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Monday, 24 February 2014

Say something (meaningful), I'm giving up on you

Sukkah 21

Facebook status update: Today I had eggs for breakfast.
Tweet: Running late for the bus.  Should I take cab?
Google plus update: Lost two socks in washing machine yesterday.  Wearing two odd socks today.
LinkedIn update: Loving the new renovations at the airport.

Yesterday, Rabbi Shimon taught us that sleeping under a bed canopy in a sukkah invalidates the mitzvah, from a story in which Rabbi Gamliel praised his servant Tavi for his erudition.   In a related teaching, Rabbi Shimon says: We learned two laws from the “chatter” of Rabban Gamliel about Tavi. 

Asks the Talmud: Why does Rabbi Shimon refer to Rabban Gamliel’s statement as “chatter?”  He should have been more respectful and quoted the “words” of Rabban Gamliel!

Rabbi Acha bar Ada answers in the name of Rav: From here we derive that even the ‘chatter’ of Torah scholars requires study, as the verse in Psalms says, “his leaves do not wither.”  This means that even the leaves of our Sages that ‘blow in the wind’ contain important lessons.

How many of us can say for ourselves that our idle chatter and conversation is meaningful?  Today, we are seeing an epidemic of frivolous chatter around us.  People feel the need to post what they had for breakfast on Facebook, like anybody else cares.  Or they tweet how they are feeling about missing the bus home, also not particularly relevant to anyone else.

Our goal should be to raise our level of chatter to that of our Sages, whose every word is precious.  When we post a Facebook update, we must ask ourselves, ‘what value am I adding to my friends and the world around me?’ 

We all have value to contribute.  Maybe you’re reading a good book and you have an inspirational thought to share.  Maybe you saw something in the newspaper that got you thinking about the important questions in life.  There’s so much meaningful ‘chatter’ that we all have the ability to bring to the table that it is embarrassing when we see people chatter about frivolity!

Today I pledge to think before I post my “chatter.”   I am a thoughtful person.  I have the ability to contribute to my friends’ lives and add my voice to the important conversations.  I shall strive to aspire to the level of scholarship such that one day people will say “even her chatter requires study.”

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