"Venishmartem Meod Lenafshoseichem"

I heard that there were Rabbonim about 100 years ago who forbade cars, saying that they were dangerous. Does anyone know who they were?

  • R' Rakeffet, in response to calls to ban Internet access, has called, in his classes, for banning cars first, since they kill so many people per year. – Isaac Moses Jul 5 '13 at 15:32
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    @IsaacMoses, sadly, the internet has also led to the deaths of many. – Seth J Jul 5 '13 at 15:45
  • @SethJ, it's pretty hard to beat cars as a cause of death, at least in developed countries like the US and Israel. – Isaac Moses Jul 5 '13 at 15:46
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    @IsaacMoses, you're arguing numbers and which is more directly linked to more deaths. I'm just pointing out that the internet hasn't just been a tool for the rapid degradation of society, but has also led to death and despair for many, directly or indirectly. People have taken their own lives over online bullying, terrorists have organized, and it wouldn't shock me if organized crime and gangs use it to coordinate activities, including killing. For all the good it provides, there's plenty of bad. – Seth J Jul 5 '13 at 15:49
  • @SethJ, I stipulate to the position that there are dangers attendant to the Internet. Anyway, the point of my comment was just to mention a rabbi who has mentioned the dangers of automobiles and suggested, with tongue in cheek, banning them. – Isaac Moses Jul 5 '13 at 15:53

I don't know who did, but it wouldn't surprise me if that was the case. At the time it was a very new, uncommon, and perceived-as-dangerous thing.

Psalms tells us that shomer psa'im Hashem, G-d watches over the "simple." We are allowed to take whatever our society deems to be normal risks. Today (in the US), that includes driving a car, assuming a well-maintained car, a competent, undistracted driver driving safely, seatbelts, and so on.

Anecdotally, it appears that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (who was born in Russia over a hundred years ago), personally viewed cars as newfangled risks about which he wasn't crazy.

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