Rabbi Ya'ir Frank gives us 3 tips for surfing the internet safely: before, during, and after. In a world where internet is becoming such a significant part of our lives it is warmly recommended to think about these things and to adopt them:
1) Enter with a list
In order to avoid wasting money, one of the recommendations of the Pa'amonim organization is to go to the store with a shopping list and buy only what is written on it. One who goes shopping without a list will often find himself buying things that he does not really need. Why? Because it was "on sale", or in a pack of five, and it's a shame not to buy...
We can say the same with relation to internet, and even more so. After all, the difference between the internet and the supermarket is that in the supermarket at least you have to pay for what you buy, and on the internet everything is (almost) free. What's more, the merchandise on the internet can be much more harmful and rotten that the merchandise in the store.
Therefore, one who enters the internet should have a defined purpose why he is entering, to enter only for that, and to leave. Many times one enters one place, but he finds himself wandering from site to site, and taking everything that is available. And certainly one should not enter the internet for the purpose of wandering about.
2) Prayer before entering the internet
The rabbis said that one entering a city should pray," May it be the will of the Lord my God that you will cause me to enter the city in peace". Why? Because in the city there are various dangers. We have found similar things in relation to one who goes to the bath house, to taking medical cures, and more.
It seems that is our generation one should pray - before entering the internet.(click on the pic to see the prayer in Hebrew)
3) I'm a wayfarer here, and not a member of the household
After I have entered the 'city', I must remember that I am only a guest, passing through, and not God forbid a member of the household. Sometimes the web surfer feels that the entire world is under his mouse. Every opinion, be it true or false, and every culture or something that would like to be thought of as such, are presented as equals in front of his eyes. He feels the entire world, the 'global village', is flowing into his computer without discretion and without judgment. He takes interest in the life of Smith and in the thoughts of Jones, who is sitting somewhere at the end of the earth. Beyond the fact this this can create shallowness and superficiality, mainly it can divert the main point life to other vistas. The inner aspirations of being close to God, of repairing life and the world, and the exalted vision of the nation of Israel and God's Torah, can be blurred under the (apparently) infinite flood of the world around us.
We must remember - our home is somewhere else. Our home is the family and the community, the Torah and the Beit Midrash. On the internet we are only wayfarers, and only after we leave it do we return to our true home (page).
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Safely Surfing the Internet
I liked this article that was published in the Ma'yanei Yeshua parsha sheet, so I decided to translate it for the English peaking world: