PARSIPPANY (VINnews) — On Motzei Shabbos, Rav Ephraim Wachsman, renowned Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Meor Yitzchok in Monsey, delivered a fiery keynote address at the Agudah convention.Click to get Text Message Updates right to your phone
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Rav Wachsman lamented the fact that because of technology, what used to be unacceptable in a Yiddishe home is not only accepted but “completely normal.”
The Rav has received numerous calls about a show on the Netflix website, featuring a woman who grew up frum, yet tragically went off the derech. The program’s entire purpose is to mock and belittle Yiddishkeit.
Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel pointed out that this is nothing new. Rashi famously tells us that heretics have mocked Yiddishkeit since the Para Aduma, and the question “Why are you doing this?” should not disturb us.
Rav Wachsman added, “The fact that some malcontent needs to bark insecurities at our heilige nashim tzidkaniyos should be no surprise.”
However, the real “unbearable, unanswerable question” is: What is Netflix doing in a Jewish home? How can that be normal and acceptable? How can a Yid who would never allow a television in his living room, walk around with one in his pocket?
Society in Free Fall
Rav Wachsman quoted a Gemara that says when goyim demand proof that Jews fulfill the Torah, we will need to show examples. The Rav observed that it’s incomprehensible that we would require proof, when so much of Klal Yisrael keeps the Torah.
He explained that the world is in free fall, and what used to be considered merely an “ehrliche yid” is now a holy tzaddik. As society descends, we are not kicking and screaming as we should be, rather we are complacent. Our “normal” has plunged.
Yes, Klal Yisrael may keep mitzvos, because it’s “normal” to do so in our culture. However when “normal” changes, Jews change with it, and what used to be unacceptable is the new norm. As a result, we will need to bring proof that we are keeping the Torah, not because it’s our culture, but because we adhere to the emes.
He told a shocking story of a man sitting shiva, with two people sitting next to him, looking at their phones, laughing, passing the phone to each other, ignoring the aveil.
He said, “Alcoholism has become normal, and Jews have adapted. Recreational marijuana is normal. Anything can become normalized, What happens when they start recreational baby-killing?”
The Rav concluded by expressing hope for a solution, saying that we must distance ourselves from devices. He related that the Moetzes is ready to take a strong stand against smartphones, which is perhaps the greatest threat to Klal Yisrael today.
To some that is like giving up air, however the addictive qualities must be broken. Right now devices are the most powerful thing in the world. Imagine a yid who is more powerful than a device?
He can control the world.