Monday, May 4, 2015

How to Get Porn Out of Our Yeshivas by Raffi Bilek

 Update with comments of  and Ted video

Guest Post  http://www.frumcounselor.com/
The problem hardly needs elaboration anymore. Fewer and fewer people continue to deny that pornography viewing and addiction are extant if not commonplace in even the most traditional and the most insular communities. The reach of the internet knows almost no boundaries.

So far initiatives to arrest this problem have been few and far between. GuardYourEyes.com is, in the words of Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky, “the only weapon we have” in the fight against pornography. It is a very robust tool, but it is not enough. Nor do we have any preventative measures in place. One rosh yeshiva I approached with a proposal to speak to the bochurim about the issue responded that “the rebbeim already speak to the boys individually about this issue.” I would wager an awful lot of money that the rebbeim in that yeshiva are not approaching bochurim to discuss with them the dangers of pornography. Perhaps the rosh yeshiva was referring to sporadic shmuessen on the topic of shmirat einayim or similar topics. This is not nearly enough.

Apart from prevention programs, what do we need to preserve our boys (and girls) from the destruction of pornography? As Rabbi Twersky reports, when the “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign was launched in the 80’s, some adolescents responded with a question: “Why? What else is there?” Pornography is just another drug. (Indeed, studies have shown that the effect it has on the brain is comparable to the effects of heroin.) In order to beat pornography, we have to offer our children something better.

Perhaps you think I am going to turn here to laud the value and primacy of Torah. While I do not deny either, I humbly submit that this is not the answer. When we say we need to offer something “better,” we aren’t speaking about “good” in its moral sense. “Better” to a teenager means more interesting, more satisfying, more gratifying. Developing an appreciation for Torah is a lifelong pursuit; we cannot expect of our youngsters to feel an emotional connection to and deep appreciation of it in their adolescent years, much as we don’t expect children to willingly choose healthy alternatives to junk food (even when they may be just as tasty), or fine wines over sugary sodas.

Pornography is indeed interesting, satisfying, and gratifying – but only superficially and temporarily. The urge, once fulfilled, remains so for only a brief time until it rears its ugly head again. Torah, of course, is much deeper and more permanent, but it is a fine wine, and we can’t rely on Torah learning in its pure form to compete with the quick-and-easy stuff for the minds of our youth when they live in a world so deluged with opportunities for instant gratification. Of course, the deeper pleasures in life only come with effort; but there is a ladder to climb in learning to appreciate this truth.

Thus, in order to assist our youth in climbing this ladder, we need to provide them with endeavors in which they can participate that do take effort and do provide a more lasting satisfaction. And let’s be honest: not every bochur is cut out for full-time learning. Not every bochur is even cut out for more than a small quantity of itim k’vuim (and even then, gemara is simply not on the metaphorical or literal table for many). This is not a chiddush to anyone; yet the system has few answers for these bochrim.

Students who do not enjoy learning will not find it an attractive alternative to pornography. True pleasure comes from using the skills and talents with which one has been bestowed by the Creator in productive and meaningful pursuits. Research has found that people are happy when they are using those skills in a forum that challenges them, but that does not present goals that are hopelessly out of reach. And let us reiterate: for many people, those skills do not involve logical reasoning, linguistic deliberations, or any of the other requirements of serious learning. (I am not suggesting we not cultivate those skills in our youth; I am merely proposing that those skills take time to develop, and that while they are developing, they are not terribly effective as weapons against a very well-developed yetzer hara.)

For many people – all kinds of people! – the skills they need to call upon to actualize themselves are far more varied. G-d has created artists in His world, creative writers, actors – people who need to invent new ideas, express them, share them. He has created people who are athletic, who are physically nimble or strong or active and for whom nothing could be more fulfilling than pushing their bodies to the limits, whether it be on a hike, in the gym, or on the court. He has created “people people,” who thrive when engaging with others socially and emotionally, not just academically. All of these kinds of individuals will need pursuits that match their personalities and skill sets. Gemara simply isn’t enough of an answer. When adolescents are in front of a computer screen with free time, considering the options of how to spend it, it will be only a very few who will choose to look up a Ritva rather than browse a site that may be off-limits. But there are decidedly more who might be willing to try out a new illustration program, or look up recipes to try in the kitchen, or write a meaningful letter to soldiers out in the field – and how much more so would this be true if these activities were valued in our community, not merely tolerated (at best). To an artist, creating art feels productive and good. To an engineer, building a model or a robot or a prototype feels productive and good. THIS is the tool that will help us fight the scourge of pornography. THIS is what can ward off the emptiness that invites the filth in with open arms.

None of this is a contradiction to the primacy of Torah. For most of Jewish history, Jews held up the Torah as the central value and guiding light of our nation, yet only a very few were privileged to learn a significant portion of it, let alone all day every day. And yet the Jewish nation has indeed survived the millennia, and the Torah has not been lost from us. It is vital to imbue our youngsters with the wisdom and vitality of Torah; but that does not equate to turning every child into a kollel yungerman. G-d did not design us so. And when we deny our children the outlet that their very nature yearns for, learning will not provide an adequate substitute. The result is the lack of fulfillment that pushes our youngsters to the supremely accessible drug of pornography.

