Jerusalem – Anti Technology Rabbi Explains His Own iPhone Usage

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    The photo that circulated on the net showing Rabbi Yitzchak using an iPhoneJerusalem – A prominent Israeli rabbi who urged his followers to destroy their smartphones has come out with a statement explaining how he himself was photographed using an iPhone last week.

    Pictures that have been circulating on Facebook and Whatsapp show Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak in a car on Chol Hamoed Succos holding the very device he banned, but a statement that was released on R’ Yitzchak’s site, www.shofar.tv, explains that R’ Yitzchak received permission to use the device from R’ Aharon Leib Shteinman.

    “HaRav Amnon Yitzchak shlita is against iPhones and similar devices,” reads the official statement on Shofar. “The uneducated are asking how is it that R’ Amnon Yitzchak has an iPhone? It should be known that the Gadol Hador HaGaon R’ Aharon Leib Shteinman gave a personal heter to the Rav and his staff, in response to a query posed in this matter by R’ Yehuda Leibowitz, to use iPhones for kiruv purposes. Anyone who casts suspicions after his Rav is as if he is casting suspicion on the shechina.”

    The statement continues with a warning, “Those who suspect the innocent…”

    R’ Yitzchak, founder of the kiruv organization Shofar, made headlines last December when he encouraged Israelis to smash their televisions in a public demonstration in Jerusalem to protest what he termed immoral content being broadcast by the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, as previously reported on VIN News.

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    65 COMMENTS

    1. People who are anti-technology and want to destroy the cell phones are people who do not Trust in Hashem to let the world change and bring in new ways and true useful technology. It is a crime and it should be looked at as a crime.

      • A comment that illustrates stupidity. If you feel that everything G-D created is meant for your use, go enjoy this world while supply lasts !

        About the base issue, it doesn’t smell good. One for Kirov, next for torah, gemiles chasudim, tzedukah, kibid ov v’eim. The toy box of excuses is endless.

    2. “Anyone who casts suspicions after his Rav is as if he is casting suspicion on the shechina.”
      Is that Halacha or Crazy talk?
      When did we elect our own infallible Popes?

    3. Its like that old Yiddish Joke, citing the memrah in the Gemorah that if you see a Talmid Chochom doing an aveirah you should take into account that he for sure “Asah Teshuva,”

      the joke goes: “Asah Teshuva” means NOT that they did teshuva, but that they WROTE a teshuva matering what they did …. for themselves.

    4. What baloney! Don’t believe him for a minute.
      I diubt Rav Shtainman would give such a heter. And besides if its ossur its ossur! Zehu!
      Anyone who knows AY like I do knows the truth

    5. “Anyone who casts suspicions after his Rav is as if he is casting suspicion on the shechina.”-GIVE ME A BREAK.I really don’t think there is ANYONE on that Spiritual Madreiga
      The uneducated are asking how is it that R’ Amnon Yitzchak has an iPhone?- Thats a real put down. Sounds like a phoney if ever there was one

      • Doesn’t matter what it looks like to you. The statement put forth was that he got a heter (Dear G-d , please excuse R’ AY use of an Iphone; it is for Kiruv work. Signed R’ Shteinman) for an IPHONE

        • The fact that Hypocrite #2 seeks to cover up for Hypocrite #1 doesn’t make this look or sound any better. If they were serious about the inyan of NOT using smartphones, then they would avoid ANY opportunity to create an issue of maris ayin or seemingly acting contrary to their own issur. Given that both had passionately screamed about the dangers of internet access, it doesn’t make a difference if the seemingly contradictory behavior originates with a gadol hador or just some poishete yid. I’m certain Rav Yitzchak could have found some other way to engage in his kiruv activities or learn his daf yomi or whatever. This whole situation reeks and gives rise to the cynicism that too many yidden have about the double standards emerging from their gadolim and askanim. Whatever good may have arisen from Yitzchak’s use of the Iphone was more than offset by the terrible damage this does to Shteinmen’s credibility.

    6. Its all a mind game anyone who plays their game is a sucker fool the whole of over zeolous religiosity is an infantile bahviour playing a mind game and pretending that you are special holy is the biggest fraud on the face of the earth

    7. this is called hypocrisy and it happens time and time again. banning smartphones and internet for all purposes was done to protect those at the top from news and scandals that can harm their reputation. the internet became an indispensable tool, and banning it outright was not a smart move since like r’ amnon yitzchak did, it’s going to be overridden and in the process going to weaken adhering to daas torah and listening to the gedolim by making people think they dont understand and unrealistic.

