Hidabroot Activity

Rabbi Zamir Cohen On Tzofiyah: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Was Impressed With The Initiative

Over the last few years Hidabroot has launched numerous projects, but the most intriguing and revolutionary among them, known by members of the organization as “the initiative” (or “the converter”), has had the most problems and setbacks, as is common enough with holy undertakings. However today finally the “Tzofiyah” digital converter has been launched- Hidabroot's own converter, which will provide numerous households with a clean, kosher TV screen. In a special interview Rabbi Zamir Cohen, the head of Hidabroot, describes the processes which led to the establishment of Tzofiyah.

“About five years ago we noticed that many people who had strengthened their faith through Hidabroot and were now keeping Mitzvot and enrolling their children in Torah education, still kept their televisions for various reasons” says Rav Zamir. “Some families wanted to continue seeing the lectures and programs on the Hidabroot channel, but vicariously they were still exposed to negative influences from the different channels available. Other families simply could not desist from watching the screen or from their habit of pressing the remote when they sit in the salon”.

Who are the great Rabbis who gave their endorsement to the project?

“I consulted, as I always do before taking an important step, with my teacher and master the head of Porat Yosef Yeshiva, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, Shlita, about whether it would be right to invest in developing a converter which would be disconnected from all the negative channels but could be connected to television. The converter could be attached to the Hidabroot channel as well as more sophisticated content like Gemara and Torah lessons and a special children's channel. His response was enthusiastically positive and he immediately signed a recommendation to sponsors to promote the project. About two weeks later I came to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef O.B.M. and he too responded positively and added his signature to the recommendation, giving his blessing and expressing wonder at the new initiative. “

“Interestingly, a few months late a member of the household of Rabbi Aaron Leib Steinman, Shlita, approached me and said the following: “Rabbi Steinman says that people who have become more religious through Hidabroot come to him, but when he asks them whether they have removed the televisions from their houses, it transpires that many leave their televisions because they still want to watch the Hidabroot channel. The rabbi wants to know whether it is possible to develop a way for them to see Hidabroot without being exposed to other channels. Of course I answered happily that we are already working on such a project. The truth is I had no idea that the process would take so long.”

If the preparations for Tzofiyah started five years ago already, why has the project been so delayed?

It is no secret that every holy enterprise suffers from setbacks. The computer department at Hidabroot made various experiments with different converters in order to obtain the best possible converter which would give a high quality viewing experience so that people would not want to return to the other negative channels. We always say that the maidservant should not be in a more influential position than the mistress, which is the Torah. It was also necessary to ensure that the converter would totally block other channels besides the various channels offered by Hidabroot. At the same time new high quality content was being filmed on the Hidabroot premises, with Gemara and Halacha lessons as wells as other content for the different servers involved. All this took a lot of time and money. The financial situation of Hidabroot's different departments and projects which have been launched in recent years precluded our moving the project at the pace we wanted, but at least thank G-d we have finally reached launching time”.

What is the target audience of Tzofiyah?

“As I explained, families who are strengthening their observance but maintain a television in their house, who are looking for a clean alternative”.

One who hasn't got a television- is it for him as well?

“No, except for special cases, such as the question I received yesterday regarding a couple where the husband has strengthened his religious observance whereas the wife is not yet at the level of her husband, and this is causing friction between them. I was asked whether to recommend them to put Tzofiyah in their house, and I replied that in such special situations they should consult with the Rabbi they usually ask, since one must judge every case individually, and only one who knows the situation from close up can give a precise answer”.

The Rav then revealed that the staff of the Hidabroot channel is busy preparing new content specifically for Tzofiyah, including a kosher and clean newscast.

Why the name Tzofiyah?

 “This is of course based on what is written about the woman of valor: “She views the ways of her house” says the Rav. “The verse is hinting at the goal of this enterprise, that the ways of the house should be under supervision and maintain purity and holiness. Moreover he word Tzofiyah means gazing at a screen, but not just at the screen but rather gazing at G-d”.

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