Daily Israel Report

Video: Internet Challenge: ‘Online’ Jewish Law

Internet has provided new methods of learning Judaism – and the challenge of answering online questions on Jewish law.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/5/2012, 1:08 PM

The age of the Internet has provided new methods of learning Judaism – and also the challenge of answering online questions on Jewish law (Halacha), and rabbis recently met to discuss the issue.

Rabbis expressed different opinions concerning whether an answer to a questioner should be directed only to him or to all of those viewing a website.

A disadvantage to asking about Jewish law online is that is often difficult to give a proper answer without having all the information concerning the question, explained Rabbi Yoel Lieberman. “People who use the site have to give as much information as possible. We cannot call you up, so it is important that those who ask the questions give us information so we can give a more accurate and better answer,” he said.

He explained that online questions on Jewish law have opened up the world to people who are shy and don’t want to approach a rabbi directly. They feel safer asking questions from a distance and knowing that “no one will run after them," he added./

One of the most popular Torah and “Ask the Rabbi” websites is Beit El Yeshiva's Torah.org.il. The community’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Zalman Melamed attended the conference, along with Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel and Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.