Dear Rabbi Hoffman,
I’m a student of yours and I was surprised as I read your article on TikTok (The Dangers Of TikTok, February 21) which didn’t provide ideas for real solutions. I remember Rebbe as being quite thoughtful, kind, and open to ideas.
Halachically, many things are assur; however, social media and the yetzer ha’ra in general are far more difficult to deal with than other issurim in this day and age because of the way the world is changing. Scaring people with mussar is no longer as effective as it once was.
Positioning in a way of rejecting society is living in a world of sheker. The internet exists; apps exist. Everything in the world is created by Hashem with neither good nor bad. It’s how we use it that matters.
Rebbe talks about how TikTok is a horrible thing promoting nivul peh. However, the realities of TikTok are born from and exist in the world we live in. A strong positive point of TikTok is that it provides a creative outlet that deters young people from alcohol and recreational drug usage from which far worse than imaginable habits could occur.
While it sounds like I’m defending TikTok I’m actually not. Being someone who has wasted many hours of their life using technology and probably someone you would want to protect, what I feel we are really missing is positivity and equally exciting opportunities for us as young Jews to express ourselves.
I’ve seen initiatives from other young Jews to answer this call, launching out-of-school activities such as sports leagues, baking, music, singing, and dancing groups but there needs to be more in a society that thrives on creativity.
The young Jews of our age need to be filled with a love for Yiddishkeit, not a disdain towards their parents and mechanchim for taking away the one thing that keeps them sane after putting in crazy hours of learning daily.
I hope this will resonate with the adults reading this and they will understand the need to create positive outlets and opportunities that encourage a love for your fellow Jew. This is the only thing that should be talked about when it comes to the young people of our generation and we should be trusted to follow through on the derech and make a kiddush Hashem.
It’s not about just filtering the technology; we need to fill the void with overwhelming positivity.
With much love and respect for my old teacher; thank you for looking out for us.
Shidduch Crisis: Too Young
As I was reading Rabbi Hoffman’s article on the BMG bachur’s shidduchim suggestion (A Bachur’s Solution To The Shidduch Crisis, February 14), I wasn’t sure if it was an early piece of Purim Torah or an actual suggestion. But either way the idea is so dangerous I think it must be dispelled. Does anyone really think the young bachurim of today are ready for marriage at such a young age? Does anyone feel that they have mastered their middos and are ready for the important and difficult task of caring for a wife and raising children? Obviously not — I don’t think we need to discuss proofs and statistics. We all know deep down that these kids are just not ready. With the divorce rate skyrocketing in our community, is the solution to marry of these children at an ever younger and more immature age? I am all for taking off 8th or 12th grade, but rather than skipping ahead, what if the bachurim closed the Gemara for a year and learned Mesillas Yisharim, Orchos Tzaddikim, and Chovos HaLevavos for a full year? What if instead of mishmar Thursday night we sent them to their rebbeim’s homes to help clean toilets and change diapers and help them get ready for Shabbos. Friday could be spent shopping for their mothers and helping them cook. If we tried that strategy there might be more of a chance of a 20-year-old with enough training and middos development to be at a stage that he could enter a marriage with the proper perspective.
And if you need any proof, the Bais Yaakov teacher made an excellent point in her response. The idea that these bachurim who are supposed to be sitting and learning and reaching high levels of spirituality would ask for a picture of a bas Yisrael is so disgusting and antithetical to any Torah value. It should grate on the ears of anyone who ever read through Chamishah Chumshei Torah, let alone someone who is sitting and learning full time. It is 100% clear from this practice that either the boys do not have their heads in the right place or are being controlled by their mothers with no ability to act for themselves, which is its own problem. The bottom line is that so long as we equate years of learning with readiness for marriage, the divorce rate and unmarried rate will continue to climb.
Vote For Torah/Jewish Values In Israel
The WZO elections are held once every five years and the deadline to vote is March 11. American Jews have an opportunity to positively influence where $5 billion will be spent in Israel over the next few years. By voting for delegates on a slate that represents Torah values, we can and will influence the future of Eretz Yisrael.
It is not the time to sit back and be passive while the Reform movement, J Street, and anti-Israel/BDS groups are aggressively gathering votes to nominate delegates to further their hateful, anti-Torah agenda.
Time is running out and a solution is at hand. Do not let it slip through your fingers. Stand up and be counted! Visit ZionistElection.org to register and vote.
Caren V. May
A recent Jewish Telegraphic Agency news item that appeared on 5TJT.com, on February 20, reported that the Israeli government intends to build thousands of homes for Jews “in predominantly Palestinian eastern Jerusalem.” The neighborhoods in question are not predominantly Arab and aren’t in eastern Jerusalem.
A glance at any map of the city shows that the neighborhoods, Givat HaMatos and Har Homa, are in southern, not eastern, Jerusalem. They are farther west than numerous parts of “western Jerusalem,” such as Talpiot Mizrach, Abu Tor, and Yemin Moshe. Har Homa has 20,000 Jewish residents; Givat HaMatos, which is largely undeveloped, has only a few hundred. Neither area is “predominantly Palestinian.”
The term “East Jerusalem” is an artificial construct that supporters of the Arab cause use in their propaganda in order to make it appear as if that part of the city is an intrinsically Arab area that Jews are illegally entering. There are Jewish neighborhoods throughout the eastern, western, northern, and southern parts of Jerusalem. It’s a pity when Jewish news outlets inadvertently play along and use such geographically inaccurate and politically loaded language.