Alan Morinis, in Every Day, Holy Day wonders, “What could possibly cause you to vary from the truth? Probe your motivations and you will encounter some other trait like envy or laziness – seeking its own satisfaction. You deviate from the truth when some inner trait wants to bend reality to its own purpose” (p. 344).
As you see, envy fueled by chutzpah and engineered by selfish materialism causes people to steal and lie, all for the sake of Heaven — ; so they can join the “in-crowd” and look like everyone else with fancy shoes, exquisite hats and starchy, imperfect white shirts.
Not surprisingly, the men and women that Rachel Shteir, author of “The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, spoke to presented different views on shoplifting: The men sounded as if they saw themselves as heroes in video games; one described the excitement of racing through the aisles of Target, outwitting the sales staff, security people and cameras.
People want to feel good about themselves. They want to be seen in a respectable light by their friends. When this can be accomplished without deception, people are usually honest.
Yes, the Internet and hand- held technology are to blame for seriously deteriorating the holiness of Jewish society, destroying relationships and distracting us from what is truly our purpose in life – serving Hashem by doing HIS mitzvos. Even secular psychologists, who once were technology advocates, are now decrying the lack of one-to-one communication and the compulsion to check our hand- held devices in spite of danger, social awkwardness and rudeness.
Fortunately, there are mitzvos in addition to guarding your eyes. Number Eight is, “Thou shall not steal,” and Number Nine is, “Thou shall not lie.”
What is the answer? Another type of filter. We cannot expect people to live in caves and never have access to the outside world. Our computers need filters desperately, but what’s next , — putting filters on women’s heads so men will no longer be tempted to look at them in the street? No. The answer is to filter our own minds and heads by becoming role models for our children in shul, at home and in business. By dressing properly ourselves, by understanding that being holy is about respecting ourselves enough to feel good about our own personal strengths, instead of looking outside to the latest styles, gossip and news for validation. The answer is bringing up our children to understand that they have a God-given soul, and direct them to understand their strengths instead of teaching them that what they do will lead them straight into Gehinnom. To teach our children from a very young age about Go-d, faith, trust and the privilege of being Go-d’s chosen people, not a nation that has to rely on the whims, customs and fads of others to feel good about ourselves: This is truly the test of our generation.