Internet Asifah Transcription #1

I realized recently that no transcript exists of the Internet Asifa in May 2012 (that I know of). The Asifa was a major moment in contemporary charedi life, and it continues to have reverberating effects in many aspects of charedi life now, almost six years after the event.

As with most material from the charedi world, the lack of access to it makes it more difficult to study and analyze. I hope that the more accessible all of this material is, the easier it will be for scholars (in literature, anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.) to engage with this community, its effects on and interactions with other Jewish communities, and its place in the wider world.

Of course, listening to these speeches has a different effect than reading a transcript. The rhetoric of these speeches is particularly dependent on the manners of speech rather than on the words being said. But first of all, it’s painful to listen to (not just for those of us who’ve left this community, but in general, for everyone), and second, it’s at times difficult to understand, especially for someone not well-versed in charedi speech patterns.

I’m going to transcribe the speeches one at a time, beginning with the speeches delivered in English. I won’t be going in order, but if there’s one that you want, let me know and I’ll tackle that one next. I will note when I’m not sure of a word, most likely when it’s Aramaic or “yeshivishe-reid.”

I will translate any Hebrew or Yiddish words as best I can using (parentheses) and will make notes of anything I think is important and any times I’m uncertain of a transcription or translation using [brackets]. I will also attempt to link as much as I can, where appropriate.

[Edit: the deeper in I got, the harder it was to refrain from adding my editorial comments. Should this ever become something more than a series of blog posts, I will of course take those out. Also, I’m not sure if this method of embedding translations is useful or just confusing. If it comes to it, it may be more useful to provide a few versions, including one straight transcription, and one entirely translated. I like the preservation of the multi-lingual speech, but that may not be best after all.]

Speech beginning at 1:24:05, ending at 1:55:28

[Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, introduced by his yeshiva and not by name]

[In Yiddish:] (They gave me instructions[?] to speak to the crowd in the language of the country because the crowd here understands English better.)

Birshus gedolei me’orei hador v’rivovos alfei yisroeal (with the permission of the great luminaries of our generation and the multitudes of Jews) [A standard opening to many speeches.]

Tana d’vei Eliyahu [reference to a Talmudic commentary]. The posuk (verse) says in Shoftim (Judges) “Magen im yai’ra’eh v’romach ba’arbayim elef mi’yisroel.” Zugt der Tana D’vei Eliyahu (the Tana D’vei Eliyahu says) “mi’kan she’arba’im elef mi’yisroel sheniskabtzu yachad – when forty thousand of Yisroel gather together – v’yeish beineihem zug echad shel talmidei chachamim – and there is between them one pair of talmidei chachamim – einam trichim lo l’magen v’lo l’romach – they need neither shield nor a spear.”

And the Ohev Yisroel, the heiliger (holy) Apter Rav explains ba’arichus (at length), I’m not gonna go into the longer arichus – but every time you have twenty thousand yidden (Jews) together, you have the strength of Avraham Avinu (the patriarch Abraham). Forty thousand is the strength of Avraham Avinu twice. Avraham Avinu, when he went into battle, he threw earth at the enemy and it turned into arrows. So he didn’t need a romach, he didn’t need a spear. And when the enemy shot arrows at him, it turned into straw, says Chazal [an acronym meaning “our sages of blessed memory”], so he didn’t need a shield.

Zugt der Ohev Yisroel (the Ohev Yisroel commentary says), “mi’kan arba’im elef mi’Yisroel sheniskabtzu yachad” – they have “bitochum zug shel talmidei chachamim” – they have the power of Avraham Avinu twice – “einam trichim lo l’magen v’lo l’romach.”

So as we gather here today, we should hear the Ribono shel olam (the master of the world) calling to us: “Avraham, Avraham.” And we answer, our response is: “vayomer hineni” (he said, here I am) [a reference to the akedah story, Genesis 21:1].

We are here, we are here to heed the call of the gedolei hador (the great ones of the generation), who have recognized and identified that this issue is the nisayon hador (the test / temptation of the generation), something that threatens our continued existence as the am Hashem (nation of God), as the mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh (kingdom of priests and holy nation).

