A “Facebook Fast” in Order to Lose “Wait”

Wait! I’ll be right there; let me just check the latest on Facebook.” Or, “Wait, I will be right with you. I just need to see who “liked” my post.” Then, there is that big decision, at the end of the day, to FINALLY close the computer and get off of Facebook, only to jump right back on as you crawl into bed for one last “peek.”

But wait, there’s more! It’s 2:00am….do you know where your Facebook is? Yup, right next to you, awaiting you…imploring you…beseeching you….”HEY! You’re awake anyways. You might as well look and see if you missed anything on your news-feed while you were asleep!”

If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, then welcome to The Club. Day after day, hour after hour and in some cases minute after minute, the constant, endless “pull” to check and/or post on Facebook is indeed an international obsession. It has been the drug-of-choice for many people.

And so it was that about three weeks ago, I decided that indeed these scenarios described me perfectly. It seemed that I was telling a lot of people “Wait until…” and always needed to check in one more time, JUST IN CASE.

The time had come to make a decision, and the timing seemed right, since it was going to be the start of the month of Elul, the month prior to the Yamim Noraim (the Days of Awe) and the month in which we are bidden by our sages to take even more time for introspection. So, I decided to introspect and felt that Facebook was robbing me of precious time. Yes, there are many things for which it is good (especially during the recent war). And, at the same time, there is no need for me to know that someone’s cat coughed up a fur-ball as its owner was making scrambled eggs. I think I could live the rest of my life without that crucial piece of information. Facebook can be a wonderful place to share ideas and thoughts and a place that one might even be able to be inspired.

But, I decided the time had come to cut the proverbial cord. I needed to take a break–a FAST, if you will–from the posts, the “likes,” the videos, the rants, the pictures and even the spiritual postings. On the first of Elul, I went cold turkey–well, sort of cold turkey. I have posted a couple of times about classes I was going to give. But other than that, yes, it has been a clean break.

The fact that it was indeed SO difficult at first to NOT look, to NOT “just see for a moment” what was happening, was in itself a sign that I needed to “step away from the vehicle.”  I decided that at least until after Yom Kippur, I must maintain this “fast” if it is to really mean anything significant. After that? Well, I may find myself feeling freer to do what I want without that “pull” to the blue logo of Facebook and all that that it entails.

Or, I may just decide that the cat’s fur-ball cough IS exactly what I am missing in my life. Who knows? I will cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I wish everyone a Shana Tova U’Metuka and may 5775 be the best year of your life so far!

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.