Thursday, August 14, 2008

Riled up re: cells

Levi Hodakov over at Shmais has tonight done me a huge favor. He printed an article tonight which declared, "Chabad Yeshivos come together to ban cellphones". The fact that an advertisement for "Kosher cellphones", which claim to be Yeshiva-approved, is front and center on Shmais is of no consequence.

First, a disclaimer: In my three years of Mesifta (Lubavitch Yeshiva of MN-Wexler Learning Institute) I had a cellphone. In two years in LA Zal (YOEC) I had a cellphone. In Shiur Daled in Morristown (Tomchei) I had a cellphone. On Shlichus in the Yeshiva High School of the Twin Cities I had a cellphone. Next year learning Smicha in Morristown (IY"H) I plan on having a cellphone. So yeah, I'm biased. Sue me (that would be LdT or Nemo). I never hid my phone, I never lied about it, everyone (from the Rosh Yeshiva down) knew I had one.

First of all, what is the (perceived) problem with a cellphone? The one problem with cellphones are that they are distractions. That's it. Never mind that going to the Mall of America (Mesifta), being right in between Melrose and Simcha Monica (LA), going into Crown Heights every other week (Morristown), or having hockey twice a week (YHSTC) are also distractions. Every Yeshiva I just named will give you a very good reason why their distraction is really no impediment to a Yeshiva education. And that's cool. When someone gives a reason why a cellphone is also not an impediment though, they're immediately termed an enemy of Lubavitch and cast out to the vultures.

The Shmais article states that:

In the event that the Hanhola of a particular yeshiva feels that a specific Bochur needs to have access to a personal cellular phone all yeshivas have collectively decided that the only cellular phone which will be permitted is “THE PURELY VOICE PHONE”’. There will be no exceptions.

So what's wrong with a purely voice phone? First of all, it sounds terrible. Why not just call it a Kosher phone, or something like that. Second of all, the guys who are currently using their cellphones in nefarious manners will continue to do so, regardless of their Yeshiva's policies. The saints will continue to be saintly. The issue is with the eighty percent in the middle. Which side will they choose to fall out upon? The Yeshivas would have you believe that this eighty percent will choose to join their saintly brethren. This is a patent falsehood. Let's say half will. And the other half? They've suddenly become criminals now. I was eating by the Rosh (YOEC) on Shabbos day, and is wife, the inestimable Roshette, asked him why he didn't ban cellphones in his Yeshiva. The Rosh responded, and of course I paraphrase,

"Because it won't do any good. Bochurim have phones. We can't just ignore that fact. Making them illegal will simply mean that more Bochurim are breaking the rules. When a Bochur breaks one rule, and feels that the rule is unfair, then he'll break rules that he wouldn't have broken if the Yeshiva hadn't banned phones in the first place."

The Rosh understood, which is why I was so shocked to see his Yeshiva listed among the fifteen institutions which have banded together to make a war that they can't possibly win. This is not the battle against color shirts of the late nineties. Yeshivas basically won that, because a guy's shirts are pretty recognizable. A cellphone is a little more difficult to detect. The same can be said for cigarettes. Funny thing about smoking. In Yeshivas where it's legal, guys smoke. In Yeshivas where it's illegal, guys smoke. And cellphones probably have more parental backing; I highly doubt that any kid who has an illegal phone in Yeshiva does so without his parents knowledge. Many kids on the other hand do hide their nicotine habit from their parents.

Regardless, I think that making this official policy of Tomchei Tmimim is a bad idea. If Yeshivas knew how to teach then they wouldn't have to ban anything. There are no knasim in college, because students want to be there. Maybe a ban like this is good for high schools, because no fifteen year old wants to be in school, but once you get to Zal, it's ridiculous. We should give kids a reason to want to be in Yeshiva, not punish them for something which even their parents don't want. Bringing up the parents, why were they not consulted about this? Fifteen sets of Hanhala, we're talking maybe one hundred people, decide this. And the thousands of parents?
Banning phones will make five kids give theirs up and turn another thirty into criminals.

As always, my idea was far better than the result. Nu nu.

32 comments:

Nemo said...