Throughout history, we were confronted by many such challenges. The times of Tanach, of Chazal, later in history, Communism, Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), Tziyonus (Zionism), and we paid a very heavy price. Untold multitudes of acheinu bnei Yisroel (our brothers, sons of Israel) were severed from their roots.

So today we are at a historic crossroads.

The famous Meshech Chachma [a Biblical commentary], this past Shabbos [potentially a reference to a commentary on the parshas hashavuah, the weekly Torah portion], who describes the cycle of galus (exile), and he says, we settle in a land, we build Torah, we build yeshivas, we build kehillos kedoshos (holy communities) to the height of glory. And then in our ga’avah, in our haughtiness, we begin to think we understand better than those who came before us. And then comes chalilah (god forbid) a ruach sarah, a storm that sweeps away, physically or spiritually.

Our gedolim (great ones) tell us that we are at such a juncture in our history. And your resolve, your strength, your decisiveness at this gathering will determine what Yiddishkeit (Judaism) will look like in a few years from now. So today we must hear the battle-cry of mi lashem eilai (whoever is for god, to me) [a reference to the cry of the Maccabees or to Moshe/Moses after the golden calf?] – if you want to be with Hashem, if you want your children and your grandchildren to be with the ribono shel olam (master of the world) – eilai, you must rally around the guidance and the hadracha (guidance) of the gedolei hador (great ones of the generation).

What is the nisayon (test / temptation) of technology?

Of course, we  all know the internet even with a filter is a minefield of immorality. Somebody showed me a report a few years ago, six years ago – today it’s probably ancient – 36% of the websites on the internet are filth. [Yiddish]: (We’re talking about) kefirah (heresy), and the ba’hatalah (?), the lashon hara (gossip), the bizayon talmidei chachamim (degrading torah scholars) that has already taken hold of the minds and hearts of our young and our not-so-young.

But it goes much further and much deeper than that.

The gemara (Talmud) says in masechtas Chagiga [a section of the Talmud] “yatzesah bas kol” and a bas kol (voice of god) said “shuvu banim shovovim chutz me’Acher.” Everyone can return to Hashem except for Acher [literally meaning “other,” a term used for a man during the time of the Talmud who was a Torah scholar and became an ardent apostate]. And there’s a heilige vort (a holy word / interpretation) from the Satmar Rav, zecher tzadik l’vracha (may the memory of a righteous one be a blessing), and he said a person can return – chutz me’Acher – until he becomes someone else. Once he becomes an Acher, a different person, it’s very very difficult for him to find his way back to the ribono shel olam.

Rabosai (gentlemen / esteemed ones), the internet is no longer a tool or a device. The problems are no longer just that it’s an easy or quicker way for someone to access inappropriate material. Today the internet is a culture. It’s a psychology. It’s a way of life.

Rachmana litzlan! (God help us!) [Yiddish]: (Thousands – I don’t want to bring judgement down on them – there are heimishe young men and heimishe women) who are actively involved in the social media, which is the technological equivalent of the dor hamabul (the generation of the flood) [likely a reference to sexual licentiousness and promiscuity]. 

This is reprogramming our way of thinking, our emotions, our relationships, our hashkafos (worldviews), our sensitivity – our very life! “Shuvu banim shovovim chutz me’Acher!” It’s changing who we are.

Maybe it may look like on the outside that it’s intact. Sometimes. But it’s sreifas haneshama v’guf kayum (the soul is burning while the body remains intact). You can see it in the ebbing of the light and the vacant eyes of the yungerleit (young men). Of the jittery inattentiveness of our children. In the flippant and callous language and attitudes, the cynicism, the laitzanus (mockery), and the unbelievable – unbelievable breaches of tznius (modesty) in the most heimishe of yiddishe neighborhoods. People are changing, they’re become one someone else [sic]. They’re entering a different world.

The Rambam (Maimonides) says if we want to understand the nature of the yetzer hara (evil inclination), we have to understand Paroh (Pharaoh). The Rambam writes, “Paroh hu ha’yetzer hara b’atzmo” (Pharaoh is the evil inclination himself). “Va’yavidu Mitzrayim es bnei Yisroel b’farech” (the Egyptians enslaved the sons of Israel with hard work) and Chazal tell us “b’feh rach” (with soft mouth) – he began with softness. He was nice – come, let’s work together, we’ll do business, we’ll earn, we’ll invest – we’ll be successful. But then slowly Paroh entraps us. And before we realize it, we are meshubad (enslaved), we’re in bondage, we’re enslaved.

