The Matzav Rant: What’s Worse Than Smashing Computers for Public Display?

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computer-smashBy Shmuel Miskin

What’s worse than publically destroying a computer for so-called hashkafic reasons and having a video of the charade posted on You Tube?

In my opinion, what’s worse is going and interviewing the fellow who carried out the charade.

You see, as long as a charade such as the one that has been watched many times this week on You Tube remains nothing more than a video, it is not given a voice and it is not given legitimacy. As soon as the person involved in such a public display is interviewed and given a chance to ‘explain’ his actions, he is suddenly given free publicity and some sort of legitimacy, when he deserves none. People like this should not be given the time of day.

I raise this point because as disturbed as I was by the video being emailed around of this man at Yeshiva Machane Yisroel destroying a laptop violently as a demonstration of his ‘rejection’ of technology and the potential spiritual dangers of computers – for l’sheim Shomayim reasons of course – I was more bothered by the fact that there are frum people who would actually seek him out and give him a voice.

Why allow a person who engages in radical behavior the opportunity to ‘explain’ away his behavior? Why give such a person the opportunity to actually claim that what he engages in is somehow reflective of Torah Judaism?

It’s one thing to point out the idiocy and potential damage of such conduct. It is one thing to explain that normative Torah Judaism does not condone or call for such behavior and that what this gentleman did is not reflective of what regular, good, ehrliche, aidele, frum Yidden believe should be done, especially when it can be viewed by thousands around the world who have little idea of the lives we lead, the values we hold dear, and the special mesorah that we each carry with us.

It is a whole different story to go ahead and – even inadvertently – give some legitimacy to the behavior by granting “exclusive” interviews with the people or person involved. By giving interviews with radicals such as so-called Neturei Karta activists, computer-pulverizers and other crazies, we provide fodder for the chareidi-bashers and the Torah-community-haters to try to tear us down, paint us all as lunatics, and slander our communities. Let’s not help them.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not minimizing the dangers that are present in computers and internet use. Like any other form of technology that is used incorrectly and for the wrong reasons, a computer and the internet can be utilized in very destructive ways.

However – and this is the primary point here – when we search for the proper manner in which to behave, and when we seek to highlight specific behavior, let us look to our gedolim and give exposure to their impeccable conduct. Let us take a look at a tzaddik hador like Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Mirrer rosh yeshiva, whose every move bespeaks aidelkeit and kedushah. Let us look at Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, the Philadelphia rosh yeshiva, whose words of caution and response regarding the dangers of technology and the internet never remotely involved violently throwing computers to the ground for You Tube viewers to watch and mock.

Let’s stop giving a voice to the radicals who wish to portray themselves as representing normative Torah Judasim. Even when the goal is to ‘expose’ their lunacy, their explanations and pontifications are taken by many out there as somehow being representative of significant portions of Klal Yisroel, when that is absolutely incorrect. Thus, those who speak to these maniacal and flaky fellows are doing a disservice to Klal Yisroel and possibly causing greater chillul Hashem.

{Shmuel Newscenter}


  1. Love the fact that the event of ‘destroying’ technology was video taped using technology and published on youtube (the internet) which also technology, uploaded using a computer.

    I guess you can use technology for propaganda purposes

  2. Go ahead Rabbi Miskin, keep it up! Let’s keep up the pressure on all of there sites ‘She’ein Ruach Chachamim Nochin Mei’hem’.

  3. I think we will be wasting our time trying to stop anti charedi gangs (or antisemites for that matter) to like us it should never be our focus because they at the end of the day they have an agenda and so they will dig down till china to find problems in the frum world if they could so lets not focus on them lets rather focus on technology which is here to stay and life is getting harder and harder without computers who knows maybe the machene yisroel rosh yeshiva will eventually join the amish we have to put things in perspective and work out how to have computers and the internet for that matter without being nichshal this should be our focus, not being concerned about mishigoyim (I mean we could interview them why not like we interview anybody and who cares why should that bother anybody) and not working out how to prove to the goyim and anti charedim that we really are normal because deep down they know that we are normal they are just looking for excuses to live a care free life and so they are constantly proving frum yiden who follow Hashems torah have it so badly

  4. Rabbi Miskin,

    With all due respect you miss the point of WHY the computer was being destroyed. The computer was the instrument which was hindering the BT from growing and conquering his yetzer hara! The Rav is not opposed to “technology” but rather unfiltered technology which destroys yiddishe neshamas. How can anyone be against such a thing?

