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Shevat 5766 – Internet: Is It REALLY That Bad?

15 Shevat 5766
Internet: Is It REALLY that Bad?

I’d like to comment on David Orlofsky’s article about the Internet and perhaps he can comment on this. While I definitely agree to everything he writes, and I have a lot of experience using the Internet, I’d like to mention what a useful tool the Internet is and how I would find it hard to live without it. I am a writer, and I am in constant need of researching many varied subjects. The Internet has been of excellent help to me, and I could never have done what I have done without it.

When I first started using the Internet, aged 19 (and now I’m 22), I admit I did get carried away in chat rooms, and even on porn sites. But today I never ever surf such sites, I just have no desire to do so. I think it’s something one gets tired and disgusted by and so I don’t feel it is in anyway a threat to me.

Talking about Internet dating, there have been some fabulous couples who met online, and it worked out well for them. I myself have an online Rabbi and I would say he knows me better than anyone else, because it started off as anonymous. I verified that he is an authentic Rabbi, and I even travelled eventually to meet him. He has been of invaluable help to me. So the Internet does have benefits, even if perhaps the risks can be great.

Thank you,
A 22 year old girl from Jerusalem

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Dear Friend,

What can I say? You confirm the worst experiences that I have heard from people involved with the internet! How can one treat something as serious as looking at pornography so lightly! And you are apparently one of the lucky ones who didn’t get addicted to such sites. What about the people who do? How can the convenience of a research tool justify such potentially serious consequences?

There may be some fabulous couples who met on the internet, just as there may be some fabulous couples who met at bars. But would you then recommend hanging out in bars? And what about the many people who got involved in inappropriate relationships on the internet? Again, why take a risk when there is a less convenient, but risk free option?

You contacted a Rabbi and used the internet as an opportunity to build a real relationship with a real Rav. Boruch Hashem! But there are many people who never bother to do that and instead form a relationship with an anonymous Rabbi (or Rabbi’s – some sites employ more than one) who might not even be qualified.

In summation, I am glad that you crossed the minefield and came out alive (though I believe you were injured). But can you fault me for encouraging people NOT to cross a minefield?

Thank you for taking the time to share your observations and experiences and may Hashem bless you and all klal yisroel.

Sincerely,
Dovid Orlofsky