14 Feb An Interview with the Yeitzer Hara About Facebook
As I was coming out of shul yesterday, who do I meet but the Yeitzer Hara himself. As my readers know, I’m always anxious to learn some new tricks, on how to avoid sinning, from the “man” himself. I immediately pigeon-holed him and asked, “Can I have a few of your precious minutes?” He looked at me good humoredly and said, “Rav Weiss, you want to steal some more of my secrets?” I answered bravely, “Well we both work for the same Boss, don’t we? So he chuckled and said, “I guess I can spare you a few moments!” So I told him that recently I opened a Facebook page and began posting videos of some of my short lectures between mincha and maariv and other links to my teachings. He shrewdly looked at me and told me, “You know, I don’t like the Torah-stuff. The Gemora in Kiddushin teaches us that Hashem created the Evil Inclination and the Torah as its antidote.”
Rabbi Weiss: Well, we each have to do what we’ve got to do. Right?
Yeitzer Hara: I guess so. So how many people do you have watching your little Torah thing?
RW: I already have over 1,900 ‘friends” and I’m hoping that many of my readers will ‘friend’ me too and enjoy the Torah.
YH: (With a sinister laugh!) You don’t know what you’re getting into!
RW: What do you mean by that?
YH: When the telephone was invented, it afforded me many more opportunities to get people to sin with Lashon Hara, evil gossip. But, if the telephone was like a smoking gun, Facebook is a Weapon of Mass Destruction!
RW: How so?
YH: One person, we’ll call him Chaim, has a financial disagreement with his friend Chatzkel. So Chaim posts a picture of Chatzkel on his Facebook page and says, “Do you know this guy? He calls himself a contractor. He messed up my wife’s kitchen and is trying to rob us blind. Stay away from him” He then shares this with his 1,400 friends and some of them shared it with their 100s of their friends. Now, in reality, Chatzkel did a good job but Chaim’s wife did not like the shade of yellow he used and therefore did not want to pay him. In the meantime, 7 people already cancelled jobs with Chatzkel and his reputation was completely ruined.
RW: Oh my! That’s very scary.
YH: That’s just the beginning. You should see the bashing of Gedolim that goes on in Facebook.
RW: For the sin of not giving proper respect to Torah, the 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Ahiva died of the most heinous death of diphtheria.
YH: I’m just getting started. Then there’s the matter of rampant promiscuity.
RW: In what way?
YH: Lots of ways. There are all kinds of loose women that prey upon lonely people or curious people on the internet.
RW: That can be a serious problem causing one to transgress the prohibition, lo sosuru acharei l’vavchem v’acharei eineichem – one should not stray after their heart and after their eyes.
YH: It gets even scarier. The Torah says that a man is prohibited to wear the clothing of a woman and vice versa. The commentators explain that this is to ensure that a man not disguise himself as a woman and then mix with them. This can happen on Facebook with a man who opens a page with a woman’s name and picture and then hobnobs with the ladies.
RW: How scary!
YH: One more thing and then I’ve got to go. If you’ve got teenagers who are on Social Media unsupervised – besides the lewdness, they can pick up all kinds of information that you don’t want them to have from where to find the cheapest pot to where they could get a fake ID, to how to jumpstart a car or even obtain a gun. It’s the Yeitzer Hara’s dream come true. And now, I’ve really got to go!
RW: Well, as always thank you for your eye-opening advice.
Postscript: From the preceding, I hope you understand that Social Media is a very dangerous media indeed. However, I also realize that there are millions of people who are actively using it. Therefore, if you can avoid it, please listen to me on Kol Haloshon, by dialing 718-906-6400 or view me on TorahAnytime.com where I have already almost 2000 shiurim in video. Or, subscribe to Dial-a-Shiur and learn with me on Torah Communications Network or even better, subscribe to my weekly Torah CD which will also help my livelihood by calling 718-916-3100 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if you are using Facebook for business or other permissible purposes, then ‘friend’ me and enjoy the almost daily lectures that I am posting there. In the merit of our learning Torah, may Hashem bless us with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.
Please learn and daven for the refuah sheleima of Miriam Liba bas Devorah, b’soch shaar cholei Yisroel.
Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
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