Put it down
A recent Jewish media outlet shared an anecdote about a newly married couple in their yichud room. The yichud room is a place where the couple goes immediately after the ceremony to be alone. Halacha requires that they remain completely alone for a specified amount of time to consummate the marriage. The yichud room is one of the holiest places in the world, especially for an ultra-orthodox couple that purposely has never been 100% alone before with the opposite sex. It’s customary in some circles that, while alone, the groom presents the bride with a gift. In this case, the groom gave his new bride a piece of jewelry. How special! Do you know what she did? She put it on, took out her cell phone, took a selfie and sent it to all of her friends.
I personally find this anecdote sickening! On their wedding night, the first time ever alone, she’s taking selfies? What has become of us? Is there nothing sacred anymore? I often (very often) mourn our society’s state of being with these intrusive cell phones. My kids don’t wanna hear my rants anymore, and they’re upset that I don’t let them have one, but this story reminds me why I don’t.
Don’t read this and pat yourself on the back, saying I would never do something so horrible. I guarantee that, myself included, we have all whipped out our cell phones in places and times where it’s rude and downright pathetic.
We have a problem. A very big problem. What are we going to do about it?
I have a small solution. It’s not the answer but it’s a start.
Hisbodedus! Rebbe Nachman stressed the importance of taking time out daily to talk to Hashem in our own words. Because I practice daily hisbodedus, people often ask me a lot of questions about it. “How do you do it”? etc. I think that with our phone addictions, it is so important to shut the phone off and sit alone everyday. Forget talking to Hashem for now, just sit for a half hour or so and space out. Don’t look at your phone. Just relax. It’s not enough to unplug for Shabbos anymore, it has to be done daily. If you feel it’s weird or hard to talk to Hashem in hisbodedus, then don’t. But still go out to the field or find some quit place, shut off your stupid phone and start living again. I promise you it will make a big difference in your life. Do it!