Our Sages teach us that the Torah should always be new in our eyes. Rebbe Nachman extends this idea and teaches that each day we should serve Hashem as if for the very first time, to live a life of constant renewal, to approach each prayer as if it were the first time we prayed, to begin our worship of Hashem anew even several times a day, and thus stay young forever, for it is forbidden to let our service of Hashem become stale like old bread.
Rebbe Nachman said that his stories have the power to awaken people from their sleep – their sleep in the service of Hashem – so if the film we made of his stories goes viral, they have the power to awaken the world.
With all the publicity that the movie has been drawing, people are asking, “Where can we see the movie?” I want to distribute a DVD, but before I do, in addition to Hebrew, I want to have the movie translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, and Yiddish, so that Jews all over the world can enjoy the movie and its messages of faith, trust in G-d, and joy. Each translation costs one-thousand dollars, which includes pasting the sub-titles onto the film. So, to fund the work, I’m reincarnating our Jewcer fundraising campaign and asking Jews the world over to help out in the mitzvah.
It is no secret that a big change has occurred in the world, and that myriads of people spend large portions of their day staring at screens. Big screens and little screens, movie screens and TV screens, smart phones and computers. These screens can open up worlds we have never known. They can take us on a safari in Africa, let us witness an avalanche in Nepal, bring us into the private lives of strangers, and expose us to many new things. But they can also be screens in another sense of the word, by separating us from one another and enveloping ourselves in our own egotistical worlds, where we are the center of the universe, and everything reveals around us, at the touch of our fingers, making us the masters of endless applications, the stars of own little screens, seemingly connecting us to new friends and new worlds, but really cutting us off from true contact with one another, screening us off from others, and all too often from Hashem. Instead of awakening us, the screens in our life put us to sleep. Being the center of our worlds, the master of our keyboards, the focus of our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we can fall into a deep, egotistical slumber, and forget about the real Director of the movie called Life.
Let me give a common example. Every ride on a train lately. Almost everyone is immersed in his own little world, staring at the screen of his or her smart phone, cut off from the other passengers. Or at home. Daddy is working at his computer. Mommy is busy with her I-phone. The teenage kids are focused on their computer or smart-phone screens. Everyone is at home, but no one is paying attention to the other. It has come to the point that people sit in the very same salon and send “what’s ups” to one another, as if they are unable to communicate in the old-fashion way. And how do you get a baby to crawl? By setting a smart phone on the floor out of his reach. Seeing Mommy and Daddy playing with their smart phones all the time, as if they were the dearest things in life, the baby wants a smart phone too. Watch how he struggles to get up on his knees and crawl along the floor to the applause of his parents, and how proud he is when he has the cherished object in his hands! We have created a new species of man, with two ears, a mouth, ten fingers, and a smart phone. But where the former, “primitive” man could communicate, the new species of man is cut off from his fellow, even though he thinks he’s connected.