Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Worthless Kol Koreh?

Fascinating quote of R' Elyashiv, emphasis added:
According to the weekly Belz-affiliated BaKehilla newspaper, HaGaon Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv is going to comply with the growing number of requests from rabbonim and roshei yeshiva and will be prohibiting MP4 players.

Roshei yeshiva visited Maran this week, and one case that was shared was a bachor who he noticed was totally engulfed in the gemora, swaying back-and-forth rhythmically as he stared at the sefer, prompting the rav to go over to his talmid to experience the event. It was then that he noticed the bachor was swaying to the music and not his gemora, hooked into his MP4 player which was well hidden.

The report adds that seminary rabbonim concur, fearing many good students may be corrupted by the influence.

When Maran asked “what can I do?” he was requested to publish a letter prohibiting the device.

Rav Elyashiv asked, “The tzibur still pays attention to such letters?” to which they responded the letter lends credibility to their statements that the players are problematic. It also gives rabbonim in yeshivas and seminaries the authority to send students home if found with the “portable TV units”.

Rav Elyashiv indicated a letter would be released, a letter that other Gedolei Yisrael will also sign, but it is unclear if the letter will be directed to talmidim and talmidos, or a general ban on the device.

It is extremely interesting that R' Elyashiv's assumption is that people seem to not pay attention to the kol korehs, though it seems logical to assume that such letters do give some credence to the Rabbeim's words about the negative impacts of things as they responded. It's also interesting that they did not say yes, but implicitly acknowledged that in fact, kol korehs are by and large ignored.

This seems like quite a (quiet) shift in the Jewish landscape and approach to da'as Torah.