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The Citi Field Internet Asifa – What’s Really the Point?

May 18, 2012 | Comments 5

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

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  1. baalbatish says:

    The real reason. We want to keep our kids in school and be able to marry them off.

  2. AW says:

    you are always surprising me! this post is really intelligent. I always went to these things because of BaalBatish response (to not be out of the kaal), but you gave me a more profound explanation.

    Thank you a lot!

  3. z says:

    When I see I how strongly the Soney Hashem and Soney Torah on Vosisneais oppose the Asifa I wish I had gone just to show I don’t identify with those people.

  4. Sam says:

    A few questions I have.
    There were some very choshev Rosh Yeshivas that was against this asifa, if so, what was there reason, and why weren’t they listened to?
    Was is necessary for bochurim to come or Yungeleit who have no Internet anyways to spend so much time away from learning?
    Is this the whole problem we have, I can list many problems, will there be any asifa or at least meetings to deal with them?
    If someone has another opinion ,does he really lose his part in the next world? Is asking questions itself considered wrong? Do Rabonim have a heter to go to secular courts but we don’t?
    I would appreciate an answer to these questions if allowed.

  5. Chanan says:

    First its hard for me too take a ban on the internet serious
    or even stating its a problem, when their are countless Organizations that are on the internet, including ou.org and many other orthodox organizations.

    Second just as they could not stop people from smoking which has been shown to be dangerous to ones health. They will not be able to stop people from using the net.

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