    8. If someone is caught with a bloody knife in their hands, did he/she kill someone? Most probaby not but the bloody knife in their hands is the only evidence and it sure looks bad and, therefore, this goes for everything that is Issur. No excuses!!! Everyone has an excuse for what they shouldn’t be doing– but are doing it anyway!!

      • yeh that’s right it’s not connected to the internet that’s a great theory. Oh wait, how did he get the tehilim on the iphone? most probably typed the tehilim in to the iPhone. Umm but why does he need an iPhone without service? and why does he need an iphone for tehilim? can’t he use a regular tehilim?

    9. Looks like he is receiving the heter on the Iphone as he drives. he should be more careful when in public. At least let him have all the windows tinted in the car.

    10. Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak is a baal thshuva who has done & continues to do great things. However it appears that in recent years success got to his head & he got an exagerated opinion of himself. He seems to think he is one of the biggest gedolim around and is infalliable. Many people, including some of his admirers, feel a little more modesty would serve him well.
      Nevetheless, considering his where he came from & what he achieved, you can’t look at his drawbacks by the themself. You have to look at him as a whole & while that doesn’t take his drawbacks away it does moderate the way you have to look at him.

      • He is just an entertainer. Frankly, I prefer Lipa, who is also just an entertainer but spends his free time, energy and money helping fellow Yidden. This menuval hoodwinks and takes from others so he can entertain at their expense. His crowds are filled with paid shills.

    11. Let’s put aside the serious Lashon Hara or Rechilus problem here. More important is the lesson- bad habits will be exposed. If you think you can get away with something because nobody sees you, sooner or later you’ll be exposed and you’ll be sorry.

    12. I think his ban on phones went into effect before the iphone5 came out, so only all iphones up to the iphone4s were banned, the iphone5 on the other hand he had to test and see if there is such great tumah in it to ban it, or mayne apple did teshuvah.

      See, never question his ways.

      exit: I understand him needing a phone for kiruv, and perhaps an older 1g smartphone that allows him to check his email (maybe an old blackberry), but I dont know what part of kiruv needs the latest smartphone on the market? Perhaps facetime with all his followers? Oh, I forgot that are not allowed to have smartphones.. hmmm,

    13. Yes, it looks bad.
      Yes, it looks hypocritical.

      But think of it this way:
      Let’s compare it to a nuclear-reactor. The U.S. and the E.U. (and Israel) are nuclear-powers and yet they admonish other countries not to acquire reactors.

      Yes, like it or not, certain leaders must sometimes utilize dangerous technology in order to advance a good agenda.
      But if it’s usage becomes widespread it will lead to trouble.

      Our egos might not find it acceptable that certain responsible authorities may be trusted to “fight fire with fire”, or use dangerous technology to benefit the masses, while the rest of us are prohibited from possessing the same.
      But that’s how it is and should be.

      It’s like a policeman with a gun arresting somebody for having the same gun illegally. (Without “permission”.)
      Would you call that hypocritical?
      I didn’t think so.

      This reminds me of Rabbi Avigdor Miller Z’L.
      He needed to fight Apikorsus (heresy) (through his books and lectures). He received “permission” from some great Gedolim to read certain books of Apikorsus, including the “new testament”.
      (He then did a marvelous job at refuting said Apikorsus.)
      He was deemed trustworthy.
      He earned it.

      • This is not the same as the police moshel above, or nuclear, because they don’t say no one should have the weapon, they say you should only have it if you need it and can handle it properly (permits or inspectors).
        These people say no one should have it, while they themselves have it. The same way AY NEEDS it for kiruv, everyone needs it. It is called convenience not a need.
        If they would take the approach that others do, that technology can be excellent if used properly and terrible if not, that would be fine, but they scream it its forbidden and terrible and then use it themselves.

      • I love your psat. Now i am going to learn more and do more kiruv etc to be allowed to do some smake avajros. Can you post a list what other forbidden thing i will be able to do.

    14. and dont think any of the other entities who said it is absolutely assur dont use internet and smartphones for whatever they deem they have a heter like the offices of every yeshiva and mosad and organization, and if they tell you it’s for business, since when is a yeshiva or a mosad or all the other tax free organizations a business? either let them source it out or go back to the age of pens paper and stamps like they want all the rest of klal israel to do or admit that they made a mistake. by the way why dont they decree that every one who has a car has to install a speed limiting device, for example with a 60 mph cutoff, and at the same time install a gps with microphone with a subscription to a monitoring service as a shomer?

