Thursday, October 10, 2013

"The smartphone that detects your mood" - Is there more to life than smartphones?

Judaism declares the principle that individual people - with their choices and actions - bring about the consequences of what happens in this world. This is contrary to some views which suggest that people are simply instruments following the patterns of the world, caught in the web, with no control over it, under the influence of social, economical or political happenings. Reading the Torah demonstrates just that: It started with Adam and Eve, the very first man and woman, their relationship, their challenges, their insecurities and their mistakes. And, of course, the consequence of their choices. This takes on further significance for us as Jews, as we journey though the Torah, we find patterns and similarities throughout: Reminding us that what happened then is what happens now. ‘Things’ might have changed, ‘technology’ and ‘mechanisms’ might be very different, but the way the human navigates through it are very similar. Similarly the Torah’s remains the less-popular and ‘out of touch’ approach.
We will spend a few weeks taking a look at the forefathers of the Jewish people and we can filter today’s events through the lenses of our ancestors: This week we see how Abraham was a rootless wonderer and very much alone. An experience we Jews are familiar with. The world at the time of Abraham and Sarah was (save a few select individuals) completely pagan: idols were the worshipped gods. Man made the idols. And sold them. Deities served man, not vice versa. Terach, Abraham’s father became a rich man in this industry. The world was tyrannical. The previous generation had brought the world to complete chaos with their attempt to build a tower to the heavens. The Talmud sums up the way people behaved as: when a brick fell, oh’ they wept, it will cost so much money to replace it. But when a human being fell they was no concern to find a replacement. There were plenty more. Disregard for human life in a quest for domination. Think of today’s Bangladeshi cloth workers at dangerous factories, Chinese minors at electronic manufactures and poorly-paid Eastern Europeans packing fruit salads at British plants. Corporate civilization flourishes in their domination. Abraham lived in such a time and place and he searched and later preached: something deeper, to give it meaning, he uncovered a greater cause; he found faith and belief in Hashem. We too must search and find Hashem and a deeper dimension in everything that we do.

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