Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The New iPhone 7S: A Jewish Spiritual Perspective

On Wednesday, in an exciting press conference in downtown San Francisco, Apple introduced to the world some of its new, exciting and innovative products, including the new iPhone 7s. The new iPhone 7s has some new and exciting features. It has two cameras, rather than just one. In addition, the new iPhone has no earphones socket, and can only be used with Air Pods, namely – smart and cordless earphones which seamlessly set into motion the world’s most omniscient secretary, the honorable and encyclopedic Miss Siri, with but a single gentle tap on one of the Air Pods.

In the midst of all this global excitement and commotion about Apple’s newest technological ingenuity, a young Jewish woman by the name of Randy Zuckerberg, chose to speak about the spiritual technology of Shabbat.

Randy, older sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a fine Internet entrepreneur in her own right, spoke about the spiritual imperative of what she calls “Digital Shabbat”. With Rabbi Abraham Berkowitz by her side, Miss Zuckerberg assured her more than two million Facebook followers that they will not find her online during Shabbat.

As I was listening to Randy Zuckerberg’s profound Jewish spiritual ruminations about Shabbat as a sacred, blissful and liberating cocoon from the shackles and relentless pace and demands of the modern lifestyle, I couldn’t help but notice with a smile the linguistic affinity and symbolism inherent in her spiritual discourse. After all, the new iPhone is named “iPhone 7s” – with the number 7 representing the number of days of the week, and the letter “s” representing the word “Shabbat” 🙂

Miss Zuckerberg also shared with her audience that when people around her marvel at the genius and awesomeness of having a “Digital Shabbat”, she always lovingly and proudly conveys to them that Shabbat is an age-old and sacred spiritual technology which was handed down in primordial time by G-d Almighty to His people Israel.

With Shabbat, teaches and exemplifies Miss Randy Zuckerberg, you can achieve that ever-elusive existential balance and equilibrium in life, between doing and being, between what philosophers call in Latin Vita Activa (the active life) and Vita Contemplativa (the contemplative life).

Shabbat, implies Randy, reminds us time and again that we don’t have to sweat and run amok all day long in order to prove to the world and to ourselves that we are of merit and worth.
The redeeming soulfulness of Shabbat reminds us that we’re OK, that it’s really ok, that we can just sit back and be, that we don’t need to be so chronically insecure as to constantly feel that we need to justify our existence by exceling, achieving, accumulating, impressing, shining and projecting to those around us a skewed and illusory hologram of being the epitome of affluence, beauty, glamor, perpetual joy and walking success.

Shabbat connects us to that still small voice of God emanating from within us, and to the soft and sacred murmur of Eternity permeating our innermost chambers in the labyrinth of the Godly Jewish soul.

By putting down our smart phones and computer screens on Shabbat, we temporarily redeem ourselves from these physical and spiritual buffers which often-times cut us off from those who are sitting right next to us around the dinner table, the living room sofa, or the restaurant table.
By temporarily putting away those physical and emotional buffers, you actually get to communicate with your loved ones, see their faces, and actually maintain a durable and lengthy conversation which is not interrupted every four minutes by the nagging and intrusive sound of a new email or text message creeping in.

By putting technology on hold, you simply let being be, you realize that you don’t need to suffocate your inner voice in order to maintain your peace of mind, that you can handle cosmic stillness, that you are confident, strong, and deep enough, to surrender yourself and willingly submit to the natural flow and organic stream of the universe with harmony, levity and boundless joy.

By summoning the courage to embrace Shabbat you get to excavate, rediscover, maintain, celebrate and enhance your soulful and loving relationships, you get to reconnect with your inner core, engage in enhancing and invigorating spiritual and cultural reflection, as well as just enjoy carefree fun activities in the absence of intrusive external communications barging in and unsettling that sacred time and reprieve of your spiritual cocoon. In a word, you are in Shabbat. You are Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Sessler

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