Television: A cry of anguish and appeal to out Jewish Brethren

We Jews have been designated by G-d to be a “kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” Unfortunately, however, in the two thousand years of our Diaspora, the nobility of the Jewish character has suffered from considerable onslaught. In recent times, particularly, the protective walls that gaurded our sanctity have crumbled. As a result, we are sadly witness to the fulfillment of the pasuk: “They mixed witht he nations, and learned from their actions.” Many, including even Torah-observant Jews, have sunk to the practice of seeking their pleasures and enjoyment in the most vulgar, un-Jewish manner. This has occured to the extent that they are willing to open their homes to the worst sort of depravity, through the medium of televesion.

We must realize that the day will come when each of us will have to account for all of our actions, and we will be hard-pressed to justify how we could have permitted obscenity and indecency to enter our homes, to be absorbed by our children, the pure Jewish souls entrusted in our care. Lately, especially, each day’s programs seems to outdo in perversity those of the day before, as wanton murder and violence, immorality and nihilism, are protrayed for the pleasure of the viewers.

How can we Jews permit ourselves to watch these proceedings – and that, with complete equanimity? How do responsible parents allow their sons and daughters to sit and look at continuous graphic depictions of the three cardinal sins of Judaism – immorality, murder and mockery of faith? Is this the formula for raising an upstanding generation, developing students of Hashem’s Torah, refined in character and striving for Yiras Shomayim?

Even non-Jews with a sense of decency are deeply dismayed at the moral deterioration that society has suffered as a result of the television-spawned culture, the terrible toll it is taking on the country’s youth, and how it is directly responsible for the unrestrained, insolent attitude that prevails in the land.

What, the, are we to say – we who are commanded to keep the mitzvos, we who are instructed to excrcise restraint and to distance ourselves from all manner of licentiousness? We are enjoined both by the Torah and by all standards of derech eretz and deecensy to purge corruption from our midst.

We must free ourselves and our children, once and for all, from the addictive task-master – the television set – that rules our entire lives. If until now we’ve been remiss about this, it is high time we take strength and encourage one another, to eliminate from our homes this spiritual pollutant that toxifies the very atmosphere.

It is incumbent upon every man and woman, every family and circle of friends, to purge television-viewing from their homes, thereby fulfilling the commandment that “our camp be holy,” our eyes pure, and our hearts noble, bringing blessing upon the Jewish people – achieving a life of sanctity, and proving worthy of the Torah of Life, “whose ways are ways of pleasantness.”

In response, may Hashem Yisborach accept our teshuva and our tefillos with compassion, and ave us from all our flaws, so that we can serve Him wholeheartedly, and soon merit the full redemption.

Rosh Chodesh Elul 5752

Rabbi Avrohom Pam
[Yeshivas Torah Vodaath]

Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin
[Yeshivas Telz, Chicago]

Rabbi Aaron Schechter
[Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin]

Rabbi Binyomin Paler
[Yeshiva Mkor Chaim]

Rabbi Binyomin Zeilberger
[Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud]

Rabbi Chaim Baruch Wolpin
[Yeshivas Telz, Chicago]

Rabbi Chaim Epstein
[Yesshiva Zichron Melech]

Rabbi Chaim Stein
[Yeshivas Telz, Cleveland]

Rabbi Elya Fischer
[Kollel Gur]

Rabbi Elya Svei
[Yeshiva Gedola of Philadelphia]

Rabbi Gavriel Giinzburg
[Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Toronto]

Rabbi Henach Leibowitz
[Yeshiva Rabbi Yisroel Meir]

Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan
[Yeshiva Toras Chaim, Denver]

Rabbi Joseph Rosenblum
[Yeshiva Shaarei Yosher]

Rabbi Leib Bakst
[Yeshiva Bais Yehuda, Detroit]

Rabbi Levi Krupenia
[Yeshiva Kamenitz, Toras Emes]

Rabbi Lipa Margolis
[Yeshiva Torah Temima]

Rabbi Malkiel Kotler
[Beis Medrash Govoha, Lakewood]

Rabbi Meir Stern
[Yeshiva Gedola of Passaic]

Rabbi Mordechai Gifter
[Yeshiva Telz, Cleveland]

Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum
[Yeshivas Mir]

Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky
[Yeshiva Gedola of Philadelphia]

Rabbi Shimon Shwab
[Rav, Khal Adas Yeshurun]

Rabbi Shmuel Faivelson
[Bais Medrash LaTorah, Monsey]

Rabbi Shrage Moshe Kalmanowitz
[Yishivas Mir]

Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld
[Mattersdorfer Ruv, Yeshiva Ch’san Sofer]

Rabbi Simch Schustal
[Yeshiva Bais Binyomin, Stanford]

Rabbi Tuvia Golstein
[Yeshiva Emek Halocho]

Rabbi Yaakov Perlow
[Novominsker Rebbe, Yeshiva Novominsk]

Rabbi Yaakov Schnaidman
[Yeshiva Bais Moshe, Scranton]

Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg
[Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Baltimore]

Rabbi Yechiel Perr
[Yeshiva Derech Ayson]

Rabbi Yekusiel Bittersfeld
[Yeshiva Zichron Shneur]

Rabbi Yisroel Perkowsky
[Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud]

Rabbi Yitchok Feigelstock
[Yeshiva of Long Beach]

Rabbi Yosef Harari Raful
[Yeshiva Ateret Torah]

Rabbi Zecharya Gelly
[Rav K’hal Adas Yeshurun, Yeshiva Rabbi S.R. Hirsch]

Rabbi Zelig Epstein
[Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah]

My response: A pretty intense letter, though it doesn’t apply to me because I haven’t watched much TV since I left home at age 12, when I permanently moved out of my fathers house I never once owned a TV and I go to the movies about twice per year. In fact, most of my friends aren’t big TV watchers and the folks I get along with most hate the concept of TV and would rather read or a book or be outside – so for once I am in agreement with this long list of Gedolim many of whom are up there rockin it with the Lord and wondering why they never wrote a letter like this about hulu.com – since you really don’t need a TV anymore.

Although I can understand the dangers of late night public access TV in NY – not that I would ever look at such pritzus, but did anyone else watch Robyn Bird as a kid. I just realized that this is one of the few things that frummies have in common with extreme left wing types – they are both likely to have the bumper sticker “kill your television”.

Now I wonder why they never wrote a letter like this for any of the other dangers directly affecting the frum community and threatening to destroy us. Things like, snood, padded shoulder shabbos robes, boys choirs, rabbi molesters, yeshivish lecha dodi’s where they stop after every sentence to let you say it without singing, Dougies, smoking, excessive drinking, underage boys hanging around older dudes in the mikvah, and many more…

Please note that this certian things in this letter were spelled incorrectly

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