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11 Adar 5777 - March 9, 2017 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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For We Have Been Sold... - A Seasonal Purim Dialogue

by The Rabbinical Committee to Fortify the Das


We are joining a dialog about smart phones between someone who would not go near one, and someone who cannot bear to be without one. Though modern technology is the main subject, the ancient lessons of Purim are on everyone's mind.

It's not really worth arguing about.

Ridiculous! It is a very important issue.

Really. In two years you will also have an iPhone of your own.

What!!! Never!

You can say, 'never,' but I also said that a few years ago. And today, here I have one. In two years you will not be able to wash your clothes in your washing machine without a smart phone.

They said that five years ago, but somehow I am still managing.

And what will you do in two years if you cannot?

If I can't breathe in two years without a smart phone, I should stop breathing today?

Stop breathing?

You know it better than I. With smart phone you have trouble breathing freely. Did you every see a family go to the park for some "quality family time" and what are they doing? The father is busy with his iPhone and so is the mother. Junior has to send Dad a text message: `Dad, when can we speak?'


I am sure that many want to free themselves from this but find it extremely difficult. They have become enslaved to the smart phone. They feel, `I love my master and do not want to go free.'

Do you personally know people like that?

Yes, I do. One of them said to me that he can verify the truth of the statement, 'If you have decided to surf with your iPhone, it is the last decision you will make in your life!'

Listen here, it is very difficult to convince you.

On the contrary. You've succeeded.

How is that?

That even in twenty years time, I would find it preferable to send my laundry to the dry cleaners rather than use such a device.

That's interesting. I came to convince you to get one and you tell me that you've been convinced not to get it.

True. Do you know why [Amalek,] the one who "chilled" us, started up only with the weak ones amongst the Jewish people? Because he doesn't know how to convince through speech, but only through sending WhatsApp messages to those who have the devices which are owned by those weak people.

Touche! A nice vort. And as soon as you finished saying it, it was already going viral through WhatsApp.

Now listen to something serious. All of these arguments were aired already in Shushan...

Really? Where? How?

In Shushan. When the Jews were invited to the king's banquet and Mordechai told them not to attend, they played innocent. `Where does it say that it is forbidden? Everything served has a terrific hechsher!' And Mordechai explained that when a person indulges in a feast of a rosho, he is drawn in and in the end, he is led to forbidden things. But they rejected his warning. Do you know why?


They said that everyone can take care of himself, and the rabbis don't have to tell them what to do!

Ah, so you see I have a source for my approach.

Yes. That's exactly what brought the descendant of `asher korcha — the master of chilling people' to threaten to destroy, kill and decimate.

Listen, you're beginning to become heavy. It's not my style.

No, don't worry. In the end, everything turned around. The `Asher korcha-nik' was hanged from a tree.

Are you trying to insinuate something?

I am not hinting, I am saying. If you are addicted and dependent on your iPhone, you will remain hanging on it, but at least don't hang others as well.

Don't worry. I've already given up on the public. I am only involved personally. No one is going to tell me what to do.

Who tried to tell you what to do?

All kinds of interested parties who come all the time and tell me things in the name of the rabbonim.

And they interfere with your interests?

My interests are nobody's business.

Oh, that reminds me of the person who used to cross busy thoroughfares on a red light while cursing the traffic lights and those who invented them. 'Everything boils down to personal interests,' he ranted. `They want to dictate to everyone when to stop and when to go. Well, no one is going to tell me what to do.

Your example is totally irrelevant.

Given. It's not like a man who crosses on a red light, it is more like a car that travels along a busy road ignoring the traffic lights and is endangering himself and everyone else. When you walk with your iPhone, you are fulfilling `it's chilling' in that you are chilling others, and that's without even mentioning the danger you present to your home and children.

Aha! Now you've begun preaching? What business is it of yours? Who cares?

I don't only care about you, I care about the public at large!


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