So I’m talking to this Bar Mitzva type boy, and he tells me that he wishes he can go back to camp. So I said, “What’s so good about camp?” So he says, “In camp I was a free man. I did not have all the shmootz I have at home. It was all clean. No Internet, no movies, no magazines…….
There is a very complicated piece of Gemora in Bava Basra 57b which says that 2 partners of a chotzer can stop each other from putting things in the chotzer, except when it comes to washing machines. One partner cannot stop the other from putting a washing machine in the chotzer, because it is embarrassing for Jewish girls to go down to the river and wash their clothes. (They have to expose their legs, or whatever).
And now it starts. “The ones who shut their eyes from seeing evil” (Isaiah 33). This is talking about people who do not stare at women when they wash their clothes by the river.
Then the Talmud says, “What are you talking about? If there is another way to go, and you choose to go by the river, you are a rasha (even if you shut your eyes!). And if there is no other way to go, what can you do? You are an Ones. And if you’re an Ones you’re an Ones! So the Talmud answers that even if you’re an Ones it is still praiseworthy if you try to look the other way.
So this Gemora has 2 parts to it. Part 1 is if you have another way to go, and part 2 is if you don’t. All the businessman who are interested in part 2 should look at Egros Moshe Even Haeizer 1 (the end of chapter 56)
They can also look up Psachim 113b, where the holy rabbis of Israel would sit on 42 St, and make shoes for the harlots. And the harlots would swear in the name of the holy rabbis of Israel. (Who would not lift up their eyes to stare at them) (Notice the word stare)
Now why couldn’t the rabbis find something better to do? The answer is that they just couldn’t. It was obviously a test from g-d. But you see that it’s better to work on 42 ST, then to become a beggar and not use your talents. And I would think that you need a lot of talent to make shoes for harlots. (You’re talking big time fashion industry).
Before we leave part 2, let me just say that If you have a question what to do in business, ask your local rabbi, or look at Egros Moshe 56, like I said. (It gets very complicated if you know for sure that you will sin in business)
And now we will start with part 1. Part 1 is that if you have an alternate route, but you still choose the river, you are a rasha, even if you close your eyes. Now most Jews do not understand this. Why is it evil to bring temptation upon oneself? Isn’t it great to win over temptation?
In order to answer this, you will have to bear with me. There are 2 kinds of hand wrestles. One is just a game, where you’re just hanging out with friends, and you have nothing better to do, so you have a hand wrestle. And the other one is where a guy is standing behind you with a gun. And if you lose the hand wrestle, you get a bullet in your head. Now this already is not funny. This is dead serious. So what do you do? You start thinking of all kinds of things. Maybe you should put drugs in the other guy’s soda. Or maybe you should put chemicals in his food. Whatever it is, you try everything possible to make sure you will win.
So what’s the difference between the first hand wrestle and the second? The first one was just a game, but the second one was war. The first one you don’t really care if you win or lose. But the second one oy do you care! And that’s the difference! How much do you really care if you lose.
There was once a big Roman general who was conquering the whole world. So he came to Borough Park and started cutting all the lines. The water lines, the food lines, the phone lines, the Internet lines, the car lines, the truck lines. In other words, he started choking Borough Park, which was the standard roman procedure to conquer a city.
So a guy with 1 blackberry, 2 i-phones, and 3 walkie talkies, goes over to him and says “you know, I don’t understand you! Why are you cutting all the lines? Why don’t you show your strength? You should leave all the lines intact, and still conquer Borough Park!
So the general says, “you idiot! You think I came here to show my strength? I came here to win, to conquer. And when your main goal is to win, you don’t take any chances. And as far as my strength is concerned, don’t worry about it. You will yet feel my strength”!
This is what’s called war. When you cut the lines you have war. The key is that you’re not taking any chances. But when you bring the lines into your house you do not have war. You have games!
You sit down with the Satan on the couch, and you’re buddy buddies with him. You eat firepoppers together, and you pop a beer, and you say OK buddy, lets see how long it’s gonna take. Will it take 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 1 hour? 10 hours? Don’t worry; he’s got plenty of time. But he will get you at the end of the day. Don't worry, he will get you.
And of course at the end of the day you lose. So tell me, was this a war or a game?
And what if you got a bullet in your head every time you went to a bad site, would you still bring the Internet into your house? Of course not! Oh! So now we have a real war! Very interesting.
So when you bring temptation into your house, you’re not looking for war. You’re looking for games. And this is where king David went wrong (Sanhedrin 107). It’s like Rabbi Akiva Tatz says. The second King David asked g-d for a test, he already failed the test. Because if you’re asking for trouble, this means that you’re in the mood of playing games, and you’re not terrified of “what if I lose”.
Some women think they are really cool. They say that they do get magazines, but they censor them. (From the husband and kids) So first of all, who says you will always get to the magazines before the kids? (Again, you’re just playing games)
And second of all, what do you know about teenage boys and their brand new yeatzer horah? If I told you that the thing that bothers a 14 year old the most is the small ads in the back of the magazines, what would you say. Wa! Wa! What are you talking about? I think the schools should make a list of all the things that turn on raging teenagers.