I don't get why they're making this like it's a Chiddush. They decided the same thing the summer before I went to Morristown, at the ever-popular Rosh Yeshiva bingo tournament at Yarchei Kallah. A whole bunch of RY's decided that they're going to save the Bochurim's souls by banning cell phones in Yeshiva.

The result was ala the war on drugs: a miserable failure. You cannot fight with what people are going to do anyways.

Despite the sweeping ban, everybody had cell phones in my days in Morristown. Most guys were smart about not getting caught, burying their chargers in their sock drawer and keeping their silenced cell phones on their persons. There was no body that I remember that was deterred from having a cell phone and "busts" were very few and far between.

The idea of banning cell phones is tried and failed.

The best suggestion that I have for our reverential educators -- and I also mean by implication our legislature in the drug war -- is that they pick necessary and winnable battles.

Just like a school can demand a certain dress code for its benefits on the operating of the school, limit cell phone usage only insofar as it actually distracts learning. Prohibit it during seder, demand disclosure, and confiscate the devices of those that misuse and abuse their privilege. If they feel very strongly about it, let the Roshei Yeshiva require the "Kosher phones."

The current mindset shows how detached the educators are today. They think they can outsmart the 21st century by limiting every possible outlet that Bochurim have. It's simply not doable and it does estrange Bochurim.

Furthermore, this ban portends, in my humble opinion, the absolute stratifying of Lubavitch of the future. As if there's not enough disparity of attitudes today and an increasing disenchantment with the classic Bochur-mold, the Yeshivas are becoming putting more barriers between themselves and willing, capable and talented Bochurim.

Cheerio said...

my brother's in yoec, and they banned his phone after pesach. he's a good, sweet boy, so he got the kosher phone. why? so he could call his folks. there are plenty of boys who might use their phones for other, distracting, purposes, but one of the main functions is contacting parents. after pesach, there were boys who simply didn't call home. i highly doubt their parents were happy.
i'm beginning to become seriously apprehensive about the future of lubavitch education, especially for the guys. where are my kids going to go to school?

wannabeshadchanit said...

am i the only one who realizes why this is a good thing?

let me begin (and end with a story)

there once was a very sweet boy, a very good boy.
he became involved with girls.
once he got a cell phone, it became even easier to become even more involved with girls
over the span of a two years, he went from being sweet and innocent, to being manipulative and not-innocent.

you dont solve anything by banning cell phones, BUT you do make it harder. we cant lock up our hormone-ridden teens in a basement until they achieve maturity (some may never emerge), but since that isnt an option (who would take out the garbage otherwise? haha. just kidding)the least we can do is help them, by making it harder to do the wrong thing.

and dont give me the line that people will find a way around it.

they will

we all found loopholes.

but some may not. some people arent looking for trouble, but they have no problem getting into it if its easily accessible.

this will (hopefully) make it less accessible.

and for those who need to call home a) try a pay phone
b) they are allowing the talk-only phone (note: i am an advocate for our capitalistic system, so i hope someone will open a competing company)
c) write the old fashioned way-you know, with chisel and stone, and homing pigeon

Nemo said...

1. They are only allowing "Purely voice phones" with a special Heter. It's not like they're giving a way to do it, they're trying to restrict phones from everyone besides a few Nebach ADD kids that need to call home every day.

2. I have been "there" already and I saw that this doesn't work and makes very contentious issues with Bochurim. More than any other prohibited item in Yeshiva, this one has no basis in Chassidishkeit. A cell phone is a very "pareve" device, which most people use properly.

3. Not everything in life is about boys and girls. Rules don't only revolve around segregating the sexes from eachother. In Yeshivas cell phones are quite literally distracting. Bochurim sending text messages to eachother, calling people in the middle of Seder, etc.

But that's only an excuse to restrict usage, something that I'm in agreement with.

4. Don't be so small-minded about this issue. The Rosh Yeshivas have to stop being so elitist and start thinking about bettering the general Lubavitch population. They can't enforce rules for those one or two kids that are going to be messed up by their lack of self-control, while pitting the other Bochurim against them. They have to think in terms of the reaction of all Bochurim, present and future, and they have to give consideration to the affects of their actions on their relationship with those they're trying to effect. Right now, it seems that they're losing the battle...

