Posted by inkstainedhands in ,

Although I am not planning on writing here as often as some other people write in their blogs, I thought I might as well have something up besides for my introduction -- especially since introductions tend to be awkward.

Since Pesach is coming up, I would like to focus on one of my favorite things about Jewish holidays: getting away from electronics and other technological things. While Shabbat alone is less than 26 hours, the first days of a long holiday like Pesach or Sukkot can be three days if combined with Shabbat. Think about it -- three full days of living life without the use of the internet, television, iPods, phones, or any other electronic devices you might use on a daily basis otherwise. I'm sure some of you would rather not think about it because it seems so depressing to be separated from these conveniences for such a long time, but I personally love the thought.

It's not because I have something against these things. I use all of these appliances on a regular basis and find them to be very useful.

I love using my cell phone as much as the next person. I use it to keep in touch with my friends, to let my parents know where I am when I go out, to find out information about school assignments, and so on. Although I don't take my phone to school (because it is against school rules, and if I forget to turn it off one day and it rings in class, I would be in big trouble), I do carry it around with me the rest of the day. Even when I go from room to room, I take it with me. I wouldn't say that I am addicted to it as some people are, but I do depend on it to some extent.

Music is a large part of my life in addition to writing. I listen to music when I clean, write, and sometimes even when I do homework. After having a bad day, I am most likely to be found wearing my noise-canceling headphones, concentrating on the music.

The internet, like my phone, helps me connect to people and makes my life a bit easier. I shop online, I look up information online, I order photo prints online, I blog online, I read the news online -- you get the idea.

So I would be the last person to say something negative about these things. I do see some of the problems with them, and anything can be used for the wrong reasons, but that is not a topic I want to go into right now. I don't want to discuss the dangers of internet or the pros and cons of technology in this post.

What I do want to talk about is the fact that it takes away from the quality of life. It doesn't matter if you're using this for all the right reasons -- it still takes something away from your life. You start spending more and more time using these things than living and having a genuinely good time. Your relationships become robotic and impersonal. Rather than talking to people face to face, you rely on words to get your message across. I'm a writer, so I have no problem with words. I love words -- I use them to describe how I feel, to create imaginary worlds, to make people connect, etc. But in friendships and relationships, writing should not be the main form of communication. (And I won't even start on the "hey sup, nm u?" conversations, which probably don't deserve to even be called conversations.)

When you start spending more time staring at a screen (be it an iPod, cell phone, TV, or computer), you also start missing out on some of the beautiful things about life. I know I probably sound like a hypocrite right now, but people don't always do what they know is best, right?

Pesach, however, gives you that chance to get away from it all and to focus more on your family, your friends, your life sans modern technology. You can take long walks in the fresh air, marvel at the beauty of G-d's world and appreciate all that G-d has given you. That's not something you do that often when you are focused on your electronics.

I think that's one of the reasons I love pre-20th century period films. I lost track of how many times I've watched some of them, and even if I did know, I would probably be embarrassed to admit it. Sometimes I fantasize about living in a different century. Yes, I know life was harder and a lot of things that are done for you now you would have to do for yourself back then, but at least people grew backbones. And I think it's safe to say that in those days nobody wrote things like:
"supp im sooooo bored"
"omg i got this rly kewl fone u hav 2 see it!"

Messages like that, in my opinion, are an insult to human intelligence and to the English language.

I don't want to offend any of my friends who might be reading this though, because this isn't anything personal. I love my friends even if their typing habits annoy me.

But back to the original topic of this post... For me, that's one of the beautiful things about holidays -- getting away from unhealthy habits and connecting more to G-d, your family, and your friends. It's being set free and allowed to enjoy life in a wholesome way.

So I hope that your Pesach will be meaningful, uplifting, and special, and that you will be able to spend quality time with your friends and family without regretting the time spent away from your electronics.

I might post another time before Pesach if there is anything worth writing about, but if I don't, I'd like to wish all of you a chag Kosher v'sameach now. :]

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 2, 2009 at Thursday, April 02, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Interesting point to think about again during upcoming Yomim Tovim...

April 6, 2009 at 8:56 AM

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