Time to disconnect

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com).   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Imagine a winter wonderland. Huge snowflakes are bucketing down in what reminds me of a Norman Rockwell scene. A camera could not even capture the true beauty.

Furthermore, we are in a gondola, high above the ground, ascending into the heavens. One more scenario. Everyone (except me) is on a cell phone. Work, playing, you name it. Some pass their phone around to share a chuckle. 

I don’t understand. I am personally always connected to a phone or internet but not when riding up a mountain on a day that is a skier’s gift from above! I understand an emergency. Five years ago my father was critically ill while we were away from home. Therefore, we made several calls a day to check in with family. 

Where is our sense of awe? Was this family from New Jersey so immune to the beauty of our world that they could not set aside their phones for a 10 minute lift? Are we that addicted to constant input or entertainment? 

The day on the mountain was challenging. Visibility was poor. At some point the gently falling snow turned to a hard snow that felt that hail. My husband and I dug in and resisted the urge to go in. We trusted our heightened senses to feel the mountain beneath our skis. We paid close attention to skiers around us. We did not allow ourselves to be distracted.

Soon the clouds changed to sun and we could see! How much more we enjoyed the day! I believe our concentration began that morning on the gondola ride. I didn’t need the internet to have a spectacular day!