Harav Shmuel Brazil Strongly Criticizes Abuse Of Comments Sections On “Heimish” Sites, Calling Many Of Them “Blasphemous” And A “Shame”


rav-shmuel-brazil-1The following remarks from Harav Shmuel Brazil shlit”a, popular maggid shiur in Yeshiva Sh’or Yoshuv in The Five Towns, was made in his weekly devar Torah, which can be read in its entirety, like every week, in Matzav.com‘s Parsha Insights section. Rav Brazil’s fame as a baal menagein is actually secondary to the fact that he is a prolific talmid chochom, a mechaber seforim, a baal mechadeish, and a person who is lo posik pumei migirsa (one who does not take a break from learning Torah). His insights, from a Torah perspective, into everyday matters and his thoughts on hashkofas haTorah have inspired and enlightened numerous people. In the following excerpt from Rav Brazil’s devar Torah, he strongly criticizes comments made on “heimish sites”:

The abuse of the internet in my opinion fosters the holding back of spiritual rain that nourishes the building of the Bais Hamikdosh. I am not even going that way of the internet and the very serious dangers involved. I am referring to very subtle and almost undetectable restrainer of spiritual rain. I am referring specifically to the heimish sites where we receive the news tidbits of the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. It is not so much the news that is my problem, but rather the comments on these stories and on supposedly mailbag letters with the hot and controversial topics that are unfortunately a sad portrayal of the achdus of Klal Yisroel.

The animosity and vicious condemnation that is written from one insulting commentator in response to another, or to the article itself, are many times mamesh blasphemous and a tremendous shame to our people.

When the issues involve our gedolim or chareidim in Eretz Yisroel, which seems to be the hot commentary topic presently, it is poshut sickening to see the negative and derogatory self-righteous comments voiced about them and other commentators.

 Get it straight. These websites are a business and they are here to make money from you. The more the Roman arena of gladiatorial commentators become bloodier and juicer, the more people “hit” the site and consequently the richer these sites become. These sites can become as wealthy as they want, but not at the expense of Hashem and Klal Yisroel.

Your two cents of damaging sinas chinam is read by thousands of Yidden instantly, and remember, once posted, you cannot retrieve your comments. Your distorted opinions of gedolim or defending them are available instantly throughout the globe together with your immature condescending name callings and epitaphs of your fellow brethren. 

Who says the goyim don’t hit these same sites and read your reactive emotional comments, allowing for an instant chillul Hashem, maybe even to millions?

In this comment arena, we have all three reasons why the מטר  is not descending while, on the other hand, the reign of terror, anti-Semitism, and the rain of nuclear power’s threat to us as a nation is increasing from day to day.

If you don’t have anything intelligent or constructive to say, then don’t hang out your personal animosity agenda of dirty laundry towards another Yid, nor be the representative of Klal Yisroel. Believe me when I say that there is more to gain by refraining from writing one’s poisonous negative comments in a public forum than you are going to accomplish by correcting wrong and distorted hashkafos of another frum Yid by posting them.

Refer back to what we wrote on Parshas Pinchos and make sure of the fact beyond any doubt that you are not the kana’ee individual who walks around holding that spear in one hand while turning to your commentary site with the other.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I do not believe in censoring intelligent and informed discussion of important contemporary issues. However, most of the “heimishe” websites need better moderation by individuals who are expert in Hilchos Shmiras Ha’Lashon. My estimation is that at least 50%-60% of the comments posted on Torah-conscious websites need either serious editing (probably too labor intensive a job) or should then never make it to the thread.

  2. Finally, someone who has eloquently expressed what so many of us are thinking. Thank you Rabbi Brazil!

    A curious non-observant Jew, or non-Jew, visiting the Comments Section on any of these Frum sites, wanting to get an insight into how the Mamleches Cohanim VeGoy Kadosh lives, breathes and talks, must surely walk away scratching his head in puzzlement, at best.

    It may be worthwhile for Matzav to reconsider its policy, de-archive the comments to date, and close down the Comments Section going forward. At that point, it could begin its new role, fostering kiddush Hashem and kvod shomayim.


  3. I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said. While I personally believe that respectful debate on issues is a healthy thing, the key word is respect. One can take a side on an issue without demolishing another person’s character – especially a gadol’s.

  4. Dear Rabbi Brazil,

    With all due respect, and from somebody who enjoys your niggunim and your davening, the comments you refer to are a siman, and not a sibah for the lack of achdus.

    Unfortunately, they reflect the fact that many yeshivas teach sinas chinam of other groups of religious Jews and their institutions, to the point that they sometimes tell students one cannot even walk in there. Until the problem is rectified at the core, you can’t blame people for expressing what they have been taught.

  5. Rabbi Shmuel Brazil is a lamdin and right on mark and not that he needs my opinion!

    Rabbi Shmuel Brazil was talking to everyone and in general terms.

    And to tell you the truth after this whole topic is done with how about Matzav and all web pages take the comment section off totally.

