Jerusalem – Chief Rabbi Yosef: If Cantor Has Smartphone, Find Another Prayer Service

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    Jerusalem – Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has spoken out for a second time of late against the use of smartphones in the haredi community, saying that the use of such devices should disqualify people from leading prayer services in synagogue. 

    Speaking during his weekly Torah lesson which will be broadcast in full by the haredi Kol Barama radio station, the chief rabbi also said that people should find a new prayer service if the one they attend is led by a smartphone user.

    “One must find a prayer leader who fears Heaven, if you know that the prayer leader has a TV at home and watches videos of abomination or a TV in his pocket and watches these types of abomination videos, how is it possible that they will lead the prayers in front of God?,” said Yosef regarding synagogues’ preparations for the coming High Holy days. 

    “It would be like someone sending their children to a non-religious school and teaching them abomination. It’s forbidden for someone like this to lead prayers and if he did then you need to organize a new service.”

    Back in February, Yosef criticized smartphone usage by yeshiva students with smartphones. 

    “If a yeshiva student has an iPhone you need to remove him from the yeshiva, without doubt,” the rabbi said.

    Haredi rabbinical leaders have frequently condemned smartphone usage. Just last month the Council of Torah Sages of Agudat Yisrael, representing the hasidic haredi community, fiercely criticized smartphone use which have not been approved by the community’s rabbis, and requested that the children of smartphone users not be accepted to educational institutions. 

    The haredi rabbinical leadership worries both about the influence of pornography, which is easily and discreetly accessible on smartphones, but is no less concerned about the open access to unlimited, uncensored information which until the advent of smartphones and their increasing adoption in the haredi world was not available to members of the ultra-Orthodox community.‎

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    30 COMMENTS

    1. What are you so afraid of, Rabbi? I can freely download all the pornography I wish on my smartphone, yet choose not to do so. I can freely have a bacon cheeseburger for lunch, yet choose not to do so. I can sacrifice a goat to an idol, yet choose not to do so. Is your Torah so weak that people will abandon it if they are not forcefully prohibited from doing so? Some of us think Yiddishkeit is strengthened by knowledge, personal responsibility, and the ability to make one’s own choice and weakened by isolation, ignorance, and control.

      • “I can freely download but refuse to do so”
        However there are many people who are not so strong. They will download stuff as in why not. And b4 you know it…..

      • Very similar to what us in the atheist community get asked all the time:

        “The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. “

      • Proof that you’re not a Rabbi of a religious community. Had you been one, you’d have known how many shalom bayis problems, divorce, OTD cases, etc. approach Rabbis for assistance and counseling thanks to Smartphone.

        • it used to be that the Jews were smart enough and strong enough to defeat the enemies of Israel in battle.

          However, the veterans and descendants of those who fought the six-day War, for instance, are too weak and feeble-minded to be allowed to be around a little appliance that gives them access to terrible content.

          There is something wrong with our chinuch if our yeshiva graduates cannot control themselves from ruining their lives with nudity and porn if given the slightest oppportunity, as the goyim seem to function perfectly well with smartphones, and don’t go off on rampages raping people or having sex from looking or owning a smartphone.

          “MI K’AMCHA YISROEL” use to be a statement of pride. Now it appears to be an admission of not even having as much self-control as animals.

      • Min HaTorah it’s a mitzvah to blow shofar on Rosh Hashanah even on Shabbos and the first day of Sukkos is a mitzvah min HaTorah to take the arba minim even on Shabbos and on Purim it’s a mitzvah midarabanan to read the Megillah. If any of these mitzvos fall on Shabbos it’s not done. Why? Because Our Sages were concerned that there might be AN ignorant person who doesn’t know how to do it and will take the shofar / arba minim / megillah and carry it from a reshus hayachid to a reshus harabim where there’s no eiruv or vice versa and go to a talmid chochom to teach him how to do it. Therefore Our Sages prohibited the entire klal Yisroel throughout generations to perform these mitzvos on Shabbos.
        It’s because of AN ignorant person who MIGHT be oiver on the issur of carrying on Shabbos where one is not allowed, the entire klal Yisroel was deprived from doing the mitzvah properly.

        When daas Torah of Gedoylei Hador is that Smartphone is dangerous because of some, they give a general prohibition against using it and whoever thinks that his daas baal habayis overrides daas Torah and Smartphone may be used, Gedoylei Hador have the power to say he’s unfit to be a Cantor.