5. The payphone excuse is pure apologist crap. There are three payphones in the entire Morristown Yeshiva and even when the majority of us had cell phones, there were always long lines for the payphones.

Besides, telling everyone that they should just use the payphones avoid the underlying issues mentioned above.

6. The RY's and Rebbeim will not follow suit themselves. I used to see Rebbeim taking calls in the middle of seder, talking outside when they were supposed to be leading by example.

Can they commit to not using their own phones?

Nemo said...

Addendum to (5.):

Not to mention that there's no privacy when using a public pay phone. Although Yeshivas were never big on respecting privacy anyway ...

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.:
Are you sure "Nemo" wrote the above comments? They are unusually well-reasoned, argued and presented. (Relax Nemo, just saying that I agree with you completely on every point!) As I can't resist putting in my own two cents - those who wish to be bad will find a way to do so and those who are responsible and reasonable young men are unlikely to become corrupted by possessing what has become an essential tool of modern life. Rather than impressing us with such a ban, the powers that be are in fact admitting that they are incapable of providing their students with a strong enough moral compass to navigate the perils of our society and have to resort to the tactics of your basic totalitarian government i.e. ban the things that might be a source of threat.
As always,
trying to keep all lines of communication open,
LdT.

Nemo said...

Now that I have your approval counsel, I feel especially compelled to write an op-ed :)

YochananG Aust said...

wannabeshadchanit:
1. what and boy's didn't have trouble with girls before cell phones
2. i was in Yeshivas that banned them and i don't think more then 10% got rid of there phones. in addition the one's that do get rid of there cell are not the ones that a cell phone will get them into trouble in the first place.
3. a Yeshiva can have a lot more control of a cell phone if the Hanhola knows it exists (like Morristown this year were they allowed phones as long as they can see the bill)
4. think about the cost of using a pay phone to call home especially if he is a bochur is from overseas (the calling cards all charge a $1 fee to use a pay phone)
5. if a parent needs to contact there child why should they go throw all the hassle with a pay phone that is always busy and even when you finely get throw and they have to spend 20 minutes searching for them during which someone hangs up on you

The Real Shliach said...

What can I add to all these excellent comments?
Nemo compares this to the war on drugs, which makes a lot of sense. Yeshivas will often make a big deal about a "bust", but it's all propaganda. They're still allowing in 99% of phones.
Cheerio: Don't worry about it. People have been saying that Tomchei Tmimim is going down the tubes ever since they allowed Lubavitcher Bochurim in.
Wannabe: You'll never be able to understand Bochurim, simply because one you ain't. Pontificating from the sidelines never helped anyone.
LdT: Couldn't have said it better myself. I think that on the micro level many Yeshivas are doing excellent jobs; the problem is when certain people try to legislate for the masses and miss the essential point that schools are dependent on their students, and not the other way round.
Yochanan: More practical points that only strengthen our position.

Nemo said...

I wrote a lengthy op-ed which I submitted just now :)

I borrowed a point or two here and there. Thanks folks. See you on CrownHeights.info

e said...

Is CHI going to publish it anonymously? I vote that you put your name on it, or at least link to your blog. It's much more interesting for the readers if they can put a name on the post. Plus, people might take it more seriously if they see that the author is proud of his position and does not feel he needs to hide his identity.

Nemo said...

I did ... and I'm going to get lynched by the RY's for it ...

Good thing I'm skipping town.

The Real Shliach said...

Don't worry Nemo, I'll say something really nice by the funeral.
BTW, what are you still doing in CH?

Nemo said...

I came back to, hopefully, drag some more stuff down. It's kinda silly being here at this late date, but whatever.

Cheerio said...

this is why i like to read blogs. so that other people can express for me what i'd like to have said myself, but lacked the experience and knowledge to. great arguments, guys. now if only we could do something.
and along those lines - looking forward to the op-ed,nemo! you want i should wear black to the funeral?
and e, nemo usually puts his name on his op-eds. which i agree, makes them more efficacious. at least it cuts down on all those commentors complaining that they'd listen to your viewpoint if only you'd be brave enough to give your name. but they don't say it as nicely as i do.

