It’s Sunday afternoon and we here in Louisville have the honor and privilege of experiencing a really annoying and pain in the ass kind of Black Out. It started at about 5:30 on Shabbos and went till Sunday night 8:30 (I wrote this post during the black out and finished it after it was over)
Truthfully it could be much worse. The temperature was a cool 70 last night (thanks to the storm), and our wonderful southern style neighbors offered to share their generator with us, so thank the Good Lord we were able to charge our phones, computer, and weren’t sitting in complete darkness at night
So here I am, sitting in pajamas at noon, trying to decide if I should use up the little hot water we have on a shower (or save it for the husband? ) when I remembered an article I read a few weeks ago. Since I don’t have power (and no internet) I can’t exactly look up the article, so let’s hope I get the details right! Hehe.
The article was about: Keeping Half Shabbos
Maybe you’ve heard of it, but it discussed this new “craze” where Orthodox Jewish teens admitted to keeping a ½ Shabbos.
What is Half Shabbos?
Half Shabbos is where you are shomer Shabbat – you adhere to all the laws: you don’t drive, or watch TV.. no turning on lights, or cooking, but you DO text. The teens in the article were quoted that EVERYONE in the schools are doing it. Their parents are fully religious, and even though they were raised with understanding that technology isn’t allowed on Shabbat, they just couldn’t bear to part with their phones. It had nothing to do with rebelling against religion, or their parents, it was the fact that these teens entire lives are with their phones – they compared it to a smoker giving up his cigarettes for one day. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. (withdrawal anyone?) Even though it’s a very harsh word, one could almost say it’s sort of an addiction. Anything that we use (no matter what it is) to calm us – and sometimes we don’t even realize it until its ‘taken away’ is a form of addiction.
Ever meet someone who CANT take a vacation? They go CRAZY? Ever meet someone who can’t stop checking their Blackberry a million times a day? Ever meet someone who can’t handle restrictive holidays such as Pesach? (see what I mean?)
So this all got me thinking: I can really relate to this!!! For me personally – its VERY hard turning off my computer before Shabbos and “disconnecting” from the world. Hey, sitting in the dark during our blackout – I felt like I was missing out on all the action online!! So the truth is I can really understand where these teens are coming from. Texting is the way teens communicate these days and it is how they build friendships. I wondered why these kids can’t just get together Shabbos afternoon and hang out – but according to the article, texting was just easier.
Now its time to ask the question that’s on all our minds.
Is this healthy?
I was chatting with my husband about this article we both read – about teens keeping ½ Shabbos, and we both came to the same conclusion. It’s really quite sad.
Forget G-d for a minute (hehe). Forget the laws and rules of Shabbos. Forget the ‘oy’ and the ‘kids these days…” and let’s talk about the difficulty a person has being quiet and alone and “disconnected.” Study upon study shows that today’s teens suffer from more stress, anxiety and depression than ever before. Kids are bombarded with the ‘noise’ of the world and whether you agree or not, this noise takes a toll on the nervous system.
Any person who is a beginner meditator will tell you the same thing: “Its so hard to sit still!”
Yes, it is difficult because we are so WIRED all the time. Our phones beep, our computers buzz and our Ipads jingle (yeah I needed a third verb). Myself included – during the blackout – I freak out! How am I going to survive ?!?!?!
What’s great about a blackout though is that it kind of forces you to realize how much you (and me) depend on the technology. That we just can’t LIVE without it! (I’m referring to the Internet, not sitting in the dark J) And really – it shows me how “addicted” I am that I can’t bear to part with it.
And the same goes for Shabbos.
Tapping Into the ESSENCE Of Shabbos
There are so many reasons why we keep Shabbos – and I think more than ever we need to connect with the essence of Shabbos. In this article of “½ Shabbos” the readers comment that that keeping teens entertained on Shabbos with board games and beautiful Shabbos meals just doesn’t cut it. And I think this is because board games and afternoon gatherings can’t compete with the internet. This is why it’s so important, in our insanely NOISY world – we need to learn to just be quiet. And to just be still. This is the essence of Shabbos that helps us do this.
So my dear readers – what do you think?
Do you have a hard time being “still” amongst a noisy world? Do you have a hard time parting with Technology?
And more importantly – what do you think of “Keeping a Half Shabbos?”