1 Hacker Way
Menlo Park, CA
I’ve been using Facebook for a very long time, and I am grateful to you for creating a platform that allows me to keep in touch with people all over the world, including congregants and friends who have left New York City.
You see, I use Facebook for my job. I use it to spread Torah and mitzvot and try to do my part in bettering the world, which is why I was absolutely astounded to discover I’d been banned this week!
Since the pandemic began, I’ve been giving my Torah classes online. For maximum accessibility, before each class I log into Zoom and connect it to Facebook. This allows me to reach more people. But this week, you cancelled my class, shut me out of Facebook, and sent me a message claiming I had violated your community standards!
What?! To say I was thoroughly confused would be an understatement of the highest order.
I have never posted anything hateful or political in the 12 or so years I’ve been using your platform! As a rabbi, I serve a community comprising people on the right and people on the left, so I stick to my job—promoting and spreading Torah and mitzvot; I don’t dabble in politics. So what could have possibly led you to shut down my account?
I took a closer look at which classes apparently violated your community standards. There were four, and the one that sent me to “Facebook jail” was this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEn7zRQDO6Y&t=760s – “The cure for COVID-19 is to be found in this week’s Torah portion.”
I wondered, what could possibly be in violation? In the video, I explained that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed because of hatred for one another. I explained that the Talmud equates that hatred to the three cardinal sins: idolatry, adultery, murder, and that to rectify this and rebuild the third and final Temple, we need to love each other more. True, expansive, unconditional love will lead to the Redemption, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the end to all ailments and illnesses, including COVID-19.
This is one of our most basic beliefs, found in our holy Torah. So yes, the cure for coronavirus is in fact in the Torah!
Your message claimed, “We have these standards because misinformation that could cause physical harm can make some people feel unsafe on Facebook.”
Well, I can assure you that there is no message the inhabitants of this universe need to hear more than what I shared!
Unconditional love – it’s what we all need, the US more than anyone! Not only can this not possibly lead to physical harm, it can lead to great healing and unification.
In fact, Mark, you and I probably disagree on about 99% of things, but that does not diminish my love for you. I love you, heart and soul, like a brother.
Misinformation, you say? I can assure you there is no book more authentic than the Torah. In fact, you and I were both present at the foot of Mount Sinai over 4000 years ago. You and I both heard the voice of G-d. You and I both received His Torah at the exact same moment. This is a proven historical fact.
Mark, in this week’s Torah portion we read about the 10 commandments—G-d’s precious gift to us. In that spirit, I invite you to study Torah with me anytime. We can easily do it over the powerful tool you’ve created: Facebook!
I also invite you to attend services at my shul, have an aliya, and be called up to the Torah. You see, Mark, despite our differences, my love for you is unconditional, and that is the message my classes promote.
With tremendous love,
Rabbi Uriel Vigler
Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side of Manhattan
if possible I would like an update on this story as it develops
I’m sure Facebook just has the words covid-19 and vaccine trigger a block. They didn’t watch the whole video and decide they disagree with the message.
No big deal
I feel like he should have been aware that they’re blocking all things coronavirus related they don’t like
Yup only banned because it contains the word vaccine.
You are talking in your article to people who believe as you do.
But people at Facebook have become slaves who think they are masters. They dont care about what you wrote now.
They are the worst kind of leftists . And totally crooked. But what else would you expect from a Jew who hates his own self?!
Obviously the content of the class was great but the title could give room for some to think that they will be cured of corona if they learn more and try harder- while those actions are great for some they could get the wrong idea. The title may cause some to think that they have it, they know the true cure and thats just not ok for everyone to hear.
Yes, but this line of reasoning takes away anyones ability to express themselves and communicate. This line of reasoning takes away our power of simply using our brains to determine what the message is that is being communicated. It’s like saying “an avocado is good for your health” and then someone that is allergic to avacados removes that post from their website because avacados happen not to sit well for them. It shouldn’t be a problem to simply express something that is seemingly positive where some might not see it one way but can acknowledge that that’s someone’s view and… Read more »
If their reasoning was “because misinformation can cause physical harm” – I would at least have some level of respect for that.
But their reasoning is “it can make some people feel unsafe”?!?! Seriously?!?! So the way “some people might FEEL” is gonna decide every aspect of life from now on? G-d save us all.
I am shocked that YOUR shocked.
As a Shliach in the upper west side, you should have seen this coming.
In this leftist, blm world that we live in, what would you expect??
Answer is self understood.
Much hatzlocho in your holy work.
Yes, when I’m next on the UES, I will surely drop by for a mincha/maariv.
Censorship is never ok!!
Maybe be a bit careful with extreme Wording it might get people attention. But when there is a negative vibe about something it’s best to go really neutral. I remember flying around the 9/11 and if you even mentioned the word bomb you could be arrested and put in jail. So be careful what you say even if it seemingly sounds not that intense to you. Also look up Mr. Rogers speeches at how he would be so sensitive to make sure what he said was recieved well to his audience. Wishing you much success in spreading the light of… Read more »
Maybe they figured that he thinks the only cure for coronavirus is unconditional love.
