A few months ago before Rosh Hashana, as I was trying to do some pre-move purging, I found an old special issue of National Geographic entitled “Water: Our Thirsty World.” It wasn’t much different than any other Nat Geo I’d ever seen. It dealt with the different ways water can be used throughout the world. That was when I saw it. It was just an ordinary photograph, yet it shook me to my core. A Ukrainian Hasidic Jew, presumably Satmar, emerges from a pool of water soaked, peyes sopping wet. The caption reads: “A Hasidic Jew in Ukraine immerses himself before Rosh Hashanah in a quarry pool that serves as a mikvah, a body of water used for spiritual cleansing.” The expression on this mans face is pure awe and joy. I saw my whole life as it could be in that one measly photograph. I saw myself enjoying luscious Shabbat dinners at some prominent rabbi’s table. I saw myself on my wedding day as I encircled my groom, a slender and pale Talmud scholar, under the chuppah seven times. I saw my sons attending the best yeshivah in town and my daughters each learning how to be a bat melech. Gone are the days when my grandmother would have to bribe me with (the very much not kosher) McNuggets just to comply with any sort of religious instruction. I’m a whole different girl now.
What do YOU think about my transformation? Share your opinions in the comments below.
The title should be sufficient. I’m going to tell you about the realationship between Jews and the Boob Tube. I misspelled “relationship” for a reason: There is no such thing as reality TV. It’s one of the biggest oxymorons I’ve ever come across. Many observant Jews don’t watch television or watch very little television for a number of different reasons, the most common three being that A) It rots your brain, B) It’s the biggest waste of time I’ve ever seen, and C) TV has a lot of negative values and messages. And who in their right mind would want to be exposed to that crap?
Don’t get me wrong. I do watch television, and I’m not writing to condemn the tube, at least not completely. I love Once Upon a Time and old movies. (Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland are awesome!) I’m as big a Downton Abbey fan as the next girl. But there are endless things to do instead of watching television. Radios are fine. With radios, you’re foced to actually use your imagination to visualize what’s going on. Computers are awesome too. They can be used for pretty much anything. But they are machines to be used for getting tasks done.
Any technology can be used as a way of glorifying G-d. I watch the National Public Menorah Lighting every Chanukah and the ball go down every New Year’s. But make sure that you’re the one controlling the TV, not the other way around. Here are some links you may find interesting:
One Million Things to Do Instead of Watching Television
Is There Life Without TV?
What’ve You Got Against TV?
100 Things to Do Instead of Watching Television
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