Saving the next generation from the vice that already has many of them – and many among the older generations as well – in its clutches will not be a matter of doing what we are already doing, just better and harder. It will take an approach that is different – but that is after all not so different from what we did for so many centuries before last.
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update






For those of you who deny that Internet pornography is harmful on the brain i would like to point you to the following links. Internet pornography addiction is harder on the brain then hard street drug addictions and this is scientifically proven as you will discover in the following videos and links.

I can't imagine that viewing Internet pornography even casually in a non addicted manner could be healthy or normal. if Internet pornography addiction does have such a strong impact on the brain even stronger then a heroin or crack addiction i can't imagine viewing it several times a week for short periods of time would not be harmful.

Would a person using heroin or cocaine casually once in a while or a few times a week not be harming and making detrimental changes in his brain? (and don't tell me these kind of people don't exist they absolutely do and i know so first hand from people iv known in my past before becoming Torah observant). maybe the damage wouldn't be as bad as someone who uses those drugs all the time but i can't imagine even once in a while would not be harmful (and maybe you would like to prove me wrong).

If the following links i post are true and Internet pornography addiction is more harmful to the brain then drugs including the hard ones then viewing them casually is going to have negative impacts on the brain.

And i don't think this is even important when you consider that its prohibited by the Torah which is whats really relevant here but for those of you who deny the Torah or pick and choose from it the following will be of interest (and probably of interest to Torah Jews for informational purposes and to better explain to Torah youth's the long lasting and permanent damage that can occur to there brains and sexual outlook for the rest of there lives by viewing Internet pornography).

Keep in mind also that all these links and information were compiled and created by a man named Gary B Wilson who is not religious and not even anti-pornography. he typically believes as is common today that people should be able to do what ever they want as long as they don't hurt anybody (live and let live type stuff).

He only does this to show the science behind it in order to help those who have been negatively affected by pornography addiction why they have so many problems with (number one being) erectile dysfunction, lack of motivation, depression, inability to view normal women as attractive and a multitude of other problems related to pornography addiction that you will find quite shocking.

Also to mention that youths are harmed way more then adults by Internet pornography and recovery from it takes a much longer time with many brain changes remaining permanent and irreversible.

So without further ado (and a warning to the extremely sensitive or completely guarded individuals that these videos do contain pornographic terms that you may or will not be familiar with that if you understood them you might not be comfortable. although there is no outright sexually explicit material in these videos that i remember):




Your Brain On Porn: website explaining pornography's negative impact on the brain hosted by Gary B Wilson
http://yourbrainonporn.com/

The Great Porn Experiment (TED Talk):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Your Brain on Porn 6 part youtube playlist (a detailed scientific explanation on pornography addiction and its impact on the brain):
....

Adolecent Brain meets high speed Internet porn (Internet pornography addiction harms youth's way worse and permanently then it does adults)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
so check out these videos and draw your own conclusions but its impossible to deny the science behind this stuff and if you do well...

92 comments :

  1. This is a new approach! Using the incidence of pornography among bnei yeshiva (for which there are no statistics, only anecdote and hearsay) to attack the yeshiva system. Let them be artists, engineers and writers instead. Because writers, artists, gym rats, soldiers and engineers never view pornography. Of course not.

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  2. Well said, kishkeyum.

    Another takeaway from Mr. Bilek's article is that he is saying that those who truly are interested in Limud Torah are less prone to porn and those who aren't interested much in Torah are more prone to porn.

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  3. Dear Kishkeyum, with all due respect, I feel sorry for your children. Torah without daas equals disaster.

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  4. Is homosexuality a lesser evil?
    The yetzer hara cannot be stopped, and certainly not amongst hormone filled young men. If they can be insulated from online pornography, then they will seek stimulation elsewhere. You cannot fight against human biology, and when you do, the results may be worse that what you are fighting against.

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  5. So there's no way for them to avoid aveiras, you say?

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  6. His article is not very well thought out. It's an opportunistic use of the current pornography scare to push an unrelated agenda.

    Separately, I question this statement:

    pornography viewing and addiction are extant if not commonplace in even the most traditional and the most insular communities

    This smacks to me of scaremongering. I'll bet dollars to donuts that he has no data to base this on, that it's based on some anecdotes he heard somewhere. It's irresponsible to make such sweeping statements without proof.

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  7. Very well said! With pornography prevalent, you can't make Torah more entertaining and enjoyable than Torah. Period! For mechanchim it's a steep battle. Very true kids need hobbies and recreational activities to staying clear from it. Boredom brings the yetzer hara, busyness keeps it away.

    Rabbeim also need to teach in a way that applies to How a kid thinks and knows How his brain works. Ofcourse a kid isn't turned on to learning When he feels it's not for him and can't relate to it.

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  8. Sick, anti-Torah drivel.

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  9. "With pornography prevalent, you can't make Torah more entertaining and enjoyable than Torah."

    What is this supposed to mean?

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  10. And "daas" is anything other than Torah!

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  11. More than that. There is data out there. Data from internet providers, with regards to which neighborhoods frequent which types of sites, are available to researchers. Did Mr. Bilek even make an attempt to obtain the data?

