MODERN TECHNOLOGY: A THREAT TO JEWISH SANCTITY

As science and technology make greater and deeper inroads into our life-styles, the threat they pose to our Jewish values and Torah standards becomes greater and greater.

While modern inventions have made life easier and more enjoyable, they have brought in their wake a very great threat to our holiness. In times of old, one could easily barricade himself within the sanctity of his own home in order to avoid the many temptations and pitfalls of the perverted world. Modern times are making this more and more difficult. We are no longer safe even in our own homes, as the worst of Mitzrayim’s abominations threatens to invade our privacy and sanctity.

While until now it had still been possible for a person to isolate and insulate himself from these “angels of destruction,” the new electronic superhighway, videos and DVD’s open everyone’s front door to an avalanche of filth that will be nearly impossible to censor. It allows the yetzer hora to wave his large red kerchief right in front of our very eyes with the worst perversions imaginable. The filth that will be able to enter through our telephone and computer lines threaten to wreak havoc on all our previous defenses. The temptations will be multiplied thousands of times. Never before has the battle with the yetzer hora been carried out at such a close distance and with such powerful enticements.

The predictions are so frightening that unless one decides to live a sheltered life, as they do in an Amish village, he will find himself exposed to forces of evil that get mightier and mightier.

One wonders how anyone will be able to shield himself from these powerful forces of Tum’ah that modern technology is unleashing. It seems to be that as Moshiach draws closer, the trials and tribulations become more difficult.

Chazal tell us that when the world was created, the light was so powerful that one could see from one end of the world to the other. Hashem saw how the wicked would use such light for evil, so He hid it for the Tzadikim. It seems that scientists have now discovered a kind of brilliant light that allows us to see things thousands of miles away and can be used to benefit mankind and illuminate the world with wisdom and moral teachings. Yet, the wicked use this discovery to pollute and spread filth and perversion to every corner of the world, to destroy rather than build. What a shameful waste of such a mighty power.

Even the government has called for laws that will help restrict and prevent the superhighway from turning into a super cesspool, yet the Supreme Court has struck down these laws on the grounds that they infringe on freedom of expression.

The Gemorah says that if one is confronted by the yetzer hora, then he should drag him into the Bais Medrash. It’s the only outpost we still have left. The more time we spend there, the less chance he will be able to inflict any damage.

While this solution may work for some, it certainly will not work for the vast majority who, for one reason or another, are unable to shelter themselves in the “daled amos of halacha” 24 hours a day. Unless we find a Torah solution to this problem we will lose the battle by default! Banning modern technology simply won’t work and is totally unrealistic.

Some claim that the only solution is to provide a Torah alternative by making enough kosher programming available and developing Torah sites, putting greater emphasis on teaching people to use it properly. The danger with this proposal is that there are always curiosity-seekers that will wander off the permitted path in order to taste from the forbidden trees in the middle. Unless one puts a solid wall around, the snakes will entice the thirsty souls to partake from the forbidden fruit.

The only safe solution lies in finding ways that will allow us to use this technology while restricting all access to the forbidden fruit. This is not an easy task, but it is definitely within reach. It’s not very difficult to build a video machine with a special V-chip that will reject all goyish videos and only play those Torah videos or wedding or Bar Mitzvah etc. videos that have been encoded with a special process. It is also possible to build an Intranet surrounded by a firewall that only allows access to pre-approved sites. (I’ve seen this in its demo-state and it works.) Perhaps the solution for DVD’s is in providing software that contains a code that only allows access under parental control. (The problem here is: who will control the parents?)

Yet, if there is a will there is a way. While nothing is foolproof and there’s always the danger that someone will break through the walls or climb over them, we will at least protect the masses. It has been said that a lock is only for the honest people; crooks can always break them anyway.

We certainly dare not ignore the mounting problems modern technology brings in its wake. Much greater emphasis must be put on teaching and warning people of the dangers that exist. There must be strong parental supervision and guidance at all times, but this is not enough. Every effort must be made to devise ways to block out the angels of destruction and replace them with programs that bring the powerful light of Torah to every corner of the world!

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