Nemo said...

"you want i should wear ..."

Eliezer, please take her to task.

The Real Shliach said...

No, it's my fault. My throwback mangling of our precious English language has obviously infected the more susceptible elements of our little coterie.

Cheerio said...

the thing about grammar is, it can be intentionally misused in order to imply an inflection reflecting a colloquial pattern of speech.
(now, if my grammar was improper in this sentence, eliezer, feel free to take me to task. but go easy - apparently, i'm susceptible. to what, i'm not sure.but susceptible, nonetheless!)

wannabeshadchanit said...

first off, lets make something clear.

this issue is probably more personal for you guys because it affects you, or your friends, or because you've gone through the system (which according to frumsatire, subjects its subjects to frequents searches and no privacy). (ps-nemo, not shoving anyone into boxes, just making a general statement). i'm sure hearing 'takanos' like this makes you roll your eyes and say 'here we go again'

its definitely not personal for me.
heck, i'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the time my kids make it into the system, things will have straitened up (yes, yes, you can stop laughing).

plus, i hate arguing. so yeah, i could just let this issue die.

but where's the fun in that?

so i'mjust going to answer a few (select) points to keep things bubbling. (or pontificate from the sidelines, as so eloquently put it. i do have a right to speak my opnion. you dont have to read it)see what we accomplish from turmoil-nemo publishes another piece.

i see many excellent points from the posters, such as:

nemo: (10:52 am)
don't just ban, but also work on improving the system; yeshivos should work on improving their relationship with bochurim; rules are only as good as their enforcement; set up alternative means of communication which allow students privacy;


ldt:
provide students stronger moral compasses in life

y.a.: provide alternate means of communication which are cheap as well as reliable, or setting up a compromise system with the cell phones (ps-y.a. boys have been having trouble with girls all the way back to the time of moses and before. that's not a valid argument. we cant just sit back, fold our hands and say "let all heck break loose, we cant fight nature)

what seems to be the overall message is that banning itself isnt enough, that schools have to actually revamp the system. if this is step one, the yeshivos should start moving on to step two

and i'm in total agreement with that one.

i think that banning the phones is a good step-but its only as effective as the follow up strategy, such as cultivating a positive relationship with students, providing good role models, boosting students self esteem by giving them responsibilities as well as a voice in decisions, blah blah blah

i would love to give a "love and logic" lecture to rosh yeshivos, or failing that, "how to talk so kids will listen."



i have so much more to say, but with a screaming kid, you cant think too clearly. sigh....

The Real Shliach said...

"heck, i'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the time my kids make it into the system, things will have straitened up (yes, yes, you can stop laughing)."

I should stop laughing at the typos, or at the idea? All right, that was a cheap shot, but well worth the loss of credibility I'll undoubtedly be suffering because of it.
Don't think that this is solely a Bochur issue. It is in fact a commentary on Lubavitch as a whole. What it's saying is hard to tell at this point. Ultimately I think it's going to polarize the population, though I certainly wish that only good comes from it. Now that the Yeshivas have made this move in Sor Meirah, removing themselves from bad, they need to increase exponentially in Aseh Tov, positive endeavors. Without that the whole thing will flop like a whale on Magrathea.

"plus, i hate arguing. so yeah, i could just let this issue die.

but where's the fun in that?"

No, if you hated arguing, then it would not be fun to continue the discussion. Since you did continue we can learn an important lesson: You only hate arguing when the person you're arguing with responds intelligently. Otherwise, you love it.

"i would love to give a "love and logic" lecture to rosh yeshivos, or failing that, "how to talk so kids will listen."

Wait, you've failed miserably with the readership of this blog, among others, why do you think that you'll succeed with men who have brains, as the vast majority of Roshei Yeshivos have? Bichlal, until you've been in Yeshiva you really don't know how it works; I don't criticize the Hanhala of Beis Rivka, because I don't know what's going on there. As for talking so that kids will listen, there's one very effective method; carrots and sticks. You beat them bad in their backside and bribe them good in their front; works like a charm every time.