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  12. .ב"ב טז

    בקש איוב לפטור את כל העולם כולו מן הדין, אמר לפניו, רבש"ע, בראת שור פרסותיו סדוקות, בראת חמור פרסותיו קלוטות, בראת גן עדן בראת גיהנם, בראת צדיקים בראת רשעים, מי מעכב על ידך

    (וברש"י: "בראת שור בפרסות סדוקות וכו' - את זה טהרת ואת זה טמאת, הכל בא על ידך אתה בראת בו סימני הטומאה. בראת צדיקים - ע"י יצר טוב. בראת רשעים - על ידי יצה"ר, לפיכך אין ניצול מידך כי מי יעכב אנוסין הן החוטאין")

    ומאי אהדרו ליה חבריה דאיוב... ברא הקב"ה יצר הרע, ברא לו תורה תבלין

    וברש"י: "ברא לו תורה - הן תבלין שהיא מבטלת את הרהורי עבירה, כדאמר בעלמא [קדושין ל:] 'אם פגע בך מנוול זה משכהו לביהמ"ד אם אבן הוא נימוח' כו', הלכך לאו אנוסין נינהו, שהרי יכולין להציל עצמן

    Yes, we can, and must!, fight against natural-seeming temptations. You might have איוב in your corner. But we must remember the response of s'איוב friends.

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  13. I think his point is to find kosher stimulation, like healthy hobbies and extracurricular and recreational activities

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  14. MiMedinat_HaYamMay 1, 2015 at 5:47 AM

    'Not every bochur is cut out for full time learning'

    This statement is heresy for RY. Many of them honestly think their talmidim prefer gemara over other activities.

    So they ignore other outlets like ... basketball (or other excercise), college (or other non talmudic learning), early (pre 21 year old) dating, creative endeavors like the arts mentioned ...

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  15. As an IT professional working in the frum community I have the opportunity to view computers of many different types of frum Jews, and have ways to see the history of people's browsing habits. I have seen that pornography was viewed on the computers of roshei yeshiva, choshove rabbanim both chassidish and non chassidish, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, elected officials and so forth.

    Many of these are well adjusted people. They might view the pornography for a few minutes and then move on with their lives. We all have secrets and vices. If anyone knew what was in your thoughts you'd be ashamed.

    All this fear-mongering about pornography, when everyone normal knows that viewing pornography is normal and not harmful, and definitely nothing like a drug, when done in moderation. A.J. Twersky is old and shriveled and totally out of touch, or is making a few bucks, or getting some attention from pushing the issue.

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  16. Another "everyone normal knows..." expert. Stick to computers, and you won't make a fool of yourself.

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  17. Since Rabbeim are trying to fight the pornography battle with Torah, they're going to lose. Cause you can't present Torah as more enjoyable than naked girls.

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  18. Don't think that's exactly true. Yes there are Ry that think that. But there are more Ry now that do encourage guys play ball, music, and do hobbies. When they say your cut out to learn they mean that theyre not giving up on them and don't hold yourself short, you can do it.

    Im in yeshiva and have seen countless guys that said they weren't cut out and my Ry believed in them and they Love learning and are cut out. And alot are dedicating their lives for Torah.

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  19. IT guy, I appreciate your sincerity in trying to grasp this phenomenon. I doubt you are old and shriveled, But you are clearly out of touch, ignorant and naive with regards to addictions in general, especially with sex & pornography addiction. As a 37 male with porn addiction for more than 25 years, I can assure you and support what rabbi tweeki says. This is a real addiction. Don't believe him (or me)? Google it. Find out about sexahloics anonymous. Discover that this addictions spans all types from society, Jew nonjew, frum secular. Read all the stories from the fellas at guardyoureyes from the past six or so years. Go to amazom and check out all the books on the topic.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s/178-7199545-1842939?k=porn+addiction
    There are books written on this topic from all angles from self help to biological undeestandings, psychology. After reading all the material on the topic and getting proper exposure to people with addiction, you still decide that rabbi twerski is old, shriveled and out of touch, then you have simply proven yourself to be dishonest.

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  20. I happen to be an IT Pro who has done work for the Pope, the Pope Emeritus, the Ayatollah of Iran, the POTUS and Mother Theresa. All of them have been heavy porn viewers.


    As it so happens you, sir, are in a dreamland. You are neither an IT professional nor have you found porn in every corner you've worked, nor have you been working on all the computers of roshei yeshivas and choshove rabbanim anywhere or everywhere.


    But you do have a vivid imagination and ability to be a writer of fiction.

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  21. He's also an expert in medicine. In the next discussion he'll be telling you he's an internists whose seen roshei yeshiva, choshove rabbanim both chassidish and non chassidish, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, elected officials and found all of them to be engaged in extra marital affairs with many of them having STD.


    And it's all normal.

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  22. I don't believe there's any data any American internet provider will give or even collect about which zip codes watch more porn than other zip codes. They'd be a major privacy scandal in the media if anything close to that was collected let alone released.

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  23. Eddie,
    Pornography is not normal human biology. It takes advantage of basic human biology. People don't naturally learn to crave and rely on pornography (the way me the porn addict does). This is based on the principle of Neuroplasticity. Basically, porn adsiction isa learnes behavior where over exposure rewires the brain. You can read more about this in the following book:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0143113100/ref=mp_s_a_1_sc_1?qid=1430478125&sr=8-1-spell&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL7
    The author has a chapter on porn addiction, and its neurological understandings based on how the brain is rewrired.