But there is a much bigger problem. Many parents are terrified that the kids will come home from school and be more frum then they are. And then the questions start. Why do you eat chalav stam? Why do you watch movies? And on and on….. So what do they do? They let the kids see all the shmootz, and then you can be sure that there will be no more complaints. (And then a kid asks me if other boys also use a pillow as a girlfriend…………
So the girl says “my mother trusts me on the internet”. So I say “do you think your mother is kind of stupid?” So she says “yeah, kind of”. But I don’t think she’s so stupid. I think they do this deliberately, so the kids will not be more frum then they are. Little do they know that before you can blink an eye, she will run off with a guy she met on the Internet.
Oh! The magical dreamy distant place on the Internet, where many a troubled girl believes she can find true happiness......... And by the time they wake up and see the truth, it’s too late.
I don’t understand why a boy has to tell me that he wants to run away to Israel, or an out of town yeshiva, in order to escape the shmootz he has at home. I am also afraid that in a few months he will not even be interested in running away any more.
So I’m not going to sit around and do nothing. I’m going to give out the big secret how to tell which family is on the Internet (or movies), and which one is not.
You go into the guys’ house after school hours. If the house is clean, the girls will be jumping rope all over the place, or jumping all over the kitchen tiles. And the boys will be playing ball, or biking, or whatever. This is how I grew up in Borough Park in the 1970’s.
But if the house is dirty, you walk into the house and you don’t see anyone. And you ask “where is everybody?” Now isn’t that a good question? Let’s see! Should we start checking all the rooms?
This is what every house in America looks like today, DEAD. No stick ball, no jump rope, nothing! Just juvenile type 2 diabetes. (No, not type 1. I know what I’m talking about) Today they even test all kids for sugar.
I’m sure that by now many of you are wondering why I’m using the Internet for my article. (I don’t have a computer in my house) So the answer is that it’s just too bad! I don't have 500,000 dollars for a big mailing, and if you're an Ones, you're an Ones! And you should also ask the Satmar rebbe why he let himself be saved by the Kastner train, which was a Zionist train.
There is a large group of Jews, who believe that it’s a good idea to expose a kid to shmootz, because they will be better prepared to deal with the pressures of the outside world. In other words, it’s very important to prepare him for the modern world of sex, drugs, and suicide, so you might as well start the process 10 years earlier.
Do you know that when a modern man comes to a Jewish wedding with a mechitza, and he sees how happy the kids are, he says that the kids must be either on drugs or alcohol, because in the modern world there are no happy kids unless they are on drugs or alcohol? (Thanks rabbi Rubinstein)
Another thing is that the Torah teaches you to be happy with what you have. And this is the secret to true happiness. But the modern world teaches you NOT to be happy with what you have; only what you DON’T have. Like a new computer advertisement, or car, or house, or girl, or whatever. It’s always; if only I would have “that thing”, I would be perfectly happy. And when you finally get “that thing”, then it’s the next thing. (Thanks rabbi krohn)
Or maybe it’s important to prepare him to be yet another fixture in the ongoing Upper West Side circus, where you gravitate all day long from Kiddush to Kiddush. Maybe this is his glorious purpose in life!
Let me just say that Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis has finally admitted that too much mingling and socializing is counterproductive to getting married. This is exactly what the Talmud says at the end of Ben Soreh Umoreh (Sanhedrin 75a). Rashi says that if hangouts would cause marriage, it would be a mitzvah not an aveira! The problem is that hangouts do not cause marriage. They cause a lot of other things (like overnight mikva dates) but not marriage.
And even if you know someone who got married because of a hangout, the exception does not negate the rule. Stop screaming, and just look at the Upper West Side. It is said that over there they say “Zman Singlesaynu”.
Note 1; yes, we do find in the Torah that the guys would get drunk at weddings. (The end of sukka 25) (After all, they did not drink soda in those days, they drank wine) But you do not find that the only way a teenager can be really happy, is by getting drunk. And by the mechitza weddings, most of the kids do not drink (or not enough to get drunk) and still they are very happy.
Note 2; I would like to send you back to Psachim 113a, where “Rav” told his son not to take drugs, because he will get addicted to it, and he will lose all his money. And even for medical purposes he should not take drugs if he can find an alternate medicine.
Note 3; I’m not saying that cleaning up your house is a cure for everything. People who sit around and don’t work also end up sinning. On the other hand I’m hearing all kinds of stories what’s going on in the workplace. And the texting and e-mailing is only making the problem 100 times worse. I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t…….
The only thing I can do is to pray to g-d, that he should stop looking at the individual pictures, and start looking at the total picture. And the total picture is that Orthodox Judaism has actually done pretty well since the gas chambers. We have kept our mouths shut, we have forged ahead, we have expanded, and we have exploded. And all the while, all we cared about was to keep the Torah and mitzvos.
It’s just that many times it is very difficult to understand exactly what the Torah wants from us. I blame this all on Hitler, because he killed out all the great rabbis, and all the great people. And only a shadow did he leave over to show us the way. A shadow of what we once had……..
Rebono shell olam! Enough is enough! Please get us out of here!