Is Facebook or Smoking more assur?

It’s not another satirical piece by me, it’s actually a fairly lengthy discussion in one of the yeshiva world news coffee room forums and it’s a pretty hot debate. The basic premise is that smoking will cause you physical harm, but facebook will cause you spiritual harm which will lead to physical harm in the long run so facebook is obviously worse. As can be expected, Rav Moshe’s mythical teshuvos are being tossed around and every few comments someone asks “what’s wrong with facebook?” followed by people saying that kiruv organizations can disseminate their propaganda quicker on facebook, but lets look at why facebook may be both a good and evil thing and why smoking has always been argued about in the frum community.

Smoking has never been banned from the frum community for one simple reason, it’s one of the few pleasures that yeshiva guys have enjoyed through time and if the gedolim were to ban it, many non-frum or anti-frum people would look back and make snarky comments about gedolim and yeshiva guys smoking. Just like translating Igros Moshe could be used for evil, banning smoking could essentially paint frum ehrliche yidden who smoke as evil and this they are not – they are merely dumb (although back in the day, how could they know) Banning smoking would also acknowledge that science has some truth to it and this is bad, hence the reason most frum people don’t visit doctors and practice blood letting instead, did you know the Rambam was banned because he believed in modern science? They only hold of him now, because those were different times.

So smoking is bad, but we can’t say it’s bad, because then those evil modern orthodox and so called open orthodox people could look at gedolim like Chaim Shmulevetz and say that they were bad because they smoked, but what about Facebook, why the bad wrap?

It is only recent that the frummies decided to embrace the internet, instead of listening to bans, they instead figured out how to make money by convincing us that everyone – given the chance would only look at porn or have extramarital affairs due to the ease of which this is done on the net and so they started putting out filters. In all seriousness Facebook is like any tool that could be used for good and evil, I use it for evil, picking up girls, hating on Jews, shameless self promotion, finding a wife and learning the daily Tanya, but many Jews use it for good – they use it to communicate with their fellow Jew, create achdus and learn Torah – chabad is probably the best example as jumping on the Facebook and internet bandwagon early. Like always, all the other kiruv organizations had to copy chabad and can now be jealous once again at their extremely good command of the internet and social networks.

Facebook also enjoys the luxury of only having dead gedolim as members. As of now I am friends with Rav Moshe, Rav Ahron, Mar Zutra, Shimshon Raphael Hirsh, The Alter Rebbe, The Baal Shem Tov and Resh Shlukesh – since all of these gedolim were placed after they were nifter they will not be under cherem if it were totally banned. Not one real live gadol is on Facebook knowingly, their profiles are all private, I just k now there’s a big rebbe list-serve out there somewhere, so banning facebook wouldn’t incriminate anyone. It’s not like any anti-orthodox people could say something bad about some rabbi being a member of facebook like they can of smoking.

Be sure to friend me on Facebook and join the evil fun!