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Aug 19, 2013

Rav Chaim Kanievsky on owners of smartphones

uh oh

After all the halachic statements about owners of smartphones, being witnesses, being allowed to be called up to the Torah, if they can be counted as part of a minyan, we finally have the most serious of them all, and might even put an end to the entire discussion.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky is being quoted on the topic by someone who claims to have asked, and is now publicizing the answer in Haredi areas around Israel through a popular poster with discussions of halachic issues.

The fellow says he asked Rav Kanievsky regarding a gemara that says somebody who regularly walks behind a woman in the river loses his portion in Olam HaBa. He asked Rav Kanievsky - based on that gemara, somebody who has a smartphone or internet (unfiltered, I assume) - is he included in that gemara's statement - does he also not have a portion in OlamHaBa?

Rav Chaim's answer, supposedly, was just one word long - "definitely", is what he said.
(source: Bechadrei)

That deems the rest of the discussion to be redundant. It took a while to lead up to it, but the move to the extreme is now complete (unless you can think of something more extreme than this). Do any of these other issues matter, if I have lost my portion in Olam HaBa? Would I care about the rest if I already lost my portion? His one-word answer does not even seem to allow a differentiation between people who have it due to what is considered acceptable purposes (work, or whatever) and people who have it with no excuse (if you believe an excuse is necessary)..

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  1. please add the tag/label: 'asking a gadol a question and turning it into halacha for everyone'.

  2. That's OK. An Olam Haba'ah with those kind of people (who rail against smartphones) is not my idea of Paradise.

  3. Follow up sha'a'lah. Having no portion in Olam Ha'ba, I assume there's no point in bothering with all these other mitzvot - such as giving $10,000 a month to your yeshiva? Or being informed about the nearest emergency incident to respond as part of Hatzalah?

    And of course there's a higher level... shunning (we're almost there), cherem, attacking anyone seen with a smartphone on sight, and finally - attacking anyone who was even rumoured to have been seen with a smartphone.

  4. So, all the mitzvos I do from today forward will now be considered by the KB"H as 100% l'Shmoh, not al manat l'kabel pras!

  5. ברוך אתה ה' אמ"ה שלא עשני חרדי.

  6. Rav Kanievsky doesn't know much about the Internet and doesn't know what an iPhone is. He only knows what others have told him about those things. And those others have told him that Internet/iPhone are services/devices that [are meant to] show immodest photos of women. Hence his equating of them to following a woman downriver (in hopes of seeing her in a state of undress while doing laundry or tevilah).

    Therefore, Rav Kanievsky isn't "guilty" of anything other than trusting others and rendering psak without sufficient personal knowledge of the issue at hand.

  7. As Wolfish Musings once wrote, if you make the derech 1 inch wide don't be surprised when most people fall off.


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