‘THESE DEVICES ARE ADDICTIVE’ – A CALL TO DITCH SMARTPHONES
Rav Aharon Feinhadler, shlita, is the head of the ‘Mahane Israel’ group of Torah institutions, which includes a yeshiva, and also a number of kollels that were set up specifically to accommodate baalei teshuvas, or returnees to orthodox Jewish practice.
After a couple of his attempts to visit the Rav failed due to the incredible number of people attending the packed prayer services, Rav Feinhadler recently managed to see Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, face-to-face, and kindly agreed to be interviewed immediately after his visit.
(You can hear the full interview for yourself in the original Hebrew by calling the Breslov Information Line on: 972-2-800-8800).
Rav Feinhadler began:
“I want to say that Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, is the only spiritual leader who already affixed his signature back in Iyar, to the statement coming out against all smart phones with internet or that can stream movies.”
“In the meantime, I had the merit of being with Rav Berland, shlita, for more than two hours, and he also gave over a shiur (Torah lesson) to me. I took this opportunity to ask the Rav, shlita, if it would be possible to remove the use of smartphones from every Breslov institution. In my innocence, I thought that it would take these institutions around three months of preparations to be able to do this, and to move all the information over to the correct files.
“But Rav Berland, shlita, surprised me and excited me with his response:
‘No, now we want to get rid of all of the computers [that are connected to the internet]. Not a single forbidden computer should stay.’”
Rav Feinhadler continues:
“You don’t see a Rav like this, and kedusha (holiness) like this every day. A level of holiness like this arouses love in shemayim (the heavens), and creates defending angels for Am Yisrael. On the same occasion, Rav Berland, shlita, invited me to join him for the mincha and maariv prayers that are held in his home, where he returned to the matter of the smart phones. I, the small one, stood opposite him while he talked [to the crowd] and distributed information with his holy hands.
“I hope that this matter is going to continue to grow,” said Rav Feinhadler. “Practically, I know that even before I came to visit Rav Berland, shlita, he’d broken a number of i-Phones in front of the whole community. The whole thing started on the holiday of redemption [i.e. Shavuot], when the Rav returned home.
THE RAV SMASHED SMARTPHONES THE WAY YOU’D SMASH AN IDOL
“Rav Berland took a hammer weighing five kilo and started smashing unkosher smart phones the same way you’d smash idolatrous statues. I imagine that the Rav has probably cleared out another 150 or so of these devices, in the meantime, including the so-called ‘kosher’ smart phones.
“The Rav came out strongly against the so-called ‘kosher’ smart phones, when he said that there’s really no difference between a ‘kosher’ (i.e. filtered) phone and an ‘obscene’ one (i.e. one that doesn’t have a filter.)
“Every place that I come to, I tell people about Rav Berland’s holy advice. He’s a man of truth, who only wants for Am Yisrael to succeed and to be holy. He wants to rescue Am Yisrael from all the terrible spiritual decline that is [smartphones].
A TRUE SPIRITUAL HOLOCAUST
“Many of the Gedolei Israel (spiritual leaders of the Jewish people) have described the situation today as being a true spiritual holocaust, inasmuch as causing people to sin is worse than actually murdering them.
“After all, how many ‘stumbling blocks’ are arising dafka from these ‘kosher’ phones? These devices [i.e. smartphones] are guaranteed to trip people up and cause a spiritual breakdown, or the filter suddenly stops working all by itself. These devices are addictive – and ultimately, a person [who uses them] becomes someone who’s indistinguishable from a chiloni (completely secular Jew).”