Thursday, February 01, 2007

Consistency, Computers and Kids

R. Mordechai Willig on TorahWeb (link):

In today’s world, the yetzer hara is closer than ever, accessible with the click of a button. Pornographic offerings flood the internet. Many have strayed after their eyes, and some have become addicted. One precaution is to prohibit yichud – seclusion – with the internet. The computer screen should be in a public part of the house, and its activity should be traceable by another person.

No precaution can prevent a committed sinner from achieving his goal. We must be proactive in avoiding this behavior pattern and the only way to do so is to increase Torah study and a deep commitment to a Torah way of life.

Parents are duty-bound to take appropriate precautions to protect their children from succumbing to the ever present yetzer hara. New technology demands greater vigilance. More importantly, parents must serve as proper role models for their children. Yosef was saved by the image of his father Yaakov. Every parent must play such a role.

While none of us can be as great as Yaakov, we must do our best to create an image which will deter our children from sinning. This requires greater involvement in Torah study and practice, and total avoidance of impropriety in matters relating to arayos. Children are acutely aware of any indiscretion in this area. A father who tells, or even smiles at, off color jokes (see Shabbos 33a) or a mother who dresses provocatively do not provide images to deter their children from doing likewise or worse. One who converses with or touches a man/woman in a manner proscribed by halacha implicitly encourages one’s children, who have no established borders, to violate even greater aveiros.

Even worse are parents who claim to be totally virtuous, and demand that their children do likewise, while surreptitiously talking, looking, or acting in a halachically prohibited way. The hypocrisy leads to a greater degree of disrespect by children towards their parents.

While youngsters are attracted to permissive lifestyles, they leave halachic practice not so much because of this attraction but rather because of repulsion from the Torah way. This is the essential thesis of the recently published work “Off the Derech” (by Faranak Margolese, Devora Publishing). Hypocrisy and inconsistency of parents (and teachers) in any area is devastating. In the realm of arayos such behavior’s impact on children is even more damaging.

Indeed, the only way to avoid the pitfalls of the yetzer harah is by placing greater emphasis on Torah and yiras Shomayim...

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