Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paradox: In order to retain moral sensitivity we must block out news of scandals - But to be a moral people we need to know about scandal and react with outrage.

 Excerpts from "Can our Homes stay Holy in the Age of Scandals." by Rabbi Aryeh Z. Ginzberg Mishpacha, Sept 7 2011 page 14-15.
Today, in a world dominated by nonstop newsfeeds, instant messaging, social networking, and the immense overall power of the Internet, creating a healthy and moral environment for our children is that much more difficult. And lately there seems to be one scandal after another, each more shameful than the next, involving a long list of high-profile personalities, including, not so long ago, the president himself. Some may follow every tawdry detail of every story. Others try their best to ignore it. But not for one moment should anyone believe we are immune to the effects of these sordid scandals and the breaches they make in the very walls we’ve built to protect our pure Torah environment. Not matter where we live.

…Rav Mattisyahu Salomon, the venerated mashgiach of Lakewood, said, “All these types of public scandals have removed the bushah from Klal Yisrael. We are no longer a nation of baishanim. We may abhor these types of activities, we may even be troubled by them, but we are no longer simply embarrassed by them. The powerful force of the Internet has removed the bushah from us and from our homes, and as a result, our homes have allowed the immorality of the world to penetrate their walls and enter into our spiritual fortresses. We must bring bushah back into our homes.”[…] 

[Rav Mattisyahu Salomon said], … “Every day when I wake up, besides saying Modeh ani, I add a special tefillah to Hashem for allowing me to be born in an earlier generation. For if I had grown up in today’s Internet world, I would not be able to withstand the many nisyonos and challenges that come come along with being a Torah Jew and a G‑d fearing Jew.”


  1. Had our host had a YU background, instead of the word "paradox" in the title, he would have written "dialectic". In RYBS's thought, dialectical tension is such an inherent part of the human condition, that showing that two things a person needs to do contradict becomes a conclusion, not a question.

    Yes, this is yet another one of those things that make for bechirah chofshi by giving us a conflict to resolve. Because each side is true, although contradicting, there is no generalization. It must be navigated on a case-by-case basis.


  2. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    The Torah and Tanach never hid scandals and when studied, implemented and practiced correctly together with the Oral Torah it has the capacity to make people moral and be the source of morality.

    Also the study of Mussar, in the style that Rav Yisroel Salantar and the RAMCHAL intended, is neglected and it's either misinterpreted or ignored entirely.

    Dealing with and taming the yetzer hora, which is what this is all about, is never going to be easy.

  3. I would like to email you about something important. I can't find your email address.

  4. micha said...

    Had our host had a YU background, instead of the word "paradox" in the title, he would have written "dialectic".
    I don't have a YU background but it should be a dialectic.
    Nevertheless the article in Mishpacha presents it has two mutually exclusive paths. That in fact was what I was trying to show.

  5. MichaelJ said...

    I would like to email you about something important. I can't find your email address.


    email is listed on the side of the blog it is

  6. RaP: Some of us are investing a large effort into reviving the practice (which is far more than the study) of mussar.

    One of the things being worked on is an effort sponsored by organizations like AJOP to make it as de rigueur for a shul to host a mussar vaad as it currently is for it to host a daf yomi shiur.

    Contact me off-list if you feel you can contribute to the effort, or want something like that where you live.

  7. I simply can't understand what R' Mattisyahu is saying. He holds we should simply not know about these things? Why? That won't make them go away.

  8. RAP has said the truth.

    Do the Torah's injunctions about arayot desensitize us and therefore make us struggle more with our yetzer hara?

    Perhaps we shouldn't learn the laws of kashrut, since we are allowing the "forbidden" into our minds.

    Suppression of the kind R' Salomon is talking about
    only strengthen the hands of the criminals, and make the innocent less aware.

    I am not saying there is any perfect answer , but the so called "paradox" does not exist.

    The Torah gives examples of a married or betrothed woman who is caught in adulterous act. Now, what can be more scandalous than that?

  9. Stop blaming only the internet....Jewish scandals are reported by radio, newpapers and magazines. Hashem did not want Jews to live with their head stuck in a hole in the ground.

  10. This loss of bushah is not new, because the core pedophiles are already in their 60s, and the rabbonim have been looking away for many many years, and this is the core cause of the terrible lack of bushah.

    Through blogging and websites, people's lives have been saved. They discovered that they are not alone, they found support, and a way to network, and have been able to join arms to bring on awareness of the issues. One day we'll hopefully see rabbonim accepting responsibility for their part in this lack of bushah, not just continuing to shift the blame onto us and technology.

    These are harsh words, but they stem from my anger at the fact that my (ex-)rav insisted that when the (neighborhood pedophile)man showed hard core pornography to (tens of)children "it was nothing, he didn't touch them." Yet you can be sure he insists that there be no internet in the homes, especially not for the women. So yes, something is seriously wrong with the bushah in our communities.


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