By Rabbi Yisroel Feldman, Novato, CA for Matzav.com
Last Thursday, Matzav.com posted an article about the problem of movies — most of which, unfortunately, are filled with very bad content — being shown on airplane flights. The article related how a number of airline companies are now offering flights with no movies.
In one of the Shiurim that he gives at the Agudas Yisroel shul in Baltimore, Rav Yissachar Frand, Sh’lita, tells an awesome story regarding this issue. I heard it on one of the tapes of these lectures that was probably made in the early 1990’s.
Rav Frand was discussing the crucial need that we have to keep away from bad things and, specifically, from the terrible corruption that, unfortunately, fills much of today’s world. For a parable, he turned to the events of (what was then) the recent First Iraq War in 1991. In that dangerous confrontation in which there was the horrific possibility of chemical attacks from Iraq, Rachmona Litzlan, we used what was called a “Cheder HaAtum” – a “Sealed Room.” (We took a room and covered its walls, windows, doorways, and any other openings with thick sheet plastic. Then, when United States satellites detected a launch of an Iraqi rocket in our direction, the alarm was sounded and we ran into one of these plastic covered rooms and stayed there until the “all clear” was announced.)
So Rav Frand explained that just like then we had to put ourselves in a physical “sealed room” to keep ourselves from being physically injured by the physical poisons that were possibly outside, so, even more so, we have to put ourselves in a spiritual “sealed room” to keep ourselves from being spiritually ruined by the spiritual poisons — the terrible corruptions — that definitely are in the outside world.
To dramatically illustrate what sometimes needs to be done to build such a spiritual “sealed room,” he related the following awesome story.
A man with his family were riding on an airplane (from the context of the narration, it seems that the man and his family were not Jewish). During the flight, as usual, the crew turned on a movie; they showed it on the large screen in front of the cabin, which was in full view of all of the passengers. The man soon realized that the particular film that was being shown was quite a smut filled presentation with numerous explicit scenes. He was very alarmed, for he did not want his children, who were sitting right next to him and could see the screen just as well as he could, to look at and absorb such material.
So he got up and tried to talk to one of the stewardesses about the problem. She though, merely replied to him that the picture showing is part of the flight program, which cannot be changed. So he asked her to please let him speak to the captain of the plane about it. At this, she angrily retorted that he certainly could not see the captain!
So, he walked over to where the projector screen was and pulled up the screen!!
(Rav Frand, who is an extremely talented speaker, in his humorous style, simply paused for a moment and then bluntly continued:)
“HE – GOT – TO – SEE – THE – CAPTAIN!!!”
The captain was a large imposing six foot man; however, the father too, was a good six feet tall, and was thus a full match for the captain. The captain too gave the line that this is an integral part of the flight program, to provide entertainment for the passengers. The father though countered — and again, he was a full match for the captain — that this was the wrong kind of entertainment. As they were arguing, one of the passengers called out “Let’s take a vote!” The father and the captain agreed to this suggestion, to put the issue to a vote of the passengers, and so they took the vote.
THE – FATHER – WON!!
The father won. They did not show the movie. The father won.
Rav Frand repeatedly stressed though, that he was not advising or instructing anyone to do what this man did. What he was saying was that he was showing that this man clearly realized the great need to protect his family and the extreme steps that he felt he had to do in that situation in order to build for them a “Cheder HaAtum.”