Friday, December 18, 2009

Dei'ah veDibur -- Are They Allowed To Have A Website?

As many of you know, the chareidi gedolim issued a ban on chareidi websites. At least two prominent sites -- Etrog and Chareidim, are closing their doors. One site that is not is Dei'ah veDibur, the website of the Israeli Yated.

Mordechai Plaut, the editor of DvD (heh, how's that for an acronym) put out the following statement concerning the ban and their website:

Statement about Dei'ah Vedibur

The focus of the campaign of the Gedolim against chareidi Internet sites is directed at the forums and blogs that are conducted on an anonymous basis for fun and profit.

Dei'ah Vedibur is the opposite of these. I am fully identified. The site is run on with a low-key style with the aim of informing about the issues that affect the chareidi community. The site has no advertising and no one benefits in any material way if there are more or fewer viewers.

We do not wish, by our presence, to be seen as in any way endorsing or encouraging use of the Internet.

Mordecai Plaut

OK, so Mordechai Plaut basically gives himself a pass because he doesn't make any money and is not anonymous. However, when I look at the translation of the ban that DvD put up, I see nothing that says that a site is exempted if it's owner is identified, if it's low-key or if it doesn't generate revenue. Their main concerns of the organizers of the ban are slander, lies, possible denigration of talmidei chachomim and increasing machlokes (dispute).

They then go on to state:

Even if these sites were free of all of the above prohibitions, they lead people to use the Internet, which is impure and has led to the downfall of numerous Jews.

and (bolding theirs)

These channels must be uprooted and removed from our midst.

I think it's pretty clear. Based on my reading of the ban, I don't see how DvD is exempted from this. I don't see how a site is exempted simply because they are low-key, non-anonymous or have no advertising. Or am I missing something?

The Wolf

(P.S. Personally, I think it's a good thing that DvD continues to operate -- for the chareidim's sake. As a commentator on YWN pointed out (comment #5), the internet is here to stay. By forcing two "clean" sites (Etrog and Chareidim) to close, the chareidim who are going to use the internet are only going to go to other sites which have far more objectionable content [from the chareidi point of view]).


ProfK said...

I'm perplexed by Plaut's statement "We do not wish, by our presence, to be seen as in any way endorsing or encouraging use of the Internet." Using a product is de facto an endorsement, so Plaut is endorsing the Internet. Not encouraging? So he is aiming for zero readership? He feels that the fact that some people will know his site is up is not an encouragement to use it?

If the chareidim are looking for a battle to win they really should not have picked the Internet as the battleground. I wonder if Plaut does not know that this is one battle they are going to lose and has positioned himself perfectly to be up and running when the chareidi leaders throw up their hands in defeat.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Rav Plaut is aiming his comments to his readers, not his social crowd. His social crowd avoids the internet. His readers are, I'm willing to bet, mostly non-Chareidim who want to find out about what's going on in that community. So yes, he's hoping for zero readership.

G*3 said...

Its called rationalization.

Fighting the internet is a losing battle. Unlike TV, which you can live without, the internet has become essential to modern life. A scary thought is that they might be partly successful, and raise a generation of kids who are web-illiterate. As limited as the job opportunities are in a community that frowns on higher education, not knowing how to navigate the internet is going to handicap them even more.

JG said...

I enjoyed reading an article on YWN about the ban and which chareidi websites are shutting down. Fun irony.

Are they daring to question the gedolim????

SuperRaizy said...

There is a letter to the editor posted on YWN from an employee of the Etrog website saying that because of this ban, he and over 30other workers have been laid off and are now unemployed.
Are these gedolim now going to step up and support these families that they have just plunged into poverty? Or are they going to send the rest of us letters begging for tzedakah for them?

OTD said...

ProfK: I disagree with you that this is the wrong battle for them to pick. In the charedi world, having Internet is still very much taboo, and I would say the vast majority of Orthodox web-users are non-Charedi. The gedolim still have tons of power (they're revered as deities in some communities) and this is another typical abuse of power on their part, aimed at keeping the masses ignorant. What holy leaders.

Coming as I do from a UO community, I've only had Internet access for the past year or two. It's part of the reason I was abused so badly by MO trolls when I started blogging.

OTD said...

Saying this is a battle they cannot win grossly underestimates the power of the gedolim. I doubt you know much about the Charedi world. Or do you just pretend it doesn't exist?

ProfK said...

Off the Derech,

Lol, I don't know much about the chareidi world? Hubby and I are rebbishe eir eineklach on two sides, both from Chassidishe European families, and with enough Williamsburger mishpocha to people a mid-sized city. We're not chareidim despite the family history and not because we don't want the chareidim to exist.

