A week before Rosh Hashanah, Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, issued a brief, but powerful letter stating that “Those in possession of impure [technological] devices are certainly in great danger on Yom Hadin.”
For a Gadol b’Yisrael, whose every word is measured, to use such strong language seems to show that technology is not just one in a list of challenges to Yiddishkeit, but one that cuts to the very core of Reb Chaim’s nefesh. The use of such arresting terms tells each one of us that we must wake up and try to understand what makes this issue so fundamental to our spiritual existence.
The danger that technology poses is not uniquely Jewish or even religious. It has taken a toll on family life, attention spans, and basic social courtesy — to name only a few glaring examples. This hazard increases when approached from a moral perspective, particularly due to the sea of immodesty and indecency that pervades cyberspace.
For Klal Yisrael, the ability to carry the culture, opinions, and mores of the modern world in a pocket-size box, makes the challenge not one of “frumkeit,” but of preservation. It is not the battle of any specific community, but of every believing Jew who wants to preserve his moral and religious standards.
There is a school of thought that the subject of modern technology is not one that is fully understood by Gedolei Yisrael who might not need to Google information or even to text. The strong tone of Reb Chaim’s letter reminds us that myriads of its victims find their way to the doors of our Gedolim. They hear the cries of parents, spouses, teachers, and teenagers whose lives have been devastated by not standing up to this challenge.
On a practical level, this issue must be confronted by taking available precautions to keep dangerous and immoral information out of our devices. This will make it possible to grapple with this challenge.
With great confidence that our dedication to maintain our sensibility and purity will serve as a melitz yosher, may all of us merit a kesivah vachasimah tovah.