Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has spoken out for a second time of late against the use of smartphones in the haredi community, saying that the use of such devices should disqualify people from leading prayer services in synagogue.
Speaking during his weekly Torah lesson which will be broadcast in full by the haredi Kol Barama radio station, the chief rabbi also said that people should find a new prayer service if the one they attend is led by a smartphone user.
“One must find a prayer leader who fears Heaven, if you know that the prayer leader has a TV at home and watches videos of abomination or a TV in his pocket and watches these types of abomination videos, how is it possible that they will lead the prayers in front of God?,” said Yosef regarding synagogues’ preparations for the coming High Holy days.
“It would be like someone sending their children to a non-religious school and teaching them abomination. It’s forbidden for someone like this to lead prayers and if he did then you need to organize a new service.”
Back in February, Yosef criticized smartphone usage by yeshiva students with smartphones.
“If a yeshiva student has an iPhone you need to remove him from the yeshiva, without doubt,” the rabbi said.
Haredi rabbinical leaders have frequently condemned smartphone usage. Just last month the Council of Torah Sages of Agudat Yisrael, representing the hasidic haredi community, fiercely criticized smartphone use which have not been approved by the community’s rabbis, and requested that the children of smartphone users not be accepted to educational institutions.
The haredi rabbinical leadership worries both about the influence of pornography, which is easily and discreetly accessible on smartphones, but is no less concerned about the open access to unlimited, uncensored information which until the advent of smartphones and their increasing adoption in the haredi world was not available to members of the ultra-Orthodox community.