"i have so much more to say, but with a screaming kid, you cant think too clearly. sigh...."

BH you certainly managed to say a lot with that screaming kid, and pretty clearly too. Anyway, go take care of your child, he's worth your time a lot more than any denizens of this particular part of the blogosphere.

wannabeshadchanit said...

i got the message...
pretty clearly.

ptowngirl87 said...

In the original post, you wrote "There are no knasim in college because students want to be there."

As a lubavitcher who has gone through the system from kindergarten through seminary to a year of shlichus/ teaching, and currently starting my third year in a secular college, I feel that I must add to this.
Yes, I do see that there are major flaws with the chinuch system And yes, I love college and think it is an awesome system and I wish Jewish schools would learn a thing or two from the way colleges are run. Besides everything from free and available tutoring, to being able to choose your classes, to having education actually be taken seriously, the thing I wanted to write about here is obviously the cell phone issue. In our classes in college, every teacher sets their own rules regarding cell phone usage. I have also been witness to an evolving laxity in the trend of these rules over the last three years of my experience. At first, teachers would not allow cell phones in their class, and would threaten to give a failing grade or at least mark you absent if your phone rang in class. Then there were teachers who realized that you can't fight the nature of developing technological innovations that add convenience to our lives and explained that it is simply rude to allow your phone to ring during class, but if it did, they wouldn't mention it or draw attention to it, just like you wouldn't draw attention to someone sneezing or coughing in class. And then there were the few teachers who had a sense of humor and stood by their rules that if your phone rings during class, the teacher will answer it, or if your phone rings during class, you must bring pizza for the whole class or else risk not getting a grade in the class.

In any case, I don't know how scandalous I am being to advise yeshivas and Lubavitch high schools and seminaries to take example from non Jewish colleges, but I only wish the folks in my other schools were as good as some of the folks in my college right now.

Oh! and about the girl-boy thing: yes, it is really up to every person to choose how they will act. Externally created rules are not the only things that serve as barriers to the way a person acts. In my three years, I have not gotten involved with any guys in a non-tznius way. Just for the record.

The Real Shliach said...

Wow, that is one long comment, which I believe speaks for itself. Since I'm in a contrarian mood, I'll bring up a few points.
The major difference between college and Yeshiva is that a Yeshiva is predicated on the idea of Kabbalos Ol. Colleges do not have this feature. Kabbalas Ol does not necessarily make sense. Witness the following story of the Rebbe Rashab and and his son, the Previous Rebbe:

Once, when I was about six years old, my father called me to his room and told me to make the blessing on the tzitzit. I replied that I had already made the blessing earlier in the day. "Nevertheless," said father, "say the blessing now." I refused.

Father slapped me lightly -- this was the only slap I ever received from him -- and said: "When I tell you to do something, you must obey." Tearfully, I burst out: "If one must recite the blessing for G-d, then I have already done so; and if one must recite the blessing because of your command... well..."

Father replied: "One must recite the blessing for G-d. But every father has been entrusted with the task to educate his children, and he must be obeyed."

Kabbalos Ol means that even when the kid doesn't understand why certain rules are being made, which is often, he still has to obey them. If not, then what is the point is a Jewish education?

Yes, there are things that are schools are failing in, but I would argue that they're failing in their main goal, which is the inculcation of Yiras Shamayim and Ahavas Yisrael. Snag schools also are failing in this regard, but at least they're fulfilling their main goal, which is the learning of Torah. We aren't doing either!
_______

As for your second point, Bochurim and Maidelach; how does one go about being involved with the other gender in a Tznius manner?
Just for the record, I'm not perfect here, and I acknowledge that; I'd just like to know how I could do it Tzniusly.

Danny said...

Don't forget that the college isn't really bothered by your behavior/morals/religion. They just don't want you to disturb class.

ptowngirl87 said...

You are right. Kabalas ol, is a thing that Yeshivos strive to cultivate amongst their students, and yes, I suppose you are right that it is an important inyan to teach chasidisher kinder.
In college, the attitude is much more logical; people are not there because they believe in a greater Being that ultimately sets their rules for their lives. They are there because they want to get a degree so they can get a job. (Or some of them are there just because their parents said they should, and they have nothing better to do; still others are said to be there to meet hot chicks.) But basically, Kabalas Ol is definitely never spoken of...