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  24. Provenmen, a christian porn addict website conducted a survey last year. http://www.provenmen.org/2014pornsurvey/pornography-use-and-addiction/
    Beware of the christian undertone of the site.
    Obviously, this says nothing about the stats in Jewish world, but I think it gives a clue of how rampant it is in society at large

    I do, however, agree with general sentiments of kiahkayim. The author's approach is way off.

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  25. If the elite porno fans are not afraid of Heavenly retribution, they can now be afraid of snoopy IT guys!

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  26. That's if he indeed is an IT guy. I mean, can you picture the scene of Roshei Yeshiva and choshove rabbanim trudging their computers to this guys supposed store.. LOL
    I'm anonymous here on the internet. I can claim to be anything I would like to in order to try to get you to accept my point of view.

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  27. do you have a magic wand? do you think there were no problems 20 years ago before internet?

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  28. That the destructiveness of pornography is overrated is an interesting point, but you take it a bit too far. It is certainly not true that "everyone normal" knows that viewing pornography is "normal and not harmful". There are lots of non-frum people who have gotten comfortable with it, but they generally don't care about morality in the sense that we do, and don't have the same expectations out of relationships that we do. Furthermore, many drugs are not either harmful in moderation - the problem is precisely that they are difficult to moderate.


    A reasonable approach to address the sudden accessibility of pornography is going to require a balance. The euphemistic wailing about kedusha and shmiras einayim and homes being destroyed probably destroys more homes than pornography alone. On the other hand, our community can reasonably treat pornography as a general negative, and conceive of productive and reasonable ways to curtail its prevalence within our borders.

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  29. Oh, for heaven's sake. And you claim to be in yeshiva, no less. Are you high?

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  30. You should have told all this to G-d before he wrote the Torah.

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  31. And how do you know this? What are your experiences and training that has given you the expertise to reach this conclusion?

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  32. You are conflating destructiveness and prohibition. The two are not necessarily the same. Regardless of whether or not pornography destroys homes, marriages and lives, it is prohibited to view min haTorah.

    As far as its destructiveness is concerened, I don't think anyone really knows. There are anecdotes but no reliable data. I'm skeptical of the claims, b/c they remind me of the hysterical claims of the anti-internet people.

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  33. @MiMedininat HaYam: Either you are not really from medinas hayam, or you know nothing about this topic, because your information is absolutely, hopelessly wrong. You are talking out of your posterior.

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  34. A brief comment to all the mockers.

    First of all, I really am an IT guy, and no, "Roshei Yeshiva and choshove rabbanim" don't "trudge their computers to my supposed store," I do IT installations and support at mosdos and businesses, as well as for private people. I either visit them, or more often, I log in to their computers remotely from the comfort of my office. They call me complaining that their computer is slow, their printer isn't printing, they are getting pop-ups, and so forth.

    I really don't get what you are mocking? Is it that you don't believe rabbanim need their computers worked on, or that you don't believe IT people work on them, or you don't believe that there are rabbanim who look at porn?

    If it's that you don't believe that any rabbanim look at porn, then you are like the people who don't believe that such a and such choshove person could have molested anyone. The idea that rabbanim are exempt from our vices is naive and childish.

    There are rabbanim who molested children, yet you don't believe that there are rabbanim who watch porn, which involves only themselves?

    Naive, naive, naive, is all I can say, although I can probably add in, denial, denial, denial.

    (And by the way, as much as people think their browsing history can be erased or hidden with private browsing, often there is still a record in various places, especially when there is a server.)

    As for pornography addiction, to call everyone who looks at pornography an addict would be like calling someone who has a glass of wine at dinner an alcoholic. Are there people who have porn addictions? Yes. Are most people who look at porn addicts? No, not unless the casual wine drinker is an alcoholic. The porn user is no more a porn addict than the person who checks his Facebook several times a day has a computer addiction.

    I absolutely stand behind what I said about A.J. Twersky. His advice is harmful and causes more problems.

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  35. what a cynical reply - doesn't Maimonides state that in every community you will have 3 inescapable sins - theft, gilui arayot and avkat loshon hara - in other words, he is stating from a Torha perspective the same principle that i state as being psychology or reality.
    Furthermore, the Torah itself, which is Hashem's revealed Word, sates that man's imagination is evil from the beginning.
    It is difficult to speak of free will as if it is something you can buy on amazon. It is not something that can be fully understood. Perhaps since you are a tzaddik, and have never sinned in any aspect, then you look down upon humans and see how wretched they are!

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  36. If there is an easy way to avoid aveiros, maybe you can cancel Yom kippur!

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  37. Nuanced Eddie strikes again!

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  38. "His advice is harmful and causes more problems."


    Did you glean this insight from your IT work?

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  39. It's either easy or there is no way to avoid aveiros? No middle road? Does every aveira have the same chance of being committed?

    Yes, everyone is prone to transgress some form of avak lashon hara. Most transgress some sort of wrongdoing with property (or money) that isn't theirs. Very few Torah Jews transgress adultery.
    (בבא בתרא קסה)
    You have many who claim that half, or more, of the general population commits adultery. Just like their numbers of infidelity is not applicable to us, so are their numbers on pornography inapplicable to us.

