Maybe you think this is the age of “let it all hang out,” when Google rules, your friends post their snacks on Facebook, and there are no secrets left in the world.
But believe me, there are still plenty of secrets. And this bold new world may have more in common with the world of the Torah than we’d like to believe, as this week’s parsha shows us.
That’s because what we share on Facebook and other social media is actually a redacted version of our true selves. We tend to forget this, and then we envy other people’s lives. If you’ve ever looked at a friend’s Facebook status and wished that was your life, you know what I’m talking about.
- · They’re having babies (and at my age, their kids are having babies, too!)… and I’m not.
- · Their kids – my kids’ age! – are getting married… and mine aren’t.
- · They’re getting promoted at work… and I’m still sitting here doing the same old thing.
- · Their children are smart, talented, celebrated… when mine kind of aren’t.
- · They’re celebrating anniversaries… when my husband and I barely talk to each other.
- · They’re sharing brilliant ideas about the world… when most days, I have all the insight of a potato.
- · They’re reaching their fitness goals… while I sometimes can’t even get out of bed.
- · They post inspiring quotes full of faith… when I sometimes doubt way too much.
I once heard a rav say that that whole thing about “lo sachmod” (not coveting) isn’t just about houses or wives or donkeys. It’s about the package.
He said that if we could see someone’s whole package – the deal they’ve been handed in life; their upbringing, their family, their career; their health – we would probably not be so eager to trade, no matter what they post about themselves on Facebook.
By the way, I don’t mean we should post more negativity on Facebook! Please don’t!!!
You can see the real effect of negativity from this week’s parsha. The negative reviews of ten meraglim outweighed the good intentions and happy stick-to-it-iveness of two of the holiest people who have ever lived, Yehoshua bin Nun and Kaleiv ben Yefuneh.