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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Does God Have an iPhone?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

I’ve gotten used to thinking differently about things, so when I started bawling with tears last week over the video where Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone, it was probably to be expected.



After the tears dried and I composed myself once again, I began to realize why seeing this video had such a profound effect on me. While the presentation was about an hour long, what pulled at my heart strings the most were the first three minutes.

Just before announcing the iPhone, it appeared that Jobs was presenting three new products:

  • A revolutionary mobile phone
  • A widescreen iPod with touch screen controls
  • A breakthrough internet communicator

Then the tempo shifts and Jobs starts repeating these three “separate” products again and again, faster and faster in sequence, as the presentation screen begins to spin these three icons around in a circle, Jobs then says these now infamous words:

“Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it the iPhone.”
This video made a lot of things clear to me, but let’s start with the History Channel. Two years ago the History Channel aired a program called the “101 Gadgets that Changed the World,” and the smartphone finished at number 1. When I first heard this it didn’t make sense as the smartphone is essentially just the combination of the computer (smart) and cell phone (phone), and cell phones are just the wireless handheld versions of landline phones, and so on… It didn’t make sense to me how the combination of existing technologies became perceived as one new game-changer.

The question remained until I watched the above video.

Lower Case “i”
If you ask moralists regarding their take on the “i” line of products, they’ll probably tell you that the name serves as a reminder that we all buy these things for ourselves; for our own pleasure. But while we should be careful that technology shouldn’t be self-serving, this still doesn’t fully explain the exuberance and excitement over a device that was first and foremost marketed as a product that would help foster connectivity among people.

What was the product that was announced that day? A fourth concept called the potential to live in a more connected world. To speak and interact with friends, family and colleagues with greater ease than we previously thought possible. But while it is true that we are each the “i” speaking, as long as it is a lower-case “i” combined with the capital word “Phone,” then it is okay.

What do I mean? That as long as the focus is on benefiting others, then the potentials are truly endless while using the iPhone and other communication-based technology. But as soon as we become fixated on the apps, surfing the internet, listening to music, then the “i” runs the risk of becoming capital, being too self-aware, instead of fostering a greater sensitivity towards others. [1]

Secret of the Fourth
The secret of this article is that what most excited people that day, what propelled thousands to wait for days outside Apple stores, and prompted millions of iPhones to be sold, was not the combination of three concepts into one product, but the allusion to the fourth concept called “speech,” or as we explained, the hope that this new gadget will help us live in a more connected and mutually-beneficial world.

Spinning All Four Sides Together
What we’ve now done is complete the spin that began during that presentation. But instead of attempting to spin three sides together, we have now for the first time added the missing fourth side.

So what exactly was being marketed that day? Let’s see … spinning four sides together, spinning four sides together, spinning four sides together… Are you getting it?

What was presented that day was a modern-day allusion to our favorite little Chanukah toy … the dreidel!

iDreidel
Comparing the iPhone to a dreidel may be difficult to process as first. After all, the classic rendering of the song is “I made it out of clay,” not “chrome, glass, aluminum and plastic for external components.” But in order to appreciate the correspondence, we need to first explore the mystical significance behind the dreidel, as explained by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh in his booklet “TheDreidelsHiddenMeanings.”

Spinning Miracles into Nature
…In a sense, whenever a miracle occurs, we can imagine that God too has been playing with His big cosmic dreidel. By spinning this abstract dreidel, God spins His inner light—His revealed finite nature as we experience it normally—blurring the harsh logical rules that govern reality and allow His infinite nature to be revealed. One might say that God is continually spinning miracles into nature.

By meditating on the act of spinning our own physical dreidel, we connect and identify with the Divine and show our willingness to see beyond the square and logical face of nature and believe and tap into the infinite, circular realm of God’s infinite space. In effect, meditating on the dreidel’s spin has the power of open our eyes to miracles.

So, Does God have an iPhone?
To be honest, I don’t think any of us do. I find myself either holding on to a small computer, a leisure device, a way to easily check my email, and occasionally talk. But when we spin all four concepts together—including the iPhone name itself—we arrive at something truly miraculous:

The ability to open our eyes to see the miracles that God is continuously spinning into the world.

Happy Purim Everyone!

[1] For more read: http://www.inner.org/leader/leader3. According to Kabbalah, the three concepts–”smart,” “wide,” and “communication”–correspond to the first three letters of God’s four letter name. For more information, please contact me directly.

