Gone are the days of waiting with anticipation for an item, a message or a meal. With subscription services at a record high, allowing us ease to order anything our heart desires at a click of a button, I wonder how we have been changed.
I remember being a little girl waiting for my birthday because I knew I was going to get two special presents, one from my parents and the other from my grandparents. Hannukah was my favourite because holding a $20 bill in my hands felt precious and made me feel like Charlie in the chocolate factory (how many sour keys could $20 buy?), I realised I didn’t need $20 worth to get that sandpaper feeling on my tongue, which prompted me to tuck the change back into my pocket.
When my husband reminds me that we are out of peanut butter, hand soap or grape juice, I automatically seek my iPhone, and in 5 seconds an Instacart order will provide me my items in two hours. Do we live in the Jetson cartoon? Is this real life? But why are we so unhappy? Why is it with everything at our fingertips we can no longer enjoy things and experiences for longer than a squirrel minute?
As lockdowns continue all around the world, as delivery services have become our means to surviving without human contact, have we asked ourselves what we’ve lost? The most valuable thing of all……we forgot how much we need each other! We forgot how badly we need to see the smile of another human being, to sense that we are being seen and heard. To feel the heat of a friends warm body in an embrace or a firm handshake denoting trust and security.
We are living in a never-ending feeling of blurzday and some families have gotten creative and enacted Monday dress up day, or Wednesday colour war day, or Sunday top chef day. Families have been forced to be more creative, and although we are in close quarters . . . are we really close? With no where to recharge, we seem to just default to the glowing light from our “I-devices” hoping for connection to distract us from the disconnection.
Is is said that a Jew can be with G-d, against G-d, but not without G-d. Even Jewish atheists express their Jewishness, often unconsciously or unwillingly through religious symbols (ex. mezuzah/kippa/menorah). During this time as we are questioning everything around us, as Jews we are also questioning what it means to be a Jew. Even though religious institutions have not been open for the last calendar year, Jewish life cycles were still observed. Bar-mitzvahs went zoom, Brit Milah’s still occurred. Bagels, cream cheese and Lox were still sold at a record high.
For Jews we are taught that the response to darkness is light, the response to disconnect is connect, the response to hate is love. So while others were planning their weekly family themed meal nights, we the Jews prepared weekly for Shabbat with a white tablecloth, challah, two glowing candles, our best clothes and delicious food. While others looked to disconnect from darkness of this world, we the Jews connected weekly to our creator and the light.
Judaism is not all or nothing, and tapping into the rituals, customs and truths of the Jewish tradition can be empowering and a peaceful place of connection. So while we all seek to grow and become better citizens, parents, friends and humans, it won’t happen overnight. We are not Amazon Prime! But, A quick Ubereats and Instacart order may just be the thing we need to prepare to Disconnect from this darkness so we as Jews can prepare to Connect to the Light.