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  40. Okay, so now not only are you an IT pro you're a porn export as well. And a rabbinical and psychological export, to boot, with your professional commentary on Rabbi Twersky and acholholism and porn addiction. Tomorrow you will be posting a medical doctor whose diagnosed roshei yeshiva, choshove rabbanim both chassidish and non chassidish, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, elected officials and so forth with STD and determined they're all engaged in extramarital affairs after having conversations with your large roster of roshei yeshiva, choshove rabbanim both chassidish and non chassidish, doctors, lawyers, businessmen and elected officials.

    How many elected officials are calling you to login to their computers? You must have a large number of rabbonim in addition to those government official customers of yours. And while you're checking their printer, of course you make sure to look at their browsing history. Not only that, you even investigate the browsing history when they were in privacy mode. Hopefully you're logging all this evidence. That and the STD. Especially as most of these roshei yeshiva and choshove rabbanim are opposed to having internet and it would be surprising for them to be calling you in your heimishe basement to check out why their browser is getting pop-ups.

    Anyways, the Pope just called me to check why his internet connection is down. Gotta go logging into vatica.va

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  41. No one said anything is easy. But you are of the opinion that "The yetzer hara cannot be stopped".

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  42. If you want us to accept your point-of-view based upon your assertion that you are an IT person, then you would have to reveal your identity. As long as you remain anonymous, you don't have any credibility and your argument have to measured by cold logic standards. In fact, your anonymous claim of being an IT guy only serves to discredit you. Either speak logically, and exclude the IT claim, or reveal yourself. Hiding behind the claim is extremely suspicious.


    Let's get to your claim of Roshei Yeshiva. Kookoo, kookoo, kookoo. Fantasy, fantasy, fantasy. The serious rosh yeshiva does not have time to spend in front of computers, and certainly does not have the type of computer system set you concocted. Ditto with serious rabbonim. They just don't have the time.


    ---


    You then stretch your claimed IT expertise to emotional health expertise.

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  43. Your claim that Rashei Yeshiva and rabbanim have no time to spend in front of computers is preposterous. There are many Rashei Yeshiva and rabbanim who use their computers extensively, whether preparing for shiurim using Otzar hachachma-type programs, communicating with talmidim, parents, and congregants, and the like.

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  44. "Yes, everyone is prone to transgress some form of avak lashon hara. Most transgress some sort of wrongdoing with property (or money) that isn't theirs. Very few Torah Jews transgress adultery."
    Honesty, thank you for your comments. I wodner why you are nto being attacked but I am? Am i quoting a different gemara from you?

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  45. Chaim, you cannot take action against me to prevent me from making nuanced comments. Only after I have made them!

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  46. Indeed, those who use internet connected computers extensively are not the ones I'm referring to. What does many mean, and what does the term "rosh yeshiva" mean?

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  47. Don't put words in Chazal's mouth they did not say. Only Eddie has said "The yetzer hara cannot be stopped, and certainly not amongst hormone filled young men.".

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  48. So, you are basically asserting a tautology, that Rashei Yeshiva and Rabbonim who don't use internet computers do not view inappropriate websites. Well, I certainly can't argue with that.

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  49. Moe, did they not say what is quoted from Bava Batra?
    That is what my previous comment was referring to, as I mentioned.

    Once again, do you think the yetzer hara can be stopped? Show me proof.
    Also having spoken to people from a generation older than me, i have been told that things went on in Yeshivot 50 years or so ago. This was before internet, and it involved the yetzer hara. As i said, perhaps you are a ministering angel who has not struggle with the yetzer hara, but for ordinary flesh and blood this is case.

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  50. Here is a controversial argument:
    According to Rambam, it might be the case that pornography is worse than adultery/ znus. He explains the comment of Chazal that the thought is worse than the act, by arguing that the nature of the body is to seek teh physical, whilst the nature of the mind is to seek the spiritual. Thus, says Rambam in his Moreh haNevuchim, that it is natural for a body to seek pleasures of the flesh, but when the mind seeks such pleasures, it is a destruction of its holy nature.



    This is both interesting and paradoxical. Any comments?

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  51. It doesn't take that much time. Ain Apotropos Le'arayos. If someone told you that a rosh yeshiva or a choshuva rov was secluded with a girl, would you also be denying that he would have time to sin? Why is a computer different? Do you think that every single person with a computer has a filter?

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  52. I don't know what generation you think we are in, but these days, when we say Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim, we are not only referring to Rav Moshe ZT"L, Rav Yaakov Z"TL, and Rav Aharon ZT"L. There is a very wide spectrum of people who are called Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim

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  53. Not saying that I agree with everything that the purported IT guy said, but it would be nice to see one of you guys counter his points with actual LOGIC.

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  54. Nothing in Bava Basra comes remotely close to "The yetzer hara cannot be stopped, and certainly not amongst hormone filled young men.".

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  55. That's certainly a great argument why folks shouldn't have internet.

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  56. Yes. From now on, I advise anyone about to have an evil thought to instead go out and find a zonah and sin with her instead. But that is only on condition that they only sin with her physically and do not think about her at all while committing the act. Sort of like an out-of-body experience.

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  57. do you think the yetzer hara can be stopped? Show me proof.

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-to-get-porn-out-of-our-yeshivas-by.html#comment-1996938982

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  58. There is probably a difference in the thought of an aveira of which a person can commit, as opposed to the thoughts being brought on by video - which is not at present within his reach. However, this is only in reference to the thought being worse than the action. However, the action of looking at כיעור is a transgression, in and of itself.

