Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Kindle and the Jewish Question

Chava Willig Levy,The Kindle and the Jewish Question:

Like my father and the Jewish doctoral student, a Chasidic master living at the turn of the 20th century looked at the world around him with an eye to Jewish life. One day, a disciple approached him and asked, "Rebbe, every time I turn around, I hear about new, modern devices in the world. Tell me, please, are they good or bad for us?"

"What kind of devices?" asked the Rebbe.

"Let me see. There's the telegraph, there's the telephone, and there's the locomotive."

The Rebbe replied, "All of them can be good if we learn the right lessons from them. From the telegraph, we learn to measure our words; if used indiscriminately, we will have to pay dearly. From the telephone, we learn that whatever you say here is heard there. From the locomotive, we learn that every second counts, and if we don’t use each one wisely, we may not reach our destination in life.”

So, what can we learn from the Kindle? Like the telegraph, telephone and locomotive, it offers us lessons - as I see it, at least three of them - for living life meaningfully...

Content: Imagine receiving a Kindle as a gift from your father. Now picture three separate scenarios:

Scenario #1: Several months later, he asks you if you like it. You hesitate to answer. How can you tell him that it's been sitting in its box, unused, devoid of content?

Scenario #2: Several months later, he sees you using it. You see him beaming with delight — until he notices that you're reading some insipid, platitude- or gossip-filled book.

Scenario #3: Several months later, you take him out to dinner for the express purpose of thanking him for his gift and the meaningful, scintillating material to which it has introduced you.

The spiritual parallel is obvious. Granted the gift of life, what do we fill it with? Nothing? Junk? Or purpose?

(Via LISNews.)

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