Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Enlightened Rosh HaYeshiva

The following is the copy for this video located at YouTube:

yeshiva machane yisrael is a yeshiva for baalei teshuva in the beit yisrael section of jerusalem near the mir yeshiva. the rosh yeshiva is opposed to the use of computers, and therefore even the yeshiva office uses none. here we can see one of the many computer smashing ceremonies held at the yeshiva, with a brief introduction by the rosh yeshiva Rabbi Findler who explained how in this particular instance, the computer was used for purposes of earning a livelihood by the owner until he decided to make the move and dispose of his laptop. this is an exercise carried out by trained professionals, please don't try this at home but if you do please wear safety goggles!

When I first saw this video I had to laugh. I thought, “How primitive a response like this is to the problems with the internet!” The truth unfortunately is that it isn’t so funny. Not that I am all that surprised by it.

I am not going to go into the pros and cons of the internet. I’ve done that more times than I can count. But I do think it is important to see exactly what a Charedi Rosh HaYeshiva for Baalei Teshuva thinks is the appropriate way to show his contempt for it. He actually believed that a symbolic smashing of a laptop would make his point more valid. It seemed apparent from the video that he knew he was being videotaped. It is also fair to assume that the purpose of taking a video of this event was for the purpose of making his point to a wider audience.

Unfortunately for him, the message received is not really the one he wanted to send. He was trying to show what he thought ought to be done to this conduit of evil. But the general response to this video has been one of ridicule and laughter by just about everyone who has seen it – as far as I know.

I think this Rosh Yeshiva has clearly demonstrated why people who have this attitude about the internet and this methodology of dealing with it ought to be as marginalized as possible from the Torah world. By their actions they show just how shallow and backward they really are.

Judaism is not a religion of primitive fanatics that deal with problems by smashing valuable educational tools. I can respect their total opposition to the internet even if I don’t agree with it. But smashing a laptop only makes them look like ignorant fools. How exactly does this appeal to a potential Baal Teshuva? Is anyone with even a modicum of intelligence going to say, “This is the kind of religion I want!” “One that smashes laptops!

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