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HomeFoundations of JudaismJewish Daily Life and HalachaGood News Is No News
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Good News Is No News    

Good News Is No News

Are you happy and uplifted by the news? Does it provide tangible benefits? Is it worth the lost time, aggravation, and distraction? If not, try a news fast!


I finally took the plunge and started a prolonged news fast. I’ve been a lifelong aficionado of politics, history, and current events. I knew it was a folly to spend a lot of time checking the internet for the latest political news and events. I tried cutting back to just one or two web sites and emails from trusted sources. However, every time I thought I would go on for just a few minutes I would get pulled into reading multiple articles and opinion pieces  and  waste  precious time. Additionally, the news was getting so upsetting that it was distracting me,  causing  sleepless nights, and undermining my ability to function effectively. 


I didn't intend to give it up completely. I just needed a break to chill out and cleanse the toxins from my mind. It's been 10 weeks now and I still intend to check the news periodically. However, I'm enjoying the results so much that I'm in no hurry to do so.  


  • - I'm sleeping so much better! I have had sleep difficulties for many years, but the number of bad days I experience has been cut by about 80%.  


  • - I have much more energy. I’m able to get along with less sleep and feel refreshed.  


  • - I'm calmer, more relaxed, and happier. 


  • - It still bothers me when I hear people bad mouth my favorite political party However, I no longer feel compelled to set them straight with facts I’ve learned from my trusted news sources. They’re not going to listen anyway. I try to change the subject and talk about reasons we should thank Hashem.  


  • - I'm wasting a lot less time. At minimum, I'm saving a half hour a day which means I've already recovered 35 hours of precious time that I've been able to reallocate to more constructive pursuits. 


I found that if there's anything I really need to know, somehow, I get the information and there's no need to go online to check the news. Moreover, Hashem doesn't need any of us to look over His shoulder. He can run the world just fine without us second guessing Him! 


I had been deeply influenced by Rabbi Arush’s teaching that besides being a waste, spending time on the news fills you with fear and anxiety by disconnecting you from the reality that Hashem is in full control and loves you. Every single time you choose to refrain from looking at the news you become a bit stronger in emuna. Over the course of time this can have a major cumulative impact.  


I recall the parable given by Rabbi Arush in the Garden of Emuna about two people riding in a bus. One person is sitting up front, second guessing the driver, getting increasingly stressed by the  route  he’s  taking along with his driving techniques. Another passenger sits in the back just relaxing and enjoying the ride. When it comes to the news, we need to stop making a fuss and realize it's Hashem Who’s driving the bus! 


As I wrote in my recent articles More Torah, Less Internet, and Time into Treasure, based  on  the  teachings of the Chofetz Chaim, there is an urgent need to learn Torah with every spare moment. Failing to do so and squandering time, is viewed as a serious misdeed. Someday we will look back on the time we wasted which can never be recovered and it will cause us unfathomable shame and regret. On the other hand, spending spare moments, even a moment or two, on Torah study instead of internet yields infinite and eternal rewards. This was a strong motivator for me to get started and keep going. 


Am I recommending waving the white flag of surrender to  harmful political forces? Not at all. I still intend to vote, give money to good candidates, and write letters to elected officials on issues that matter to me. After that, I believe we should back off and leave matters in Hashem’s capable hands. We should focus our time, thoughts and energy on Torah,  prayer,  and  deeds of kindness.  


I recommend that you consider trying periodic news fasts 


Here are some tips: 


  • - Don’t commit to giving up the news forever. That’s far too daunting and you may be deterred from ever getting started. Start with a news fast with a set duration. 


  • - Disable your YouTube and Google notifications 


  • - Arrange for your daily news emails to be redirected to another directory so you don't see them in your primary inbox. That will also make it easier to cut back since  you’ll  know  you  can always go back and look at them if you ever want to.  


  • - I also recommend refraining from telling other people that you're not keeping up with the news. Often, they’ll think they’re doing you a favor and tell you about some current news  that will needlessly cause you agitation 


  • - Be careful and selective in reading emails from friends who will undoubtedly continue to send you news and political items that will pull you back in the morass if you’re not vigilant.  


What have you got to lose? Are you happy and uplifted by spending time checking the news on your computer or smartphone? Is it providing any tangible benefits to you? Is it worth the cost in lost time, aggravation, and distraction from your primary life goals and pursuits?  


Hashem knows when you're giving up something that's very tough for you. This is very precious in His eyes. No doubt this will generate tremendous merit for you. 


Let’s give up striving for a false sense of control and attach ourselves to Hashem by doing His will with joy in the situations He creates. Rebbe Nachman says that the only way to feel in control is to recognize and rejoice in Hashem’s full control.  


May our news fasts help us disconnect in order to connect to Hashem and our true life mission.


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