Like the fly who enters the web of the spider – what am I doing wrong? I’m on the internet – there’s nothing – I haven’t done a single issur (prohibition). Little strands of the spider’s web – they don’t even equal a fraction of the weight of the fly. But another strand, and another strand, and another strand – and before you know it, he’s caught in the web, in the net.

As the posuk (verse) says in Tehillim (Psalms), “tivo’eihu shoah lo yeida” – you’ll be brought into a conflagration without even knowing “v’rishto asher taman tilkido” – and the net that was concealed will entrap him “b’shoal hipil bah” (he’ll fall into the grave / hell).

The wisdom of our Torah hakedosha (holy Torah) is timeless and eternal. It’s about seeing into the future. “Aizehu chacham haro’eh es hanolad.” (Who is smart? One who sees the future.) The internet is about the moment, it’s about the instantaneous, about the artificial, about the superficial. It’s about if you’re bored you click on to something else. It’s about being fleeting and empty. Even secular educators and psychologists have been decrying the children who are being turned into click-vegetables.

People say the gedolim don’t understand the internet – they don’t know what it’s about. It may be true – but they understand life! They understand the subtleties and the trends! And they understand that the internet, the mindset is the opposite of kedusha (holiness)! The instant, instant, instant gratification leaves no room for perseverance, for endurance, for coping – the very qualities that enabled us to survive as a people! The very qualities that a bochur (young boy) needs to become a talmid chacham [literally wise student, used as Torah scholar]! The ability to wait is our secret! Even when we went al kiddush hashem (in glorification of god’s name) [a reference to the Holocaust], we sang ani ma’amin be’emunah sheleimah b’vias ha’mashiach (I believe with complete faith in the coming of the messiah). We sang v’af al pi sheyismameha – even though it takes so long – im kol zeh achakeh lo (with all this, I wait for him) – I wait and I wait – b’chol yom sheyavo (every day that he might come).

Tayere yidden (dear Jews)!! Tayere brider (dear brothers), tayere shvester (dear sisters) [who, incidentally, were barred from attending this asifa]!! What is happening to us?! Who are we becoming?! Don’t we see, don’t we feel – don’t we feel that we’re becoming someone else?! The nation, the am (nation) of Torah, the nation that gave the world Yirmiyahu hanavi (the prophet Jeremiah), and the Rambam, and Reb Akiva Eiger, and the Chasam Sofer – should deteriorate into a people of yenteyachne.com (gossipygossip.com)? Is that who we are?

Read the words of the heiliger Rambam (holy Maimonides) in the pirush (commentary) on mishnayos (Mishnah), where he describes there are different levels of dibur (speech). Some diburim (utterances) are diburim ha’asurim (forbidden speech) – lashon hara (gossip), nivul peh (vulgar speech) – rachmana litzlan (may god help).

There’s a chelek (portion) of dibbur the Rambam calls “dibbur hanim’as” – disgusting talk. What does that mean, zugt der Rambam (the Rambam says), “asher ein bo to’eles l’adam b’nafsho” (which has in it no purpose for a man’s spirit) – has no purpose – “k’rov sipur ha’hamon, b’mah sh’ireh” – what happened – “mah she’haya, mah heim minhagei melech ploni b’haichalo” – how did they feerzach (behave) by this melech (king) – “eich haya sibas maves ploni” – what did this person die from, what did this person become rich from. This is what the Rambam calls dibbur hanim’as.

There are those who are already ensnared. Some of them are crying. Some of them laugh, a brazen hollow laugh [bwahahahaha!!], and some are so apathetic that they just continue to click and click their lives into oblivion. But they are all – you are all – acheinu bnei Yisroel (our brothers the sons of Israel). Hakadosh boruch hu (the holy one, blessed be he) loves you, he cries for you, and he misses you.

