Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hanukkah and the iMenorah

If you go to the iTunes App Store you will find an application for your iPhone or iTouch for Hanukkah. It will guide you through a digital lighting of the Hanukkah menorah. Light the candles and watch them burn as the blessings play. So here is the question: is this same as lighting the menorah? There is nothing quite like watching the candles burn. Nothing can replace the flickering of real candles. Will there soon be an app for yahrtzeit candles? There is of course something lost in the digital revolution. I have found an endless amount of information and reading on the internet. I can search through every Jewish book ever written with one stroke of my laptop's keypad. It is not the same as holding a sefer--a book--in my hand. Yet there is also something gained. One of the mitzvot of Hanukkah is to proclaim the miracle. I can light my menorah in my home and be enthralled by the burning of the candles or I can walk around with my iTouch blaring Maoz Tzur. More people can learn and read about Judaism than the rabbis of old ever imagined possible. Now you can light the menorah in the most public place of all--the iTunes store. That is really proclaiming the miracle of Hanukkah!

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