Rabbi Reisman Post-Asifa “Don’t Be Naive”

A transcript from a shiur delivered by Rav Yisroel Reisman Shlita, May 24 2012 regarding the Citi Field Asifa. (h/t YWN)

I would like to talk to you about something that is very much on my mind. It is not a Dvar Torah. It is just to share with you a thought.

This past Sunday there was an internet Asifa in Citifield. The Asifa was an awesome Maimud an awesome gathering. It also had a rather disappointing program. 2 things, an awesome Maimud and a disappointing program. What did each individual walk away with? I have found that the Bnei Torah, the Lakewood crowd walked away with an awesome gathering. They walked away uplifted, they walked away with an understanding that you need filters, and you need good filters. I think that it is fair to say from the little anecdotal information I have that the overwhelming majority of homes in Lakewood that have the internet, the overwhelming majority are filtered.

It seems to me to my great pain and sorrow that in Flatbush people walked away talking only about the disappointing program. There was disappointments with the program, the fact that the English that was promised was not delivered, practical Eitzos that were promised were not delivered, and whatever other complaints there are. Is that what we should focus on? Is it?

People in our neighborhood are often fond of complaining that Chasiddim are naive, they don’t know the ways of the world. I have to tell you that when it comes to the internet it is the Flatbush crowd that is naive, that is foolish. There are children 10, 11, 12, 13 year olds are on the internet seeing things. Even though they go to Minyan on time even though they get Alephs in Yeshiva, right now all is fine and there are no suspicions. But they are there, I know they are there.

It has been a troubling week for me. Since that Asifa I have been getting phone calls some of them from 12 year olds about people that are on the internet. It is very hard. They are telling me to do something about it but don’t say “I called.” It is awful! I am shocked! The overwhelming majority of houses in Flatbush have no filter at all. Can you imagine how naive people are to think that their children are not watching things that they shouldn’t watch on the internet?

It is silliness and foolishness and it is something that we have to change. At least those of you who are listening today don’t be foolish. You are best off getting a Jnet type of server. Even if you get that server you will need to get a filter because if someone plugs something into the USB port and gets WiFi it will not go through the Jnet server. If you have a filter it will still work. The K-9 filter is free, you can download it. It just takes a little bit of time.

There are choices that have to be made. Maybe you need advice on how to do it. Don’t be a fool, don’t be a Nar. It is the Yeitzer Hora that is a normal Yeitzer Hora that people have and what are we doing? Putting on the table for ourselves for our children? How foolish are we? How Naarish are we? Everybody else is wrong except that individual in the street of Flatbush. If he had run the program it would have been great. Or if it would have been the other one he knew exactly what it should be. I don’t argue with the disappointment in the program, I do argue with what you come away with.

The question of the week is a question that I have today. It is a question that I would like you to reflect upon. A son in law called me and his father in law is a Mispallel. He himself is in a Kollel, not in Brooklyn. He was here for Shabbos a few weeks ago. On Motzoei Shabbos he went on his in laws computer to take care of whatever personal things he had to take care of. Accidentally he discovered that his father in law is visiting websites that are pure shmutz. He discovered it, he went into the history and found out that his father in law is visiting websites that are pure filth. He calls me what to do. Of course I can talk to the father in law but the son in law said don’t tell him that I spoke to you. What do I do?

I can get up this Shabbos in front of the crowd including this person and say someone’s son in law called me that the father in law is watching shmutz and it is on the history and he knows it. I beg you to do something about it. I can say that. Am I being Mivayeish this person B’rabbim? I have a feeling that not only one person will blush. I have a feeling that 3 or 4 might blush. It might make Machlokes. What do I do? I don’t know.

I only hope that this particular father in law reads the printed version of this Shiur or is listening to it live. Wake up! Don’t be fools, don’t be naive. It takes very little for a child to get on the internet. I know that filters are not perfect. A child who is at risk or a teenager will get around it. But save the simple children. The simple 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 year olds. If you put on a filter they won’t go around it. They fall into the filth. It is not something that they are eagerly going for. But after they do it for a little bit of time it becomes regular.

