This is a guest column by Rabbi Da-vid Rosenthal, from Aish Minnesota. Read Rabbi Da-vid’s Divrei Torah on his blog.
Steve Jobs, z”l, was a visionary. He had passion, persistence, drive. He changed the face of the world as we know it. From iPods, to Mac’s, from software and iTunes, the world is a different place because of Steve Jobs.
It is hard to go even an hour without interacting with a piece of technology – either directly or indirectly – inspired by Jobs.
Unlike some businessmen, his goal was not the money:
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” — Steve Jobs (The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993)
There is a lot to learn from Steve Jobs.
Leading up to Yom Kippur, we are reminded of our mortality. Our lives are literally on the line.
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life.” – Steve Jobs, June 12, 2005.
Coming to Yom Kippur, we need to ask ourselves the heavy questions: How do we measure ourselves? How do we measure our lives? What is the barometer of true “success” in this world.
Is having a vision and achieving that vision, a factor in how successful we were? Or are we measured by how much goodness we bring in the world? By goodness, I do not mean convenience, or even entertainment. Rather than laud Jobs for making devices that play music so nicely and are very beautifully designed, I would rather celebrate how iPads have made it easier for disabled individuals to communicate and interact with the world. More important than the fact that I can download any movie or TV show I want with great ease, is the fact that “Face-time” has connected families across the world.
Goodness is our yardstick, not technology (even great technology) or convenience. Jobs certainly added more goodness to the world, but is that what he is being praised for? Is that what everyone is focusing on?
Coming in to Yom Kippur, we are meant to focus on our life’s priorities. What is our grand vision for ourselves – how are we perfecting the world? Where have I missed the mark in my duty here on Earth? May we all focus on bringing Hashem more into the world in the year to come, and perfecting the world through Hashem’s ultimate plan and vision.
Good Shabbos and Gmar Chasima Tovah (May you be sealed in the Book of Life).
My guess is that plenty of Jews will be bringing Mr. Jobs technology with them to Yom Kippur services. Yom Kippur is the perfect time to reflect on all the wonderful advanced technology, while at the same time “fasting” from it just like you would do with food. Sadly, I think few people see it that way, and don’t think they can do without it for ONE DAY, even moreso than food.
If loving is giving new resources that contribute to strength and freedom, then Jobs led a loving life. What can be better? Well done Steve and deepest thanks.