It is incumbent upon us to express our heartfelt gratitude to
the askonim who, having undertaken to bear the burden
of the Torah-observant public upon their own shoulders, have
paved obstacle-free paths for us on public buses, at the
beaches, and in the air. Hashem has crowned their efforts
with success, and they have accomplished great things for us
Were it not for these dedicated men, we and our children
would be forced, G-d forbid, to resign ourselves to the
appalling situation prevalent in all these areas. We would
consider ourselves anusim, proclaiming we had no
choice, and justify ourselves with a sigh of resignation.
"What else can we do?" we'd shrug helplessly.
But Hashem has not abandoned those who fear Him. Heaven has
aroused the hearts of righteous men, so that they might, with
G-d's help, save the situation before it got too late.
We have merited the fulfillment of a "daydream" which nobody
believed could ever come to fruition. Airlines now vie for
the privilege of serving the Torah-observant community by
providing special movie-free departments.
We have merited, with G-d's help, to overcome the various
"objective" obstacles which invariably loom before us each
year just prior to the "swimming season."
We have also merited, with G-d's help, to instill an
awareness of the "mehadrin" concept into public
The National Committee for the Prevention of Indecent
Advertising in the Holy Land has in the past scored other key
victories for tznius in Eretz Yisroel. Although
their main interest is in the Orthodox community, there is no
doubt that the entire population benefits from a higher level
of public decency. In the summer of 5754 (1994), when a
plague of pritzus advertisements spread out over the
country, the Committee organized frum consumer power
then conducted lengthy negotiations, in the end convincing
advertising companies to stop running the indecent ads. In
addition, they persuaded Egged to forgo their plan of
installing video movie screens in inter-city buses and at
major central bus stations.
It is important to remember the debt of gratitude we owe
these dear Jews, and it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate
our support by becoming partners in their work. The most
important form of help we can offer is cooperation. If the
Torah-observant public withdraws their business from any
company which does not heed the askonim's requests; if
airlines unequivocally know that no Orthodox Jew would be
seen on an airline which does not comply -- the
askonim's work would be easier and even more
The Kotsker Rebbe, zt"l, interpreted the posuk
"Hashomayim -- shomayim laHashem veho'oretz nosan livnei
odom" (Tehillim 115) as follows: HaKadosh
Boruch Hu created the heavens to be "heavenly;" that is,
holy, spiritual, and pure. The earth, on the other hand, was
given to man, for it is his job to convert this symbol of
gashmiyusto the realm of "heavenly," exalted, and
In every generation, a handful of holy Jews, in whose merit
the world maintains its existence, fulfill this posuk,
and every Torah-observant Jew perceives this madreigo
to be an ideal towards which we must all strive.
Sadly, airlines often do the dirty work. Immoral movies,
broadcast by force to the frum traveler's eyes -- and
from there to his mind and soul -- leave behind them a man
different from the one that first sat down.
A youth grows up in a fine home somewhere across the ocean.
The lad is aflame with enthusiasm as he hopes and dreams of
the long-awaited moment when he will finally set out on his
journey to immerse himself in the world of Torah. His family,
too, is awash with excitement -- their son/brother is going
to study Torah!
Despite all their fears and concerns, they are sending him to
the holy yeshiva!
This precious son must make his way by plane. There's no
During the flight, an immoral, indecent film is screened
directly in front of his unwilling eyes, rendering this holy
korbon unfit for its purpose, Rachmono litzlan.
Gevalt! Mah ya'aseh haben velo yecheto? What can the
youth do in order to avoid sin?
Such spiritual tragedies, unfortunately, lie in wait at every
step in today's depraved world. A transatlantic flight, an
innocent trip to the beach, or even a short, daily ride on
public transportation -- all these present the frum
traveler with serious nisyonos.
A handful of askonim from the Torah-observant world
act as the sole defenders of the G-dly image, morality, and
the decency of the streets and thoroughfares of Eretz
This battle is a milchemes mitzvah, a rescue mission.
It's the war for our souls -- ours and those of our sons and
daughters in this generation and those to come after us.
In the non-religious, materialistic world, everything is
evaluated in terms of money. When the airlines, local
authorities running the beaches, bus companies, and other
companies advertising their wares on billboards and buses
reach the conclusion that refusal to accommodate the moral
demands of Orthodox Jewry quite literally "does not pay,"
then and only then, will all gates be thrown open wide as if
touched by a magic wand.
This is our strategy! These are the rules of the game in
today's materialistic, non-religious world.
Let the reader be aware that the Committee for Spiritual
Purity in the Holy Land has publicized a brief to all
frum travel agents and to the Orthodox community at
large in the name of the rabbonim and gedolei poskei
hador. The notice urges travel agents to book frum
passengers only on airlines providing mehadrin
service. The rabbonim and gedolei hador forbid travel
on airlines such as TWA (to America) and Sabena, airlines
that have refused to accommodate the rabbonim's requests for
movie- free departments. In this way, reads the brief, Torah-
Jewry can prevent a chillul Hashem and avoid
transgressing the commandment of "velo sosuru acharei
This is part of our battle for survival as a Jewish nation.
It is a part of the continuity of Klal Yisroel. It is
a position based upon one of the main principles of the
essence of the Jewish nation: "kedoshim tihiyu ki kodosh
Ani Hashem Elokeichem!"