How goodly are your tents, Yaakov, your dwelling places, Yisrael. (Bamidbar 24:5)
— For he saw the openings were not facing each other (RASHI)
Why didn’t the Jews have their entrances facing each other? Our Sages tell us because they wanted to respect the privacy of their neighbors. They did not want to look inside each other’s houses. What goes on inside another person’s house is no one else’s business, so the Jews made sure they would not look inside another person’s house by placing their doors on opposite sides.
This brings us to a new question: why didn’t the Jews have their doors facing each other and just not look inside the other person’s house? Now I could be wrong, but I think a reason is because the Jews wanted to have an extra precaution. They wanted to make sure they did not even have a desire to look. They also wanted to make sure they would not accidentally see inside their neighbor’s house. Therefore, the entrances were not placed next to each other.
Even if I am wrong, I would like to share an important lesson: a person should not put himself into a situation where he may do something wrong.
One of the biggest topics in Judaism today is the dangers of the Internet. The Internet is filled with many excellent websites, but it is also filled with many websites that are extremely unacceptable. A person may think that he has nothing to worry about. He has no desire to look at inappropriate websites. He must remember that the Jews that lived in the desert were all tzaddikim. This was a great generation. Yet, they felt they needed to be careful to set up their entrances not facing each other!
If a person has Internet, he must have a filter on it to make sure he or she cannot access any websites which are not appropriate. A person must protect himself.
And even if a person really feels that he is sure of himself that he will not go to a bad website, he still needs a filter. Years ago when I was in college, I wanted to look up information about a band I used to listen to. I typed the band’s name and put dot-com after it. While the website loaded (this was still in the days of dial-up), I turned around to talk to my friend. Suddenly, I heard him ask me, “what are you doing looking at those websites?” I quickly turned to see a website which I certainly did not think I was going to get. I immediately “googled” the band’s name to find out that I was supposed to write the word “the” before the band’s name. A simple mistake but the one word gave me two very different websites. If I had a filter though, I would have never seen anything on the wrong website.
Therefore, a person needs to make sure they have a filter on their Internet. If a person does not currently have a filter, I highly recommend using K9 Web Protection (www1.k9webprotection.com/) This is a free download and is recommended by many Jewish and non-Jewish sources. I have downloaded it on my home computers and it has worked well. There are very few downsides to having this filter on your computer and numerous benefits. A person must protect himself, herself, and their family.
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