How Shabbat Can Bring Freedom to the Overstimulated

In an essay titled “I Used to Be a Human Being,” the journalist Andrew Sulllivan bemoans the effects on the human spirit of the constant influx of information from cell phones and computers. Responding, Elliot Kaufman proposes the Jewish Sabbath as the perfect antidote:

[The] lack of access to information, previously a constraint on action, has been reduced to an afterthought. Man has broken out of his chains. It is funny then, that our liberated man looks so much like a slave, falling prey to mechanized algorithms that target him with exactly the type of clickbait article he has proved unable to resist. If it is in this way that man has been liberated, he has merely become free to surrender to his appetites; or put differently, we were correct to enshrine the pursuit of happiness, not mediocrity. . . .

So what if, one day per week, we said no to the noise? . . . No to knowing about everything going on in the world. . . .

[B]eginning to observe Shabbat has allowed me to follow my people’s ancient rhythms of life; I know that they, too, are mine, and that they are good. The rabbis teach that one becomes free only by submitting to the discipline of Shabbat—forgoing all work, electricity, and more from Friday night to Saturday night. Putting down our phones doesn’t handcuff us; it removes the handcuffs that were already on. . . .

The amount of time that I use well on the Sabbath is probably measurable in minutes rather than hours. But where else can we start our journey of renewal, if not from the beginning? God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He was tired. God rested because He knew silence was holy, liberating, and good for the soul, and He was gracious enough to let us in on the secret. Thankfulness and imitatio dei are in order.

Read more at National Review

More about: Internet, Judaism, Religion & Holidays, Shabbat, Technology

Iran Brings Its War on Israel and the U.S. to the High Seas

On Sunday, the Tehran-backed Houthi guerrillas, who have managed to control much of Yemen, attacked an American warship and three British commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This comes on the heels of a series of maritime attacks on targets loosely connected to Israel and the U.S., documented in the article below by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg. They explain that Washington must respond far more forcefully than it has been:

President Biden refuses to add the Houthis back to the official U.S. terror list—a status he revoked shortly after taking office. And [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei keeps driving toward a weapon of mass destruction with the UN’s nuclear watchdog warning that Iran is increasing its production of high-enriched uranium while stonewalling inspectors.

Refreezing all cash made available to Iran over the last few months and cracking down on Iranian oil shipments to China are the easy first steps. Senators can force Biden’s hand on both counts by voting on two bills that passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Next comes the reestablishment of U.S. military deterrence. America must defend itself and regional allies against any attempt by Iran to retaliate—a reassurance Riyadh and Abu Dhabi [also] need, given the potential for Tehran to break its de-escalation pact with the Gulf Arab states. By striking Iranian and Houthi targets, Biden would advance the cause of Middle East peace.  . . . Tehran will keep attacking Americans and U.S. allies unless and until he flashes American steel.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen