2008 Banning the Bans
Chananya Weissman
May 2, 2008, The Jewish Star

Troubling news has reached my ears and caused my soul to quake with terror. A wave of destruction is sweeping through our holy community. Who can sit quietly?

I have heard from several people I consider to be reliable who claim that they have heard from others they consider to be reliable that irresponsible and inappropriate bans have been issued. This has been going on for quite some time, rachmana litzlan. Our path is filled with stumbling blocks and our children are being lowered into the abyss by this plague.

Good people have been banned. Books have been banned. Earning a living has been banned. Education has been banned. The Internet has been banned. Pizza stores with tables and chairs have been banned. Recreation has been banned. Buses have been banned. Water has been banned. Fruits and vegetables have been banned. Wigs have been banned. Grocery stores have been banned. Exercise has been banned. Most clothing that is perfectly modest has been banned. Cell phones have been banned. Newspapers have been banned. Normal events for singles have been banned. Publications that advertise any of the aforementioned have been banned. The list goes on and on.

The yetzer hara dances among us and the heavens cry. If this malady is not stopped then all will be taken from us. Laughter will be banned. The air we breathe will be banned. Life itself will be banned.

Furthermore, Torah and its scholars are being shamed as a result of these bans. I have heard from at least one person who is God-fearing that bans have been issued in a manner that abuses the concepts of bans and rabbinic oversight, one that would cause our forefathers to clap their hands in despair. Books have been banned without being read. Individuals have been banned from afar based strictly on hearsay.

Bans have been issued that have little basis in halacha and contain nothing but threats and emotional appeals. Bans have been issued that demonstrate no appreciation for nuance and gray area, no ability to weigh more than one side of a matter, and no concern for whether the destruction they cause may be greater than that which they seek to prevent. Bans have destroyed reputations, families, communities, and people’s lives. There seems to be no end in sight.

Bans have become so debased that they no longer produce fear of Heaven, only fear of social reprisals. They do not create greater desire for true knowledge of the Torah and what Hashem wants of us, only a greater desire to be “safe” and accepted. In some cases, bans even create a greater desire for that which they seek to eliminate, as they draw attention to perceived threats that would otherwise prove irrelevant. Bans used to inform the community and protect it from real dangers. Nowadays, bans are weapons that destroy lives, bring scorn to Judaism, and perpetuate fear and ignorance.

I have therefore come to reveal my Da’as Torah on this matter that it is a serious issur to issue a ban of any kind or to join with those who issue them. There is absolutely no room for leniency in this matter for men or women, old or young, and this prohibition certainly extends upon those who are directly responsible for issuing these bans.

I am hereby banning all bans subsequent to this one without exception until Hashem has mercy on us and brings Moshiach to illuminate the way before us. Included in this ban are Kol Korehs, Azhara Chamuras, and similar proclamations. I ban the publishers of these bans, I ban those who paste them on bulletin boards, I ban the bulletin boards themselves, and I ban all publications that print these bans.

This ban has the support of all the gedolim and, by implication, those who do not support this ban are not gedolim. There is a severe obligation on parents and teachers to educate the young regarding this matter, as the Torah says, “Teach your children, etc.”

In the merit of keeping our camp holy and following this ban, Hashem will surely settle His presence among us and bring joy to His people. Joy, with Hashem’s help, that will never be banned.

Rabbi Chananya Weissman is disappointed that his books haven’t been banned, since he would like to sell more copies. Copies can be obtained at pre-ban prices by contacting him at admin@endthemadness.org.