Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz – It’s the Network

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Operation Inspiration

 

One of the large wireless phone carriers touts its service using the tagline, “It’s all about the network.” Or, something like that. It’s possible I’m confusing it because I don’t pay that much attention to the advertising, but somewhere in my head, I hear the words rattling around. Maybe, “It’s the network” or something similar.

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The point, I would imagine, is that while price is a major consideration when shopping for a cell phone plan, what’s critical is the service. Whether the strength of the connection, stability of the network, or even its reach and coverage, these are all considerations that may outweigh the cost factor.

What does that have to do with you if you already have a cell phone carrier, or perhaps you don’t even have a phone? Well, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably Jewish, and part of one of the widest and most powerful networks in the world.

I don’t mean powerful in terms that some hateful people would use, like that we control the media or the weather. I mean powerful in terms of the importance and impact of the connections we have with each other. This was pointed out to me by a friend who was helping me try to find a job for someone.

He told me that in his office, whenever he hears that someone is looking for a vendor or consultant or contractor, he tells the person, “I might know someone.” His non-Jewish colleague asked, “How can you know so many people in so many varied fields?!” He may not have responded in so many words, but, “It’s the network.”

What happened at Har Sinai was that we all became connected by the greatest wireless network ever known to Man. The Jewish People became united by the soul, and no amount of interference or traffic and break the connection. Sometimes it may take a few tries to get through, but that’s more because of the phone than the network.

We innately feel each other’s joy and pain, and that’s why we can connect with people from all walks of life but who share this common thread. We think of each other when it comes to Shidduchim and jobs and places to stay. We give funds to schools and shuls and organizations around the world because we’re all sharing the same circuit, regardless of where we reside. All our fellow Jews are on our network. Even those who don’t realize they’re dialed in are on our minds. It’s truly fantastic.

When Esther had to face Achashveirosh at risk of her life, what did she say? “Go gather all the Jews and pray for me.” She was using the network. And, as some of you know, in a former life I was involved in IT for a short time. Well, do you know how information is shared across a network? Something called “packets” are sent from site to site, sent and received.

So, when we are told on Purim to send packages to each other, Mishloach Manos Ish L’Rayaihu, isn’t the idea that we’re strengthening the connection and reliability of that network?

A Jewish co-worker lost her father and we set up a free loan fund in his memory. Non-Jewish staff thought it was the most amazing concept, because they don’t have a network that works the same way. Sure, you may have a neighborhood, a town, or an organization that unites people, but if you move away or leave the group, the connection drops. Not so the Jewish network.

Even if you don’t pay your bill, you’re connected. Move out of the area? Still connected. Try going of the grid? STILL CONNECTED! It is powered by our souls and there is simply no way to sever the connection. There’s always residual communication.

The smart people will find ways to make use of this connection to forge relationships, foster kindness, and bring ever more good into the world. They will send those packets of information or love or whatever they can, to strengthen to network and broadcast their joy in the fact that it exists.

It is part of who we are and it is why we can think of others we’ve never met and want the best for them. It is how we are able to go out of our way for complete strangers, because we know that deep down, we’ve met them before. Even if it was only at Sinai. And we will meet them again, when all of our souls are reunited in Hashem’s presence. And that’s the greatest Purim miracle of all.

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