Building an Ark of Sanity

This is a guest column by Rabbi Da-vid Rosenthal, from Aish Minnesota.  Read Rabbi Da-vid’s Divrei Torah on his blog.
There are very few safe places left in this world. One of the last bastions of security is the home. And not simply as a physical refuge, but just as importantly, a spiritual sanctity. A place of sanity, a place of harmony, of respite.
Can you imagine inviting a stranger off the street to come and live with you. Nowadays, that would be scary enough – not knowing who you had brought in, or anything about him. But suppose he started speaking foul language, showing inappropriate pictures and ideas to your children, captivating your children with his tails of murder and deceit, keeping them spellbound for hours on end. Sometimes he would convey an educational idea or two, but you never knew what was coming out of his mouth next. One second he’s telling your kids about the life cycle of a lioness, the next he’s telling them that they all need to buy the latest Sony computer.
How long would you keep such a guest in your house? How foul would he have to get before you drew the line in the sand? Not to mention what he’s telling your kids when you’re not around, when you’re not there to supervise. Influencing their ideas about relationships and marriage, painting reality with his distorted view.
In this past weekend’s parsha, the Torah warned against bringing idolatry into one’s home. At first glance this seems to have no relevance to our daily lives. Yet idolatry is about distorting our values, about bringing corrupted views and beliefs into our lives.
The Internet and the TV are two examples of such a danger. I was recently told a shocking statistic. By age 10, the average child will have watched 250,000 advertisements! That’s 250,000 times that an advertising agency has attempted to manipulate the mind of your child to spend money on the product they are trying to sell. And that’s just the advertisements, not to mention the programs/websites themselves.
We need to regain the sanctity of our homes, build our ark of sanity in this crazy world. Filters can be used(check out or, amount of hours limited, TV’s and computers placed only in public areas. Perhaps even removing some from the home. Cell phones too need careful consideration.
We need to reexamine the “strangers” we invite into our homes, listen carefully to what they are saying.
We are a holy nation, and that holiness begins at home.
(Photo: Lab2112)