9 Tamuz 5781 / Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
 
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HomeFamily & Daily LifePhysical and Emotional HealthDr. Emuna: Facebook Recovery
 
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Dr. Emuna: Facebook Recovery    

Dr. Emuna: Facebook Recovery



I was a slave to Facebook and addicted to the computer at the expense of my real life and family. I was depressed, full of fear and anxiety. Now I have true freedom and happiness!

 



There is a story about a Rabbi who became the Chief Rabbi of the Rabbanut of a city. He came into his new office and asked if the Internet was filtered. The reply was negative. He said, "I will not touch this computer until the Internet is filtered!" The staff politely asked: "With all due respect, you are a big Rabbi. Why do you of all people need filtered Internet? Surely you won't go to improper websites."  
 

 

He answered them, "Rabbi Ovadia Yosef zt"l (one of the greatest Rabbis of the previous generation) says that if he was put on a computer with unfiltered Internet, he would surely sin. Am I more righteous than he?!"

 

 

The concept of filtered Internet might seem overwhelmingand I totally understand. Only a few short years ago, I used a decent filter that worked from my router, but I was not with a filtered Internet provider. All the bad stuff was blocked as far as I was concerned. I was on Facebook and many blogs. I am a woman, and I have no Evil Inclination for illicit things. I used only clean websites. I used Facebook for mommy groups and advice and had no contact with males, and even blocked the ads. I didn't understand what the big deal was. 
 

 

As Rabbi Arush started speaking about unfiltered Internet and its horrific consequences, I started praying about my situation. And I was forced to admit that my family was suffering terribly. My head was addicted to Facebook – yes, those little innocent mommy groups! The computer went "ding" and I went running to see my latest notification, while I ignored my children more than I would like to admit. And how did they feel, watching Mommy run to the computer but ignore them?  

 

 

I would set alarm after alarm - only 10 mins now just to check in - and become totally oblivious to them, then stumble off the computer only when the "fire" in the kitchen with the kids was now so big that I could no longer ignore it. Then I would run around like a chicken with my head cut off attempting to make up time. It wasn't possible. Moreover, I wasn't exactly the calm, emuna Mommy want to be at those times, to put it lightly.  

 

 

I was depressed, unhappy, and felt terribly guilty. Again, I wasn't doing anything bad. I am just talking about the time and inability to move away from that screen! Rabbi Arush says that a person will have to face judgment in the next world for all the time he wasted on the computer, and that’s assuming he wasn’t committing any sins at all. 

 

 

It took a lot of time and prayerbut eventually I made the big switch to Rabbinically-approved fully filtered Internet. Even then I still didn't feel "ready" to make the big move, but I just said to myself: “This is it. I can't do this anymore!  

 

 

Oh, and what freedom I enjoy nowI am so much more in control. It is night and day! For a long time, my desktop picture was a stark black and white graphic of Hashem’s name in Hebrew along with “I place Hashem before me always. As I started whatever I needed to do, I got a black and white big reminder - Remember before whom you stand! Hashem knows what you are doing on this devil of a device! Serve Hashem and don't become a slave to the Evil Inclination! 

 

 

One of the biggest ills of our generation is depression and anxiety, and all sorts of related emotional problems. Studies have shown that more time spent on social media, the more depressed, anxious, and afraid people are. It's because they are losing their real life for a “virtual life” which cannot compare, as I experienced myself. It’s hard to face, but I can’t do a series on physical and emotional health without battling this elephant in the room head on. And I am only dealing with emotional health aspects, forget the innumerable lives and marriages ruined. 

 


Don’t say that this is only for big Rabbis, or delude yourself that you can control yourself, etc. The Evil Inclination is just TOO big. NO ONE can beat it. I learned from my hypnobirthing classes (one of the most popular in the US; I brought the materials to Israel) that a screen of any kind creates a form of hypnosis. You just can’t break free of that screen, no matter how hard you try, and you run back to it at every opportunity – and you lose your life in the process.  
 

 

Rabbi Arush tells a story about a young girl who came up to him and handed him her filtered smartphone. He gave her a huge blessing to find her soulmate. A short while later, she contacted him and said, "I am so grateful that you taught me to get rid of it. I was a slave!" This was a girl with a kosher, filtered device! We're not even talking about G-d forbid a man with a non-kosher device.  
 

 

These are just some of the reasons why all the Rabbis of the generation have forbidden using unfiltered Internet via computers, smartphones, or any other device. In fact, because Noahides are beholden to the laws of illicit behavior, Rabbi Arush once mentioned that even non-Jews are forbidden from using them! Rabbi Arush says: “In one hour on a non-kosher device, it is possible to sin more than was possible in 1,000 years in previous generations. You literally burn up your soul!”  

 

 

These changes are difficult, especially for people who are technologically savvy. Immensely difficult. Pray about it and Hashem will surely help you, just like He helped me. With prayer, time and preparation Hashem sent me an amazing solution to my own work/internet/VOIP problems, even though when I first did my research, it seemed impossible to make it work. Whatever you do, just don't listen to the Evil Inclination that tells you that you can't do it. You can and you must not only for your own spiritual survival, but also for your family and your emotional health as well! 

 

 

*** 


Note: In Israel, there are a few providers which are accepted. The ones accepted by Rabbi Arush’s Yeshiva are Etrog and Netiv (Rimon is still considered too open and requires special permission). Now, Netiv has come to America, so there is no excuse that you don’t have a viable option (http://www.usanativ.com/ - we’re not getting any ad money from them for the referral). 

 

***

 

Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel. 


Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions and comments to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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