Op-Ed: Losing the Online Battle for Torah Hashkafa


matzav-logoBy Rabbi Yosef Shubert, Matzav.com

We, the frum community at large, have allowed issues of hashkafa discussed in cyberspace to be determined by whoever has the mightier pen or those with the ability to have their opinions widely publicized. We have made a mistake and we pay the price for it each day.

Take a look at the large number of ‘Jewish’ sites in cyberspace. There is a disproportionate number of sites representing left-wing or fringe segments of the Jewish world. There are so few that are truly representative of the Torah world and the ideals we hold dear.

Closely examine the hashkafos being espoused on the majority of sites on any number of contemporary issues. Most of them are completely contrary to what Torah Jews should believe. They are not consistent with what our Torah leaders would tell us.

But we are to blame. Because we have not adequately stepped up to the plate by providing voices of reliable Torah hashkafa to be heard and read online.

The latest example is the hafganos in Yerushalayim. Opinions shared by so-called experts and educators reflect a narrow-minded view of a larger issue, and much of what has been said is either grossly exaggerated, plainly false, or simply contradictory to what Torah leaders say. We have so-called experts labeling Yerushalayimer Yidden as “angry” and “violent,” and yet there is no one calling them out on this. They say it, it gets printed online, and now it is fact. No one rises up to set the record straight and relate the true daas Torah on the matter.

The majority of so-called Jewish reporting online is skewed and does not provide Torah-true analysis and outlook. We are losing this battle and we’d better wake up soon.

We need the talented and capable frum writers and journalists in our community to make themselves heard and not allow Torah hashkafa to be set indiscriminately by bloggers and self-proclaimed Torah and chinuch experts.

  {Matzav.com Newscenter}



  1. Very well said. It’s some a shame that the right wing Jewish community is too afraid to face the realities of the online world. instead of trying to figure out ways how to improve it and deal with it. We hide and try not to even acknowledge that their is an online world.

    Yes, there are dangers of inappropriate and immodest material, but we should work on making safeguards and not reject the whole online world.

    We will just end up suffering as you so well mentioned. We need a strong right wing Jewish presence online.

  2. Agudah doesn’t have a website. HaModia doesn’t have a website. They refuse, on hashkafah grounds that were relevant around, oh, 1990 or so.

    Certain Gedolim have ossured the internet altogether, losing the debate by default.

    The OU has a website, which competently reflects their Modern Orthodox hashkafah.

    Maybe someone should tell the good folks in the Hareidi and Chassidishe worlds that things have changed a bit.

  3. True, but just as much do we need offline leadership. There are people who will feel that such articles are no more than apologetics.

  4. Who decides what it a “torah true” hashkafah? Perhaps if there were not people claiming to be the “only representatives of torah true judaism” there would not be as big a backlash from the “other side”.

  5. I’m sure that Rav Shach would get some askanim today to open a website and promote true Daas Torah.

    He started newspapers for that reason. He was outspoken , a firestorm, but was very down to earth, reasonable, and understood the generations needs.

    Rav Shach was the last Godol that was able to take on a crusade , change the trend, and do things on his own.

    Nowadays, everyone is too scared or does not have the pleitzus.

  6. first of all the modia has a website, second of all the yated this week, i think on page 75, makes the point that yerushalyimer yidden are being wrongly protrayed… thanks for providing us rabbi shubert’s opinion as well. I think he is good enough to be published in the holy yated!

  7. The INTERNET is here to stay & prospere. Instead of assering it, we should issue Torahdige guidelines of using it

  8. Yes, HaModia does have a website (thanks for the correction) but it’s not really a website as most people think of a news site.

    It’s really just an advertisement for the print edition, and doesn’t carry the breadth of news and opinion one would expect from a site like Matzav or OU.org.

    What’s needed is a “full-service” website that carries news, commentary and hashkafah articles similar to the offerings on OU.org. Of course, this will require people who write competently in English or Ivrit and who are able to evaulate secular news sources

  9. The internet is: Chazer Treif! There are no 2 way’s about it! Let’s admit it. The time we spend online should be used for Limud Hatorah. Let’s not try to cover our guilt by putting a hechsher on it! Lemaasa, %90 of Emesdika Bnei Torah, don’t waste time looking at Shtusim online.

  10. (Re.Other web sites)”They are not consistent with what our Torah leaders would tell us.”

    My friend, in case you didnt know gedolim have assured internet altogether. Here you are on a internet blog preaching about what true daas torah really is. How pathetic. Can you name a single blog, Matzav included, that has the support of a single Gadol? The answer is no. So please if you are so into what the Gedolim hold, send an open letter online to yourself saying that the Gedolim are against you writing on the internet. Then close your computer and open your gemorah. No one will claim you are going against daas torah then!

    You cant “Tantz oif beider chasunos!”

  11. Why then did matziv post a letter from someone with a much more leftist view of contempt of the yerushalayim protests?

  12. There is a Torahdikke blog <a href=http://www.cross-currents.com cross-currents.com which has been out there since the advent of blogging. R’ Avi Shafran, R’Yitzchak Adlerstein and R’ Yonason Rosenbloom are contributers among others. They especially take on issues like the Shabbos rallies and p[resent a Torah hashkafa. It’s worth checking out!

  13. what makes adlerstein such a big tzadik, just because he makes fun of yated and modia for not publishing pictures of women doesnt make him intelligent or worth reading

  14. All with you! any solutions?? Its very easy to cry, but so much harder to act.
    Also, how about websites without comments. The comments section make every person who dissents seem like a significant voice while in reality supporters don’t find it necessary to support the (apparent to them as) obvious. Especially a problem when they question our morals and values.

  15. “Lemaasa, %90 of Emesdika Bnei Torah, don’t waste time looking at Shtusim online”.

    Therefore the post is not necessary for only 10% people, who are going online and checking out the news at arutz7, fox, haeretz, plus others.

  16. You mean to tell me that there is no problem with people who throw rocks, burn garbage cans, etc.? All Yerushalmim are malochim? If you want to live in a dream world, you can do so, but you might end up with a nightmare.

  17. So the frum Jews (hopefully a small minority)who ARE throwing garbage and dirty diapers, as well as burning garbage bins AREN’T “angry” and “violent,”???? Are they “calm” while being “violent”, or “angry” but non-violent?

  18. The educators that you have just denounced, Rabbi Shubert have espoused the same thoughts as HaGaon Rav Tzvi Finkel shlita. So, very nice to denounce Rabbis Horowitz and Hoffman but they turned out to be presciently correct. “The Rosh yeshiva of the Mir Yerushalayim, Hagon Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel Shlita, has written a letter forbidding any “Bnei Yeshiva” from attending any Hafganos in Yerushalayim.

    The letter which was hung up in the Yeshiva today, is written in his own handwriting – a move which is very rare for the Rosh Yeshiva Shlita, who has not written a letter in many years due to an illness R”L.

    The short 4-line letter is addressed to all Bnei Hayeshiva, and forbids anyone from participating in any demonstrations in any neighborhood – no exceptions.