The Next War With Apps and GPS

Monday, February 4th, 2013

In the days before Elie was called to Operation Pillar of Defense, he showed me an iPhone application he had found on the Internet. It was called “Color Red” – the same name used to indicate an incoming missile. And what it did – was alert you that a missile had been fired from Gaza and tell you how many seconds you had before impact. It even had a stop watch which you could start and then time yourself as you ran. Sick humor…

Elie called a short while ago – he found another application – it’s called, “The Next War” and what it does is tell you where the nearest bomb shelter is – based on your location as identified by GPS. Wonderful. He thought it was hysterical. He was particularly amused that according to this application, the nearest bomb shelter to where he was – working as a security guard in the mall in Maale Adumim – is a 40 minute drive to the southern part of Jerusalem (ignoring the bomb shelter that is in the mall in Maale Adumim and every other bomb shelter between us and Jerusalem). There was a link to report additional bomb shelters.

What does it say about us that we create programs to measure how fast we can run and where we can seek shelter? I actually think it shows how well we are adapting. No, I really doubt that either of these applications would be used in a real war. Who has time to pull out your phone, open the application and then consult it as you run for the 15 seconds to one minute it takes for the missile to arrive?

So maybe the better question is what is says about our enemies.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Rabbi Kanievsky: Burn Your iPhones

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who of Israel’s pre-eminent haredi rabbis, issued a public notice on Sunday urging owners of iPhones to burn their devices, comparing the popular cell phones to weapons of war.

The ban on iPhone products was published on the front page of the popular haredi paper Yated Ne’eman.  The edict stated that not only is it forbidden for Jews to possess an iPhone, but that it is also not permitted to sell the phone to non-Jews, citing a Jewish law forbidding the sale of weapons to non-Jews.  The only solution – burning the device.

Rabbi Kanievsky’s ruling came after he was approached by businessman asking his opinion about the phones.  The Eda Haredit has also condemned iPhones and all other smart phones.

Smartphone devices have been condemned by many hareidi rabbis due to the ease of using the internet privately, taking part insocial media, and accessing pornography sites.

Members of the hareidi public have been encouraged by their leaders to use “kosher cell phones” which have no internet or text message capability.

Just Say No… to the Nonsense of the iPhone Smashing Rabbis

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Stories like the one in a Jerusalem Post article about the public smashing of an iphone by a Bnei Brak rabbi are so common place that reporting on them is no longer news worthy. And commenting on them has become an exercise in redundancy. In fact I just wrote about a story like this. This story takes it step further though. It is not only about how evil smart-phones are. It is about how vile and disgusting the people who own them are!

I am beginning to find that the more I see a story like this, the more I just want to fold up my tent, and go home. No matter how much one wants to be Dan L’Kaf Zechus and judge people and their actions favorably, a story like this comes along which makes it extremely difficult to do so. Here is an excerpt:

During his tirade, given from behind a table with an iPhone sitting on it, the rabbi inveighed against anyone possessing the popular smart phone. “A religious person who owns this impure device is an abomination and a disgusting, vile villain,” (Rabbi Lior) Glazer said.

OK. We all know about it. We all know that improper use of a smart-phone can lead to a disaster:

(Rabbi Lior) then gave an account of a man who had purchased an iPhone, which “ruined his life” and on account of which he got divorced from his wife.

Of course Rabbi Lior fails to take into account the very likely fact that this fellow probably had ‘issues’ that led him to “ruin his life” in that way. Issues that mentally healthy people do not.  That was the real cause of the problem.  As was the case with a Charedi principal who published his own story (in the now defunct Jewish Observer) of how he got caught up with child pornography on his computer.

As I recall him telling it, he said he never had any issues with child porn until he accidentally chanced upon it one day. Which led to him being caught in a police ‘sting’ operation. (Right!  He wanted us to believe that he was never a pedophile. As if the computer made him become one. Does anyone believe that?)

Nonetheless, Rabbi Lior, like virtually every other Rav in the very right-wing Charedi world of Bnei Brak blames such things on the technology. And not the abnormal psychology of the individual.

This is not to say that there aren’t problems for normal people. Of course there is. Especially for children whom we want to protect from these images. But this community sees a problem and uses the nuclear option to solve it! It is tantamount to killing a patient that has cancer in order to destroy the cancer.  Obvioulsy they see absolutely no value in smart-phones.  Which is why the following happened:

At the end of his sermon, the rabbi recited a brief prayer requesting that God defeat the nation of Amalek, an ancient enemy of the Israelites and Jewish people used as a catchall for evil in general. He then proceeded to smash the offending iPhone with a hammer in front of his audience until it was left in pieces on the table.

I need not mention how absolutely ridiculous this is. Or how much ignorance this shows about the value of iphones. Or how futile this gesture is. Or the possible Chilul HaShem this may be because of how ignorant it makes our rabbis look.

