In a short essay that I posted a few weeks ago, the day after the women’s ‘Internet Asifa’ in Boro Park, I asked the following questions. What exactly is expected from the women? Are they supposed to control their men? Is it their responsibility? These and similar questions were raised by BP women like my wife.
Well, this week there was a women’s ‘Internet Asifa’ in Monsey, and Rabbi Chaim Faivel Schnebalg, a leading Rabbi in the area, was the keynote speaker. In his speech, Rabbi Schnebalg addressed precisely this issue. Rabbi Schnebalg was addressing the women directly and telling them that the kedusha of their home and their kids is their responsibility, and they must make sure that smartphones and other technology don’t infiltrate their home, chas v’sholom. Rabbi Schnebalg then related the following story. A woman was doing everything she could to shield her kids of the evil technological devices, but her husband kept on bringing them into their home again and again, and he refused to get rid of his personal smartphone. One day the woman gave her husband an ultimatum, either get rid of your smartphone within twenty four hours, or I will take the kids back to my parent’s home. “This is the courage that a yiddishe mama needs to have, to stand up for the chinuch of her children”, thundered Rabbi Schnebalg.
Let’s take a moment and try to look at this from their point of view. Let’s say that these rabbis have made the calculation that the probability of children who grow up in a home with a smartphone, going off the derech, is very high. Did they ever compare this to the effect on children growing up in a home with only one parent? Is breaking up families such a light matter in their eyes?
I’m not here to rebuke Rabbi Schnebalg, or any rabbi for that matter. I’m here to warn you, my dear readers, know what these chachamim have in mind for you. Don’t think that this is just another speech where you’ll here a dvar torah, maybe some hisoirerus to do teshuvah and a bracha from the skulener rebbe. This is what you could expect to hear nowadays at any and every gathering, incitement to break up families. “My way or the highway” is their new motto.