This is a battle they won't win not because we underestimate the power of the gedolim but because the gedolim underestimate the power of this technology and its place in today's life and the life that is evolving.

Ookamikun said...

They should ban working in non-Jewish companies. Everyone knows that's why people go OTD.

William Dwek said...

The Swine Flu is common in PIGS.

This is a clear indication that it is the Dayanim – ‘Judges’ - and ‘Rabbis’ of today who are the PIGS and swines.

They twist and use the Torah for their own power and commercial benefit.

They are corrupt. And they are interested in only one thing:


Not the Torah.

William Dwek said...

When ‘dayanim’ and ‘rabbis’ use the Torah for their own power and commercial profit, this is the behaviour of a swine i.e. a Pig.

No other ‘rabbi’ will ever act against another ‘rabbi’ - even when he knows his colleague is clearly desecrating the Torah. Each rabbi is only worried about losing his own position.

Therefore, the ‘rabbi’ and ‘dayan’ will never effect justice. And he will never truly stand for the Torah or the Honour of Hashem. His pocket will always prevail.

The Torah must never be used for commercial gain and profit. Am Yisrael can only be lead by those who have the necessary love and respect of Hashem and the Torah.

William Dwek said...

1. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may use lies. They turn the innocent into the guilty, and the guilty, become the innocent. They will not hesitate to tell lies in the Synagogue.

2. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may steal. They steal and siphon off money for themselves, from the community and individuals.

3. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may shame a Jew in public, even repeatedly. This is one of the most vile acts of murder in Jewish law – and they know this.

4. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ will not hesitate to use Lashon Hara - the ‘Evil Tongue’ - to suit his own ends. Slander and gossip. This too, is one of the worst acts of murder in Jewish Law. Their slander is never challenged by the community, because they hold positions of power. And the slander may begin with the Rebbetzin herself.

5. The ‘dayanim’ and ‘rabbis’ worship idols and other gods. Their only god is Money. Especially the ‘Dayanim’ – the ‘Judges’ who sit on a Beit Din. They only care about their high incomes and retirement packages. They have little or no love for the Torah or Hashem.

In the case of Lubavitch/Chabad, all their rabbis are carrying out a form of Avodah Zarah – strange worship. They are using mediation and intercession. This is completely forbidden, and against the Torah. We are only allowed to pray to Hashem, directly ourselves.

6. When the NAME of Hashem has been taken in Vain – repeatedly - by reshaim, the ‘rabbi’ will turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the


This is the abhorrent behaviour of a Pig.

This is an extremely severe and dangerous situation.

There is NO forgiveness for this evil sin and aveirah.

7. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may also offer large bribes, tell lies and bring False Witnesses – when he in fact has committed the crime. These are heinous acts of the most despicable kind. This is especially vile when the ‘dayan’ is sitting on a ‘Bet Din.’

8. The ‘rabbi’ may commit adultery. And when he gets divorced, he may spread slander about his own ex-wife, blackening her name – when in fact he was at fault.

9. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may also desecrate Shabbat – if it suits him. He will use physical violence to assault another Jew or Jewess at any time. This evil and venomous behaviour is 100% against the Torah.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

A further word of advice regarding those who masquerade as a ‘dayan’ ‘rabbi’ or false ‘mekubal’:

1. These men may knowingly and willingly, deliberately deceive a Jew or Jewess. e.g. in the area of shidduchim, or offering to perform a ‘pidyon nefesh’.

This abhorrent and deceptive behaviour has caused tremendous harm to people who are innocent and trusting.

2. Do not ever ‘kiss the hands’ of these men (which they might offer to you in public).

3. And do not be duped into queuing and waiting, to see them for their ‘brachot’ (‘blessings’). They peddle ‘brachot’ purely for their own selfish gratification and ‘kavod’ (‘honour’).

Their duplicitous behaviour is nothing short of deception and cunning. In short they are abhorant and causing so much harm to amm israel. They prey on the vulnerable, and those who are naïve, unsuspecting and trusting of these pedlars.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be leading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

We are commanded in the Shema to:

‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
“Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

“Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

Ben (Ben's Tallit Shop) said...

Rabbi Plaut is an honest man. I know him personally. I also happen to know that when the ban came out, he did consider shutting down Deiah veDibur, until he consulted with one of the gedolei hador in the U.S., who told him to keep it going. A published ban is meant as a general guideline for the public, but in this matter, as all others, it's best to get a specific psak from a qualified posek, and that's what Rabbi Plaut did.