By S. Friedman
This is not a typical Matzav.com article, and quite frankly, I don’t even know if they’ll publish it. Unlike some other “frum” news sites, Matzav.com truly prides itself on being above base gossip and vile news that comes from the underbelly and fringes of our society. While some other sites are rife with loshon hora and have no qualms about publishing the basest of stories, Matzav.com does not. They are to be commended and they are the standard bearer to how news should be presented to a frum audience looking to uphold Torah ideals.
Somebody supposedly did something bad. Very bad. The nature of what act this person committed does not need to be enumerated, as I am sure most readers can surmise what constitutes “very bad” in our day and age. If you want the unproven details of what was alleged, you’ll have to go elsewhere. As far as who was involved, it was a relative of mine. A respected talmud chochum whom some people would go to for advice. Identified as a “rabbi” and rightfully so. He is quite brilliant by most accounts, and never was involved in anything substandard in the past.
Why am I even writing about a nameless someone who at this point is only “alleged” to have done something wrong? Because at the very worst, he is as dubious a person as they come, or on the flip side, he was in a compromising circumstance that doesn’t reflect who he really is and what his intentions really are. At best, it is a classic “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
What is that wrong place? It is the unprotected internet. Rav Matisyahu Solomon, shlit”a supposedly has commented that being in a room with unfiltered internet is akin to yichud. In the year 2013, who can dispute that? How can anyone deny the accessibility to filth and forbidden communications that none of us can claim to be immune to?
We have ta’avos– it is our human nature. Of course we can be civil and maintain our control, at least most of the times. But chazal tell us not to put ourselves in compromising situations that will test us. That was what Mordechai implored the yidden from refraining from the “kosher” feast of Achashveirosh. When an aveira is committed, we know we have crossed the line; our sages in their wisdom have told us to not even get close to the proverbial line as well. Our ta’avos are not to be underestimated.
The gemara recounts how an elderly sage committed adultery at the very last stage of his life. The yetzer hora can ensnare a person until his very last breath on this earth- “od yom moyso.” No one is above this. Some people may comment incredulously on this article, “well, why are you writing on the treife internet?!” I am not advocating ceasing and desisting from internet use- it is a fact of life here to stay, and if anything, having a quality website like Matzav.com helps us stay insular even when delving in the World Wide Web.
What I am advocating, no, imploring, is the use of filters and buddy systems. My relative’s life is now ruined. He navigated unchartered waters where he did not belong and now his story will be fodder for the next speech you hear about the evils of the internet. Please do not let his fall be a total waste; use this as yet another wake up call to us all that no one is immune and we need protections from the base immorality that exists in the virtual world.