On Sunday, tens of thousands of yidden from all sectors will come together to Citi Field to take part in the “Kinnus Klal Yisroel” – to hear about the dangers of the internet and technology and how to deal with these issues.
I too am going, and so are many others. But I also have quite a few friends that never ordered tickets and don’t plan on going, because they have asked, “What is the point? We know about the internet, we’ve long ago heard about the dangers of technology, so why are the gedolim shlepping us to a stadium to hear endless speeches about a topic that is 10 year old news?”
The truth is, their objections make sense. We aren’t quite sure what the point is. So why are we all going? And for what purpose did the gedolim call for this strange kind of mass gathering that seems to serve no purpose other than to stir up lots of speculation and politics?
Let me throw in my opinion, just for the fun of it. Rav Mattisyahu Salomon, who by all counts is the driving force behind this asifa, is both a wise and responsible person. He is in a leadership position where he sees – day in and day out – the devastating effects the internet is having on both children and adults. He has stated repeatedly that this is a nissayon of unparalleled dimensions, and that if Chazal would be in this generation they would decree an issur yichud on a computer.
Therefore, he feels strongly that something must be done. The question is – what can be done? How can a single person, or even a whole signed paper of rabbonim stop something that has grown to be much greater than “a tool for doing business”, and instead has become a part of our everyday (and every minute of our) lives (as evidenced by the fact you are reading this post).
His thinking is – we will arrange this asifa and that will be our hishtadlus. After that, Hashem will take over. The forces they are trying to fight are too powerful to be fought by humans alone. Therefore, he is arranging this gathering as a way of “handing over the issue” to a Higher power.
Is this foolish thinking? Many people think it is, and that the problems that we must resign ourselves to the way things are. But the reality is, history has shown that so-called insurmountable problems have been overcome. 80 years ago was the nissayon of keeping Shabbos, 180 years ago was the nissayon of haskala, 100 years ago Zionism, and 40 years ago was a thing called television. None of these are serious problems anymore, even though no one particular person or group was responsible for eradicating them. They “went away by themselves,” – meaning, of course, that Hashem took over.
So why are we are going to the asifa? We are going with the understanding that while we can’t necessarily solve the problem ourselves, we are willing and ready to submit it to a Higher Authority.
Filed Under: Rabbinical Advice