On the Internet

On the Internet

A plumber asks Mrs. Shtrimpkind to turn off the Internet to stop the flood

Turning off the internet, THAT they say, should fix everything within Hasidism — from problems with infidelity to atheism to teenage rebellion and sexual urges or a plumbing crisis or a flopped honey tort. Rabbis have deliberated over ALL the problems caused by the internet, boasted a Citifield sport of their concerns, and are now implementing solutions. I heard of many Orthodox rabbis who are stepping up their warning against internet and are advising various precautions like filters or limited home use. Hasidic leaders, in their usual extreme way of responding to anything that threatens their tradition, are taking the highway. They are aggressively banning the internet and technological gadgets.

They seem to hope that stopping the internetworks will push back down all issues that have come to the fore through the vorld-vide-veb. All the flaws and holes that have become plainly visible even to Hasidim, that’s what worries them.
Some Hasidic mosdos sent letters to the parent body demanding full disclosure of the parent’s internet activity. At the same time some religious institutions are demanding that the staff surrender their smartphones. Among my own Hasidic circles I have heard the smartphone called “treif”, one unfamiliar woman at a simcha going so far as to sternly voice her objections of the smartphone to my Angry-Bird enthusiast son. The woman reduced him to tears with her uncontained moral outrage at his bird-launching-pig-squashing activities. To this insanity I say, quoting the pigs, “hooooll!”

Hasidim are very concerned about the internet. They have reason to be. Hasidism has been changed by the internet, of that I am sure. Centuries of isolation are no more because invisible web waves brought an unfathomable wealth of resources to the palms of good pious women and to the vestl pockets of real Hasidic men. Information that was completely unavailable and unknown to previous generations of Hasidim is now readily sitting on the very telephones with which Hasidic followers call their rabbis to ask their religious questions, be it about menstrual blood or a dairy fork in a meat sink. The answers available online are of a different breed entirely. Whereas rabbis respond in authoritarian halachik rulings, the internet provides not rulings, but information. The internet gives the information to the searcher and leaves the decision making to the person himself. One can find thousands of answers instead of one; through ooogles of google results, wikipedia, forum conversation or this blog (by the way, the answer is “what the heck is wrong with you?!” and for all other questions: “the naked Hasidish lady would be…

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  • Kevin
    Posted at 23:17h, 10 July Reply

    Are the points mentioned issues with hasidic traditions or also with main stream observant judaism.

  • Groynem Ox
    Posted at 00:27h, 11 July Reply

    You’re like a machine, I don’t know how you do it. I’m a fan!

  • Shragi
    Posted at 00:57h, 11 July Reply

    In the introduction to a biography of R’ Mendel Kaplan, Rabbi Berel Wein writes that he once asked Rabbi Kaplan about something he was telling him; didn’t you once say differently? Rabbi Kaplan told him: Berel, forget everything I told you before the age of 13, whatever I told you then was for shock effect only.
    I read that when I was a kid, I learned the value of a good Jewish education at a young age.

  • Abracadabra
    Posted at 04:14h, 11 July Reply

    Excellent post!!
    I just discovered your writing on your article in Tablet. I’m a new fan. And this post is great. I couldn’t agree more!

  • Mechl
    Posted at 08:55h, 11 July Reply

    Yes ur points and ur story are exactly explaining what is wrong with our sociaty. Yet i still believe that it cant be either black(!)or white. There is a way how to stay frim and still have knowledge that just doesnt kill you. Theres sooo much to say it would take hours after hours to discuss exactly this….

  • Chana Gittel Meyerowitzerbaum
    Posted at 09:28h, 11 July Reply

    Right on, girl! Their methods have worked for centuries. Modern Technology has gone beyond their scope of control. If only our ancestors would have had some foresight and not allowed us to use the lightbulb or a car, vult men nisht azoi ousgezeyn .. 🙂

  • yanky
    Posted at 11:04h, 11 July Reply

    dee zugst duch azoy git!!!! i am a huge fan…..

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 14:02h, 11 July Reply

    Ur amazing, glad i came across your work. Please keep it up.

  • mark
    Posted at 14:54h, 11 July Reply

    But if the hasidic way of life makes no sense to you, why did’t you try a different stream of yiddishkeit, like modern orthodoxy or the like?

  • PT
    Posted at 15:34h, 11 July Reply

    Hmm, reminds me of the Jewish Orthodox school of thought which in fact calls for less censorship so that Jewish children are carefully prepped to dismiss out of hand the questions they will encounter later on.
    Acclimatising children with misinformation so that they realise how vacuous science is, and desensitising children to questions with just any answer, even a poor one, is a far better way of keeping the system intact.
    It is a method that has sublimely and subliminally been done by Rashi and the Rishonim to great effect. We hardly feel what Wellhausen felt in reading Korach and Dathan v’Aviram mostly as a result of the apologetics we were inculcated or come pre-installed with.
    So do, do be careful what you wish for.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 16:06h, 11 July Reply

    lol this cartoon is amazing and ur writing is excellent! thanx again shpitzele, u never disappoint

  • Dave
    Posted at 16:41h, 11 July Reply

    I just read your article in Tablet.I used to read your schpitzle blog when it was open to the public.Always taught you lived in williamsburg didn’t think you lived in kj.I wondered what happened to you.
    Is there any way i can email you?

  • L
    Posted at 17:22h, 11 July Reply

    mark said: But if the hasidic way of life makes no sense to you, why did

  • Moshys
    Posted at 13:38h, 12 July Reply

    What does the fight against internet have to do with chasidim? it’s by all yiden who belive in yidishkeit. When you say you are allowed to ask what ever you want. the answer is NO you are not….thats not a chasidic point, it says in talmud that were not allowed to ask certain questions. we belive we dont understand everything and no one can understand hashems druchim. if you don’t belive in talmud take of the word chasidim and write Jews. Its about time to stop blaming chasidim and say you have a problme with yidishkeit as a whole (sorry if im to harsh, but in your old blog you were fun to read, latley you became the same bitter as all OTDs looking to blame everyone)

  • gedalye
    Posted at 14:03h, 12 July Reply

    we are all on your path….

  • leapa
    Posted at 17:44h, 12 July Reply

    Must digest your strong feelings.
    I can empathize with your intellectualism and need to grow.
    I actually can’t stand the bans myself.
    However, you are not addressing the unvaccinated and unprepared who access the internet for more depraved purposes.
    How are the chassidim to deal with them? That is a real problem with real repercussions!
    And … I wonder how succesful all the bans will be in the end.
    Vus hert zich in KJ? Are they shtelling tzi?

  • Henny
    Posted at 22:26h, 12 July Reply

    I find it hard to disagree with your oppinions. Keep ’em coming!

  • Gabriella
    Posted at 13:05h, 16 July Reply

    “Please, promote the ban on intellectual robbery instead.”

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