks, we can't keep up the pretence that there's a group of people who are privy to the conversations me'achorei hapargod.

    Any ruling or opinion is now subject to scrutiny and finally once again accountable to the people who are expected to abide by it. Daas is being given back to people, through the research and debate that the internet facilitates.

    Trust is no longer something that can be simply demanded. It has to be earned by action. In a world where conversation and word of mouth abounds, we listen to people who have proved themselves time and time again, and not necessarily to the people with institutional power.

    All that is terrifying for the powers who stand to lose out when their castles disintegrate.

    Believe me, the powers that be are far more afraid of Rafi G and his lively community of thinking individuals than of all the other evil stuff out there.

    Remember, the internet is a tool for communication above all, and unfettered communication is bad for the traditional power structures.

  7. Regardless of what the rabbeim come out with, people DO manage to access the internet. So if it's not at home, they'll find a neighbor that has it and use it there - as if that makes it more kosher. They will continue to use it - even if it means sneaking around so their kids don't get kicked out of school.

    And now with the cottage industry that has sprung up of putting kollel wives to work in jobs that are telecommuting (implying the need for computers with internet access), technology is more necessary than ever for the community to maintain their lifestyle.

  8. They should be forming committees to determine how to use the medium in a kosher manner. They should be creating web sites filled with Torah, shiurim, videos, live feeds from every yeshiva, virtual chavrusot, etc. In every language. They should be reviewing filtering programs and stamping them with levels of kashrus - kosher, glatt kosher, mehadrin min hamehadrim.

    Instead, they move closer and closer to the Amish. Cars can take people to meet members of the opposite gender G-d forbid. Ban them, bring back the horse and wagon!

    And regarding your previous article on tzniut, I understand they're currently checking the shatnez of burka's.

    I despair for the future due to those who stick their heads deeper into the ground and demand we all do the same.

  9. I'm still having trouble with the concept of a "kosher GPS." Does this mean to imply that it's unkosher if it doesn't have all the shuls, kosher eateries, etc.? What if it's just maps? How does that make it "unkosher?"

    The Wolf

  10. Wolf - I think all that is just a bonus. What makes it koshe ris that it does not cnonect to the internet. How does it get updates for the maps and for the new restaurants and shuls? I dont know. Maybe you have to borrow someone's internet account and computer once n a while, download the update and upload via cable to your gps. Not sure...


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