Thursday, June 07, 2012

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Filter, Don’t Foreclose

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

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     Akiva, the Blogger who posts my articles, wrote a long and strong defense of the internet in answer to the recent outcry against its use. Some very strong statements and judgments are being made against the religious people who use it. He asked my opinion of his statement. Here is my reply.

Shalom Akiva,

   Not that I think that I could do any better, but here is my opinion regarding your article:

   Obviously, you are right, but will your article be effective? Well, it depends on who you are writing to. If it you are writing to those who are trying to take the internet away from the religious Jews, then forget it. It was totally ineffective. You will not change them.

    If you are trying to convince the users of internet what a good tool it is, then they already know this, and surely they already agree with you.

    So what to do?

    Remember, we are trying to defend a very sharp knife…. bringing free, open, pictures of whatever we want, into the secret rooms of our private viewing!! I understand their fears.

     Also remember, who are these defenders of “Jewish modesty”? In 1986 one of the most agreed upon leaders of “protecting Torah” called me an evil person for “putting tefillin on Jews at the Kotel who were wearing short pants and had dirty thoughts!” I do not think that your article will touch anyone who thinks like this.

     As you well know I am on your side, in fact, on your team. My (Heaven forefend) videos have reached some 1/2 a million computers, L-ord knows how many times and how many people!!!

     I have received many letters from people who have changed their lives for the better because of them. Jews who have begun to put on tefillin, and married a Jew because of what they saw. I could never have reached these people if it were not for the internet. There are even a number who have stopped worshiping yashka because of one of them! Wow! Wow! what a tool.

     But you know what? Someone on my “friend” list just put up a picture of the underside of a gorgeous, naked lady, bending over—oh! Oh! Yikes! Wow! Quick click that off… oh oh … but, you know what? Because of my senior citizen status (bark and no bite) I had the will power to click away. But what would a younger man or a boy do if all of a sudden he had a picture of what he thinks is the greatest thing in the world, at least the greatest thing in the world to lust? Well, he would save it, blow it up bigger, and have it available for whenever he wanted to see that area of you know what again. So he is stuck, and he is having bad (or good, depending on your view) dreams.

     Another problem, today I received a letter from a frum boy who wants help with his friend who has gone off the path and no longer believes in Hashem because he was influenced by a popular atheist on the internet!

     I am sure that there are other areas of danger too, such as stealing, increasing wanton greed, and ….

      So who is right? What to do?

     My humble suggestion, at least for a first step, is for everyone who is concerned with these problems to help support and develop, invent, stress, internet modesty blocking. I.e. allow the good to come in but block out the trash.

     A religious friend of mine heads a large internet college where thousands of Jews are getting their college degrees, many seminary girls included. This means that they will be able to get decent, modest professions instead of trying to support their Kolel husbands by working in grocery stores. Also some 200 frum men and women now have a livelihood teaching for his college from home. Don’t throw this tool away. Sharp… you bet it is... dangerous… you bet. Repairable… you bet it is.

     Let’s try to sort out the trash from the silver.

     I surely do not want to see that underside of that woman again, and I sometimes have to squint when I look for a picture to post, but the souls of those millions of people whom we help make the risk worthwhile.

Filter don’t foreclose

With respect,

Reb Gutman

1 comments:

neshama said...

Reb Gutman, good of you to support Akiva.
The outcome to the issue of the internet is still the same: avoidance and/or personal discipline, which includes educating youngsters what is right and wrong. They will not pick it up by osmosis anymore.

Rabbi Winston Shlit'a calls it the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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