Over Pesach we are enjoined “to see ourselves as if we came out of Egypt”.
Made especially for Pesach, family Golker has an enormous wall piece which takes up most of the dining room and overlooks our seder table. It has an Egyptian backdrop with photos of family members super imposed on Ancient Egyptian characters. Apart from keeping the kids busy and involved in the build up to Pesach, it helped us fulfil the dictum of Chazal and contemporise our feelings of freedom.
As we approach the Festival of Freedom, an article by journalist Eytan Kobre caught my attention. He was writing about the addictive nature of technology and quoted Adam Alter, a professor at New York University, who argues that “many of us – youngsters, teenagers and adults – are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.”
If proof were even needed, he suggested we ask ourselves the following questions:
Do I sleep with my phone near my bed? Do I ever go for a walk without it? Do I keep it on the table during meals? How about during meetings? When I’m speaking to someone face to face and I receive a text message, who comes first? What is my reaction to being separated from my phone: Anxiety? Heart palpitations? Loss of identity? Do I feel bereft, disoriented?
Perhaps another way to contemporise זמן חירותינו is to think seriously about the above questions and our relationship with technology. Kobre defines addiction as “something you enjoy doing in the short term, that undermines your well-being in the long term – but that you do compulsively anyway”. Are we modelling responsible behaviour to our children? Are we setting up good practice in our own homes? Important questions for an important time of the year.
It has been a long and busy term and we are all very proud to have a part in overseeing numerous events and encouraging the fantastic achievements of our students. Please help us, help them achieve even more. A healthy relationship with technology is an important start and can be very liberating.
Wishing you all a חג כשר ושמח, a kosher, happy and enjoyable Pesach.
Rabbi J Golker