A friend of mine send me a picture this past Purim that really got me thinking. The picture showed a sign hung up on a door on Purim that read as follows:
Please by advised that the people in this home use a smartphone (without a filter) they also carry in the eruv. If any of the above is against your “SHITA” what you stand for, or your yeshiva does not accept kids that fathers have smartphones, kindly turn around and don’t enter the premises.
Something really bothered me about this family’s “statement” and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Sure, it seems distasteful to put terms and conditions on who comes into your house on Purim, especially for such a reason! Of all the people to not let into your house on Purim, be it the drunks, the drugged, the puking or the simply loud and obnoxious, this man chose to disallow people simply for trying to live life with more kedusha!
But in the end of the day, your house, your rules, as the saying goes. So while the request is odd it certainly isn’t out of bounds. So why was I so irked by the sign?
Living in a community there are two standards, the communal one which sets the bar on what the norm should look like and the individual who tries to calibrate with the communal standard.
Using tznius as an example, the standard in my community (and the halacha) is for women to keep their knees covered. On an individual level, there are those members whose skirt line surpasses the standard by several inches and other members who are struggling to reach the goal line. But everyone knows what the expectations are.
Now imagine if instead of smartphones this sign read “Anyone who wears skirts more than three inches below the knee is asked to turn around!” It would be ridiculous!
The fact that someone can post a sign like this highlights a deep divide within the community. The disconnect between the community that outlaws smartphones and the individuals that won’t accept that prohibition has reached a level where someone can openly come out against being anti-Internet!
I think this calls for deep introspection for change. Either into shifting what is and isn’t accepted or into helping people conform to the high level we all strive to live on. Otherwise deep divides can turn into irreparable cracks.
Or maybe I’m just reading too much into signs?