Monday, November 10, 2008

Terach: Father of the J-Blogosphere??

MAG and I were learning the Rashis on Parshat Lech Lecha for his בוחן פ”ש (his weekly quiz on parshat hashavua), when we came across an intriguing Rashi.

In Breishit 15:15, Rashi states that Avraham’s father Terach did teshuvah (i.e. he repented from his idolatrous ways), and Breishit Rabbah 39:7 teaches that he didn’t do teshuvah until after Avraham had left for Canaan. [At the end of Parshat Noach (Breishit 11:32), Rashi says that Avraham left sixty years before Terach’s death.]

So, MAG wondered if Avraham knows that Terach had done teshuvah, and if so, how does he find out? I suggested, “Email,” but MAG countered that Avraham reads about it on Terach’s blog.

We decided that the relevant post may have gone something like this:

“Big news today - I did teshuvah. Hard to believe, no? Tell me about it! I mean, I have to admit that I even surprised myself. But the truth is that – once I get used to the idea – I think I’m really going to like it.”

This, of course, could lead to that most clichéd of discussions: How our lives have changed since the advent of things like email, blogs and even cell phones. But instead, I’d like to address a related issue – the way these technologies have affected literature and films as well.

For instance, often the entire storyline depends on Character A not being able to locate or contact Character B.

These days, in order to employ this particular plot device, writers have to account for the character’s lack of a cell phone - The hero conveniently forgot to turn it on; it got lost/broken/forgotten at home; there was no reception. (See, for example, Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”.)

Of course, earlier writers didn’t have to worry about this issue and therefore had it much easier.

But just imagine how your favorite book or movie would have been different if the story had taken place after cell phones had become ubiquitous.

Example: Baroness Emma Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. If cell phones had existed during the French Revolution, there would have been no need for Marguerite to travel to France. Instead, she could’ve just called Percy on his cell and brought him up to date… and thereby ruined the entire story.

Please leave a comment with other examples of books or movies where a cell phone would have changed everything…


  1. sorry, it's been done:

  2. Oh, well. But that video IS very funny.

    So, what's the proper, netiquette thing to say in this type of situation? Somehow, I'm not sure that baruch shekivanti applies...


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