Thursday, June 23, 2011

Texting on Saturdays seen as increasingly common ‘addiction.’

jewish week

At a recent campgrounds Shabbaton sponsored by a local Modern Orthodox high school, the teenage participants broke into small groups after the meals, as is usual, to talk with their friends.

On their cell phones.

Of the 17 students who attended the weekend program, said 17-year-old Julia, a junior at the day school, most sent text messages on Shabbat – a violation of the halachic ban on using electricity in non-emergency situations.

"Only three [of the 17 students] didn't text on Shabbos," Julia says. Most did it "out in the open," sitting at picnic tables. "They weren't hiding it."

The students at the Shabbaton were not the exception for their age group. According to interviews with several students and administrators at Modern Orthodox day schools, the practice of texting on Shabbat is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially, but not exclusively, among Modern Orthodox teens.

It's a literally hot-button issue that teachers and principals at yeshiva day schools, whose academic year ends this week, acknowledge and deal with it in both tacit and oblique ways. For the most part, they extol the virtues of keeping Shabbat rather than chastising those who violate it. [....]


  1. This goes beyond simple chilul Shabbos and has to be seen for what it is: an addiction along with a profound shift in how people interact.
    I recall a recent social event at which I observed one young lady who spent at least 80% of the time sitting in a corner chair texting, away, oblivious as the party went on around her.
    People do not interact, they "facebook", "twitter" or "text". This is a huge problem whose implications for human interaction have not yet been understood.

  2. I have seen cell phones being regarded for the past decade as "not exactly a Shabbat violation".

    I believe that this came about when many rabbis ruled that in case of an emergency, it is better to use a cell phone than a land line.

    Cellphones are definitely still regarded as a Shabbat violation by every Orthodox rabbi I have ever known.

    But there are so many major Shabbat violations that are completely tolerated in our synagogues, yeshivas and homes that might put this one into perspective.

    For example: the Rosh Yeshiva who likes his chulent really hot and who asks the maid to put it in the microwave for a few minutes for him.

    The microwave and the cellphone both use the same RF technology. How can the students as this Chofetz Chaim school believe that the cell phone is a Shabbat violation when their Rosh Yeshiva has the maid nuke his Shabbat lunch each week in front of the 2 dozen students who eat at his table??

    What about the big shul where the janitor mops the floor at the rabbi's request after the kiddush and before Seudah shlishit?

    What about the big shul where the caterer is preparing food for a Saturday night wedding on Shabbat?

    What about the non Jewish workers who turn on battery toys or videos for the Jewish children left in their care so that their mothers can pray?

    Mechallel Shabbat is a problem in our communities but I believe that it is wrong to blame our teens when they are only following what they see.

    I can provide exact names and locations for each of the above, BTW and will be happy to email RDE upon request.

  3. the overall effect of modern technology has been to destroy klal yisroel. there is not a lot of reason to assume that the issue is much different amongst the more yeshivish community.


  4. Modern technology is a tool no different than the wheel. How we handle it is the question.
    Jersey Girl's examples area are all irrelevant. All those cases are abuses of amirah l'akum, not direct chilul Shabbos d'oraisa and frankly releasing names and addresses would be an issue of loshon horo or motzi shem ra which is a d'oraysa.
    Nevertheless, we must remember that the Aibishter never sends us a challenge we cannot overcome.
    Myself, my big annoyance is call display. Used to be I could ignore the phone on Shabbos but now there's the temptation to see who's calling! But what can I do? I remind myself it's Shabbos. We should be doing a better job to remind these kids as well.

  5. Jersey Girl, find the story regarding warming up cholent on shabbos at a Chofetz Chaim yeshiva an exaggeration. Info can be sent to drivewcare10@yahoo.comm

  6. כל הפוסל במומו פוסלJune 24, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Jersey Girl, Do not you have better things to do in life than spying on other people Shabbos practices ? Do you also spy on people taharas hamishpacha practice ? would you release names and addresses of those people as well?

    Stop being a yente and get a life !

  7. Please see what I wrote at:

  8. Garnel,
    Sub-machine guns are a tool, no different than the wheel. Heroin is a tools no different than the wheel. Airplanes are a tool no different than the wheel. L'gabei their status as "tools", this all certainly true. But wheels are not addictive and many modern technological devices are.


  9. R. Eidensohn,
    You need to delete or edit the comment about the Rosh Yeshiva of Chafetz Chaim. Please.


  10. There is a reason Modern comes before Orthodox. That has always been the case.


    You are so zealous about Shmiras Shabbos, but not on Shmiras Haloshon and are so eager to be Mevazir people B'rabbim.

    Your bloody thirst for rozaicha b'loshon hora is sickening.

    I am sure you can't get shidduchim or if your marries and with children they wont either.

  12. Am I the only one who shuts the cellphone off Friday before candle lighting?


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