Rav Shteinman: You Can’t Throw Out a Bochur for Having a Kosher Cell Phone


rav-shteinman1The potential dangers of cell phones that are not me’ushar – approved – has been highlighted by many rabbonim, especially here in Eretz Yisroel. At some yeshivos, the roshei yeshiva have forbade the bochurim from having even the approved cell phones because the cell phones prevent the talmidim from focusing properly on their learning and serve as a distraction.

One of these yeshivos is Yeshiva Orchos Torah in Bnei Brak, whose rosh yeshiva is Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman. The hanholas hayeshiva has enforced strict rules regarding cell phones and even invested thousands of dollars in installing a sophisticated telephone system, which has a private line for each bochur, in order to provide phone service for the bochurim so they would not need cell phones.

This zeman, many bochurim at the yeshiva have entered the parsha of shidduchim, requiring many more conversations between bochurim and their parents. The zeman also began without the presence of the mashgiach of the yeshiva, Rav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, who was in the hospital.

yeshiva-orchos-torahThese two facts and a combination of other things led to a ‘rifyon’ of sorts, a slacking off in the matter of cell phones, and older bochurim began to bring cell phones into their rooms. The hanholas hayeshiva spoke to Rav Shteinman about what to do, and Rav Shteinman said that despite the strict rules against having a cell phone in yeshiva, nevertheless, no bochur can be thrown out for having a (kosher approved) cell phone.

The question remained: How was the yeshiva to maintain order, and the strict rule regarding cell phones, to prevent the inevitable distractions that the devices cause?

Rav Avrohom Garbaz, one of the roshei yeshiva at the yeshiva, gave a shmuess in place of Rav Mishkovsky, and spoke about the opinion of the gedolim regarding the potential spiritual dangers inherent in cell phones and the weakening in a bochur‘s learning that they cause. At the conclusion of the shmuess, Rav Garbaz requested that all talmidim of the yeshiva sign not to bring cell phones to the yeshiva. Once a bochur signs and commits not to bring a cell phone into the yeshiva, then, if he violates what he agreed to, he can be sent from the yeshiva. Thus, as Rav Shteinman had directed, a bochur cannot be expelled for simply possessing a cell phone, but he would be sent out for violating his word not to bring one into the yeshiva.

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Am I not understanding this, or did they miss Rav Shteinman’s point? If you throw him out, he will likely be off the derech. Even if you design a crafty way to throw him out.

  2. This zeman, many bochurim at the yeshiva have entered the parsha of shidduchim

    you’ve got to be kidding me.
    what the year before and next year bochrim WON’T be going into shidduchim.
    you’ve got to be kidding me.

  3. I don’t like the idea of yeshiva bochurim living in one world and the rest of us in another. But, I do not know what to do about it that would be proper lefi da’as torah.

    Does anyone agree, disagree or have any ideas?

  4. If a Yeshiva of the caliber of Yeshiva Orchos Torah in Bnei Brak, whose rosh yeshiva is Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, cannot succeed in educating its bochurim as to what is proper and good without resorting to trick ways to catch them, things are really bad. The whole issue of so called ‘kosher phones’ simply displays publicly the abject educational failure.

    A generation ago if the Roshe Yeshiva had said this is not good you should not do it, no self respecting bochur would have dreamt of sending an SMS.

  5. It would be better if they were completely cut off from the outside world. Who are we fooling about the calls to parents about shidduchim. We know why they were calling. Letters used to work just fine, and I don’t mean email