I also seriously doubt there are too many people who bought an iphone who will be moved to rid themselves of it by hearing of this.  Nor do I believe that of those Charedim who do own iphones would ever access pornography – except for those like that elementary school  principlal that have some sort of psychological problem.

One of the things that I believe to be driving this mentality is the idea that it is only a problem for religious Jews. And that the non Jewish world is evil by nature. Or just doesn’t care about it. We are not like the Goyim. We are a holy people! We must separate ourselves from them!  And THIS  is how a Torah Jew deals with it!  THIS is how we are Mekadesh Shem Shamyim – sanctify God’s name!

Really? That is another big mistake they make. There is not a decent parent in the civilized world – Jew or gentile – that isn’t concerned by what goes on in the dark corners of the internet. Pornography is available at a single click of a mouse.Chat rooms abound with pedophiles trying to lure victims into their net all the time. They are good at what they do. They can entice even the nicest and most innocent young girls or boys from the best of homes to come and see them under the most innocent sounding pretext.

This happens every day. Hundreds of times. These rabbis are not the only ones who know that. Everyone does. It is not a secret. We are all in this together – Jew and gentile alike. The Torah world is not unique in its very legitimate ‘fear’ of the internet’s very accessible dark side. That’s why there are filters. Filters -  and guidelines of internet use for children – that were created by non Jews.

No rational person should do to an iphone what Rabbi Lior and many others like him did, smashing it to pieces as though he was destroying Amalek… and treat anyone who uses an iphone as though they were the most vile people on earth!

A far better example for us is the non Jewish “First Family”. From the Daily Mail Online (May 12th):

Barack Obama has revealed that he made his eldest daughter wait until she was 12 before allowing her to have a cell phone. The President said that he finally agreed to give 13-year-old Malia a mobile last year – but banned her from using it during the week. His youngest daughter Sasha, nine, has been told she must wait before being given the same privilege.  During the week neither of the Presidential daughters can use their computers or watch TV for anything except homework either, he added.

This may not be the exact way we should handle it. But it is a lot closer to that than what Rabbi Lior did. I think most rational people realize that smashing iphones is not the way to solve the problems of the internet.

Or do they?

I wonder just how many people are affected by something like this. It isn’t like Rabbi Lior just decided out of the blue to smash an iphone in public. This technology was after all banned by another Bnei Brak Rabbi, whom many consider the Posek HaDor.  And he was not the only Charedi Rav in who banned it! Rabbi Lior and others like him are simply taking their cues from them.

Is it just a few extremists or are there actually mainstream Charedi Jews who so shun the internet that they would resort to smashing them when they find them – as if they were destroying Amalek?  Is this how the world of the right sees it?

Is this the issue they think will destroy the Jewish people more than any other? If that is the case, how are they going to treat the vast majority of Jews who will no doubt ignore this event and the edicts that generated it.  It isn’t only Modern Orthodox Jews that use smart phones. It is the Charedi world too. Like Agudah Executive Director, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, who pulled out his Blackberry during a speech he gave about the evils of the internet at the last Agudah convention!

Is there now going to be a new divide among Charedim themselves – the “evil” Charedim who are as vile as Amalek for having an iphone and those who think iphones should be smashed?

I almost hope that is the case. Because if that happens, I welcome the “evil” ones.  Because they are NOT evil.  They are normal. They will survive into the future. Those who smash iphones will isolate themselves into extinction. We should honor those who stay on the rational side of this new divide. And for their courage in just saying NO! to nonesense.

Apple Makes First Israeli Acquisition

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

After weeks of negotiations, computer mega-giant Apple has acquired its first Israeli company, Anobit Technologies, for $390 million.

Anobit, based in Herzliya, will develop high-performance flash-memory drive components for Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.  The agreement was signed on January 6 and confirmed by Apple spokesman Steve Dowling on January 10.

Apple is also cultivating plans to open a semiconductor development center in Israel, a plan which is unrelated to the Anobit acquisition.

While the Anobit purchase is Apple’s first foray into the Israeli market, competitors Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard already have labs and development centers in the country.  Intel opened its doors in Israel with five employees in 1974, according to Bloomberg business news, and now has 6,600 personnel in the country.  Microsoft’s Israeli research and development center opened in the spring of 2006.

Bloomberg reported that Israel has 60 companies featured on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any country outside North America with the exception of China.  It is also home to the most startups per capita of any country in the world.

Israeli companies have been featured in several major international deals recently, including the sale of Israeli chip developer Zoran to the British makers of chips for Nokia Oyj mobile phones and the $307 million acquisition of Tel Aviv information technology firm Ness Technologies by Citi Venture Capital International.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/apple-makes-first-israeli-acquisition/2012/01/12/

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