Monday, September 18, 2006

Internet

The Internet is dangerous. You're a click or two away from the Yetzer Horah's strongest weapons against your soul.

It would be better for all our souls if the Internet would be gone.

However, in the meantime, it is not gone. And therefore, although I would not encourage anyone to buy Internet service just to get to Frumteens (or other good sites), nor would I discourage anyone from getting rid of the Internet because they will not have access to good sites; I will encourage those who are on the Internet and will be there to use it in as positive a way that they can.

---

If we would see that the temptation of McDonalds has brought religious Jews to spiritual destruction, destroyed frum families, broken up marriages, became addicting, then indeed we would be obliged to avoid walking past a McDonalds.

The Gemora says that if a person needs to get from place A to place B, and one way will lead him past a group of women working at the riverbank, and the other will not take him past the women, if he takes the first path he is a Rasha. Even if he doesn't look.

These Rabbis are not saying the Internet is "assur" the same way, let's say, pork is assur, they are saying that since it has proven to be a terrible influence on people - and there is no denying that it has - then you should not bring it into your home. That is altogether reasonable.

Of course, it therefore depends on whether the person "has two paths", meaning, why he needs the Internet, and what access he has.
Obviously, I have the Internet, but only I use it - my children only have an email account, no other access - and besides my being Moderator and my Kiruv work, I also have a means of livelihood on the side for which I need to use the net.

To be sure, there are Kosher things on the net, even good things. If I didn't believe that I wouldn't be here now. Nevertheless, if someone were to ask me, I would say for sure it's better to keep the Internet out of his home, because the good that you can gain by it does not justify the damage that it can do.

Someone could buy Playboy for the non-pornographic articles it has, but if the Rabbis would say not to do it, nobody would argue their point.

We're talking about a normal, regular person who unawares, despite himself, ends up stuck in a sewer he never ever would consciously go near.

Or just look at the AOL chatrooms - even the Jewish ones, never mind the other ones, which, by merely a couple of clicks of the mouse, curious 12 year olds (and 15 year olds, and 40 years olds) can access the worst perversions in the world. And we are all human beings, if you get my drift.

Online causes so many problems, not only for teenagers but adults too, and nobody denies this. Marriage counselors would be the first to confirm this. So will psychologists.

So if it causes so many serious, serious, problems, what's so hard to understand?

But in the meantime, there are tons and tons of Jews on the Internet. And as long as that is true, we definitely should try to make sure that the good on the net, if it doesn't outweigh the bad, at least puts in its best effort.

---

Using the Internet (in this manner) accomplishes a great deal of Mitzvos in terms of Harbotzas Torah, Kiruv Rechokim, and simple Gemilas Chesed and Chizuk that people get from it, which could not be done without it. So that makes it worth it, hopefully. TV doesn't accomplish anything in terms of mitzvos.

---

If you don't need the Internet for your livelihood, or whatever good you can accomplish on the Internet you can get elsewhere, then, it is definitely dangerous and the risk of the bad is not worth it.

But television is not needed in that kind of way. Even if there are some good things on it, its not worth the risk (and there are more commercials than spammers last I checked, by the way), especially since you can find good things elsewhere besides TV. You won’t lose much by giving up your TV. But work such as what we are doing here cannot be done at all without the Internet.

Nevertheless, if someone "peeks" in the wrong places, he should cancel his account. I have no use for a TV in my house c"v, but I do have use for the Internet account. And no, I do not find it hard to control at all. My browser puts me straight into frumteens.com.

That having been said, I repeat that the Internet is very dangerous, and unless you need it, you should not have it at all. If you do need it, you must be very careful with it.

---

If having the Internet is justified for me to make some money, all the more so to do some Mitzvos with.

The point of the prohibition is that the Internet is dangerous. That's obviously true. But if you need it for a legitimate utilitarian purpose, nobody is telling you that you can’t take the risk. It’s like climbing a steep ladder. It’s dangerous, but if that’s your job, you do it.

This is my job. If I choose not to make money from it, that doesn't make it any less important.

---

Be strong. There is only one bottom line way to beat the Internet Nisayon, and that is simple self discipline. You did it one, you can do it again. Do not let the Yetzer Horah tire you out.

You can also make "siyagim" to help yourself out:

Put the computer in a public place.

Let other people use the computer, too (they may be able to see your log-in records, and the fear of discovery may keep you in check).

Make a limit to the amount of time you will allow yourself to spend on the computer. And if possible, make sure there is someone waiting for the computer after you, so you will really be off when your time expires.

---

Everyone has their own personal sheailah here, and it’s very simple: Do I need the Internet? Do I need to take the risks involved? There has to be a very good reason for having it, and even those who prohibited it say that for business it is OK. I would surely say that the majority of people do not need it, even if it does some good for them. You should ask yourself the following question:

Are the dangers of me NOT having the Internet worse than having it?

For someone who needs it to make a living, the answer is unfortunately yes - he can’t not make a living. And there are those who literally would be off the derech without it. Everyone has a personal sheailah about this, and the assessment needs to be made on an individual basis.

---

The issue is, the internet isn't assur to begin with that we need to make it muttar. And to begrudge someone his parnasa because of something that’s risky but not assur, is itself assur.

---

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home