Jan 20, 2010

Ban by Israeli Rabbis on Frum Internet Sites

Frum sites have been discontinued because rabbis in Israel said there should be no "chareidi" (an Israeli term for frum) presence on the Internet.  The reason given is that so-called frum sites promote lies, lashon hara, defame talmidei chachamim and foment machlokes and even if these sites would have no garbage on them, they inevitably lead the readers to use the rest of the Internet which has caused many people to fall spiritually.

1) The Kol Haloshon website (over 200,000 shiurim), based in Eretz Yisroel, has ceased operation in compliance with the ban by Gedolei Eretz Yisroel against chareidi websites. Kol Haloshon is seeking permission from these Gedolim to reopen its website.

2) The Command, and the Retreat

In light of the comments recently made by Gedolei Yisrael, shlita, "Etrog" – a site that is completely free of lashon hara – has decided to discontinue its services on the internet. From this moment on, there will be no news or other informative postings on the portal

Chaim Twerski 16/12/2009 16:00

Dear friends and site visitors,
 The letter signed by Gedolei Yisrael regarding chareidi internet sites, which was posted at the end of last week, is familiar to all of us.

We are confident that any of you who have visited the "Etrog" portal during the last year, by chance or on a regular basis, will testify to the fact that our wide variety of news and Jewish postings have met all of even the most stringent criteria set by the Gedolei Yisrael in their letter.

We are all familiar with the damage caused by the internet in the last few years. But we honestly believe that you will all agree with us, that this site was a home of Torah and Jewish knowledge, and that our portal only presented the true facts of the news, clean of any slander or sensationalism.

With the publication of the rabbis' letter, we must take action to verify the exact details and limits of the issur. This morning, we were personally informed that all chareidi internet activity must immediately cease. From the moment we began planning, and then eventually established the site, we decided to accept any guidance and halachic ruling received from Gedolei Yisrael. Therefore, just as we have adhered to the psakim of our Torah leaders thus far, we must continue to maintain that standard today.
 This is not an easy step for us to take. Much thought and effort was invested in this project, and we have endeavored to fulfill a self-assigned mission of providing a clean, respectable site. A source of light in the terrible darkness. There have been occasions when we chose not to report on individuals and events that made very interesting stories, and lifted the "ratings" of other sites. If the material was not appropriate, we did not publish it.

We felt that we were continuing the legacy of those who followed the psak of the holy Admor of Gur, the "Imrei Emes", ztz"l, who one hundred years ago battled against the influence of the "Enlightenment" and assimilation movements in newspapers. But that same devotion to truth and purity forces us now to stop everything, and follow orders, without questioning their legitimacy.

This is something that must be done, dear friends. The Yetzer Ra has invaded every corner of the internet, but will now be left alone on the battlefield. We hope that the strength of Gedolei Yisrael will empower you as well, and we are confidant that you will be able to overcome the temptations of the internet, even without the help that we extended to you all for the past year.

I will say this - kol ha'kavod to this individual for submitting, even though he did his best to have his site conform with halacha and had noble goals.


  1. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I raised my children without a computer. They never had to vy with blogs and forums for my attention, however, instead of emailing messages to everyone, I spent hours on the phone.
    Now, if we want to find out when a shiur is or who is raising money for a cause, we log onto the shul's website or the rabbi sends an email.
    Now the content of some sites and blogs is probably lashon hara. While lashon hara is as treife as pork, most of us want accurate information (if such a thing really exists) about news in the frum world. The comments though, may have affected the outcome in criminal trials where Jews were being tried. There may be people who make their decisions about where to give tzedukah based on what they read on the internet. We see that yeshiva tuition is spiraling out of control but some on the internet see public school as an answer and could develop a dangerous following.
    There are sites that only offer divrei Torah and other sites that help in finding shidduchim. This is both good and bad. We can learn online in the middle of a sleepless night or get sucked into something less productive. Shidduchim are best made by people who know both parties but as we know today that does not happen as often. We can only hope that couples who meet online develop happy marriages. It is also helpful online to see who is engaged and to whom they are engaged. We used to have to wait for a phone call.
    Then there is shopping. Armed with a credit card, I can buy books, clothes, housewares, etc. That is great but there are local frum stores that could use my business.

  2. I love online shopping, and do enjoy finding information I need. I am sorely disappointed by most "frum" sites and have left the overwhelming majority of them and avoid almost all news sites. Between the untznius pics and rumors, and machlokes-dig comments I finally turned around and ran the other way.

  3. A few sites have eliminated 'comments' which eliminates the snide remarks and the anonymous lashon hara.

  4. The operative word is "few". Most frum sites still have comments, snide remarks, and lashon hara. I don't go on very many but the few that I do go on still have comments and sometimes they really say ugly things. They are not moderated to weed out lashon hara and I don't know what standards are used for moderation altogether. I don't know if the webmasters of those sites ever considered asking a posek if what they are transmitting is kosher or not and I would suppose that if someone asked a rav they would be told not to go on those sites. I haven't found frum sites with untznius pictures but then I don't really notice the pictures.
    Online shopping is ok for some purchases but I have never had luck buying shoes that way.

  5. B'h
    Modern tech is not to just know about but imho to use.
    As with all areas in yiddishkiet we must ask ourselves does a particular site encourage us in our avodas Hashem or not.