Before the Rav arrived in Kiryat Sefer, his opponents tried yet again to get the even cancelled, by threatening a whole bunch of things and claiming that a massive mob of people would descend on the synagogue where the Rav was speaking to close down the event.
In the end, a whole 12 people showed up (maybe the same bunch who picketed his event last week in Beer Sheva, who knows…) but in the meantime, so many people turned out to hear the Rav speak the shul couldn’t hold them all and it was literally packed to the rafters.
The Rav starts speaking after Rav Ofer Erez makes some remarks, and after the crowd sings some niggunim. (Rav Succot and Rav Tzanani were also at the event).
Then, my contact told me that the Rav said that when the verse speaks about Gog and Magog, it refers to multiple wars, not just one, and that this is a generation that is seeing all the prophecies about Gog and Magog mamash materialize, one after the other.
The Rav also said that we should all pray that whatever we’ve all been through already should be enough, and that we shouldn’t have to suffer through anything else.
And lastly, the Rav spoke out extremely strongly against internet use, and explained that the war of Gog and Magog (aka Google and MaGoogle) is really happening online. This is very similar to what Rav Shalom Arush said a little while back:
"Both Rebbe Nachman and the Chafetz Chaim said that Gog and Magog would be a spiritual war, but a terrible one. The Evil Inclination has never been stronger in history, and by way of technology and the mass of online abomination, it is spiritually murdering people and tearing them from Hashem, Heaven forbid.
Gog and Magog are the chatrooms, the texting, the screens and social media that render people zombies, unable to think, communicate or read. It's destroying families. People walk in the streets and dangerously drive their cars while their eyes are glued to their screens.
They're addicted to texting and email, checking their smartphones every 30 seconds. This is Gog and Magog. The only way to fight this war is to get the screens out of our lives and to return to emuna, Torah and prayer.
Few people will heed me, even in the religious world, because they're so badly addicted to the venom of their smartphones. I feel so sorry for them and the excuses they make to keep them. I pray that Hashem will have mercy on them."
Even the non-Jews are speaking out about the terrible impact the internet is having on our mental health, relationships and basic humanity.
Every day, I see more and more evidence how social media in particular - like the terrible Facebook - is destroying more people's connection to the internal dimension of life, and to real good, and to God.
And while I'm not on Facebook myself, BARUCH HASHEM!!! I still have plenty of struggles trying to tame my addictive tendencies solely in terms of checking Shirat Devorah every 5 minutes, which is one of the barely handful of blogs I read.
So yes, it really is the war of Google and MaGoogle, and that's even if you're not posting up provocative selfies, trashing other people's reputation, or commenting anonymously in a trouble-making way on other people's blogs.
(Hmm. Now I wrote that I feel I have some more teshuva I need to make...)
I want to be good. We all want to be good, don't we? But the internet makes it so very hard. Point in fact: I'm writing this instead of doing my morning brachot. Where are my priorities!?!?!
Poet Esther Cameron summed it up very nicely in her poem 'On first looking into Windows':
Soul’s bulb, abandoned, shrinks; what thing gets growth?
- Pointless arguments get growth on the internet.
- Hating other Jews for no other reason than they happen to disagree with you gets growth on the internet.
- Mental illnesses, split personalities and narcissistic tendencies get growth on the internet.
- Evil speech and evil rumors get growth on the internet.
- Superficial approaches to life and an obsession with external appearances get growth on the internet.
And that's even before we get into the whole can of worms that is movies, obscene pictures, online gaming and gambling, etc etc.
How on earth can we hold out, in the battle of Google and MaGoogle?