In the early 70’s, a group of professors visited the Rebbe and asked for his opinion about two [different] views regarding computers. One maintained that the computer stimulates the brain and encourages growth and development, while the other viewed the computer as a crutch that stifles and hinders man’s thinking and creativity.

The Rebbe responded, “I agree with the former opinion. The computer is a stepping-stone for greater achievement in the field in which one is involved. One gains much by using the computer, and then, in addition to that, there is yet a vast amount of knowledge that one can obtain and discover by harnessing one’s own innate and human capabilities. Using the computer enables man to further build on what he has gained.

“Therefore, as much as the computer is a gift — performing complex calculations that would otherwise be impossible for us — it is only a reflection of our powers to realize our G‑d-given potential and explore the unlimited terrains of the human mind.”

The Rebbe continued to tell a story of the Alter Rebbe and his grandchild, Menachem Mendel, later known as the Tzemach Tzedek. The young boy would regularly visit his revered grandfather and ask for blessings. The Alter Rebbe once offered the boy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of blessing him with the knowledge of the entire Torah. At any given time, he could refer to any part of the Torah and it would be right at his fingertips. Amazingly, the boy refused to accept the gift. Having been blessed with deep insight beyond his years, he felt that he did not want his knowledge of Torah to be received effortlessly — for the mitzvah is to toil in Torah.

Years later, the Tzemach Tzedek deeply regretted his previous decision. “With [the knowledge of] all the teachings of Torah with which my grandfather offered to bless me, there would always be more to uncover and probe! Why then did I not accept the unique gift from my grandfather? It would have allowed me to expand my inner abilities and strengths to take yet a greater leap into the infinite sea of Torah.”

Told to me by Rabbi Levi Bukiet