22 Iyar 5779 / Monday, May 27, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
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Regression Analysis    

Regression Analysis

In recent years, technology has gone from creeping into parts of our daily lives to commandeering every moment of it, including our social lives, morals, even the way we think…


A regression analysis is a form of testing. As a software application moves forward with a new feature that brings the future closer, before releasing this new version, every function will be tested to make sure that the new programming didn't disable anything that was already working.


Over the past 40 years, technology has gone from creeping into parts of our daily lives to commandeering every moment of it. As a result, our social lives, morals, even the way we think has taken the form of an ever-evolving Smartphone.


We have fallen into the tech trap that anything newer is better. Right and wrong has been replaced with new and old. What is holy is being usurped for what is cutting edge. This has enabled a lot of scrupulous people to hijack our world by claiming that anything that is progressive is Torah 2.0.


We are being lied to.


When it comes to medicine, food, hygiene, and almost every metric of modern living standards, newer is better. The poorest urban dwellers of today enjoy basic living comforts far superior than kings and queens did just a century ago.


They are also living longer.


But when it comes to what is holy, newer isn't better. It never was.


The Hasmoneans initial battle against the Greeks was with their "modern" philosophy backed by human intellect pitted against the Eternal Commandments of Hashem.


We saw how that war ended. A force of light, backed by Truth and He Who Guards it defeated the most powerful – and modern -- war machine ever conceived by man.


But the battle rages on.


The oldest word uttered in existence, “In the Beginning,” tells us that when it comes to the heart, the soul, and everything that makes us human – the older the better. That first word was uttered by Hashem when it was only Him in this world. It is the bedrock of our weekly Kiddush prayer, declaring that Hashem made, makes, and will make this world, and we are all subject to His Commandments which are never changing.


The theory of technology, that everything must be upgraded and changed, needs to be put back in its cage. It is up to us to reinforce the moral limits of hi-tech by consciously turning it off as much as we can and always siding with G-d when it comes to right and wrong.


There is a deeper meaning to shutting off all screens on Shabbat. There is a tremendous statement in turning off your phone for those 20 special minutes we push away the wires and connectors of this world to return to our Source by reciting Mincha.


Writing this from Israel, the crossroads of Holiness and Hi-Tech, we see the truth every moment. From mobile testing tycoons who spend days in the dessert, to programming princes who go on vacation in nature reserves by making a point to leave all screens at home, to the observant who insist on a simple phone, we know that being disconnected at times is the key to being better connected all the time.


The mantra of technology is temporary. Everything constructed by man will inevitably become obsolete. What was developed last month will be outdated by your birthday. Nothing stays the same.


Every time you recite a blessing you are guarding an unbroken allegiance to Hashem by saying the same words which originated at Sinai 3,300 years ago, was written down in the Gemara 2,000 years ago and kept its eternal permanence to the moment you recited it. This revolutionary act is repeated every time you thank Hashem for a cup of water, even if it came from a state-of-the-art digitally enhanced monitored desalination plant.


The best way to embrace the new and improved is to hold on to the Ancient and Eternal. The dance between change and constant should be Divine – as long as you know Who is leading.



* * *

David Ben Horin is the developer for The Aliyah Boot Camp, an online video course for anyone considering life in Israel. He also wrote The Great Life Hack, a guide to self-greatness by utilizing your deepest passions to get what you want. You can have this for free.

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