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Past Weekly Shabbat Message
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Jewish Heritage
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Rabbi Dovid Saks
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rabbi@jewishheritage
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(Torah Portion Ki Savo) Face Time!

My mother in law, Mrs. Esther Gewirtzman, forwarded the following parody, titled - Facebook for seniors.
For those of my generation who do not and cannot comprehend why Facebook exists:

I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles.
Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell every passerby what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later, and with whom.
I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day. I also listen to their conversations, give them the "thumbs up" and tell them I like them. And it works just like Facebook. I already have four people following me: two police officers, a private investigator, and a psychiatrist.
~
Is just having friends on Facebook enough to have a meaningful friendship and relationship? Or for that matter, is amassing wealth or receiving a sports title a free pass to gain true friendship and happiness.

A couple of cases in point:

A person sold his company and overnight became a billionaire. In an interview he expressed that since then he never felt so lonely.

A young and popular tennis star won the Wimbledon title, and after the initial celebration ended, she returned to her hotel room alone. Although the media was abuzz with her accomplishment, she felt that it was the loneliest moment in her life since her family was not with her.

One of Facebook’s founders shared that when he experienced a personal letdown, he felt very isolated and lonely, although Facebook had just reached a milestone of one billion users in a day!

Everyone agrees that nothing can replace hearing a real voice or being in the company of a friend, relative or associate. There are nuances of the voice, eye contact, facial expressions, smile and body language that can’t be substituted in any other way.

In the busy multitasking lives we live, we rely heavily on technology and social media to communicate, but this certainly falls short of the real thing.

We all know that observing Shabbat assists us in reconnecting personally with our loved ones and friends through our adherence to its laws that direct us to disconnect from operating electronic devices.

As the possibilities of distractions grow and expand, we realize the amazing gift the Shabbat is for us. It is a time when we are all on the same page and can reconnect with our loved ones; and it affords us the ability to focus on G-d and His blessings.

An extra feature that surrounds the anticipation of Shabbat is the opportunity (or excuse) to place a call to relatives, friends or someone who is alone, just to check in and wish “a Shabbat Shalom.” Such a small gesture of personal care and thought can go far beyond what we can imagine.

In this week’s Parsha the Torah mentions a list of difficulties and penalties our nation will incur if we do not adhere to the Torah.

The verse sums up our overlooking the commands saying, “It is because you did not serve G-d with Simcha – a Joyful posture.”

Is the lack of joy while performing Mitzvos such a serious offense that it is the reason for all our woes?

An answer offered is that when one lacks joy in what they do, their negative expression, complaints and frustration becomes evident to those around them. Although they may go through the motions, the negative tone conveyed to those close by will cause them to reject the commandments.

The Torah therefore zeros in on this ingredient of joy to convey to us that in order to receive the great blessings to perpetuate our heritage we must approach a Mitzvah, observance, relationship or endeavor with a joyful, caring and loving attitude!

A proven way to attain happiness and joy is to strengthen our basic belief that G-d runs and operates the world. When one places their trust in the Almighty, their natural feelings of worry, anxiety and fear dissipate, and they are afforded the method, capability and likelihood of reaching a mindset of true joy, happiness and serenity.

Wishing you a most enjoyable and uplifting Shabbat!
                    Rabbi Dovid Saks