“It is impossible to filter out the entire world. Threats, more restrictions and fear-mongering will not elevate our avodas Hashem.” – Rav Moshe Weinberger
You know that awesome feeling a yeshiva boy has when he thinks up something new and original all on his own, a chiddush, or sometimes even a kasha (question), and then the Rebbi tells him he was michaven to a rabbi akiva eiger or maybe even a rishon and it makes him feel only better.
Why would a child be so excited that he is repeating the same thing as someone over one thousand years ago? Because, the boy is taking pride in the feeling of having had that same insight that another great person had and moreover it proves to the boy that he grasps the sugya at hand, well enough to be bothered by the same question a great talmudic scholar was millenniums ago. It’s like discovering the world is round all on your own.
Listening to Rabbi Weinberger’s shiur made me feel like that boy.
Sometimes I write or say things and I think I might be of an unsound mind. I know, I get lots of positive feedback but it bothers me that if what I’m saying makes so much sense to my mind, why aren’t others saying it. So today, when I listened to Rabbi Weinberger’s shiur, I felt a huge relief. It was as if a great person was telling me I’m not insane. And the way he explained it with Rav Kooks ideas made it even more interesting and insightful.
To sum up his points “We must become someone who knows Hashem and work on having a relationship with Him. We need to understand why we are doing all these Jewish things on a daily basis? The answer to the internet problem is NOT doing something to the internet, the quick fix, but to oneself. At the core of everything is the person’s yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven). Creating a curriculum of emunah (faith) – from first grade and onwards. The same is true for dieting or boy/girl relationships – we try to install filters everywhere! Rules and filters will not change our children’s hearts and minds. Shalom bayis (peace in the home) matters will not be fixed by buying flowers for the wife on erev Shabbos. We are teaching our generation that we can’t win the battle, and thus we give up; but that is the guf (body) perspective; we must engage and educate our neshamos (souls) with pnimius (inner) haTorah to combat despair.”
When I listen to the shiur and hear Rabbi Weinberger’s pain in the fact that no one else seems to address the core of the problems of today’s generation, I identify with him completely. When he keeps having to repeat how filters are important, I know its because he is worried feeble minded people will portray him as being anti-filters or against the gedolim.
To me, what Rav Weinberger says is common sense and brilliance mixed together. To others it might be a something new or a different approach. One remarkable thing he says is when he talks about the chosid who works in the diamond district on fifth avenue. He has filters on all his computers and smartphones, so hopefully no shmutz makes it through. But what about the world around him? Everyday, where he interacts with real humans and where his emotions are easily carried away, where are the filters for him than? Can we really ask midtown Manhattan to have rachmunus on us chareidim and they should all walk around filtered? Who is going to filter his secretary when she tells him she had a very hard day and would like to speak with him about it after work? The everyday examples are so numerous. Only an internal filter will provide the solution. Unfortunately we can’t install yiras shamayim, as easily as we can install a piece of software and thats why we are losing the battle.
What Is also of importance is how I found this shiur. I received a random email that said, “listen to this shiur he says what you’ve been trying to say”. Thats all good, but at the bottom of the email it said, please keep my email anonymous! It felt like I was in the black market looking for some illegal stuff. I wish this wasn’t true but it is. I get many anonymous emails and mostly for good reason, but not any containing a shiur. Have we reached such an insane point that someone is embarrassed to email a shiur because it might not be the prevailing viewpoint right now? Unfortunately, this does match a lot of what I keep hearing from people in chinuch in very right wing schools. If they say anything different than the current system allows, they are frowned upon or worse, out of a job.
I only got to meet Rav Weinberger once on a video project and in those few minutes I realized I was in the room with someone in touch with am yisroel. He seemed so busy with his private work, yet made me feel important enough to give me the time I needed. We also spoke very shortly about the yeshiva and Bais Yaakov system and he seemed to understand it quite well.
I also read one article of Rabbi Weinberger’s in the The Klal Perspectives Journal, and there too I was amazed how on target he was with todays generation. While everyone was screaming about the dangers of the Internet, he was addressing the real issues, and he made everything sound so obvious, I posted it on my blog at the time, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger: “Just One Thing is Missing: The Soul”.
But what amazes me most about Rav Weinberger is that he openly says in this shiur how he doesn’t use the internet. I believe when someone thinks straight using das-torah he doesn’t need to use the internet to know filters are a bad choice. He is able to understand it based on the words of rav kook and a deep insight into the human psyche. He might not be the expert on how to navigate the internet but he sure is the expert on how to navigate the jewish soul. Thank you Rav Weinberger.
I ask you to take the time and listen, you won’t regret it . Evidently his congregants feel just like me. As stated on the website “This shiur is so important that we are making it available for free. Please tell all your friends!” Here is the link. Just click add to cart and download. The Short Long Way And The Long Short Way, Especially In A Filtered World.
I would like to add my own thought. IMHO, Mayer Bloombergs recent proposal of not allowing the purchase of big soda, to me sounds like an outside filter, which wont really be a solution to the problem of obesity. The obvious flaw is that one can purchase two soda’s if one really wants. Working on oneself though, to diet properly would be an internal filter which would provide the proper solution, but more difficult to implement.
After you listen to Rabbi Weinbergers shiur, come back here and tell us what you think. Thanks
In the same anonymous email I received another audio file titled Ger Katon, but the Rabbi was not Identified. I thought it was another great shiur and very powerful. I sent it to my friends before I was able to find out who the Rabbi was. It needs another post to highlight everything he speaks about, but it is definitely important to hear it. Here is a download to the shuir.
A lesson from Frog and Toad on the futility of Internet filters without willpower!