How can we have proper regard for the Rabbonim in our community if they are not speaking out more strongly against the dangers of television?
Now, we have to understand that when the Hisachdus Rabbonim [Williamsburg] made their stand against television, there was a very good reason why they were able to do so. It was because they knew that they had the people behind them. If you took the Rabbonim of the Hisachdus and put them in our Ashkenazi kehillos or our Sephardi kehillot, they’d keep quiet. They wouldn’t be able to open their mouths. And that’s what’s going on today. The Rabbonim here can’t open their mouths.
They’re over there in Williamsburg and they have their strong kehillos. These Williamsburg Jews always meant business and they still mean business! They’re very staunch Jews and they don’t want their children to deviate in the slightest from the ways of their fathers. And therefore it’s easier to be a leader when you have somebody to lead.
Now, take for example one of our Roshei Yeshiva. If he opens his mouth today he’s going to lose all of his contributors. Suppose a Rosh Yeshiva comes out strongly against television and against those who watch television. But every one of his contributors is a slave to the television! And if he’ll say strong words and say it’s forbidden – so what can he do?! So he says it to his talmidim – they speak about it in the Yeshiva. But how can he come out strongly if there’s nobody to talk to?! And therefore, we can’t blame them.
And do I really speak up against television? I say it here but the truth is that I’m not saying it in the way I should be saying it. There’s nobody to talk to here. You are all weaklings. Everybody is a weakling. I know that people have it in their homes. Ok, so over here there’s one tzadik who means business and he obeys – he threw it out. Another tzadik over there who also threw it out. But otherwise
we’re all weaklings. People are putting up a good front – that’s all that they’re doing. Some of them even grow beards. They put on black hats. And they act like tzadikim. But I know what’s doing in the homes. There’s a ru’ach ha’tumahin the homes. So there’s nobody to talk to. So don’t blame the Rabbonim for not speaking up. Speak up to who? To who?!
TAPE # 166 (April 1976)