Today is a day of awesome siyatta dishmaya (heavenly help), an unprecedented koach harabim (power of multitudes). Perhaps an opportunity that will never happen again in history. Even one step forward can make all the difference! It’s not all or nothing! When klal Yisroel (the Jewish nation) left Mitzrayim (Egypt) they were in mem-tes shaarei tumah (the 49th level of impurity). And then they began to count sefiras haomer. So imagine the first day when they counted. They were still in mem-ches shaarei tumah (the 48th level of impurity). Yet they said “hayom yom echad la’omer” (today is the first day of the omer). And they said “va’etaher va’eskadesh b’kedusha shel ma’alah” (I will make myself pure and holy through the holiness of heaven) – nothing less than kedusah shel ma’alah. “V’al yidei yishpah shefa rav b’chol ha’olomos” (and through this, great abundance will flow through all the worlds) – nothing less than shefa rav b’chol ha’olomos from people who were still in mem-ches shaarei tumah but they took one step forward.

But we need to have guidance. I once heard from a very respected posek (determiner of Jewish law) – he had somebody in his shul for many years, had a television. And he tried to convince him to get rid of his television, and he couldn’t prevail. He went to ask the advice of the Amshinover Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak, zecher tzadik l’vracha, the Amshinover Rebbe from Boro Park. He said, “I’m trying for years to get this yid (Jew) to throw out his television.” So he said to him, “You want him to give away his television? His television is his chiyus (life / reason for living). You want somebody to give away his chiyus, you have to replace it with a new chiyus.”

Sur mei’rah (stay away from bad) is not enough. We have to have asei tov (do good).

Tayere yidden (dear Jews) [Yiddish]: (We’re right before kabbalas haTorah) [accepting the Torah, a reference to the holiday of Shavuos].

Toras Hashem temimah meshivas nafesh! (God’s torah is pure and revives the spirit.) Gedolah Torah shenosenes chaim l’oseha. (Great is Torah, which gives life to those who do it [ie keep its laws].)

Imagine those who are wasting so much time on the internet – imagine taking that time and turning it into limud hatorah (torah learning). Imagine having an internet masechta (portion of Talmud). A masechta that you complete instead of  the time that was wasted and destroyed in hevel havalim (literally vanity of vanities, meaning worthless things)!

It won’t be easy because the webbed mind has to struggle to understand Torah. But we can do it. We can convert the tumah (impurity) into taharah (purity).

I once received a letter from a doctor. A doctor who lives in Boro Park. And he wrote that he travels every way – every day to Manhattan, and he has to pass, nebach (pity), advertisements that a yid’s (Jew’s) eyes should never see. And he decided that each time that he’s zocheh (merits) to be shomer einav (guard his eyes), he’s going to give himself a present of one dollar. After a few months, he had two thousand dollars [I want to know where that money was coming from, that he could afford that]. And he bought himself a magnificent silver menorah, for two thousand dollars. Could you imagine the light of that menorah? [probably not much different than any other menorah, depends on the quality of oil or candles or wicks he was using] Could you imagine how much nachas ruach we give the ribono shel olam when we transform tumah into taharah?

The Chofetz Chaim writes “sof davar, l’acher she’tiptor min ha’olam,” when a person leaves this world, even l’acher kama mei’os shanim (even after many hundreds of years) yitzta’er hanefesh (the spirit is troubled) l’vakesh v’limtzei hayamim v’hasha’os shebatlah min hatorah (to search and to find the days and the hours that were wasted from the torah) – and he won’t be able to find them – va’afilu gehinom lo yo’el lo (and even hell won’t help him).

Imagine being part of a world that produces millions upon millions of sha’os of batalah (wasted hours), of  leidigkeit (idelness), of emptiness!

You want something instant.

S’dah (there is) a Zohar hakadosh (a work of kabbalah) [Aramaic which I don’t understand] – fortunate are those who do teshuvah (repent). [More Aramaic] – in one hour, they can become tzadikim gemurim (completely righteous people). How does such a thing happen? Shteit (it says) in Shem Mishmuel [?], there are two ways for one to become a tzadik gamur (completely righteous person). There’s the long, arduous, many many years of hurevanyah (struggle), and then there’s another way. When a person lives in a tekufah (era) where there’s an onslaught of tumah (impurity), of pritzus (immodesty), of hefkerus (permissiveness), and he turns his back on all of that, and he says “I want to be dabuk in the ribono shel olam (cling to the master of the world) – at that moment, he is zoche (merits) to a level of kedusha (holiness) that equals all of that tumah that he turned away from.

