Edited by Aryeh Werth
Is it proper to frequently post photos of your life
on Facebook or Instagram for anyone to see?
Although modesty – tznius – is a virtue (in this case not publicizing one’s actions or oneself) there are however exceptions. The Gemara says that there was a place in Yerushalayim where grooms would gather and make themselves known in order to receive blessings and greetings. Similarly, those who were mourners would also gather to receive comfort and consolation. A tree that did not produce fruit would be identified with a sign so people would pray for it to be blessed with fruit for the sake of the owner’s welfare.
On the other hand, one was not to publicize an illness immediately so as not to attract an evil eye by establishing one as an infirm – but after three days of illness it was proper to publicize the illness so as to inform people to pray for recovery. Hence, sharing simchas, illnesses, and tragedies can be positive, while overly publicizing oneself and one’s actions may be a breach of modesty, attract an evil eye, make others jealous and be just plain annoying.
As with all issues one should exercise common sense to determine when what mode of behavior is proper or not proper and one should seek Torah direction where common sense is lacking.
This response in no way signifies my approval or sanction of using social media, but is only in response to those who in any way are going to use such media.
– Rabbi Zev Leff, rav of Moshav Matisyahu, popular lecturer and educator
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I begin with a disclaimer: I don’t personally use Facebook or Instagram. I very much enjoy photos from our children and grandchildren that we receive via WhatsApp and Nixplay, but I have no interest at all in sharing photographs beyond our immediate family.
Although Facebook and Instagram are not part of my own life, I know relatives and friends who find these social media to be very worthwhile, especially when it comes to keeping up with family and friends who live in other towns. If people find these things to be of real value, they have a right to opt in to these social media.
I’m not sure what positive value there is in posting photos beyond one’s immediate circle of family and friends. To me, it smacks of inappropriate exhibitionism. I find it strange that people want total strangers to follow their lives; I find it even stranger that people actually find satisfaction in following the lives of total strangers.
Time is precious and non-recoverable. Before deciding whether or not – or how much – to engage in social media, one needs to be sure that the investment of time is well worth it. Think carefully, and decide on your own what’s best for you.
– Rabbi Marc D. Angel, director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals
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One of the things we all have to be on guard for is wasting our time on social media. What we can accomplish is based on how we allocate our time, and time is our single most precious possession.
It’s very difficult to explain to a rationally thinking person why its relevant to publish online that I ate oatmeal with raisons before I went to the gym. Maybe if I were a huge influencer, and millions were interested in it, but even so we could question the need to post such dribble. Considering that the majority of us are regular people, this is trivia.
While we may fool ourselves that we are letting our “friends” online know what we are doing, these are not friends. They are not even social acquaintances. People who “tag” us, people who respond to us online, are just as bored and lonely as everyone else out there in the social media world. One of the greatest favors that a person can do is to carefully monitor their use of social media. Even if a person where not to see anything inappropriate, just the amount of sheer wasted time is beyond description.
– Rabbi Ben Zion Shafier, founder of The Shmuz and author of 10 Really Dumb Mistakes That Very Smart Couples Make (available at theshmuz.com)