I can guarantee you that they didn’t watch that video at all. It was the title alone which got him blocked. Unfortunately, all types of crazy people post misinformation about this topic and it’s gotten out of hand. Facebook simply implemented an algorithm to catch this garbage.
I am sure if you reposted the video with another title it would be fine.
Sounds like you triggered their logarithm, they are on look out for bogus cure claims, hope you get this resolved!!!
Facebook has no obligation to watch the video… The title essentially promotes what appears to be a spiritual cure, which is problematic. While that is clearly not the case with the video, in a day and age where misinformation is prevalent I don’t blame them for taking it down.
You write that expansive unconditional love will lead to redemption, rebuilding the temple and the end to all ailments and illnesses. A few questions: Where do you get the “end to ailments and illnesses”? Yishayahu talks about peace among the nation, Malachi about bringing fathers and sons together, others about the kingship of Hashem.. Where are the ailments and illnesses mentioned? Thanks.
Yishayahu also speaks about the Idea of all the sick people being cured. Blind will see and deaf will hear. Another pasuk says that the sun will bring cure to everyone
Thank you so much for your response! I learned something new!
Siyum of Rambam no more sickness etc
B”H I think the CEO of Facebook took the rules out of context, in this case. It seems he may not be thinking clearly. R’ Vigler’s talk is not telling anyone to use alternative medicine or break quarantine, lockdown, masking, distancing, or testing laws. He was just trying to raise people’s morale. This is very sad news regarding Facebook. It seems that their censorship system is on autopilot. It is not being used with thought or constructive intention. I hope Mr. Zuckerberg wakes up, because originally he just wanted to bring people together. Later he will be so disappointed in… Read more »
You think the CEO is personally taking things down? It’s a computer algorithm
Mark feels like he is in charge because he has no serious competitor.
It’s time he gets a competitor and he wont treat us like toys.
It happens all the time To many people
Be patient and you are going to be back on Facebook
Most probably they did not watch your video
This censhorship is out of hand
Today its about the coronavirus and vaccines, tomorrow it will be about Judaism. Dont believe its possible? Look at stalin Russia. Look at Nazi germany. Is the extreme and radical politics of this all not glaringly obvious?
We are living in crazy times like never before. Ikvesa dmeshicha.
And btw Rabbi, don’t be fooled, the only vaccine that will cure Covid is the one Bill Gates says to get so be sure to take it 😉
I liked the response besides the 99% part, 1. I doubt that’s true, 2. What’s the need for such a divisive statement in a otherwise letter of unconditional love.
thought the same, why be divisive. How do you know you disagree on 99 percent of things. that is a harsh judgment.
to be clear i don’t think they should be censoring you however that statement might not help to undo the censorship
See Rambam. Teshuva chapter 9 halacha 1.
The doctors spoke about hydroxychloroquine plus zinc plus antiobiotc as curing covoid when given relatively early and Faceook and twitter took it down.
I can see how they might block it.
You might try being a little more sensitive in your choice of title and a little more aware of how it might be taken by some.
I wouldn’t be surprised if half these comments are by people out of our community seeking to sway public opinion to the leftist side. This is censorship and a concentrated campaign by the leftist elite (media and social platforms which are all one and the same today). This is no mistake. They are looking to control public opinion, squash opposition, and will stop at nothing to get their results come the election. Any independent thinking person can see the sheer hypocrisy and one-sided censorship going on. Wake up, don’t be an ‘useful idiot’ as other communists in history affectionately called… Read more »
How is this different from people saying Cure for Covid found in the Gospels?
Or cure for covid found in wicca worship?
They are right to ban misinformation. And us saying that Torah isn’t misinformation can’t be expected to be honored by Facebook.
Facebook and. YouTube are flooded with purported cancer “cures” and other “natural “ products that will make any illness go away. Yet they are not censored because this would serve their agendas. COVID however is a different story
Its not their job to govern what people say. Its not their job to decide what is good or bad information. How would you feel if your phone company cut your phone line every time you said something they deemed incorrect?
Facebook is a private company, they have the right to decide what they allow on their platform. If you owned a business and you allowed people to put signs on your window, everyone would agree you can take down a sign if you have a reason, correct? After all it is your store. Same thing with Facebook. If you don’t like it, find another place
People aren’t drawn to Judaism because they are loved. In fact it’s pretty weird to be told that you are loved when you don’t have the same feeling back. It would make me run a mile. And especially when you’re loved by someone who tells you they disagree with 99% of your views. It feels self-righteous and judgy.
Instead, we tell people they are needed.
Black Lives MARXIST!
people feel unsafe? what about all the anti sematic Facebook pages and posts. that doesn’t make me feel safe, can we have those blocked? lets see those accounts blocked!!!(unfortunately I doubt that will happen in the near future)
There isn’t some kind of “Facebook man” that is going through every post and deciding which ones to take down. They have a computer algorithm in place, and for good reason. Many people post misinformation on FB about COVID, which can dangerous and harmful. Just retitle the post and you’ll be fine