Zev Farber is a fellow for Project TABS and the editor of its website, TheTorah.com. He holds a Ph.D. from
by Zev Farber
Recently, Amnon Levi, the host of Panim Amitiyot (True Faces), did a segment on a young man named Pini Landau, who recently left the Gerrer Hasidim. The segment was called “Castration among Hasidim” (sirus be-hasidut). The story is as simple as it is problematic. Pini Landau was a 20-year-old Gerrer Hasid who lived in a yeshiva dormitory in Arad, in which many things that the average western person — secular or religious — finds normal are forbidden. One of these things is a smart phone.
According to Pini’s explanation, the assumption is that if a young man has internet access, it is guaranteed that he will use it to watch pornography. Pini had previously been caught with a cellphone, so he was considered a repeat offender. Thus, he was presented with a choice, either to be kicked out of the yeshiva or take medication that would make him stop behaving wickedly.