04 November 2009
Without question, one of the most disturbing developments in our society over the past several years has been the complete dependence on immediate information. You can see this best at the transitional moments of human interaction in the city, namely, when people arrive at the subway station on their way to or from a destination.
Today was a beautiful autumn day. Taking my oldest to school, we could see the moon sinking in the sky, quietly giving way to the morning after a bright, industrious evenings lighting the heavens. The wind was gentle, the air clean and crisp. Mid-day I traveled into the city for lunch with an old teacher and as I gathered thoughts in anticipation, I was struck repeatedly by how down and determined were my fellow walkers, scurrying to the train, absorbing every last digital drop of information before their descent into the bowels of the city, where, in florescence they would travel deeper, darker, into the hand-held tools. It's sad. And pathetic, really.
This play repeated itself over and over--from Union Square to Washington Square Park and back again, on the 4 train, on the 6 train, on the Q train--it knows no demographic bounds. And then back in the neighborhood, the scramble to the hand, to the satellite connection, to that euphoric flood of information.
Outside Shul today CBS is shooting a scene for a TV show which features fictional Hasidic rabbis. I walked up to them and introduced myself as the "real" Rabbi of the Shul and one guy handed me his card, saying, "Oh, I'm a rabbi, too." His name is Elli, King of Broadway. And he's an actor/singer/comedian/voice over artist. "Oh, you teach here?" he asks.
Virtual world collided but I'm not sure anyone heard the sound. Generations ago, philosophers asked, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
I thought of that when I answered this soon to be digitally broadcast "rabbi" standing in front of my Shul.
"Yeah, I teach" I said, "that's what rabbis do."
Posted by Andy Bachman at 3:19 PM