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  59. There is a very wide spectrum of people who are called Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim

    True. There are orthodox rabbis who are unaware that Avraham avinu existed. There are orthodox Roshei Yeshiva who even encourage pornography.

    This supposed IT guy didn't simply state rabbis.
    roshei yeshiva, choshove rabbanim both chassidish and non chassidish suggests that he is talking about the real deal Rabbonim.

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  60. You and Mr. IT guy are speaking about different things. Please reread both his claims.

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  61. I know how to read, thank you.

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  62. I am also talking about people who are considered real deal Rabbonim. These days, this is also a very wide spectrum. Again, I know how to read.

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  63. I see your logic. It is also true that one who never interacts with another human being never violates the halakhos of lashon hara, so that is certainly a great argument why folks should never interact with another human being.
    And one who never eats meat never violates the halakhos of neveilos and tereifos, so that is certainly a great argument why folks shouldn't eat meat.
    And on, and on.

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  64. Nat, that is one of your best replies so far. In fact, this was my own reaction/yetzer hara when i first heard this concept. However, dear Nat, since you are (apparently) frummer than me, how do u justify mocking the words of the Sages?

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  65. I don't know the specific category of the p-o-r-n aveira, but I assume it may be largely mental or visual. But the statement made by Chazal was already before the days of internet, movies etc. However, it is a very interesting concept - and we know that acts are punishable, eg the act of Zimri, although had he only thought about it but not acted, there would not be (an earthly) punishment.

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  66. Yes, I have a comment on Eddie's bizarre shtickel Torah:
    "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

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  67. Honesty, I didn't bother listening to the podcast, but is it necessarily pornographic to discuss issues like that? There are discussions in Chazal of various intimate matters, including....
    If it is done in the correct spirit, then it is not pornography.

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  68. I forgot to add that it would be preferable if it would be a non-Jewish zonah, which is not really a problem according to halacha, as opposed to a Jewish Zonah, which may be a problem of Nidda (Unless you can get her into some mikva beforehand), but you can also do a pilegesh setup.

    Although a non-Jewish zonah is a bigger problem according to kabbalah, we are speaking within the Rambam leshitaso, and the Rambam didn't really hold of kabbalah, so this would definitely be the better option.

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  69. kishkes, since you purport to have a lot of knowledge, why are you so afraid to share it?

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  70. @Nat you are ignoring the Rambam's words which contradict your summary

    Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 12:6): If the man having relations with a non-Jewish woman doesn’t get punished by zealots and doesn’t get lashes from beis din – then the punishment is kares which is known from tradition (Malachi 2:11-12)…We learn that this verse that someone who has sexual relations with a non Jewish woman is as if he is married to an idol since this verse describes her the daughter of a strange god and it is described as profaning G d’s holiness.
    Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 12:7-8): This sin [of sexual relations with a non Jew] even though beis din does not impose the death penatly - should not be viewed as minor because there is a loss associated with it. Contrary to all other sexual transgressions in which the son of the relationship is still his son in every respect and has the status of a Jew – even if the child is a mamzer – but the child from a non Jewish mother is not his son as it says in Devarim (7:4): For they will turn away your son from following Me.” That means that the son has been removed from following after G d. This activity causes him to attach himself to non Jews which G d has separated us from them so that we would follow after Him and thus he is rejecting G d.

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  71. So as a practical matter which sin is worse. Sinning with a non-Jewish woman or with a Jewish nidda?

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  72. Eddie: Where have I "purported" to have a lot of knowledge? Nowhere that I can recall.

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  73. This is a very serious discussion, although there have been digressions in sarcasm etc.
    The current sub-debate between myself and Nat is understanding the concept of the "thought is worse than the act" if operationalised halachically. In other words, Nat is making a logical inference from this statement (which is also based on Rambam/Chazal). he is making a kal v'chomer, that the thought (eg watching pornography) is worse than the act (examples he has given). Even though he says this somewhat sarcastically, it is a logical argument. So unless we understand the concept of thought-aveiros differently, eg as non halachic , but some kind of pedagogic device, then ther may be some justification for considering the thought of such an act as even worse than committing the physical sin itself!

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  74. Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky (Emes LeYaakov Parshas Yechi page 237): A practical example of zealousness which is not based on a correct reading of the halacha is found in the following question. A person has the choice of marrying a Jewish woman who doesn’t observe the laws of family purity or a non Jewish woman. Which is preferable? A student who has not properly served an apprenticeship with an experienced posek will say that it is obvious that the person should chose to marry the non Jewish woman. That is because sexual relations with a nidah is punished by kares while sexual relations with a non-Jew is only a violation of a negative commandment of the Torah which is not punished by kares. The truth is not this way. Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 12:7-8) states that even though sexual relations with a non-Jewish maidservant is only a rabbinic prohibition he rules that, “this sin even though it is not punished by capital punishment from the court should not be viewed lightly. That is because there is a loss associated with sexual relations with a non Jew which you don’t find in the violation of all the other prohibited sexual relations. That loss is that the son from the other prohibited sexual relations is still his son in every respect and is considered a Jew. That is true even if the child is a mamzer. In contrast the son from a non Jewish woman is not his son…. This sexual relationship with a non-Jewish woman will cause him to turn away from G-d and to attach himself to non-Jews. - from whom G-d has deliberately separated us so that we can be close to G-d... “ It is clear from this that the person should chose the relationship with the Jewish woman even though she doesn’t observe the laws of family purity.

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  75. RDE: My question isn't about marrying a Jew vs. a non-Jew. The question was whether it is worse sinning with a non-Jew or sinning with a Jew (unmarried). (In either case a one time event, not an ongoing relationship or marriage.)

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  76. OK - into the childish thing now. Cool.

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  77. OK, have it your way. You must have a valid point somewhere in all that ambiguity.

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  78. I was actually referencing this point made by Rav Yaakov in my satire. I guess that I should have mentioned that it was satire so that you would have not taken me seriously. I thought that, based on the history of my comments on this blog, you would have understood it as such, but I guess I was mistaken.

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  79. Eddie, I do admit to having a little fun at your expense by carrying your unspoken logic ad infinitum. But I will answer you seriously now, as I was definitely not mocking any of the sages. What I understand to be the solution to this apparent problem is that the different references are referring to different bechinot (facets) of the matter. As discussed in Nefesh Hachayim, an aveira of thought does more damage on a certain bechina than aveira of action. However, in other ways, an aveira of deed obviously does more damage than an aveira of thought. In addition, it is easier for a person to control his actions than his thoughts, and this factors into the matter as well. Each statement of Chazal has a place in its context. You cannot just take one statement of Chazal out of context and say that since Chazal said that a hirhur is worse than an aveira, then it is better to do an aveira than to have a hirhur. This was the point of my sarcasm, and I hope that my point is somewhat better understood now. And I do not remember to have claimed to be frummer than others.

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  80. Kishkes, by your assertion that I have a little a knowledge, you imply that you have more knowledge - and hence i requested that you demonstrate that knowledge, which you have been unable or unwilling to do.

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  81. I heard a very similar - or identical - deah was expressed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. But my concern is whether this is policy, Daas, or halacha.
    from one perspective, as far as the Kehilla is concerned, then marrying within is obviously better. On the other hand, from the severity of the punishment, kareth is not specified for intermarriage - certainly not when it is outside of the 7 nations (which do not exist today). I am speaking only in terms of what a BD could today or even when they have full powers, and also in terms of the reward/punishment in the next world.

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  82. @Nat - satire doesn't work very well in comments on a blog. Even for someone like yourself

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  83. @David - Rav Yaakov's point is that what action is worse or the lesser of evils is not bean counting.

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  84. @Eddie - there are many explanations