Imagine the opportunity! Think of the billions and billions of hours and dollars, of thought and creativity that has been poured into this internet to produce the klei mashchis (tools of destruction) that it is! Imagine getting all of that b’kedusha (in holiness) with one act of mesiras nefesh (sacrifice).

We can turn the despair into triumph! The emptiness into meaning! And the hopelessness into an eagerness brimming with life. And we can begin to experience once again the joy of this life force pulsing through our neshamos (souls).

I want to share with you one observation that I heard from a prestigious mechanech (male educator). Many say we’re too late. We’re entrenched in the internet, in our devices, in our gadgets. In Eretz Yisrael (Israel), baruch hashem (god bless) there’s an entire tzibur (community), bli ayin hara (may there be no evil eye) who listen to the takanos (decrees) of gedolei yisroel (the great ones of Israel) and most of the tzibur is far far removed from all of these inyanim (issues), but in America, it’s too late.

There was a time you had ehrliche chasidishe yingelach (pious hasidic little boys), yeshivishe bnei torah kinder (children of ultra-orthodox [non-hasidic] sons of torah) [that’s a terrible translation, someone help me here!] who would never dream of having a television in their house. But by Zeidy and Bobby (grandpa and grandma), they were still from the generation – still had a television. There was such a thing. Sometimes – sometimes it takes a generation.

Even if chas v’shalom, chas v’shalom (god forbid) we’ve already lost the 20-35 year olds, and I don’t believe it’s so. But we don’t have to lose the zero to twenties! We can put a stop to it now! I’ve seen with my own eyes people giving children of eleven years old Blackberries and iPhones and iPods – are they out of their minds?!?!?! What do they think? My child is heilig (holy)? Do you remember what it was to be a child? I tell you, when I was eleven years old, if somebody would have given me such a machine, in twenty seconds I would have been trying to explore everything on that machine [indeed, children like to explore! that’s the way they learn! you fucker.] 

Klal yisroel has to rise like a lioness fighting to protect her cubs. For years we’ve been retreating and retreating – we can’t stop this, we can’t stop this – retreat and retreat and retreat. We can no longer retreat! Tonight we draw the demarcation line in the sand! And from now on we’re going forward!!

And we have to strive to go forward. When Moshe Rabenu said “mi lashem eilai” [why the clapping here?] those who joined him were shevet levi (the tribe of Levi). There are thousands of yidden (Jews) here tonight who have no shaychus (connection) to the internet – with a filter, without a filter. Everyone here can think of becoming one of them. Join those thousands. Don’t think just because you have a black hat and live in Lakewood – ah! Or you have a shtreimel [hasidic fur hat] and live in Williamsburg – a yid with a blue shirt, without a hat, can also decide – I don’t want it [three cheers for not looking down on the “less observant”!!! /sarcasm/]. 

He can also say this is between me and the ribono shel olam (master of the world) and I want kedusha (holiness), and I want taharah (purity).

We are not a nation of weaklings! We have reservoirs of strength! We have zchus avos (merit from our fathers)! We have kochos ruchiyim (spiritual powers)! We know who our heilige zeides (holy grandfathers) were! They were ba’alei mesiras nefesh (martyrs)! We heard their stories! We heard how they made a succah or seder in Auschwitz – what will we tell our grandchildren? We couldn’t give away this narishkeit (silliness)? How will we face them?

There were nisyonos (tests / temptations) in history. The warriors and the fighters were much stronger than us. And the enemy was weaker than the one we face today. Today we are much weaker than them, and the enemy is far stronger.

But we have something that they weren’t able to have in those days. We have the koach harabim (strength of the crowd / multitudes). We have the conviction of all of the tens of thousands who are gathered here today and those who are listening in all locations in the world who have made a decision – we have had enough! Genug mit die shmutz (enough with the dirt), we want to be clean, mir villen zich oysvashen (we want to wash ourselves out), we want to be the mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh (kingdom of priests and holy nation)!

[At this point, I think people are clapping each time they think the speech is over, because no one is actually listening. That happened at a school shabbos once…]

Maybe we’ll have to give up some of our enjoyment, some of our entertainment. Do we really need it? Ten years ago, nobody had it. Just because it’s available…

There are many forms of recreation [at this point, I must interject – because I have lost all ability to be objective as I listen now – the internet is not only about recreation – duh. If the gedolim, who as he says earlier know nothing about the internet but do know about “life”, would bother to find out what the internet is about, they might find that their knowledge of life may need some adjustment. feh. Okay, and back to transcribing…]

There are many forms of recreation that we don’t engage in. Even forms that aren’t assur (forbidden). How many of us go hunting? [very very false analogy here] Do we feel that we’re deprived because we can’t have in our living room a moose-head with antlers? We’re happy to have pictures of our zeides (grandfathers) and tzadikim (righteous people).

We don’t need this. We can be bigger and better than this.

Rabosai (gentlemen), I just want to share with you the words of the gaon [the Vilna Gaon] – helige verte (holy words) [Yiddish]: (I don’t know in what language, in Yiddish, in English, in Russian, we have to say this in every language.) Because I believe its the dvar hashem (word of god) for those of us here tonight.

The heiliger gaon (holy great one) wrote: yesh shnei minei yetzer hara, there are two types of yetzer hara (evil inclination), echad prati v’echad klali – one is private and one is communal. Harishon – the first one – meisis ume’fatte [?] chas v’shalom kol echad v’echad lefi mah shehu (kills and destroys, god forbid, each one according to what he is) – the first one attacks each one privately – but the second yetzer hara is a yetzer hara klali – b’chol dara v’dara – ini every generation, comes the yetzer hara l’hassis u’l’havir [?] tziburim y’kloliyos shel am yisroel b’eizeh aveira – that tries to bring and to tempt the tzibur of klal yisroel to chet – oy pgam, oy dai’ah kozeves (or wound, or crooked knowledge).

Zugt de gaon (the gaon says) b’zman hahu (in that time), k’shebah al haklal – the yetzer hara that comes and attacks the tzibur – eeh efshar l’hinatzel mimenu, we cannot be saved from it, b’shum ofen (in any manner), rak k’shenotim l’tzad hasheini she’b’kedushah – if we bend to the more heiliger (holy) side. Even though b’shanim kitikunam ein zeh muchrach kol kach, umnum b’zman ka’zeh – in a time like this – shero’im b’tzad she’ha’baal davar ochez es harabim – he’s grabbed hold of the tzibur, he has them ensnared – ein derech acheres rak l’hachzik b’tzei[?] ha’achron she tzad hatov – you have to go to the ultimate, the furthest tzad hatov (good side).

And on this said Chazal, the gemara in Gittin, dever ba’ir – when there’s a dever (plague) in the city – al yehalech adam b’emtzah hadracha – you can’t go middle of the road – mipnei she’malach ha’maves b’emtzah, elah yehalech bitzidei hadrachim – you have to go to the tzdadim (sides).

We can’t depend on any system to help us. [I have no idea how to split the paragraphs here because there is no logical organization to what he’s saying.]

Every person has to know – when we’re faced with such a decision – you’re faced with such a machine, you’re holding it in your hands – it represents thousands and thousands of hour of the rest of your life. What are you going to choose? U’bacharta ba’chaim (and you will chose life). Yelech l’tzdadim (walk to the sides). Let us not look for compromise. Every one of us can go up, can go further than we thought of going tonight.

And the eibishter (creator) who promised us habah l’taher misayin (he who comes to purify is helped) will hear our tefilos (prayers) as we beg and we plead – ribono shel olam (master of the world), you promised us shelo yichbeh – ki b’shem kadshechah nishbatah shelo yichbeh nero l’olam va’ed (because you promised us with your holy name that its cabdle will not be extinguished forever) – that the light and the ohr (light) of yiddishkeit (Judaism) will shine on us forever.

Mir beten bei dir, heilige tatteh – al tashlicheinu milfanecha v’ruach kadshecha – dan heligie geist (your holy spirit) – al tikach mimenu! Kadshenu b’mitzvosecha v’sein chelkenu b’sorasecha v’taher libeinu – v’taher libeinu – v’taher libeinu l’avdecah b’emes! (We beg of you, holy father – don’t expel us from your presence and don’t take your holy spirit away from us! Make us holy with your commandments and give us our portion in your Torah, and purify our hearts – and purify our hearts – and purify our hearts to serve you in truth.)

