Monday, May 21, 2012

The Irony of It All

The Asifa that was held yesterday is really a study in irony.  It is being reported that 50,000 people attended the asifa, both in person and remotely.  Purveyors from here and from Israel were present to sell their wares--kosher phones and Internet filters.  Those who spoke made it clear that such filters and phones HAD to be used if you are using a cellphone or the Internet and that attendees and listeners had better buy them. 

So what is the irony?  Had the Internet not existed, the Asifa would not have been possible.  Short of certain parades many years ago, the Asifa is being touted as the largest gathering ever of Jews in one place in the NY area.  Did they gather together to address any of the truly pressing issues that Klal faces, issues like yeshiva tuition and the fact that Klal is beggaring itself through its insistence that young men not work but sit and learn forever instead?  Nope, they gathered because a "truly evil" force is in our midst.  They would much rather have banned Internet usage altogether--and there are many rabbonim who do just that--but they used that old axiom "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Ironic that those who could not attend in person could do so through their cellphones and through the Internet.  And let's not forget the money made yesterday.  Those purveyors had a captive audience, and they bought and bought and bought.  I'm not sure how much mind expanding was done yesterday, but some people's pockets were stretched wide as the money poured into them.

If the Internet did not exist, what issue of importance would have possibly brought together this many people?  The answer is no issue would have brought them together like this.  It would seem that no other issue could get so many rabbonim and their followers to come together in one place and in seeming unity, rabbonim and followers who otherwise "don't play nicely together" and would rather chew nails than have anything to do with each other.  And yes, that is ironic.