Protecting the Bachurim // An asifah in Yerushalayim discusses the dangers of unfettered technology

Ahuge asifah in Yerushalayim just a few days ago, held in the Tamir Hall of the Mirrer Yeshiva, brought together American yeshivah bachurim to hear strong messages about their upcoming return to America. Faced with more pernicious nisyonos when returning home than they would in yeshivah, the bachurim require a level of heightened protection, which the organizers of the asifah were hoping to provide through words of chizzuk and through the mass signing of a written kabbalah to limit use of dangerous technologies.
At the asifah, the thousands of bachurim heard from a series of gedolim and roshei yeshivah. Rav Yosef Elefant, Ram in Yeshivas Mir, introduced the speakers. At the conclusion of the speeches, the kabbalah was distributed and was signed. Below are excerpts from the speeches of the rabbanim and gedolim, edited for length and clarity.

Rav Yosef Elefant:
“We’re gathered here tonight in the same way that Yehudah was sent to Mitzrayim. Yaakov Avinu sent Yehudah down so that klal Yisrael would be miskayeim, they’d have a continuation. Yosef hayah b’Mitzrayim, he held onto his madreigos. We’re coming together to hear from our rabbanim how we can be miskayeim, how we can hold onto the madreigos that we were koneh in Eretz Yisrael before going back to our own Mitzrayim. We shouldn’t have hafsakas hachiyus, chas v’shalom, a bechinah of misah.

“The nekudah of miskayemes is the bechinah of emes. Yaakov Avinu is Toras emes. Emes is about kiyum—emes v’yatziv v’nachon v’kayam. The test of emes is if it lasts. And the ultimate test of if a person was koneh his Torah is if it lasts: if we can take the Torah of Eretz Yisrael and have it last in chutz la’aretz…

“A talmid chacham whose insides are not like his externals is not a talmid chacham. Rav Avraham Grodzinksi, the mashgiach of Slobodka, asks: If his insides are not like his outsides, he’s a hypocrite, a phony! So why does it say that he is not a talmid chacham?
“The answer is that the hagdarah of a talmid chacham is that his Torah is through and through. It’s emes. That a person appreciates pnimiyus…

“There’s an amazing Maharal that defines what the challenge of our generation is. It says that Eisav wore the clothing of Adam Harishon. And it says in the midrash that Yaakov Avinu looked like Adam Harishon: He had the shine, the inner beauty of Adam. But Eisav took the external, his clothes, his packaging. He wore Adam Harishon’s frock. Yaakov took the pnimiyus. That’s the difference between the two.

“Eisav describes the lentil soup as the ‘red’ soup. He has no other understanding in it other than its superficial externals. That’s galus Edom, the galus that we’re in. Make sure we dress right, look right and play the part. But Yaakov Avinu focuses on the internals. Torah is the pnimiyus: V’chayei olam nata b’socheinu…

“The main challenge of our generation is that we’re trapped with chitzoniyus. When we get our enjoyment, our pleasure, from the chitzoniyus, we don’t enjoy the pnimiyus anymore. We don’t have an enjoyment in a Ketzos! We are used to instant gratification, things that look nice…

“So if we want to be koneh emes…we can go home and retain our value of pnimiyus. Not get caught up in the packaging, with the red soup.”

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