Be smart. Be Mikabeil the Torah. Be Mikabeil the advice of Gedolei Yisrael no matter how you think they are naive. You are naive. Be Mikabeil their advice. Take the filter and don’t listen to people who say that even with a filter bang, bang , bang. It is true. You need more than a filter. But start with that.

It causes me a lot of pain. It causes me a lot of Tzar. I hope that these few words will somehow help the situation.

With that I would like to wish everybody a Gevaldige Shabbos, a Simchas Yom Tov, a Kabbalas Hatorah, and hopefully we should continue to grow to move upwards in our Avodas Hashem.


No need for any comments, his words speak for themselves.


14 thoughts on “Rabbi Reisman Post-Asifa “Don’t Be Naive”

  1. I am very confused. If i read this correctly, it would seem that according to Rabbi Reisman an internet connection with a filter is muttar in the home even if it is not strictly for business (perhaps the author of this blog and other haredi posters/bloggers hold like this shitta). However, my takeaway from the asifa was that it is vaday assur and only muttar bedieved with a filter for business. Can someone please explain this machlokes haposkim. Did i miss something at the asifa? Is it muttar with a filter at home? It would seem that it would have to be because it is unfathomable that heilige yidden from Lakewood and Flatbush would stray and blatently ignore daas torah and risk losing their oldam habah (according to rabbi wachsman).

    • What you are saying is addressing what was the fundamental problem with the Asifa. There was a very wide range of Frum Jews that were encouraged to attend. Some come from circles that internet was never allowed in the home under any circumstances, while others had it open in their houses with no limitations of monitoring. Each needs chizuk in its own way and there is no way you can paint it all with one broad brush.
      Naturally the speeches stayed on the line of the most limiting access as not to give those who were doing more the impression that they can get away with less. There is no way you would be able to have someone get up there and say that you have to filter your kids internet access because they would be saying kids? internet? really? I did not know it was OK for me to have internet access, let alone my kids! There is no one that would be able to create a good program for the Asifa, it would never work for everybody. That having been said we should not take our negativity towards some of what the Asifa contained and use it to dismiss the main universal message- that the internet poses a danger to us on many different levels.
      This is what Rabbi Reisman was addressing, and you completely missed the point.
      Clearly you (and I) am not on the level nor live in a community where internet is not allowed except for business (unless your business is to respond to blogs :)) Therefore we must take what we can out of it and that is to not be naive regarding our kids and also realize that we can’t trust ourselves to resist the temptations of the internet whether it is lust, slander or simply a waste of time.

      There is a tendency among people to find faults in others in order to dismiss the good parts of their message. Naturally it is much easier focus on their shortcomings then to have to address your own…

  2. So let’s say he’s right, and the only thing that we should be worried about is what we come away with. Is there any point at which we should, or we may question the motivations of our “leadership”? He doesn’t disagree with the disappointment. The disappointment was based on carefully cultivated expectations, and the expectations were not met because something changed along the way to the asifa. The Asifa, by virtue of its uniqueness, scope, and the way it came to pass raises questions. As the public who are served by the “Ichud” are we never entitled to question what it was that led to the deception? Is any gathering of a certain number inherently non-susceptible to questioning? And if so, what is it about those people that empowers them to stop us from questioning?

    If it’s any consolation to Flatbush, I was in Lakewood, and plenty of people there also thought it was a ridiculous waste of time.

  3. Oh, and also, what that son-in-law should do is find a way to tactfully let his father in law know that the history is stored automatically, and is easily accessible, and then he should go back to minding his own business.

  4. rabbi Reisman’s article is pretty poorly written. I would also suggest that he cleans up his own act first as I can’t tell you how many times I bought a Reisman’s pastry and got an allergic reaction to nuts although the label does not mention that the pastry contains nuts at all. Someone is going to, r’l, die one day due to this.

  5. Thank you for posting this. Its very hard to find practical feedback on the asifa instead of just focusing on all that went wrong.

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