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Author:  dweck
E-mail:  dweck2@walla.co.il
Date:  1/14/2005 6:17:00 AM
Subject:  cell phones : clarification
Message:  "Reply: Rabbi Abadi banned cell phones during learning time long ago, since almost before cell phones existed.
People sitting around getting beeped and called during learning certainly won't learn much. He always scheduled the Sedorim in his Kollel to begin early and end early, so that if someone has a wedding &/or Bar Mitzvah he can go after Seder.

Suddenly the "Gedolim" found a need to ban phones. Now that there are cameras and emailed pictures right from the phone. What are we afraid of? Pictures? What are we hiding? Hmmm AA "

Rabbi, I am a bit lost here: The Gedolim did not just ban the cell phones with picture screen during learning, thay banned it completely! One is not allowed to own such a "hefes tamei". ( Heck, even the conservatives banned it during prayers or theaters ... lehavdil).

So my question is what is the view regarding owning such a device. Naturally this must be turned off during tefila, learning, paying a shiva'a call etc...

Reply:  "hefes tamei?" (impure item)

What is that all about?

A knife is used for killing people. Is it a "hefes tamei?" No, because I use it to cut my steak. You want to use it to kill someone doesn't make it a bad item.

The phones that have cameras are bad if used for bad things or are wonderful if used for good things. I cannot imagine what uses these fellows have made of these phones to warrant "hefes tamei".   The Conservatives ...LeHavdil.... certainly don't go that far....

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