As technology becomes increasingly faster and more convenient, we expect to be able to do more and have more in less space. But everything has its limits.
A few months ago, I opened my email only to find that I had no more available space. They informed me that it was not a problem and for a mere $1.99 a month I could purchase ample additional space.
My phone is also quite frustrating, as it seems to never have any available space. These days when phones are used more for pictures and videos, I have to constantly transfer data to my computer before deleting it from my phone. Even my trusty laptop, from which all of these brilliant articles emerge, constantly notifies me that it has no more available space. From it too I have to transfer pictures and videos to our home computer. I hope it will be some time before that computer too informs me that it has no more available space.
As we only have a limited amount of space, we have to decide what we want to fill our space with. This is not only true about data and “stuff,” it’s true about our relationships as well. It’s up to us to show those we care about that they have “space” in our lives.
The Mishna (Avos 4:14) extols the greatness of the Jewish People by stating: “Yisroel is beloved because they are called sons to the “Makom—Omnipresent.” In Pirkei Avos, generally Hashem is referred to as Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Why here is He referred to as “the Place”?
Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky notes that in the post-Holocaust years there was an un-verbalized message conveyed to every child that he/she was vital to the Jewish cause. As a nation we had lost so much and had endured such utter devastation and destruction that every individual was crucial for our efforts to rebuild. In the decades since then we have witnessed incredible growth and unimagined success. The rebirth of Torah and Judaism is nothing short of a miracle. But our success has presented us with a great challenge. Often there is an underhanded message unwittingly conveyed, which says, “We don’t need you! If you are not exactly what we are looking for then we could find five others who are better suited for us!” This is felt most acutely when our young students look for high schools and seminaries, and even very painfully when young women are “in shidduchim.”
When we go on Chol Hamoed trips and have to wait some time before even getting into the building because there are so many Jews who had the same idea as we did, we start to think that there are so many Jews out there. But the truth is that every Jew is vital and we have none to spare. Every adolescent on the streets, every soldier hurt or worse, God forbid, is an absolute tragedy.
This is perhaps why the Mishna says that every Jew is precious to “Makom,” because every one of us has a place around God’s table, as it were.
With our technological devices we can purchase more space, or get a better device, but with people we have to make sure that they know there is always space for them. We have to convey to everyone how valuable and vital his/her contribution is to our nation.
By Rabbi Dani Staum
Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, Guidance Counselor and fifth-grade Rebbe in ASHAR, Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor and division head at Camp Dora Golding. He also presents parenting classes based on the acclaimed Love and Logic methods. His email address is [email protected] His website is www.stamtorah.info.