Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Every single minute, worldwide, we are now sending 18 million text messages, watching more than 4 million video clips, downloading 400 thousand computer apps, and buying more than 1 million dollars worth of online products.
As we approach the end of the decade many statistics and analyses about our allocation of time and our use of social media are being published. Perhaps this was the decade when we began to lose ourselves. The human brain simply cannot contend with the flood of information – much of it unnecessary and undesirable – coming its way.
Rav Chagai Londin, of the hesder yeshiva in Sderot, writes that this is exactly what we need to learn from Chanukah – how to contend with the powerful forces of the surrounding culture. We become dizzy and confused, continually bombarded by alien forces and hedonistic messages, but must strive to keep our focus:
“Am Yisrael always tries to connect everything to one place: ‘Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem Echad.’ G-d is One. We endeavor to focus and to concentrate and to unite the forces of the soul into our purpose for living. Greek culture was a culture of many idols, with many focal points targeted in every direction. The struggle of the Hasmoneans has not ended. Today, too, we are likely to live absentminded lives of perpetual distraction, of running from one new thing to the next, of always searching for something that doesn’t exist. To defend ourselves from overpowering forces that seem stronger than ourselves, each of us needs to be a Maccabee – not to be ashamed to take breaks, to set boundaries, and to take control of our digital devices instead of allowing them to take control of us. The Chanukah struggle is not over”.