    15. All I can say is that, in my humble opinion, it’s all a farce. Real Judaism endorses moderation. If this can be done in the name of Kiruv, does that mean we should be mechallel Shabbos for kiruv? Last I checked, being mechallel Shabbos doesn’t invalidate one from being a witness at a wedding like an iPhone. And if it’s in the name of saving a life, can one believe that Kiruv is like saving someone from physically drowning, Chas V’Shalom, on the spot? Please…

    16. The biggest problem isn’t his iPhone usage; it’s the unacceptable language on his website, which calls everyone who questions this hypocrisy “tipshim” – that is, idiots (not “uneducated”, as stated above). Even if he is using his iPhone with rabbinic sanction, he must realize that it looks wrong. (See Yoma 86a – Rav states that a chilul Hashem would be his paying on credit [in a place where this is not accepted practice], thereby causing the shopowner to assume that Rav stole, which in turn would cause the shopowner to take stealing less seriously than he should. In this example, Rav was doing nothing wrong, but the appearance of wrongdoing is not just a chilul Hashem, but his paradigmatic example of a chilul Hashem.) Given this reality, how dare he cast aspersions on people who question what looks to be inappropriate/hypocritical behavior, even if it is no such thing. He could have said, “I know this looks bad, let me explain why it is not.” He instead decides to pull the infallibility card. How offensive.

    17. Our memories are so short.

      Certain things happen when one tries to assign divinity to a human being.

      Does anyone remember how that has turned out various times in the past?

    18. It sort of makes you wonder if a so called “gadol” can have such a political tin ear and be blind to the appearences of allowing such exceptions to the rule. If he needs to use the iphone let him acknowedge it openly and create a two-tiered chumrah with clear exceptions to the rule. Otherwise, its just another case where gadolim put themselves in bad light by such foolish rules or having others make statments in their name.

    19. Sorry Rav ur a phoney and an I-phoney at that! People stop placing your faith in these oppressive so called Rabonim that place these rediculous bans in order to control you!

    20. I personally think he shouldn’t have 1 at all because it is hypocrisy. But i know of a rosh ha yeshiva who has an iphone and is very anti internet. I think it all comes down to honesty. The rosh hayeshiva i know freely admits that he has one and he has all necessary filters. But if you try to hide it and keep it under wraps something is wrong.

    21. Just out of curiosity, who would he be talking to? If it is assur to have or use a phone, isn’t he “choteh u’machteh” by calling someone else on a cel phone? He is ostensibly the only one with a heter, but he can’t be calling himself: So he is calling someone he wants to be mekarev using a device he will tell the person is forbidden?

      okay, so for example, I get a heter for whatever reason to use a phone on Shabbos for kiruv purposes: Who could I call?

      I don’t think his “kiruv” means the same as yours and mine.

      • 1) it went out with the Dwek, madoff, SMR and all the other fine Jews’ convictions. Did you judge Levi Aron meritoriously? I mean, seriously?

        2) and one finger pointing to the left or right, the other hand pointing elsewhere, and ten toes pointing at who knows what. What’s your point with this childish wordplay, that you should judge yourself three times as meritoriously as the person you’re pointing at? that you should point with all five (or ten) fingers at someone if you want to make a point?

        It is unbelievable that comments on VIN could get any stupider, but every day I am proven wrong.

        judging people meritoriously is giving them the benefit of the doubt in an ambiguous situation. But when you hear a woman yell “stop, thief!”, and a guy runs past you with a pocketbook, you don’t judge him meritoriously. Before anything else, you have to use common sense. Apparently, you have none.

        • Although 99.9% of us agree that what Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak did was puzzling, to say the least. Your comments to the previous poster were hurtful, and have no place on a Jewish site.

    22. This is so ridiculous.

      Clearly this is not a phone, cause he is in a car, and certainly he would not be driving and texting.

      Plus, this is on cho hamoed – so he would only have done ths with a shinui, his left hand – and it is being held in his right.

      Anyone who THINKS Rav Amnone Yitzchak is a hyporit is stupid, he should KNOW better

    23. Chazal also say that if a Rebbe behaves like a malach then take him as your rebbe and then you can’t suspect him anymore. But a rebbe who doesn’t behave like a malach should be avoided. And I never heard of a malach who needed gedolei yisroel to justify their actions

    24. In my parents’ generation they had a simple European comment on this type of thing. It was a well known joke and it all boiled down to “de Rebbe meig”. Meaning the “olam” can’t but the Rebbe “can”.

    25. I thought he said that anyone who owned one was an abomination? He didn’t seem to qualify that there were heteyrim. It makes perfect sense that he should call anyone who questions his own personal use of the device uneducated or tipshim/fools. When you don’t have a logical argument to defend your position, all you have left is personal attacks.

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