    רבינו בחיי (דברים פרק כט:יח): וזהו שאמרו רז"ל: (יומא כט א) הרהורי עבירה קשין מעבירה, לפי שהרהור הזה יוצא לידי פעולה ומתגלה בגוף, ועל כן יהא קשה מעבירה בלא הרהור, שהרי בזה הרהור ופעולה, ובזה פעולה בלא הרהור. והמאמר הזה לרז"ל גדול הערך מאד, רבו בו הפירושים, וזה שאמרתי אחד. ועוד פירשו בו: הרהורי עבירה קשין מעבירה, כי רגילות המחשבה מביא האדם לידי עבירה. ועוד פירשו, כי הרהורי עבירה קשין על הנפש מעבירה עצמה לפי שהרהור תלוי בלב והנפש משכנה בלב, ועל כן כשהוא מטמא אותה במחשבה רעה קשה יותר מן העבירה עצמה כי העושה עבירה עצמה אין מחשבתו כל כך טרודה. ועוד פירשו בו: הרהורי עבירה קשין מעבירה, כי המחשב לעשות עבירה אחת כגון לגזול או לגנוב או לבא על אחת מן העריות וחשב בלבו: אם יבא אדם כנגדו שם לבטל מה שאני רוצה לעשות, אכנו או אהרגנו, כדי שאשלים חפצי, ונמצא כי כשגנב או גזל או בא על הערוה שעשה עבירה אחת, אצל ההרהור היה קשה יותר מגוף העבירה שהרהר כמה עבירות וגמר בלבו שיכה ושיהרוג ולבסוף יעשה העבירה.
    ואם ישאל שואל: והאיך יעניש הכתוב על ההרהור בלא מעשה, כי בודאי אין האדם יכול לשלוט בעצמו שלא יעלו בלבו מחשבות רעות, ואם כן למה יעניש על מה שאינו בידו. אבל אודיעך עיקר הדבר, ידוע כי בחירת המעשים מסורה בידו של אדם לטוב ולרע, הוא שכתוב: (דברים ל, טו - יט) "ראה נתתי לפניך היום את החיים ואת הטוב ואת המות ואת הרע וגו', ובחרת בחיים", גם בחירת המחשבה מסורה בידו אחר ההכנות, כי נצטוה שיחשוב מחשבה טובה ונזהר שיפנה לבו מלחשוב מחשבה רעה, והוא נגמל על המחשבה הטובה ונענש על המחשבה הרעה. ומה שלפעמים יולידו סרעפיו ורעיוניו מחשבות בלתי טובות, ויעלו על לבבו בפתע פתאום הרהורים לא ראוין שלא במתכוון, הנה זה טרם ההכנות והוא סימן המכשול והחטא, כי הטה עצמו מני אורח ולא גדל נפשו במדרגת ההכנות, ותקנתו ורפואתו שישתדל בהכנות והוא שיכין לבו ומחשבותיו אל השם יתעלה, ולו ישעבד ויכוף מחשבתו במחשבה טובה ובכשרון המפעלים, ואם באת המחשבה הרעה שיגער בה, שאם אינו גוער בה והיא עומדת בלבו הנה הוא נענש. וכאשר יתמיד מחשבתו זאת זמן רב ויכין לבו לאהבת השם יתברך ולקרבה אליו וללכת בדרכיו, גם ה' יתן הטוב ויגמלהו כצדקו שיכין לבו שלא יחשוב בדבר רע ולא יעלה במחשבתו רק טוב, ועל זה אמרו: (יומא לח ב) בא לטהר מסייעין אותו. ורבים הכתובים על העיקר הזה, הוא שכתוב: (דברי הימים - א כח, ט) "כי כל לבבות דורש ה' וכל יצר מחשבות מבין אם תבקשנו ימצא לך", וכתיב: (משלי כא, ב) "ותוכן לבות ה'", כי הש"י מכין לב האדם ומישר תולדתו כשאדם מכין לבו כנגדו יתעלה, וכן כתוב: (תהלים י, יז) "תאות ענוים שמעת ה' תכין לבם תקשיב אזנך", וכתיב: (דברי הימים - א כט, יח) "ה' אלהי אברהם יצחק וישראל אבותינו שמרה זאת לעולם ליצר מחשבות לבב עמך והכן לבבם אליך".
    והרמב"ם ז"ל פירש הרהורי עבירה קשין מעבירה, לפי שהמחשבה מעלה גדולה באדם מכח השכל וממדות הנפש השכלית, וכשהוא חוטא בו הנה הוא חוטא במבחר מדותיו, ואין אשמת המשתמש בעבד סכל כאשמת המשתמש בבן חורין חכם, (כן כתב בתחלת פרק שני מספרו [מורה נבוכים ג, ח]). ועוד טעם אחר הרהורי עבירה קשין מעבירה אחר מעשה העבירה, כי כיון שעשה העבירה כבר, ועוד הוא מהרהר בזה הוא קשה לענין עונש הנפש מעבירה עצמה, אבל קודם מעשה העבירה אין עונשו קשה ואינו נענש כלל, שהרי אמרו רז"ל: (קידושין מ א) מחשבה רעה אין הקדוש ברוך הוא מצרפה למעשה, ואינו נענש עליה, וכן הכתוב אומר: (תהלים סו, יח) "און אם ראיתי בלבי לא ישמע ה'", אלא אם כן היתה מחשבת עבודה זרה שכתוב בה: (יחזקאל יד, ה) "למען תפוש את בית ישראל בלבם".


    תוספות רי"ד (יומא כט.): הרהור עבירה קשה מעבירה פי' יותר מתאוה אדם על העבירה כשמהרהר עלי' מעבירה עצמה כשהעבירה לפניו ועוסק בה וסימנך ריחא דבשרא כשאדם מריח הצלי יותר אדם מתאוה לריחו ממה שהי' מתאוה אם הי' הבשר לפניו:

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  85. yes, but in a certain bechina, as you state, it is "better" or less worse to do the aveira than the thought.

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  86. Those familiar with literature understand satire to be one of many available literary tools. Otherwise, it's like telling someone he can't write a sentence in a book because, according to Word grammar check, the sentence is incorrect.

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  87. @Nat no one is stopping you from writing satire. I am just letting you know it isn't perceived as such

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  88. When you use the term "better," one imagines a fellow going to a Rov and asking him--I am going to commit an aveira. Which one is the better one to commit?
    Yes, from certain bechinot, certain aveirot are worse than others. But you can't take a single statement of Chazal out of context and build an entire structure on it. That is my general point. These statements are meant to be academic, not practical. Because if someone goes to a Rov to ask which aveira is "better," the premeditation involved in his actions alone is somewhat heretical, and then he has lost out from that bechina, even if he ends up doing the aveira that is "better." That was basically the point that Rav Yaakov was making.

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  89. Yes, I do. It seems, from the general direction of your comments, that you live in a simplistic, black and white world, where all non-charedim are bad, and all charedim are good, and especially if they carry the title of Rosh Yeshiva or Rov. This is not the case in the real world.

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  90. It implies no such thing. Of course, I certainly hope I know more than you, though that sets a very low bar.

    As a rule, I refrain from involving myself in your so-called Torah discussions, which are often actually distortions of Torah to fit your anti-Torah notions. I have no interest in fueling your ongoing זיוף התורה. Torah is a two-edged sword: זכה נעשית לו סם חיים לא זכה נעשית לו סם המוות. I try to stay on the right side of that divide.

    I also find distasteful your habit of deriding chareidim, which borders on open hatred. I seems ridiculous to me to discuss Torah with someone who displays hatred for an entire community of Jews, specifically a community deeply committed to shemiras Torah u'mitzvos.

    And finally, your observed genius at never, ever grasping the point makes it impossible to discuss Torah with you. It is an exercise in futility.

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  91. I thought the satirical intent was clear.

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  92. Your
    Brain on Porn 6 part youtube playlist (a detailed scientific
    explanation on pornography addiction and its impact on the brain):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

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