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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Calls For iPhones To Be Burned

In a landmark ruling that is sure to be touted by die-hard fans of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system, one of the premier halachic authorities has made it known that owners of Apple’s iPhone are not only forbidden from owning the device, but are enjoined by Jewish law to destroy it.

In a responsum to a reader published on Sunday in the ultra-Orthodox daily Yated Ne’eman, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky said that “it is forbidden to be in possession of [an iPhone], and one must burn it”; this despite the fact that the reader, a business-owner, said it was “crucial for [his] dealings.”

And lest a contrite Jewish iPhone owner think to hawk his device and pocket the cash, Kanievsky also warned that it is forbidden to sell the iPhone to a non-Jew, “just as it is forbidden to sell a weapon to a non-Jew.”   In recent years, rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox community have been waging an uphill battle against internet usage — including smartphone ownership — in their communities.

In May, 60,000 ultra-Orthodox American Jews gathered at the Citi Field baseball stadium in New York, where they were told by leading rabbis that home internet usage was forbidden, and that even those who thought they needed Web access at work should try to avoid using it, as the urge to go online was likely the nagging of the “evil inclination.”

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