So I'll give you that one. Giving up your cellphone just because the hanhala says you shouldn't have one requires a lot of kabalas ol, just like following other rules that don't seem to make logical sense. I can't argue with chasidic teachings and hashkafos, but perhaps it would be healthier for the students if kabalos ol was reserved for special occasions, when the hanhala really does know better than the students what will be best for them, or in the case of issues that are asur from the Torah or miderabanan, and not just some ridiculous newly invented ban on cellphones.

And Danny, I don't really understand how a cell phone will be used to do things against morals/religion. Maybe internet could be used in that way, like this conversation right here on this blog, and many others like it: it is a conversation between a bochur (or bochurim) and a girl (me). Is that more appropriate than a cell phone conversation? Aside from the fact that it is easier for parents to track who their kids are talking to on a cell phone than through the internet. But maybe what the Yeshivos really want is to ban any communication with the outside world, to completely and entirely surround their students with the avira of the yeshiva, and not allow them to make any contact with someone outside of the yeshiva while they are there.


Now the bochurim-maidlach issue:
I have recently learned that this is a problem too, but for me being involved with guys in a tznius way meant in a platonic way. Like, if a classmate asks me for help on a homework problem, I will not discriminate and only help a female student. I will talk to the males as well, but get this: in the secular world there are relationships between guys and girls that are not sexual or erotic or even flirty. The other student is just that- another student, and if I can help, I will. I will even have conversations with guys about other things, I am just careful not to get too friendly and personal, or smile too flirtatiously to get their hopes up. :)

I mentioned that i have recently learned that this is wrong too, so I better talk about that here before I mess up the whole chabad world and have everyone think this is the ideal and start going to college (because, no. College is NOT for everyone. There are many people who would not be able to withstand the nisyonos that are faced daily in such a place.)
The place I read about this is in Manis Friedman's book "Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore," and he explains the horrors of "platonic relationships". The main problem is that it desensitizes a person to the natural attraction that is present between men and women, and then the person has a harder time forming real, healthy relationships with the opposite gender when it comes to getting married, and that's why sex counselors make so much money. So Manis explains that the ideal is the way it is in Frum environments, where boys and girls hardly see each other, and are not allowed to interact, so that they can protect and preserve their natural sexual feelings and not be forced to be constantly repressing them for platonic relationships in a way that eventually kills these feelings entirely.
I am starting school again in a couple days, and now that I know this, I will have to rethink how I will interact with the guys at college. Maybe I really should not be talking to them at all. Or even looking at them... Who knows?

The Real Shliach said...

ptowngirl87: I appreciate the thoroughness of your comments; they add a much needed does of sanity to this otherwise addled blog. Now onto the question at hand:
Kabbalos Ol is a difficult quantity to measure. Some would argue, as you do, that it's better in small doses. Others would say that unless it is given great rein it has little chance of success. If Bochurim are allowed to think that normally, their understanding is crucial to the issues, then what's to stop them thinking the same when it comes to special occasions? It's vitally important that they learn quickly the lesson of blind obedience. I know it sounds harsh, but a lot of people would have been a lot happier in Yeshiva if they had only learned to accept the rules for what they were. Precious few are naturally born with this trait, and even fewer are able to keep it up throughout their educational careers. The military is a good example of what I'm trying to say. They make sure that the soldiers know what's what, and who's in charge. Obviously, the system breaks down, but this is in the best of circumstances. If a Yeshiva doesn't demand Kabbalos Ol, then they have very little chance of ever being successful.

The cell phone issue is an important one. I don't believe that the aim is to cut off students entirely from the outside world, because cell phones are not big offenders in this instance. As you correctly point out, the internet is a far more insidious venue, and it is thus justly banned in virtually all mainstream Yeshivos. Cell phones, as I said earlier, are more likely to be problematic when they're used to communicate with people who Bochurim should not be in contact with.

