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Rosh Yeshiva pasuls witness at chupah because of iPhone

There was a time when I thought such a story would be a hoax, but those days are gone. There has been so much craziness in the chumra and anti-internet world that I’m willing to believe that a Rav would tell a witness he wasn’t kosher because he had internet on his phone. We are i n a brave new world, one in which we are not judged by our good deeds, but on how accessible we are to the internet. Kosher phones vs. iPhones, web chaver vs. filter, internet at home vs. only at work, and so on.

I’m quite certain that the Gedolim would have had a much better time with their flock if they hadn’t just realized that the internet was a little different television and was a necessity for everyday life. What have we come to when a person can be publicly embarrassed (a sin far worse than any of your wildest porn watching on the iPhone) for the sake of proving that your anti-internet stance is extreme.

I wonder when the day will come, when random search checkpoints will be set up in major frum areas to make sure the people are following the halacha by not owning a smart phone? (for the record, my phone is so dumb it doesn’t even have a camera). When will all eidim at chupah’s, divorce proceedings, and other Beis Dins be told they are assur for owning a smart phone or having full access to the internet. I fear for the converts who may have had smart phone owners sitting on their beis dins and having some anti-smart phone chumra nut question their geirus in the future.

The following is a list of other reasons to pasul a witness:

Grandmother didn’t cover her hair or live in the shtetl

Siblings off the derech

Friends with knit yarmulke wearers

Illicit Facebook account

Didn’t support spitting on little girls in beit shemesh

Davens in a shul that says the Israel prayer

Find out more on 4torah.com

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Shragi Getzel September 5, 2012, 3:32 AM

    There’s nothing funny about this. You’re right to fear for that time because it’s acomin’.

  • The Other Mike September 5, 2012, 4:23 AM

    It is one thing to have a few nuts hold opinions like this, but where are the responsible leaders of Orthodoxy? Asleep? Approving? Quietly disapproving?

    • Rebbetzin Hockstein September 5, 2012, 5:43 AM

      Shtika k’hodaah. Lack of dissent is consent. Your question is a good one and goes right to the heart of the matter. Surprisingly, the commenters at (another website where this was first reported) feel that this is over the top. Most people see that this stance is problematic. However, if the rabbonim actually listen to the people, then they are accused of lack of leadership and the people are compared to the face of a dog! It will remain to be seen if other rabbonim will go along with this kind of thing in a can you top this kind of way or if saychal hayosher (clear thinking) will prevail.

  • G*3 September 5, 2012, 9:14 AM

    It follows logically from what was declared at the internet asifa. If someone who uses the internet from anyplace other than a filtered computer at work is yotze min haklal, and has no chelek in olam habo, then is it really surprising that hes pasul leidus?

    Having a pasul eid at a wedding isnt so serious, but if the same guy was an eid at a divorce, according to this Rosh Yeshiva the woman would still be married and any kids she had from a second marriage would be mamzeirim.

  • Michael September 5, 2012, 10:51 AM

    here’s a different approach, Rabbi Lau, chiref rabbi of Modi’in looks at witnesses before a wedding and asks them if they could say that they are 100% honest with their taxes.

    Doesn’t ask them about phones, internet, of colour of their kipa.

    He’s more concerned about theft than the Internet.

  • el September 5, 2012, 11:19 AM

    Not sure I would call them Gedolim . . .

  • Mo September 5, 2012, 1:35 PM

    The only way you can be a Kosher witness is by claiming you have no income, and paying no taxes.

  • Anonymous September 5, 2012, 4:03 PM

    you’re behind the times. A few weeks ago my father was at a wedding where they had 3 Aydim. Yes 3! A new chumra. My father is a ruv, and he went nuts!

    • Shragi Getzel September 5, 2012, 5:46 PM

      You’re behind the times on reporting this important story to the world.

  • Anonymous September 6, 2012, 9:15 AM
  • koifer beikar September 7, 2012, 1:41 PM

    true stry

    a rav in brooklyn passeled an eid under the chupah because he was lubavitch and the rav suspected that he believes that the rebbe is moshiach

    a litvish rav

  • Kate S. September 13, 2012, 7:31 AM

    It’s really too bad that certain Rabbis have demonized the iPhone (or any smart phone) when it can be such a great tool for observance. Currently, I have Israel365, which features beautiful pictures of Israel, iJew, an app that helps me to locate kosher restaurants and bensch if I find myself without my pocket siddur, Daily Torah, the Chief Rabbi’s app, and OU Kosher – self-explanatory. Want to be Orthodox? There’s an app for that.

    I also recently studied an idea (the Rabbi’s name escapes me) that if a person would place a note in his/her pocket to remind them that the purpose of life is to serve Hashem, and take out that note frequently, it would help them to stay on track. An alarm now goes off on my iPhone every day at 2 pm and asks me if I am serving G-d. I really wish the anti-internet folks would understand that just as with anything physical, for all of the potential pitfalls of technology, there is a plethora of benefits.

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