Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shabbat Blessings Online

People often ask me about my online life.
You know, the one that exists inside the Internets.
The one where all my imaginary friends live...but that's a different post.

People want to know about the whole rabbi/twitter/facebook thing. As in, how do you do it and why do you do it, and what does it mean to you and how does it impact your rabbinate and just where do you find the time?

Right, all *those* questions.

And I don't have a lot of answers. Sometimes I find the Internets an incredibly spiritual place.
(By the way, I tend to think of it as a plural word, like The Badlands or The Mountains...I don't know why. And I visualize it as this swirly ever-world of sparkly bits...which might be why I find them so happy...)

Sometimes I read stories that move me to tears, sometimes I get goosebumps and want to jump inside someone else's words and roll around and just fill myself up.
Sometimes I connect with people in amazing ways that give even me a little thrill.
(And someday, I might answer those questions...if I ever figure out the answers.)

But the one thing that I find most wonderful and interesting about my online life is Shabbat.
This is pretty funny, because I don't actually post on the internet on Shabbat. So, you're thinking, tell me why Shabbat is so interesting and wonderful then!'s all the Shabbat messages that get sent out right before Shabbat starts and all the Shavua Tov messages after it ends. Each week, I get at least 5 (if not more) "mentions" on Twitter, someone wishing me a #ShabbatShalom (that's Twitter-speak for Shabbat Shalom!) and the same afterwards. This gives me a happy feeling right as Shabbat begins. To know that friends and acquaintances all over the world are all taking a moment of their own Shabbat prep to wish *me* a Shabbat Shalom...what a good feeling.

And then there's Shabbat on Facebook. Almost each week, I spend a few minutes (I wouldn't say this is like writing a sermon or anything, but I do think about it for more than just your average Facebook update) crafting a Shabbat message for Facebook. It's my "sign-off" - I won't be back til Saturday night. But it's also my own way of leaving the sacred space of the Internets with my fondest wishes and blessings for a Shabbat of peace and health.

Lately I've noticed that more people comment on these posts, so I'm hopeful that others feel the Shabbat-love the same way that I do. And sometimes I wonder if there are people out there who might not even really celebrate Shabbat who enjoy a reminder of this special day, a chance to slow down, to be with family, to find blessings, and to disconnect from the Internets to find the spirituality in other places...maybe.

Shabbat Shalom!