    While I agree that the action of destroying a computer is radical, the position held by MOST of our Gadolim today is that the INTERNET and NON KOSHER phones are NOT acceptable! Whether you like it or not that is the “normative” mainstream position held. Every week we read of a new Kol Koreh against this…

    Furthermore, the greatest opponents of the computer and internet are none other then students of the Chofetz Chaim and Brisker Rav. Rav Elyashiv Shlita, Rav Shteinman Shlita both considered by many to be the Gadol Hador also hold these positions you call radical. For you to say that these people do not represent normative Torah Judaism is a slander, even Motzei Shem Ra!

    I challenge you to take your rant and share it with Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky Shlita and see who he sides with. I dare say he would be upset that you used his name and that he would side with the so called “radicals” rather then your “normative” side.

    In my opinion the actions orchestrated were a beautiful thing! Yes a true Kiddush Hashem! Of course I am one of those “radicals” !

  5. To number 4 you seem to be contradicting yourself on the one hand your against computers but your using one yourself or are you now planning a smashing ceremony yourself and so this is your last comment before you ‘become kudosh’ I assume youve been to the mikveh already and just for the record the gedolim in eretz yisroel made it clear they are speaking for yiden in eretz yisroel only you got a problem then take it up with them now the internet is in reality just like walking in the street you have bchira choose for your soul and get a good filter there are plenty out there

  6. Rabbi Mishkin,
    I respectfully disagree. We must know who the crazies (he is not a kanoi he is a meshuguy), who lead institutions are. That way we can know not to be machsiv anything he says. It is a public service to expose them and make sure they do not advance in stature. I believe in this cases I would side with the other site.
    kol tuv.

  7. To # 4 “Beautiful”:

    You are hopelessly mixed up.
    First you agree that destroying computers is radical, but then conclude by saying it is a “beautiful thing”.
    Make up your mind!

  8. To #4 the question being discussed is not whether the internet is good or bad, sanctioned or unsanctioned by daas torah. The question at hand is whether people should smash computers and whether the act of these people smashing computers should be taped and the tape shared with the world at large. I would be hard pressed to even imagine Rav Shmuel – the epitome of refinement – smashing a computer let alone smashing a computer and being taped doing it

  9. There is a reason to publicize it; Machane Yisroel Yeshiva has gotten tax-deductible status in the United States and apparently gets a significant amount of money from American donors.

    Hopefully these donors were unaware of the crazy computer-smashing, and seeing this tape will convince them to instead donate to one of the many other worthy Jewish causes. Though I suppose c”v this might encourage donations to them.

  10. To my detractors:

    When a person does NOT attack the arguement but instead chooses to use ad hominem insults and red herrings they have lost the arguement. The fact that many of you dont understand why I use a computer shows your total lack of knowledge of the issue at hand and predisposed prejudices.

    I have NO problem if someone disagrees with my view but PLEASE address the arguement and know what you are talking about before you make ignorant statements.

    #7 Are you not aware that their are numerious communities in Diaspora where the tv, internet and unkosher phones are banned? Personally I have no problem if a religious Jew wants to have television and internet even in their house. I have modox friends however, if one is going to suggest that those who dont are abnormal and not keeping with daas Torah then they are truly misinformed and ill! To the contrary modox is the newer hashkafa. It wasnt long ago when the term modox was an insult. Sad to see how much we have changed in a generation!

    #10 Maybe you are right and I misunderstood the author. I felt it necessary to defend the the Gadolim who believe that the internet shouldnt be in the house of a Torah Jew.

  11. I encourage a renewal of the beautiful hashkafah of Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch ZTZAL. Rav Hirsch taught love of HaShem and love of Torah and Mitzvos within the daled amos of halacha. That is the only thing that is important. Rabbonim. Teach Rav Hirsch !!!


  13. “Beautiful” you are flat out wrong – I suggest you read the interview. He claims that internet access evil. Period. Besha’as hadchak, only if you really can’t get parnasah, you can use a filtered access at work. That’s a far cry from from being against unfiltered access. He also makes claims that are untrue – and the he KNOWS are untrue. He claims that he has been helping people who have had their marriages damaged by the internet for 25 years. Except that the internet as we know it was not in existence 25 years ago! And, it only started becoming really common in homes in the last 7 years or so.

  14. Actually, the interview served one good purpose. Anyone with some knowledge and a sense of proportion has to understand that this man is seriously out of his mind, once they read this article. After all, can anyone really take someone who compares himself to Moshe Rabbeinu seriously!?

  15. no wonder we have so many going off the derech when teenagers see these type of things why should they want to____________________!


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