Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Going Social and the War

Lately there has been a great deal of back and forth about the value of the Internet. 

Let me tell you something - social media (Facebook, Twitter, and all that) has changed the face of war forever.  And I think it's for the good. 

I know some of you reading this may disagree, but denying the value of social media in 2012 is like living in 1950 and denying that telephones were worthwhile.  It may be a new thing, but it changes everything - and it's not going anywhere So get used to it.

With rockets raining down on Israel, Israelis are able to Tweet and post to Facebook using their phones and tablets - no electricity necessary (until the batteries die, but that's another problem).  There is no such thing as a delay anymore.  As soon as something happens, it's out there.  That means that help is also on the way immediately. 

Before Shabbat, emails went out informing everyone that they could keep on their radios (or radio station Internet sites) over Shabbat - once the regular broadcast stopped around 4:00 pm as it usually does on Fridays, it would immediately be turned on if there was a siren, with an announcement of where the rockets were heading. 

We did this.  For the entire Shabbat I don't think there was a 15 minute period of quiet.  You'd hear the siren sound, then you'd hear the announcement, "AZAKA - [name of place]."  Over and over and over again.  Nonstop.  Imagine living in those towns and having those sirens go off one after the other.  Many people spent Shabbat in their safe rooms.

So here is the Internet saving lives, literally.  Just like the phone, which can carry lashon hara or b'sorot tovot, the Internet is a tool that man has created and which can make a huge difference for the good.

People have been writing and calling asking us how it feels to be new olim and going through this war.  I can give the pat answer, "Well, life goes on here, blah blah blah."  But it doesn't.  Each of us has a knot in the pit of our stomachs, knowing that young men and women are out there risking their lives for us.  We see the photos of young men davening in the field somewhere, taleitim and tefillin over their rifles and uniforms. And we love them.  I mean each one of them is like our own child.  Our heart aches when even one is injured.  People are posting on Facebook the names of their children and relatives who are fighting, to keep them in mind. 

This past Shabbat, Chief Rabbi Lau asked everyone to say special Tehillim during davening, some with the Aron Kodesh open.  How powerful that was.  Knowing that standing there in shul were parents of soldiers already called up, or about to be called up, and parents whose young boys and girls are not yet in the army but will be, sooner than one can imagine.  Your heart aches and your soul just reaches to shamayim to ask Hashem for help.

So that's what it's like.  And all of these feelings, and so much more, are communicated between millions of people via social media - and it gives tremendous chizuk to all of us to hear and see it. 

Today we are tied together as never before, we are within milliseconds of reaching each other with comfort and love.  And with news, both good and bad.

May Hashem give us the strength and courage to be what we are meant to be, what He made us to be - giborim/ heroes - and to use our brains to continue to create tools that bring us together as a nation.

And to recognize that those tools ARE for good, and that we have the strength to make sure of that.


1 comment: