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Communication Without Connection

I once heard a good line. We live in a generation where there is communication without connection. Email, facebook, cellphones, text-messaging etc. etc. But there is something that pains me. People aren't really connecting in a deep way. Would you "date" a potential spouse on facebook? OF COURSE NOT! [By the way - great date idea. Bring "dates" and eat them!! But first, talk about bug-checking and guys, if she cares and checks her fruits - MARRY HER!! Well, also make sure you like her. What's worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm...]

Would you marry a guy you know from g-chatting? [Is that what it is called? I heard someone say that last week.] No way Jose!! Even if his name isn't Jose but Yossi you wouldn't marry him. It is a superficial form of communication!!

No, no sweetest friends, I am not saying we should ignore all modern forms of communication, but that we should use it properly. It is definitely convenient and has many advantages including saving time.

Some suggestions:

1] When you talk to someone [on the computer, phone or otherwise] try to talk about deeper more spiritual matters. Time is a priceless commodity, use it well. Chazal say that one must have friends - "Friends or Death", but true friendship is one based on emotional and spiritual connection - not meaningless discussions about the weather.

2] When you are with a friend - TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONE! It is annoying when it rings and rude when you interrupt a conversation to answer it. Even when the phone isn't ringing the very fact that it is on means that the one holding it is not really with you. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but in my opinion that is the rule. On a persoanl note: When I am talking with someone and they answer their phone [this has happened to me about 10 million times] I wonder "I know that I am not important but why does he have to make me feel that way?!" When the phone rings in my home and I am talking to my wife we don't answer [generally]. Who could be on the phone that is more important than my wife?? I only have one!! Frankly - every person we are with should be made to feel that he is THE MOST IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD. Chazal teach us that one of the questions asked when we meet Hashem is "Did you make your friend feel like a King/Queen?" Would you answer the phone during a meeting with a King? President? Even a Mayor? Why does your friend deserve less respect?

3] Some people find it easier to open up on a computer. But if possible, true connection should be achieved face to face. It is important to look a person in the eye and show that you care and are listening with rapt attention. Shlomo Hamelech could have asked for anything and he asked for a "LEV SHOMEA" - A listening heart.

4] If you receive a phone message or email try to answer promptly. If someone wants to contact you, getting in touch with them has a Jewish term - "chessed". Rav Noach Weinberg was one of the busiest Jews alive. He once became furious with a student who didn't return someone else's call for 48 hours. He boomed "I ALWAYS return a call within 24 hours!! That is the beginning of Ahavas Yisrael." [As I am typing this I am listening to a eulogy of Reb Noach and heard the story from the Talmid. What Hashgacha!]

5] Don't spend too much time communicating with the world. If you are a male - you have a BIBLICAL COMMANDMENT to learn every free minute. And many other mitzvos. If you are female - there is also much Torah to learn, Tanach, Mesilas Yesharim, Pirkei Avos etc. etc. And there is chessed to do. And there is time to spend alone involved in introspection and relaxation.

6] Before making a phone call, sending an email etc. you can ask yourself - is this what Hashem wants? Will it bring another person [or you] simcha, or aliyah in Avodas Hashem?

When the first man went up to the moon, they interviewed the great Ponovitcher Rosh Yeshiva Rav Kahanaman ztz"l [d. 1969] and asked him what he thought. He answered "A man can reach the moon, but lev el lev lo naga'u - people's hearts are no closer." I fear that today people are further than ever.

May we merit to truly connect to other. That is the secret of Jewish survival. When Haman's decree to destroy the Jews was proclaimed, Esther's response was "Lech knos es kol hayehudim" - Gather together all of the Jews.

Amen keyn yehi ratzon!!!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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