        • I notice that ALL the people commenting here supporting the rabbi are obviously using the internet, a large percentage no doubt using smartphones to read VIN.

          Hypocrisy, anyone?

        • to all the commenters here supporting the Chief Rabbi:

          what a bunch of hypocritical self-righteous arrogant pigs you are!

          Of course, I would never disrespect the Chief Rabbi by stating the obvious conclusion of examining his position on this and the statements he makes.

      • The Rabbi is afraid of porno and news. Since his father followed the Lithuanian shita of education which unfortunately means preventing men from going out into the world since the chinuch they recieve is not strong enough to guaranttee that the frum men won’t succumb to temptation.

        The truth is that this type of chinuch is defiecent and is terrible. Chinuch must train men to go out into the world and work. In USA men know they will work, but in Israel they are afraid of army and work. Sad day for frum people’s education system.

        • good comment (but terrible grammar and spelling; sorry!).

          It’s true. And I assume that there exist numerous shitas that prevent frum men (and women?) from walking anywhere neat Times Square, with their HUGE high-definition billboards showing clips of fashion and movies, neither very tzniusdik.

          They make everyday smartphone ads pale in comparison. unless of course, the user specifically seeks out porn or other sites, in which case computers, libraries with free internet, internet cafes, and friends or relatives with computers or smartphones must be banned as well.

          Not to mention that it MUST be ossur to accept a job which has computers or smartphones in the workplace!

          I am surprised that this excuse is not used by charedi men who don’t want to be drafted claiming that they would be exposed to computers and smartphones.

    2. If you study Nach, you see throughout the entire Jewish history, the era of the Judges, temple number one, and during the entire temple number two, The level of sinning was beyond comprehension, yet, I don’t think smartphones were around……or were they?

    3. he is not your rabbi he is not speaking to you if you want to know about your shul first go visit him then tell him about your shul and ask what he thinks.
      this story is bogus.

      • Thank you for bringing that up!! I always say the rabbis preach abt phones & woman tznius. I never heard once abt dealing with ppl in business…. Being truthful & honest…Not owing ppl money… not stealing from govt…

    4. I guess I am screwed. I daven from a smartphone.

      Anyway, this is so stupid. When rabbis make pronouncements that will widely be ignored it dilutes their authority. When everyone sees them make such pronouncements, and then sees that so many people ignore them, then everyone figures “who listens to the rabbis.” That’s why rabbis should make pronouncements about things they understand and that really are part of yiddishkeit. Smartphones are needed for everything these days. One can do without a smartphone like one can do without a telephone–NOT! That is, unless you’re a badlan who does nothing but sit around the bais midrash all day waiting for the next stupid pronouncement.

    5. Maybe he’s doing smart things with his smart phone. Teach your community how to live like yidden (being a role model yourself).
      And pray tell where this important announcement is publicized if not the internet?
      Mixed messages anyone?

    6. When I work on flying saucers, I must have good telecommunications. G-d is so involved that the prayers to heaven can be felt in the martian hearts when they are fixed to fly home.

      But to see a rabbi condemn the very needs I have to find my way to Daven freely on a good saturday, I must concede that I feel alienated.

      This is so utterly insane that the Martians will likely invade the earth. G-d blamed for telecommunication technology advances is unfair.

      Seriously folks, this is just the poorest idea. A guy with transistors is not a thief. He can lead prayers.

      This mentality of some of the charedi that we are all looking for XXX specials just to have a nice important item to call and use the internet is so obscene that I predict more have been blamed for just smiling that G-d gave us the sun in the heavens.

      Bad creation? No thanks. G-d is smart enough that we can have advanced technology.

      Sad restitution on a violent restricted fear of liberty.

      That is not fear of G-d.

      Mars is not that much fun if you can not call home.

    7. I noticed a (picture) keyboard on his desk indicating there’s a computer on the desk. Does it have an approved internet filter?
      He better not get caught using a smartphone in his luxury car like someone else!

    8. To all you atheists, reformerS and ignoramuses, how dare you open your pisks and argue with a godal? If you were one pn pne with him who do you think would win this debate? He would crush you like a worm. You could say nothing in reply because you have NO Torah retort or chazal retort to him to prove your points.
      Oh you can quote the goyishe philosophies all day long (and btw you would still lose in that) but jews are not interested in that especially when it comes to Torah law.
      “Lo susoor min haderech yomin oohsmole”. If I have to translate this Torah posook you don’t belong here.

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