Facebook and Orthodox Judaism

facebook churbanMargelit Hoffman of  Shmuel Hoffman’s Blog wrote  a very honest and thought provoking article for Mavenmall.com called “The Facebook Churban”. In it, she explains why her family is removing the internet from their home. They are Torah observant Jews who work on the internet. It is their livelihood. She has done a fabulous job of articulating the powers of good vs. the dangers. This move will have serious ramifications on their daily routine and what reads to be significant inconveniences. Yet they are removing it anyway.

I agree with just about every word she has to say. At the same time, I am not getting rid of my facebook account, or the internet in my house.  I feel really good about my remaining focused on using them both for good, and trying to only utilize the blessings of technology for kiddush Hashem. Maybe I am just “not there yet”, maybe my working from a Starbucks is just too unrealistic. Maybe I have an easier time shutting them off and down – I would like to think I do.

Where her post hits closest to home is on the matters of disconnecting from family members and bitul zman (an inappropriate waste of one of Hashem’s greatest gifts to us, time.) If I am going to be honest with myself and truly put G-d in the center all of the time, then I need to do a serious “cheshbon hamachshev, v’machshevot” (accounting of my computer, and my thoughts) about my use of the internet and social media, and perhaps make more guidelines and restrictions for myself. It is as much of a danger from my droid as it is from my laptop, if not more so. And that isn’t dependent upon internet in my home. That depends on me.  I have left her article up on my laptop, nagging me to reread it and make the personal assessments necessary. Which means getting off of all of the other stuff in cyberspace and really focusing on it!

I don’t think it is an accident that Tisha B’Av comes about a month before Elul. The process of teshuva has begun, and before we know it, the time of cheshbon hanefesh will be here. I know for  me this year, my relationship to my computer, my email, my blessed and beloved social network and the internet will be at the forefront. Stay tuned.

What do you do to avoid hillul Hashem and bitul zman in your house from the internet????

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