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Tuesday
May212019

Educational Videos from Non-Jewish Sources?

By RABBI Mendy Wolf

If someone ate something and ended up with a stomachache, no one would say that the upset stomach just happened randomly.

Everyone understands that what you ate is the cause of the pain that came later.

That’s why we watch what we eat; no one would go to a random hotdog stand and buy a hotdog and eat it.

You would want to know who made it, where it came from, and what the standards of hygiene are there. We would only eat food coming from a source we trust.

There is a rightful consciousness and well-founded awareness to ensure the source of the food that we consume and enters our bodies is reliable.

Not all of us are aware of how the information we consume has an impact on us.

The sensitivity we as Jewish parents should have towards books, videos, and music that don’t stem from a reliable source, even if it may appear to be educational and “kosher,” doesn’t come from closed mindedness.

It comes from a deep understanding of how information enters our brain and what it does to us.

For example, it is famously known that marketing companies sometimes will pay to have a story in the paper indirectly referring to their product, rather than an ad. A story is more powerful than an opinion!

Why? Because a story presents things as a fact, not as an opinion. It’s a story. It happened. It goes straight into the brain as a fact. There is nothing in my mind that rejects it and says, “Maybe not?”

Every hotdog has a chef, and every video has a message. There is someone there putting subtle messages of how they see and perceive society. And that comes through their story.

For example, a scriptwriter might use in an innocent-seeming film the term “guardian” instead of “parent,” which is evidence of a corrupted worldview of family-values. There are many such examples.

And so, the real question we have to ask before we watch any video, whether it is called educational or not, is another question — who is the author and what is his agenda?

We won’t allow food from unvetted sources into our stomachs. Why should we allow it into our heads?

It’s more important than our stomachs. Because at the end of the day, your head will direct to what is essential in life.

My children will be listening to these stories, and there are subtle messages these storytellers are telling them.

This concept is true as well, not only when it comes to protecting our minds, but also when it comes to strengthening them.

Chassidus teaches that stories of tzaddikim have the most powerful effect on children because it’s telling them indirectly, as a matter of fact, that there is something more profound and greater to live for.

This itself, by the way, is a reason not to expose our children to such films, as even if they are clean and kosher, and there are no subtle negative messages, they still are stories that tell the child that there is no more to life than shallow materialism.

***

Let’s think before we allow such information to be consumed by our kids (and ourselves): are we certain this information is safe? Is it coming from a trusted author with Yiras Shamayim?

If we don’t properly vet, is there any wonder that later on he has headaches?

It all starts with the “pareve” stories.

It’s about time we realize:

There is no “pareve” food,

There are no “pareve” stories,

And there are no “pareve” people.

— Everyone has an agenda, and we have to ensure it’s the right and proper agenda before we allow it into our homes.

Lightly edited from a video on StumpTheRabbi.org — Made possible by The Chanin Fund, and Reliable Fast Cash.

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