Is technology truly ripping apart the Torah World? Is the internet really what is ruining our children’s innocence? Is social media truly up-ending the leadership role of our great rabbinic and community leaders? Are our always-on digital connections really ruining our ability to communicate with those closest to us?
Or are we blaming these incredible tools for our own lack of skill, effort and determination as individuals? As a community?
Then again, we’re all human.
Are we playing the game with one arm tied behind our backs by leaving open our access to technology? By throwing open the lines of access to the best and often more enticingly, the worst of society, the worst of human behavior, the worst of social behavior are we setting ourselves up for failure? We say that we want leaders who communicate in the tools of the age. But can any leader truly stand the test of the 24/7 spotlight and even harder, 24/6 social media engagement without creating at least a few public blunders? Is this really the type of leadership we want? Do we really want to, or need to have access to this much information?
I would like to believe that there’s nothing wrong with plugging in. But there is also a lot to be said for unplugging, not friending and keeping a healthy distance.
We live in an all-you-can-eat world. Some people choose to only take the small plate, and hope their children won’t sneak back in line for seconds, and thirds, falling into the glut of access. Some people choose to educate, pray and strive for the best. Others choose to label the often kosher buffet as a Seudas Achashveirosh and avoid it (or as much of it as possible) at all costs. I don’t know which one is the right approach, nor do I know if there is a single correct approach. But I do know one thing: If the digital world is a reflection of our global society, it is our responsibility as Jews to actively define our engagement with it.
Nobody can say that they are without sin. But is technology to blame when it is user-driven behavior at fault?