Positive Vision - Day 36
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 36 - Who Is the Extremist? - A Realistic Assessment of Current Times
At one time, thinking, sincere people would struggle and debate about how much exposure to the “real” world was healthy for their children. Some chose to shelter their children from the outside world totally. Their primary concern was maintaining their children’s innocence.
Others felt that some degree of secular sophistication was needed - after all, chochmah bagoyim ta’amin, there is real secular wisdom - and they therefore allowed for a greater degree of exposure to the outside world. Parents had to carefully judge how much was too much, too little, or just right.
But to state the obvious, times have clearly changed. It is incontestable that in present times, whatever possible benefits secular society has to offer are far overshadowed by its complete and utter disregard of the concept of kedushah.
Here are some frightening statistics from Covenant Eyes, a non-Jewish company, which hosts WebChaver, the organization that provides an Internet buddy system. Bear in mind that the compilers of these statistics have a completely different standard of tumah than we do. If they included films that contain suggestive scenes, the statistics would be through the roof.
68 percent of young men use the internet to view grossly inappropriate images every week, as do 18 percent of young women. 93 percent of boys under 19 said that they have been exposed to such material. 56 percent of divorce cases involve one party having “an obsessive interest in such websites.” More than 1 in 5 searches on mobile phones are for such material.
In a word: Unadulterated tumah has become the default setting in secular society; it is part of its basic fabric.
This much then is obvious: Parents who do not allow, or stringently restrict, the media from entering their home are not being hermits, weirdos, or frummies. They are merely keeping their family’s dignity intact by maintaining a modicum of modesty. They are conveying to their children that the concept of kedushah does, in fact, exist.
Do not just nod your head in agreement. What are you waiting for? What is your excuse?
If you fail to safeguard your home, the following scenario is likely to occur, and you will have nobody to blame but yourself:
Your teenage son comes home Thursday night for an “off-Shabbos” to “chill.” Somewhere in the house is the computer with Internet access that you haven’t gotten around to filter just yet. His rebbi had given a shmuz so he promises himself to be good. It starts out well enough, but then he gets a little bored. Lying on the kitchen table is an Ipad, which again has not yet been filtered. [I know; it really slows it down.] He figures he’ll play a game on it, and he takes it with him to the bathroom and then the back porch. This warrior son of yours had by this time drawn on three hours of willpower and is reaching the bottom of his reserves. He figures he’ll give just a little peek to see what the latest “kosher” movie online is, but on that page there were more enticing things and whatever was left of his willpower is gone. So he fails. Having failed, he is depressed, which just aggravates the matter, so he looks some more. And before he knows it he has seen the worst things imaginable.
Now, he can’t daven and learn. He may even start crying because he feels like a rasha. But ask yourself: Is he the rasha? Or is it the facilitator who put him in this position?
Clean up your home now! How can you allow your family to be exposed to such standards?! Surely you care!
If you strengthen the bars of your gates, your children will be blessed in your midst.