web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


E-Mail This – Or Else?

Like most people on this planet whose abodes are wired to electricity, I have a computer and go online. It is amazing to me that information on any subject or on any matter can be instantly retrieved with a few clicks of a mouse.

 

Likewise I look forward to opening my e-mail. An e-mail from a friend or family member who lives hundreds of miles away or in a different time zone, such as Israel, is always a day-brightener.

 

I know we can be in touch by cell phone, but the written word has an added dimension. You can read it and then re-read it, savoring the message it contains. Sometimes when you are on the phone, you are so busy listening that you don’t absorb everything that is being said, or there is background noise that obscures a word here or there. Often the call comes at an inconvenient time and you feel pressured to take it, but you don’t necessarily give the person on the other end your undivided attention.

 

The contents of an e-mail (or “snail” mail) are something you can relish at your leisure.

 

The downside, of course, is the tremendous amount of junk mail that you get; but they are easy to delete. They even have a name for it – spam. And with a good filter, many don’t even reach you. Junk is a fact of life, and I’m OK with it.

 

But what I’m not OK with, and what I find quite disturbing, is what I view as threatening, intimidating e-mails that actually come from good friendsand relatives.

 

Many of these emails that I actually enjoy reading contain inspirational messages, hilarious jokes, cute or unusual photos, or interesting, unusual tidbits of information. However, I have no doubt that the main reason they (and dozens of others, based on the e-mail addresses taking up a good chunk of the opening page) were sent/forwarded to me is because of pure, superstitious fear – one totally at odds with Yiddishkeit.

 

Very frequently, these otherwise delightful e-mails end with the exhortation (read threat) to forward the e-mail to at least 10 friends. You are told that if you do, wonderful things will happen to you. Conversely, failure to do so – within minutes of opening the e-mail – may have dire consequences.

 

I recently chuckled over an e-mail I received that was humorous and witty, only to have my enjoyment immediately soured when I read that something horrific would happen to me or my loved ones if I didn’t pass the e-mail on to 10 others.

 

The e-mail even gave examples of people who experienced major tragedies due to their failure to forward the e-mail. These included losing fiancées in fatal accidents, among other major misfortunes. On the other hand, the e-mail described the great luck that happened to those who “obeyed” its instructions to forward it – like meeting the love of their life at a party that evening.

 

The veiled, or not so veiled, threat contained at the end of these otherwise charming e-mails puzzles me – and disgusts me. Some are so inspirational and their messages so positive, why the mind game? Why play on people’s insecurities and irrational fears? Many who receive these kinds of e-mails are sensible, rational people, and for the most part skeptical about the e-mail’s warning of doom. Yet they are beset with a flicker of apprehension and uncertainty, one that compels them to forward the message. “It’s cute, so why not forward it to everybody?” they rationalize. And why not be on the “safe” side at the same time, an inner voice whispers.

 

I know those thoughts once crossed my mind.

 

However, I quickly reached the conclusion that giving in and sending these e-mails is akin to avodah zarah that I was, in effect, accepting that something other than Hashem’s will could affect the course of my life.

 

The good and bad, the ups and downs in our lives come only min haShamayim – and their reasons are only known to Him. Hashem is in total control of everybody’s existence, and whatever happens to us is the outcome of His will – not of an e-mail that was sent or not sent.

 

To think otherwise erases everything our Yiddishe faith is built on.

 

            So even though I am at times tempted to forward e-mails like those described, just because of their funny or inspiring content, I instead delete them. I put this junk where it belongs – in cyberspace trash.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “E-Mail This – Or Else?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.
Shin Bet Foils Nascent Hamas Coup in Palestinian Authority Territories
Latest Sections Stories

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

Food-Talk---Eller-logo

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

Emmer-052915-History

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

While there are those who insist they need full-color photos to be truly entranced by a recipe, I suggest you get over that particular requirement because the written word here will draw you in and cause you to salivate as you peruse the recipes scattered throughout The Well-Spiced Life (Israel Book Shop).

For those who couldn’t go off base, a personal parcel was priceless in its ability to convey a feeling of home.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-060515-Supermen

There are fathers who bravely step up to the plate and fill in the maternal vacuum with their love and devotion.

Kupfer-On-Our-Own-NEW

The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/e-mail-this-or-else/2009/06/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: