This Torah for Today starts off with a short bit of history. I got married because of the internet. I met my wife Shira through JDate.com and would never have found her any other way.
My children are here because of the internet. This was a novelty in 1998 when we met. Today it is commonplace.
The Charedi world is not so keen on the internet. The problem is, like everything, it can be used in a positive or negative manner.
The negative side of the internet can be the abusive trolling, the excessive exposure of people’s lives, and above all, the rise of online pornography.
The last is perhaps the most serious from a Jewish perspective. Nobody should treat any human being as an object and indeed there are many opinions which say that even a married couple should not view each other in this light, as it is inappropriate for human beings who are made in the image of God.
What then do we say of the UK government’s plans to stop children and teenagers
viewing pornography online?
Of course, the basic fact is no one should really be watching this stuff. It shows mechanical acts, exposes the most intimate parts of a person, and is crude, rather than showing the elevated nature of human beings in their full spirituality.
Blocking those who are underage is therefore very appropriate – we cannot hope to educate our children to respect the opposite gender, let alone others who do not fall into male or female types, unless we protect them from such material.
How can we hope to teach our children about a loving marriage and strong relationship, if the prime model is borne from visual titillation?
It is therefore wise to protect those who are vulnerable and give them the chance to develop a healthier approach to what we should all be doing in our marital relationships behind closed doors.
Zvi Solomons is rabbi of JCoB.org, the Living Jewish Community in Reading