January 5, 2018: Be optimistic

Our readers weigh in.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Be optimistic
The reaction of your readers to “Is Litzman scared of Lapid?” (December 27), as expressed in “Not quite fans of Litzman” (Letters, January 3) is universally negative and accuses him of chutzpa, hypocrisy, etc.
I see United Torah Judaism head Ya’acov Litzman’s bill to require future prime ministers to have served in the IDF and have an academic degree in optimistic terms: It is an admission that an exclusively Torah education does not prepare one for everything in life. This might eventually lead to the conclusion that a secular education is required for becoming a rabbi or rabbinical judge.
A Torah education without a concomitant secular one is incomplete.
• Without a basic knowledge of mathematics, Maimonides’s chapter on the sanctification of the month is virtually incomprehensible.
• The tractate Kinnim cannot be properly understood without an elementary background in statistics and probability.
• A knowledge of geometry is essential for many issues raised in the tractate Eruvin, where, for example, a rectangle must be converted into a square.
• One cannot adjudicate questions of kashrut today without a working knowledge of chemistry.
• The tractate Hullin requires knowledge of biology and anatomy.
The list is virtually endless.
He has his reasons
I read Dov Lipman’s “A Jewish state cannot tolerate corruption” (Observations, December 29) with a healthy dose of cynicism.
Are we to believe there is no political expediency hiding behind those many laudable citations regarding truth and fair dealing? Yesh Atid, the party for which the author served as an MK, is polling well and has a lot to gain if the government falls.
The current anti-corruption rhetoric is not totally altruistic. It promotes the agenda of those who would like to see the country go quickly to elections. The author faults rabbis who would exonerate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “before the criminal justice system has run its course,” but then engages in his own rush to judgment, as if a rumored or actual police recommendation to indict marked the end of the legal process.
The concept of innocent until proven guilty is also “a pillar upon which Israeli democracy is based” and “an important Jewish value” that cannot be discarded even though certain political parties see this as an opportune time to reopen the polling stations.
Beit Shemesh
There’s a downside
Modern technology represents some of the most revolutionary advancements in human history. It has transformed the way we interact with the world around us, from breakthroughs in medicine to high-speed transportation.
Possibly one of the most drastic changes is new-age communication: People today communicate with instant messaging and social media more than with physical speech. This has severely handicapped the social skills of today’s youth.
Social media has had an incredibly destructive effect on people’s ability to form meaningful relationships. Young people have hundreds, if not thousands, of “friends,” yet countless teens suffer from loneliness and depression. Social media creates a false notion of affection when a picture or a post is “liked,” yet the moment isn’t truly shared and the relationship isn’t furthered.
With the countless hours poured into creating these polished avatars of themselves, teens don’t feel the need or have the skills to form real friendships. Not only does social media inhibit their abilities to build relationships, it also inhibits their ability to do so with themselves. This need to capture, perfect and share every moment makes it nearly impossible for the user to truly live in and enjoy the present.
Additionally, this need to “share” hardwires the user to exist solely for the approval of others. It’s truly saddening that so many live with the mentality of “If my ‘friends’ can’t ‘like’ it, it’s not worth doing.”
The world of social media has created a world that is far from social.