This leads us into the next issue, of boys and girls. It's funny that you only recently read R' Manis' book; I had assumed that it informed the opinions of most Lubavitchers. As I'm sure you understand, I couldn't possibly condone any of my actions online. It's all very nice translating Maamarim and posting Farbrengens, but the last two months of this blog have introduced me to more of the fairer sex than a lifetime before. I think it's wrong of me to have these conversations, though of course I haven't stopped having them. I suppose it's because I enjoy them so much. There's always that thrill of the forbidden fruit, the desire to do the slightly wrong and the nearly evil.
At the same time of course, one can't simply dig one's head in the sand and hope for the best. I think that ideally, we'd all be married before we were exposed to any temptation-as the Gemara puts it, there's bread in the basket-but this world is obviously not based on ideals. I understand that many times people must throw themselves in the lions den before they have the protective shield of a husband or wife. What's the solution? I have not the faintest.

The Real Shliach said...

ptowngirl87: I appreciate the thoroughness of your comments; they add a much needed does of sanity to this otherwise addled blog. Now onto the question at hand:
Kabbalos Ol is a difficult quantity to measure. Some would argue, as you do, that it's better in small doses. Others would say that unless it is given great rein it has little chance of success. If Bochurim are allowed to think that normally, their understanding is crucial to the issues, then what's to stop them thinking the same when it comes to special occasions? It's vitally important that they learn quickly the lesson of blind obedience. I know it sounds harsh, but a lot of people would have been a lot happier in Yeshiva if they had only learned to accept the rules for what they were. Precious few are naturally born with this trait, and even fewer are able to keep it up throughout their educational careers. The military is a good example of what I'm trying to say. They make sure that the soldiers know what's what, and who's in charge. Obviously, the system breaks down, but this is in the best of circumstances. If a Yeshiva doesn't demand Kabbalos Ol, then they have very little chance of ever being successful.

The cell phone issue is an important one. I don't believe that the aim is to cut off students entirely from the outside world, because cell phones are not big offenders in this instance. As you correctly point out, the internet is a far more insidious venue, and it is thus justly banned in virtually all mainstream Yeshivos. Cell phones, as I said earlier, are more likely to be problematic when they're used to communicate with people who Bochurim should not be in contact with.

This leads us into the next issue, of boys and girls. It's funny that you only recently read R' Manis' book; I had assumed that it informed the opinions of most Lubavitchers. As I'm sure you understand, I couldn't possibly condone any of my actions online. It's all very nice translating Maamarim and posting Farbrengens, but the last two months of this blog have introduced me to more of the fairer sex than a lifetime before. I think it's wrong of me to have these conversations, though of course I haven't stopped having them. I suppose it's because I enjoy them so much. There's always that thrill of the forbidden fruit, the desire to do the slightly wrong and the nearly evil.
At the same time of course, one can't simply dig one's head in the sand and hope for the best. I think that ideally, we'd all be married before we were exposed to any temptation-as the Gemara puts it, there's bread in the basket-but this world is obviously not based on ideals. I understand that many times people must throw themselves in the lions den before they have the protective shield of a husband or wife. What's the solution? I have not the faintest.

ptowngirl87 said...

Wow. I haven't been keeping up to date with this blog and didn't realize until now that you had responded to my comment. I don't have a lot to say, just this:
The Real Shaliach, (and btw, my brother says he knows you from YOEC, but I won't write your name here because I understand that real names are taboo on blogs) here's my advice to you: GET OFF THE INTERNET AND GO BACK TO YESHIVAH!! Do you think your future wife will enjoy reading all your friendly discussions with girls?
Wishing you much hatzlacha.

The Real Shliach said...

Ok, you're Yossi R's sister. You're brother, Yudi, is in Yeshiva here in Minnesota, where I'm currently hanging out until I start Smicha in Morristown after Sukkos.

And I'm sure my wife will be able to overlook my youthful indiscretions.

e said...

wow! We used to actually have serious discussions on TRS!

Cheerio said...

well, at least his wife will be able to overlook his youthful indiscretions.
seriously - it would be nice to have more of these conversations.we're all intelligent, serious minded folks with opinions in our non-internet lives - why not here too?

The Real Shliach said...

e: yup

Cheerio: nu?