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HALACHA-----smashing someones tv


Avrem Yitskhok Walters Posted - 06 February 2001 23:55


I have recently destroyed some BA (Bnei Akiva - a non-religious "modern orthodox" (sic) youth group) material, calling for "Solidarity with Israel" (sic again).

The people responsible for these leaflets are now requesting a written apology (as well as threatening (and carrying out) physical violence; it sums up "modern orthodoxy" doesn't it!)

What is the correct response here?

MODERATOR Posted - 07 February 2001 16:01

You should have asked what was the proper thing to do in the first place.

The following is a summary of a Teshuva of Rav Moshe Sterenbuch shlita, Rav of the Aida HaChareidis of Jerusalem, in his sefer Teshuvos V'Hanhagos I:368.

Question: A Baal Teshuva whose family has a television. Is he allowed to break the television so that his family cannot watch it?

Answer: It is definitely prohibited to watch television. However, there is a disagreement in the poskim between the Ketzos and the Nesivos as to whether force may be used to get people to fulfill Mitzvos by just anyone, or only by Bais Din.

I believe the poskim who rule that only Bais Din may use force are correct, and even according to those who say anyone can use force, that is only after seeking permission from a Bais Din, for at times by destroying someone's property in order for them to be religious, you have made them instead less religious by distancing them.

In the Gemora Brachos (20a) we find the ancient Tzadikim saw a woman wearing a coat that was Pritzus and they tore it off of her on the spot, even though they had to pay 400 zuz to her for it. From here it appears that it is proper to destroy a pritzus article of clothing, and certainly, then, a television as well. Rachel, too, in a similar fashion, stole the terafim of her father.

However, my opinion leans in the direction that all such acts have need a shailah from a Rav. For even Rachel, who hid her act of stealing the terafim from Yaakov Avinu, ended up getting punished (inadvertently). So too, perhaps it is not time yet for them to be separated from their television, for everything has its proper time. And through the advice of sages light dwells and one should not make a move against their words.

Certainly you should speak to the parents and explain them how bad the television is for them. But to destroy it, even if you pay for it, you must ask a Shailah first."

That's the teshuva.


I once asked Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher shlita, also of the Aida HaChareidis, if a camp finds in the possession of one of its campers, filthy magazines, can they destroy them, and if so, can we destroy a television that belongs to someone. He said to me "This is from the difficult questions..." and didn't give me a definite answer. I asked the same thing to Rav Elyashiv shlita a few days later and he told me "Only if it is asur ba'hanoah, then it is permitted, and then you have a source from the terafim."

So the time to ask was before the action. But you do have a question now, and the answer depends on if it was permitted for you to destroy these pamphlets - and I do not know what it said in there to deal with that.

Star Posted - 09 February 2001 2:50

As for your statement: "it sums up modern orthodoxy doesn’t it"

Does it? I'm not so sure. There are a lot of modern people out there who would never destroy literature of another Jewish organization even if they don't believe in it.

I'm not affiliated with Bnei Akiva but come on now, it's not like Bnei Akiva tells people not to believe in hashem or the torah! And by the way, how do you explain those 4 so called Jews, from New Square who swindled millions from the Gov. by making up a false yeshiva????? Now that, is the biggest chilul hashem.

I don't know many modern people but the ones I do know, most of them are kind, good people and by the way, stuff like ncsy and beni akiva, yeah it might not be the most frum, but it's a start. It keeps them on the right track. You shouldn't knock it. Just be happy you’re the frummie you are.

- 09 February 2001 3:28


Not all of the "4 from New Square" were from New Square, and they were also not all Chasidish. In fact, one of them was Modern Orthodox, clean shaven, and wore a knitted Yarlmuka. They were all employed by Square, and the money from the school went to Square, but the School was in Brooklyn, not New Square, the students were Russian (mostly), not Square, and the perpetrators themselves were a mixed bunch.

Star Posted - 13 February 2001 15:31

well since you say those guys were modern from new square, how about the 2 CHASIDISH rabbis from boro park Brooklyn who stole millions from a holocaust charity?????

MODERATOR Posted - 13 February 2001 20:27

You’re missing the point. I was responding to the poster who said that Skvere Chasidim stole that money. I said that the robbers were not all Skverers nor were they Chasidim. In fact, this was used by the poster to somehow put down the Chasidish community, as opposed to MO. My response was that the Chasidim do not have a monopoly on Chilul Hashem in the Orthodox community, and that those who made the false Yeshiva were not exclusively Chasidim but included the other extreme as well.

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