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 I must preface this piece of writing by stating that I am a technological dinosaur. I hardly ever use my cell phone except in emergencies and when I am visiting outside of Israel. I do not have a smart phone or even a kosher phone. I just have an old-fashioned cell phone that only makes and receives calls. Additionally, I admit that I never text; I do not know how it is done. And, in any event, my eyesight currently would not allow me to do so even if I wish to.

However, one would have to be oblivious to everything that is occurring in society. not to realize that the preferred method of human communication today is texting. Texting obviates the necessity for personal conversation and therefore saves both time and money. But it is very impersonal, cold and often subject to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
Today, in society generally, when spoken personal communication has been minimized, the young are in danger of never being able to hold an intelligent conversation with another human being for any length of time. Some of my very young friends, who are currently looking for the proper mate to marry, tell me that it is very hard for them to really speak to the person they are interested in because they are not accustomed to speaking directly to someone else in a friendly and conversational setting. They much prefer texting one another. Whether texting is really a basis for knowing the other person or, for that matter, building a marriage, is a serious question.
I am told that texting in such situations saves embarrassment and discomfort. I do not understand this because I can think of no greater discomfort than being told that someone is not interested in you by an impersonal text message. However, as I pointed out at the beginning of this article, I am a completely unfamiliar with this modern way of dealing with people.
Texting usually spares the person from having to offer any explanation as to one's decision. But, my experience in life is that one learns from disappointments and from the reasons that precipitate that setback. Texting can be very current but is often cruel. And, like all human inventions and creations, it can be used for very positive purposes, but it also has its negative dark side. How it is employed and used becomes the test of its overall benefit and importance.
Texting also has destroyed the necessity to know how to spell words correctly. In fact, it revels in using the letter ‘u’ for the word you. Now, it may very well be that in our new modern age there is no necessity to spell words correctly and that we will have finally arrived at the desired goal of phonetic spelling. This is something which certain newspapers in the United States attempted to achieve in my youth but could find no followers amongst the general population. I feel that it will not be long before we find phonetic spelling reintroduced as the norm in our current printed media.
The difficulty with the printed word is that, most times, it requires oral explanation as well. The book that is the most exact and nuanced in its choice of words, the Torah, certainly requires a companion oral explanation as to the true content and meaning of its words. Judaism in fact, in its scholarly development over the millennia, is an attempt to explain the words that we all hold to be sacred and exact. And as any student of the Talmud notes, there is wide latitude granted as to what those words imply.
Attempts were made throughout Jewish history to deal with the written word and to ignore or refute the oral explanations given to the Torah by the rabbinic scholars of the ages. All such attempts have ended in failure, emasculating Judaism of its contents and value systems and creating Jewish sects that over time disappeared from Jewish life.
 The Torah does not lend itself easily to texting, slang or verbal shortcuts. Not only that, but the Torah insists upon personal teachers and a tradition that must be handed down orally and by example from one generation to the next. In this, Judaism reflects eternity and not just convenience, continuity and not merely fleeting instructions.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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