Tell me if you see what I see: the world is never going to be the same.
No, I am not referring to the changes due to Covid19. I hope and pray we will shake hands again, and I certainly won’t mind getting rid of those annoying face masks.
I am talking about permanent change; trends that will remain with us for a long time to come.
Almost everything is not what it once was.
The latest example came last week from Wall Street. A group of Reddit users decided to challenge the dominance of the hedge funds managers. They bet on a struggling video-game chain, causing the stock to rise and for the hedge funds managers to lose billions of dollars.
It was intriguing to watch how a group of simple folks are beating the professionals. I am guessing that so many of those Reddit users didn’t have any background in finance, yet they left an everlasting impression on Wall Street.
But even before the GameStop saga, there were signs everywhere that the world was changing.
It used to be that to be considered an expert on a topic, you had to spend many years in academia, publish books and conduct significant research on the topic.
Today, all you need is a YouTube channel with a few viral videos.
To become a celebrity, one had to climb through all kinds of ladders and auditions, slowly rising and becoming more famous.
Today, all you need is a TikTok account.
Even in the medical field, when people had medical issues, they called a doctor.
Today, the first thing they will do will be to Google. And how many people are relying on medical advice from social media? Probably too many…
We live in an era of decentralization of knowledge.
Knowledge is no more in the hands of the few, the choicest, smartest individuals around. Now, knowledge is available to anyone, anywhere.
And it’s just not the way it used to be.
Except… it is exactly the way it should be!
In this week’s Parsha, we read about the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Imagine if you have a brilliant, holy, and profound book of ideas, and you want to spread those ideas further. How would you have done that? I am guessing I would have searched for the smartest, most capable, and influential people, and share it with them.
G-d had an unconventional idea.
He asked for everyone — everyone! — to show up. He asked for the bright, simple, and everything in between. The oldest and the youngest, men, women, and children. Not only He invited everyone to come, He even said the Torah won’t be given unless everyone is present!
Today, as the knowledge is becoming more accessible, we can appreciate G-d’s plan. G-d doesn’t want a nation where we rely on a selected group of scholars and Rabbis to learn and understand the Torah and convey to the simple people the bare minimum. G-d wanted every individual to be empowered with knowledge, to learn Torah, and understand it as much as possible.
So, for those among us who are blessed with special knowledge about any topic: remember your most important task is to share it with others!
And for all of us: let’s remember that the Torah doesn’t belong only in the halls of the Yeshivot; it belongs to all of us. We should appreciate it and cherish it and spend as much time as possible studying it.