Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Chapter 5:13

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 5:13
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“There are four types of people: One who says, "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine" is a boor. One who says "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours" -- this is a median characteristic; others say that this is the character of a Sodomite. One who says, "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours" is a chassid (pious person). And one who says "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine" is wicked.”

This is why I love the Perkei Avot, most of it is so self explanatory and you need not be a rocket scientist to figure it out. We can walk though out an average day and encounter every type of person described above, but may we all be loving and selfless as the third person who is described as a chassid.

What’s Mine is Mine and What’s Yours is Mine!

DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to support or protest any particular franchise or product, certain franchises and products are used as an example to bring about a point.

I am dumbfounded and disgusted by the sheer idiocy and lunacy of recent televisions commercials made under the guise of “bringing families together”, but all the while promoting selfishness and family disfunctionality.

WAL-MART: Advertising liquid crystal TV’s and how that it supposed to bring families together. Sure enter the TV world and ignore everyone sitting beside you as you get wrapped up in the story unfolding on the tube and not talk to the family members setting beside you from 30 minutes to two hours, yeah that describes family oneness doesn’t it!? Yeah right!

DODGE CRAVAN: This commercial shows every family member ignoring one another and preoccupied with their own activity, phone, internet, video games etc. Then Mom pulls up and says: “Let’s take a ride in the new Dodge caravan.” The family groans, huffs and puffs as they roll their eyes in disgusted protest, only to resume similar activities in the van, Dad turns on the Sirus Satellite Radio, one kid plays a video game the other watched TV, still doing separate activities although their bodies are in the same vehicle and they call this family togetherness!?

Commercials meant to be funny, but showing an irritating and disturbing trend and exposes a grain of truth. For example:

BEST BUY: We find Mother and son groping their Best Buy gifts that are found beneath the Christmas tree, when Dad pops in the foyer and says, “Let’s go see Grandma and then we will come back and open the presents, I promise.” They all load up and drive to Grandma’s and they stop in front of her house, while Grandma is standing at the front door waiting for them to come in. They roll down the windows of the vehicle and wave and say “Merry Christmas Grandma!”. The windows are rolled up and the mother proclaims, “I think we are done here.” and they zoom home to open their Best Buy gifts.

VERIZON WIRELESS: A father appearing as if he is being thoughtful in getting everyone a phone proclaiming because they are his “number 1”. Although we quickly see he has an ulterior motive; he was saving the best for himself, “Numero Uno” as he calls himself as he walks away with the Verizon phone tech crew without his family knowing it.

Countless commercials that are made to be humorous, yet display our selfishness and shows we are happy as long as we get what ever material possession is being advertised no matter is others are left out, have to do without or get hurt in the process.

What have we as a “civilized and social” people have come to? What can we make of this subconscious commercial commentary on Western culture? It’s as if we have become a divided world of self absorbed individuals all looking out for ourselves.

The reality competition type shows are furthering the selfishness and over self importance of ones self, with the philosophy of looking out for number one. The stratagem in these games is, “by any means necessary”, lie, cheat, steal, betray, compromise ones standards, make everything morally relative, even so far as to bring about human degradation, suffering and desensitization all for the sake of winning, becoming number one.

Everyone has a price and will do anything from strip buck naked on camera before a TV audience, drink cow urine or eat pig anus if the dead presidents in the brief case is just enough. These type of shows not only dehumanizes the competition, but ones own self as well. One becomes a mindless automaton for the sake of fame and fortune. Heck, A practicing Jew would never make it past the first episode of Big Brother, Survivor or Fear Factor!

And what about these “family restaurants” which has low lights so we can barely see each others faces, music low overhead and a TV in every corner of the establishment to keep us from conversing with the party we came with as well as keep us from our own thoughts!?

i-pods, i-phones with video, music, internet and gaming capabilities and a myriad of other devices that keep us preoccupied practically every waking moment, and seeing as some people sleep with the TV or ear buds on, we can say even practically every sleeping moment too!
Are we so afraid of being intimate with one another, or even ourselves that we must be distracted at almost every moment? Are we inundating ourselves, bombarding and numbing our senses so as to avoid moral responsibilities ands the nagging universal, spiritual and philosophical questions that scare us and keep us up at night: 

“Who am I?”
“Why am I here, why do I exist?”
“What is the meaning of life?”
“What is there after death? Is there an afterlife? Where will I go when I die?”

Huh, what!? Sorry, didn’t hear you… I was listening to my i-pod…

--Yehudah ben Shomeyr