Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Since arriving in New York, what is the most quintessential American thing we have encountered? Without a doubt, it’s “Amazon Prime.” This is a service of Amazon, the Internet technology company that sells anything and everything. As a member of “Amazon Prime,” you receive your order at your front door within 24 hours. This sounds like a technical innovation but it’s much more than that. We are talking about a state of mind where, whatever you want, you get it right away. Order it now and tomorrow it’s in your hands. In Israel, we still, after thinking for a while, have to draw up lists of what we need. In my humble opinion, the immediacy of the Amazon Prime experience is destructive when it comes to developing the capacity for self-restraint. Instant gratification takes the place of patience, a virtue that is in increasingly short supply.
On Shabbat in the Young Israel synagogue in Lawrence, New York, Rabbi Ya’akov Trump spoke about a quality of Avraham Avinu that we tend to forget: patience. Avraham’s journey was characterized by patience. For years and years, he was childless, yet he continued to believe. Even after Yitzchak was born, Avraham was not privileged to see all of G-d’s promises come to pass and it is up to us to see that they do. The surrounding culture pushes us towards instant gratification without investing the extra effort that making dreams come true demands. These dreams began nearly 4,000 years ago but, without the patience taught to us by Avraham, we would have abandoned them long ago.