Cyber Or-20 Cyber Kehillah-3 Social networking
This is another in the series of Cyber-Or by Dr. Moshe Dror. He just keeps writing about the interesting connections between community and social networking. Enjoy.
By Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dror
Social networking (Net 2.0) will not supersede what we call “Organized Religion” but it certainly re-organizes it and re-defines it.
One of the major societal phenomena that are developing in our world of cyberspace is the creation and development of the VIRTUAL COMMUNITY.
To get some idea how significant this is in our culture take a look at the online book of the guru of virtual communities –Howard Rheingold (www.rheingold.com/vc/book/). Take a look at Google in” virtual communities” (with the quotes) and you will find about 600,000 hits. The very nature of what community is, is changing.
As in a Synagogue situation, even when you gather people together physically and in one space at one time – you are basically connecting with their minds and consciousness. What if you can access these aspects of being human –at least in some ways – on line and in Cyberia – any place, and any time 24/7.
No one is even remotely suggesting that the cyber world will replace synagogues and people getting together in physical contact—that is sheer nonsense.
Synagogues will continue to be – they work so well for so many people for so long. All that is being suggested now is that there are additional, augmentation and other options that are available –that simply never existed before.
We are dealing both with the connections in community and in connection with the divine.
Consider the obvious. The classical way in which Jews connected with the divine was in the Mishkan (Tabernacle), First Temple, Second Temple. The medium was through the sacrificial cult.
In Hebrew the term is “Korban”. But Korban does NOT mean sacrifice, it DOES come from the root word for KRB-meaning “to bring close”, “to connect with…”
The technical term that the rabbis used for the Temple cult is “Avodah”: To do, the work, the action of the divine cult.
The same term still remains in our world that is the name we still use in the Yom Kippur service where it is described in the Machzor.
When the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, The Sacrificial cults was no longer available. The Rabbis had a real problem. What can be developed to replace the Temple cult? The idea was that in the end of history in the Messianic period the Temple will be re-established. But in the meantime there can be a shift in media. What is it that was the connection it was Libah Baey- God wants the heart. What is Avodah of the heart? The Rabbis suggest that it is prayer.
It took about 1,000 years to develop what we have as the official Matbeah shel Tefillah- the traditional prayer service. It was finally determined in the time of Saadia Gaon who died in 942.
So the prayer service we use has been about for 1,000 years or so.
The medium that makes the connection to our consciousness are words in the prayers.
We tend to think of Judaism as a tradition based on texts. What does text mean?
It is derived from the Latin and means “weaving”. That is where we get the word we use for textile, texture and similar words.
What happened is that the ways in which our connection with the divine was in sacrificed and words both in the Temple such as the singing of the Psalms by the Levites.
We now have another sort of text, of weaving that of different sorts of media made available through the magic of our digital worlds.
We sometimes hear about the crisis of faith of the organized Jewish religious life. That may be the case for some.
For others, there is also the developing differently organized religious and spiritual virtual communities that are being created all over the world and the Jewish world as well.
Along with the many alternative minyan communities that are developing we are also seeing the creation of new community in Cyberia and its spiritual questing.