The Chai Times // Your Real Self
Aug 11, 2023 6:20 pm
“Would you rather give up all access to the internet forever and live a much simpler life only in the real world, or leave your real life behind and exist only as your Internet self?”
That was the question viral content creator Hallie Tut asked her audience in a recent post on her Instagram.
The answer for many, Hallie among them, may be increasingly less obvious.
The question seems obvious. When our communities, our friendships, our very sense of self is so intrinsically tied to a different plane of existence, what gives one ‘self’ more validity than the other? After all, as Hallie illustrates in her color-saturated surrealist video, her online persona is one she can create, able to fly, to explore untold worlds, adored by hundreds of thousands.
We’ve always lived multi-layers of existence - our professional selves, ourselves as we are with friends, with family, alone at night. These different, sometimes conflicting, senses of self have always competed as to which self is the “true” one. How many people, dedicated body and soul to their professional lives, have retired, only to realize that they have somehow lost a sense of purpose and being?
As we move increasingly online —where a constant ‘other’ world with our friends, jobs, and above all expressions of self floats in the æther around us, beaconing us to enter its digital escape— the question of centering reality becomes even more profound.
Is cyberbullying any less concerning than school-yard taunts? Are relationships, sustained through a myriad of chats, zooms and other forms of communication, any less real?
Writing last summer, David Chalmers notes that “Human beings are conscious, and this gives us the capacity to invest meaning into the physical world. We can do the same with virtual reality. While an artificial city might not bear the same significance as one’s hometown, virtual worlds will build meaning of their own over time — meaning that comes from us.”
Which world then, is truly more real?
Among the chassidim of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, was a businessman whose dealings took him to the business centers of the large cities of Russia, as well as to several foreign centers of trade. As time went by, he became increasingly uncomfortable in these environments with his long black coat and chassidic hat. Gradually, he adopted a more secular mode of dress on his business trips. Of course, he continued to travel to his Rebbe in traditional chassidic garb.
Then, one day he appeared in Lubavitch in his businessman’s attire. “Rebbe,” he announced, “I’ve decided to put an end to my hypocritical behavior. This is how I dress on all my travels—so why delude myself and others with my chassidic clothes?”
Chabad, as a philosophy, has always demanded a dedication to the truth, of sometimes even brutal honesty, to better refine oneself. What could be a greater expression of this honesty?
“Reb Yid,” said the Rebbe. “Do you think that I was not aware that you dress differently in Leipzig and Paris than you do in Lubavitch? But I thought that here you showed us your true self, and there you were the hypocrite . . .”
Wishing you an uplifting Shabbat,
Rabbi Mendy & Mussy
p.s. As always, we would love to chat with you over coffee or drinks, about Judaism, or just life - reply to this email.
Did you know? YJP is not funded by any umbrella organization, not locally and not nationally (no funding from Chabad HQ). This gives YOU a great opportunity. It means that every donation has an outsized impact creating programs, events, and Judaism in this community. Plus, every contribution donated stays right here in this community.
An easy way to contribute: join the Chai Society at yjpaustin.org/chai.
Not only are you having a massive impact and being a true mentch, but you also get benefits - free First Fridays and special swag.
Don't hesitate to contact us for other sponsorship and partnership opportunities.
BookSmiles is now one of the largest book banks in the nation.
The Incredible Story of the Jewish Prisoners Who Revolted Againts the Nazis.
Make your life easy! Subscribe to the YJP Public Google Calendar and never miss an event.
Weekly Shabbat Services: (on hiatus until August 19)
- Shabbat morning services 10:20 am
- Torah discussion and reading 11:00 am (sharp)
- Followed by Kiddush and Cholent
August 15, 22, 29 - Kabbalah Course on Zoom with Rabbi Goldshmid - rsvp here
August 17 - The Loewy Law Firm WHITE PARTY - the biggest party of the year
🌱 Chai Society:
Special thanks to the Chai Society members who donate monthly to support YJP events and activities.
Yankee Andrusierׁ • Ronit Baum • Carolina Bueno • Marc Cooper • Nate Firebaugh • Aviva Frank • Paulina Flasch • Matt Ford • Pavel Gitnik • Sarah Guccione • Max Goldberg • Ari & Sandra Hoffman • Noah Kagan • Ben Marchiony • Michael Nadel • Yoni Oettinger • Dafnee Orduz • Noah Sinai • Daniel Speiss • Cindy & Mark Sichel • Dustin Tropp • Chaim & Amanda Pollak • Avremi Zippel • Ian Zur
Together, we’re High Energy!
Light your candles at 7:58 pm
in Austin, TX
Shabbat Shalom, friend!
Support Chabad YJP's mission to build community and curate epic experiences for young Jews in Austin!
Share this email, invite friends, join a committee, or donate at yjpaustin.org/donate