It presents interviews with 2 Gadolim [major Torah Sages], Rav Gershon Edelstein of Ponevezh Yeshivah and Rav Dov Landau of Slabodka Yeshivah, plus excerpts of speeches by Rav Edelstein.
Listening to the actual words of a big talmid chacham always creates an eye-opening experience.
They both think & feel very differently than the average person.
For example, one thing they do is ask "why." Or "what."
I noticed this in encounters with other Gedolim, like Rav Shteinman.
They want to delve into the issue & understand. So they ask "why."
So in this article, for example, Rav Edelstein asks, "What's the problem?" and "What do you mean by 'they need it'?"
Rav Landau asks, "Can you not do there what you do here?" and "Why is it different?"
And then they both listen to the reply.
Both opine that the Internet is extremely harmful. Yet they still inquire into the details and the listen.
For people who initially acquire Internet for their livelihood, but then end up using it throughout the day for other things (and only 10% of it for parnassah), Rav Edelstein doesn't criticize their desire or tell them to get rid of it completely (perhaps showing he understands that most people feel they simply cannot do that). Instead, he repeatedly emphasizes the need for a filter.
He doesn't expect people to make it on their own. He understands people need help.
He understands the tremendous pull of the Web, even though he personally does not struggle with this at all.
Likewise, Rav Landau acknowledges that it is a terrible nisayon, and not a nisayon faced by previous generations.
Again, he doesn't castigate people, but focuses on what a thorny & unique nisayon it is.
Rav Landau also focuses on the people who are doing things right, like the success in Internet filtering in Eretz Yisrael (far from perfect, but there has been success) and emphasizing the yirei Shamayim & talmidei chachamim in America.
Clearly, both talmidei chachamim give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Baby Steps Matter! You're Fabulous! Your Efforts MATTER! You're Making Yourself Great!
He praises small efforts:
"...one moment spent doing teshuvah and good deeds in this world is better than all the World to Come. Even a single hour of teshuvah and good deeds! More than the entire World to Come!"
He says a lot of good things about how the zechus [merit] created by overcoming this particular challenge brings success in parnassah [making a living] and with children.
I found this phrase particularly encouraging:
"Any time someone combats his nature it is a tremendous zechus..."
"Every bit of improvement, every effort, every hardship faced. You cannot measure its value."
And then I wonder if it's really worth it. And I wonder if I'm doing things right anyway. It gets confusing at times.
But seeing these statements from Rav Edelstein put new fire in me.
I hope this renewed fire lasts at least until tomorrow—b'ezrat Hashem!
I think the most amazing & encouraging statement from Rav Edelstein came regarding the people who hold strong in the Internet nisayon:
"They can give people brachos!"
"Absolutely! They can give brachos. They have siyatta diShmaya [Heavenly assistance]!"
But it must be true.
Rav Edelstein would never say empty words.
Humility & Unity
But when he advises how to combat unkosher Internet usage, Rav Edelstein says that it's up to the Rabbanim...as if he isn't one—or as if he isn't one that committed American Jews wouldn't listen to (but he is!).
Rather than taking the reins, he outsources to the Rabbanim in the USA.
Likewise, when they speak with Rav Landau, he asks if they consulted with Rav Edelstein already.
When they reply in the affirmative, he responds, "We will follow whatever he says...Klal Yisrael cannot work if everyone gives an opinion."
Needless to say, Rav Landau's opinions are significant. He clearly knows his own mind & also the Torah. Yet he defers to Rav Edelstein as if he is not Rav Edelstein's equal. And he does so for the sake of what's best for the entire Jewish people.
In other words, no ego.
Finally, Rav Landau blesses the entire Jewish people:
"The Eibershter should help that everyone will be able to do what they need to do."
When the interviewer blesses Rav Edelstein that he should merit to greet Mashiach soon, Rav Edelstein replies:
"All of us together. All the Jews."