Mir zellen zoche zein b’karov tzu sehn vi a heilige, oysgevashine, reine klal yisroel vet tanzin kegen mashiach tzidkeinu, un m’vet zingen v’taher libeinu l’avdecha b’emes, u’mekabel zein b’karov der melech hamashiach un m’vet zoche zein tzu binyan beis hamikdash, bimherah b’yamenu amen. (We should merit soon to see a holy, washed-out, clean Jewish nation who will dance toward our righteous messiah, and we’ll sing “purify our hearts to serve you in truth,” and we’ll soon accept the king, the messiah, and we’ll merit to the building of the Holy Temple, quickly in our days amen.)

One thought on “Internet Asifah Transcription #1

  1. Just started reading. One thing that jumps out right away is the purple prose endemic to frum discourse.
    “the nisayon hador”
    “Untold multitudes”
    And so on.

    > in our ga’avah, in our haughtiness, we begin to think we understand better than those who came before us. And then comes chalilah (god forbid) a ruach sarah, a storm that sweeps away, physically or spiritually.

    Sounds awfully Greek. The gods smiting us for hubris. It fits Hashem’s MO, though. He destroyed migdal Bavel because “who knows what the people will be able to accomplish.” (All the stuff about them rebelling against God is medrash.)

    > (We’re talking about) kefirah (heresy), and the ba’hatalah (?), the lashon hara (gossip), the bizayon talmidei chachamim (degrading torah scholars) that has already taken hold of the minds and hearts of our young and our not-so-young.

    So it turns out the asifa was my fault.

    > are actively involved in the social media

    Why do people unfamiliar with the internet always put “the” in front of everything related to it?

    > . He said, “I’m trying for years to get this yid (Jew) to throw out his television.” So he said to him, “You want him to give away his television? His television is his chiyus (life / reason for living). You want somebody to give away his chiyus, you have to replace it with a new chiyus.

    Is this a profound misunderstanding of what a TV is, or is it more hyperbole?

    > Imagine those who are wasting so much time on the internet – imagine taking that time and turning it into limud hatorah (torah learning). Imagine having an internet masechta (portion of Talmud). A masechta that you complete instead of the time that was wasted and destroyed in hevel havalim (literally vanity of vanities, meaning worthless things)!

    This reminds me of people who complain about how much money people waste on their hobbies or on buying expensive toys when there are charities that could benefit from the money. It’s technically true, but it was never a choice between charity and frivolous spending. It was only a choice between one type of frivolous spending and another. The same with time spent on the internet. It’s leisure time. If it wasn’t spent online, it would be spent on some other leisure activity. (And this reminds me of a conversation I had earlier today about the frum penchant for analogies.)

    It also represents the impossible ideal of the Yeshivish world, where every minute not spent learning or doing something necessary so that one can learn (e.g., sleeping) is bitul torah.

    > When a person lives in a tekufah (era) where there’s an onslaught of tumah (impurity), of pritzus (immodesty),

    It bugs me so much that people think that all of the past was Victorian England, and the world today is somehow uniquely promiscuous.

    > … who would never dream of having a television in their house. But by Zeidy and Bobby (grandpa and grandma), they were still from the generation – still had a television. There was such a thing. Sometimes – sometimes it takes a generation.

    The internet is not like television, despite that having been the last big anti-technology fight in the frum world. Banning the internet is like banning printing.

    > When Moshe Rabenu said “mi lashem eilai” [why the clapping here?] those who joined him were shevet levi (the tribe of Levi).

    And then they massacred thousands of their fellow Jews. But never mind that.

    > Do we feel that we’re deprived because we can’t have in our living room a moose-head with antlers? We’re happy to have pictures of our zeides (grandfathers) and tzadikim (righteous people).

    Is it either-or? Or is it that we’re content to only have the pictures, and not the moose-head.
    Also, I know frum people who do have deer heads in their den. But they’re probably not frum by his standards, anyway. I’m pretty sure the guy who owns them wears blue shirts.

    Like

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