13 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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The World as the Internet    

The World as the Internet

What if the text we entered into our lives by all our deeds were just letters and numbers in this world, only to be rendered into its true reality in the Next World?


Rabbi Alon Anava recounts his near-death experience to how this world is like a web page. On one side is just code. 1s and 0s, elements, tags, and all sorts of instructions. It’s all just letters and numbers. It is only once these instructions are "compiled" from the Next World to this one do they transform into world of physical objects we see all around us.


That's the internet. Try pressing CTRL+U right now. You will see the code behind this web page. No pictures. No videos. Nothing – just text. The text goes to your browser which can be FireFox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer and the browser follows these instructions to construct the web page you see right here.


Is this the way our lives work?


What if it worked both ways? What if the text we entered into our lives by all our deeds were just letters and numbers in this world, only to be rendered into its true reality in the Next World?


That is very much the way things look, isn't it?


What happens when you say a blessing over a glass of water?


You recite a few words and take a drink. The blessing didn't satiate your thirst or impact your health. In fact, the blessing was only a sequence of letters.


What happens when you observe Shabbat?


You spent a day doing different activities that didn't impact your wealth, career, or anything in this rendered, or physical world.


What happens when you go to a bar and meet a complete stranger?


You put the phone number in your pocket and walk away.


It's just like entering code to an html document. You are typing in instructions for the browser to follow. The code can be something long that shows the text of an article. It can be one line which tells the page to put a YouTube video on your screen. It can be "remark" code that tells your browser to simply ignore it, or it can be code that actually causes and error and breaks the page, or keeps it from working properly.


We only find out all of this once we stop coding and tell the program to execute and fulfill the instructions.


Then we see the impact of each line.


In this world, holding a Shabbat adds a line of code. On the surface, it looks no different than meeting the stranger at the bar.


Only once we render, or get a peek at the Next World do we see the reality we created based on the set of instructions we spent our lives creating.


That one Shabbat rendered a huge impact on Heaven. Reciting that small blessing was like a small line which called up a youtube video that brought 5 million people to your site.


Looking at things from simply the material perspective is like looking at computer code – it all looks pretty much the same.


Seeing things from a spiritual standpoint is rendering the page. You understand that some actions we take in life have massive impact on everything around us. Some things, like dedicating too much time in the pursuit of money – do nothing. Other things, like sins – destroy everything we are working for.


The internet was invented in 1989 and has defined the world ever since. Hashem introduces technology into the world to teach us something about Him that is relevant to the generation He introduces it to.


How many times do we skimp on a mitzvah on the mistaken sense that "It is that important?"


The day comes for all of us when we find out just how much.



* * *

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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