    Why can’t we just read news that is filtered but without having peopel shove their agendas and them to tll us what das torah is. We all know who das torah is in this world and we don’t need web pages giving twists to the news and distroting facts in the name of “heimishe” web sites.

    I also suggest to Rabbi Brazil and I wish there was a way to reach him and tell him that how about we boycot the advertisers that advertise on web pages that portrays us as horrible peopleand constantly trash the heimishe community all the time?

    I gurantee that if we refuse to advertise on such web pages the problems with these web pages woudl not be problems.

    I called up a store two months ago to complain about their store ebing advertised on a certain news site and explained that my shul will never go in there to do business if they do not take off their advertisement and me and people in my shul explained in a very nice way why we feel the ay we do and the store owner took off their advertisement. We must speak to all the advertisers and collectively this will work.

  6. Thanks R. Brazil for making some improtant points.

    The same goes, even more so perhaps, since it is live, with voices and more interaction in real time, with regard to talk radio. I am thinking especially of certain supposedly frum talk radio call-in programs, even if run by someone who calls himself a Rabbi, learned in a choshuve Yeshiva, etc. When such a host and his callers talk in a grobbe way and exchange insults instead of disagreeing in a bakovod’iker way, it reflects quite poorly on those involved. We should not imitate the talk radio that spews hate and insults instead of proper discussion with respect.

  7. Once again, Reb Shmuel is 100% right. Instead of making comments that cause harm to our fellow Yidden maybe we should think twice before we comment about the crisis that occurred yesterday especially during the nine days. Reb Shmuel is all about making others happy. As a former Talmid I can tell all of you that just seeing the Rebbi smile at you makes you feel like a million dollars. Klal Yisroel should follow in the ways of Reb Shmuel and our Gedolim and I”YH we will be Zoche to greet Moshiach and seeing the Bais Hamikdash rebuilt speedily in our days. Amen.

  8. Rabbi Brazil is right, of course: we should not be nasty toward each other. But I think it’s crucial for our collective sanity and credibility as a people to condemn corruption, intolerance, hatred, evil, abuse of children, wrongheaded hashkafiz and everything else that is so wrong with charedi society. And there is plenty wrong.
    “From the sole of the foot to the head, nothing in him (Israel) is whole.” (Isaiah 1:6). You name the problem, it’s there: shidduch crisis; tuition crisis; off the derech kids crisis; child abuse crisis; non-stop financial scandal crisis…have I left something out? Are we allowed to comment on our societal problems?
    May I say the following?

    “Your princes are rebellious and associates of thieves; each of them loves bribery and pursues payments. They do not render justice to the orphan; the grievance of the widow does not come to them.” (Id. at 1:23).
    Thank God, a prophet already said it. But it encapsulates perfectly all that’s wrong with our society. May we talk about it openly?

    Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3000 years. The problems of today, along with our leaders, are the problems which existed in the past. As long as I stay civil in my tone and respectful toward others, may I discuss these matters on the heimishe comments section, or will my comments, and everyone else’s, be shut down? If you shut us all down, will that solve the problems?

    This will solve the problems:
    “Wash you, purify you, remove the evil DEEDS from before My eyes; CEASE DOING EVIL; learn to do good, seek justice, VINDICATE THE VICTIM, render justice to the orphan, take up the grievance of the widow.” (Id. at 1:16,17.)
    More beautiful words were never spoken. But we ignore the prohets then and ignore them now. And a society which does not value its most vulnerable doesn’t deserve to stick around. We must stop glorifying the wealthy, the powerful and the privileged at the expense of the down-trodden, the poor, the outcast and the defenseless.

    Our collective, numerous problems won’t go away if we silence criticism where it belongs.

  9. This is a golden opportunity for me to express hakaras hatov to Rabbi Brazil. He brought a small package in from the States for me and he doesn’t know who I am. Thank you and yasher koach .

  10. To #13, “Good points, they go for radio too….”

    100% As a matter of fact, a lot of the posts on comment sections seem like they were copied verbatim from some radio call-in. “Grobbe” is an understatement when applied to these shows. People don’t realize that it’s not just the idea, it’s the choice of words and the tone of voice that you use. The original talk radio shows were not Jewish, and their language wasn’t so refined. Now we have “kosher” talk shows with the same lack of derech eretz.

    It puzzled me for a long time why the tone of arguments and discussions in the frume velt was declining. There is a lack of derech eretz that hadn’t been there back in the ’70’s and ’80’s. Then I heard a popular talk radio host and realized why.

    The Torah warns us that our environment affects us even – especially – when we think it can’t. Turning off talk radio can help clean up that environment a little.

  11. Thank you Rabbi Brazil what bothers me even more that on some sights thre were terrible awful explicit photos today. I worte to them in a nice way and asked them to please take it off. It was scary to see these photos photos which innocent yeshiva bocurim can see in a second or young men perhaps. People getting caught in a trap and trully suffering after wards. One thing I appreciate about Matzav is that I have never yet seen even accidentally this kind of picture. Baruch Hashem for that. Yes about the other issue I agree we need to watch our language that is for sure. Kol Hakovod and hopefully we will have yom tov this Shabbos E”H.