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I was curious, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, I believe brought down a responsa saying that one is not allowed to own an iPhone without specific permission from certain Rabbinic authorities, and if you own one you can’t even sell it to a gentile but have to burn it.

What is the reasoning of this responsum, and why did he also say that those with iPhones couldn’t be valid witness to a ketubah, kiddushin, get, beit din case etc. and you can’t sell it to a non Jew.

I personally see it as impractical.

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  • It was due to the fact that there was "open internet" on it, e.g. unfiltered internet without restrictions. See here.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:15
  • Related:judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/108332/… Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:15
  • Also, there are uncertainties whether this psak was signed by Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zt"l.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:26
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    maybe he just preferred Android? Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:29
  • Thank you, but the yeshiva article only explained why he (allegedly) brought down it being prohibited (which I can understand from a Tzniut perspective), but it does not bring down the reasoning why Mikveh, get, kiddushin, ketubah etc. they would be patul for. @shmuel do you have a guess? I also would imagine this Pasuk doesn’t apply to most orthodox phone holders since they generally have internet filters
    – Kirk
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:34

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The reason behind this ruling is that the user of a mobile phone (abbr. iPhone - generic term for all mobile phones in certain cirlces) is a Rasha - a wicked person.

Why?

Because these Rabbis have been convinced that there's a constant stream of lewd acts being performed by undressed humans being streamed on the iPhones. This is true if you're trying to make a phone call or reading tehilim and obviously if you're surfing, since there's nothing else on the internet.

Numerous stories about up & coming Rabbis who become irreligious because they spent a few minutes looking over somebody's shoulder on the bus while the latter was using his iPhone helped create the Rasha status.

Based on this information, it's easy to see why you'd be a Rasha, handling such an instrument. And why you cannot sell it - even to a Goy - since it may be resold to a Jew.

Background:
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky only used a phone (landline!) once or twice in his lifetime. He did not have a phone in his home.

He obviously was not going to double-check this information. That itself would be wicked, and why would people lie to him about facts that can readily be checked.

Fun fact: there was a sign on the staircase up to his home forbidding people from entering his home with an iPhone in their possession. On your way out, you would get a WhatsApp with a picture of yourself meeting Rav Chaim. This is well documented.

Unrelated: some people make a living by selling iPhone alternatives, like ancient dumb-phones, kosher phones.

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    The heavy sarcasm makes this hard to read, I'm not sure which bits are sarcastic and which are not.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 16:59
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    Also be careful to make sure the tone does not come across as disrespectful to one of our gedolei yisroel, especially one that is no longer with us.
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 17:18
  • I tried hard to present the facts as they are - nothing sarcastic @RabbiKaii - these are easily verified facts. I only wrote this since somebody asked a valid question that deserved an honest answer. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 10:28
  • @Dov, I spent a long while writing this to ensure it's respectful. Sad, but true. Something the truth is unpleasant. But since the question was asked, it deserved an honest answer. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 10:29
  • I am not denying the truth is unpleasant but the way it is phrased makes it sound like it is ultimately discrediting Rav Chaim? It is fine if you do not agree with the approach that is why we all need to find a Rov that works for us, but I think the tone is perhaps a bit too strong...
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 10:51

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