IPad Mania and the Parting Sea
The lead story dominating today’s news is the launch
of Apple’s iPad – Steve Jobs latest innovative
tool, lauded as a “magical and revolutionary product”
that will forever change the way we do things.
It seems just too irresistible not to compare this to another
breakthrough event, which dominated the news of the day,
several – just a mere 3322 – years ago: The
Exodus from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea.
Back then history was being made by Moses leading the people
out of exile and against impossible odds marching through
a seemingly impenetrable sea. Today, the lead characters
are people like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin and
Larry Page, Bill Gates and others, and technology is the
modern day miracle, emancipating us (supposedly) from our
material time/space shackles.
My, how things have changed. What a difference a few years
With one “small” caveat, of course. Today’s marvels are
not necessarily related (and some may argue, in opposition)
to spiritual and moral progress; our current gadgets may
dazzle the eye, engage the mind and consume our psyches,
but they ultimately only advance our existing standards.
As the saying goes: “Junk in, junk out.” All the modern
technologies combined, on their own, will not make us love
better, build healthier relationships and families, bring
peace to the world or eradicate famine and injustice. As
far as their creators go – they may be wonderful people,
helping improve the way we run our lives – but when it comes
down to it, financial incentive is what drives the engine.
Not to suggest that inventor today may not be doing it for
a noble cause, but nobility is not inherent to the
Whereas, in strong contrast, the miracles back then blazed
a new trail in human freedom; it initiated a spiritual revolution,
creating a new standard of virtue and morals that would
change the course of history; it opened up the door of possibility
– that nothing is truly impossible (even an awesome
sea can be parted).
You can say that Exodus and the parting sea were the harbingers
of many of the fundamental breakthroughs that have become
pillars of our civilization today. It’s a fascinating
exercise to wonder about: Without these Biblical events,
which led to Sinai, without which none of the major (Western)
religions would have been spawned, would we have democracy
today? What would our values look like?
And even though it may a be stretch to say that the scientific
innovations of our time were a direct outgrowth of the miracles
at the Red Sea, it would not be at all difficult to argue
that our human imagination – the ability to think
unconventionally; to dream and innovate; to invest and develop
“out of the box” ideas – is sparked by
the miracles of the past and by people who did not give
up even under impossible circumstances.
Even if one were skeptical about the actual miracles, can
anyone deny that just hearing about them instills in all
of us the possibility – just the possibility –
that we can defy the “natural” routine of things
and conceive of new possibilities, and even believe that
sometimes the impossible may just be possible?
Is it not a measure of faith – and even a tinge of
insanity – that compelled certain innovators to observe
a bird in flight and imagine that we too can learn to fly,
and indeed developed the technology and engineering of air
flight? Or a doctor, despite all the detractors, doggedly
insisted on finding a cure to an otherwise incurable disease?
Or a devoted mother, ignoring the advice of experts, not
giving up on her autistic child?
The Biblical Exodus and its subsequent events etched into
our consciousness, if nothing else, the indefatigable spirit
of man. It declared and demonstrated, and thus heralded
in a new awareness, that with faith and commitment, with
a connection to the Divine, we can achieve anything, even
So then the question begs: In comparing the miracles of
old and the miracles of today, where have we strayed? Why
is innovation today only around material objects (as “sublime”
as they may be) and not around soulful ventures? Where today
are the spiritual Steve Jobs’ pioneering paths to
deeper consciousness and higher awareness? Even if some
exist, why do they not dominate the headlines?
Is it only because iPods, iPhones and now iPads can generate
huge sums of money? Are we to believe that tools to find
personal happiness and spiritual growth are not money-making
enterprises (or that those involved in that line of work
are not driven by profit, or they get tainted once their
palettes taste the sweetness of money)?
Not much is known about the deeper significance of the
Parting of the Sea. But those familiar with its mystical
interpretation know that it carries profound messages and
lessons, that can impact not only our personal lives, but
surprisingly also our ability to develop new technologies.
In effect, bridging the miracles of technology with the
miracles of the soul. Wouldn’t it be something if
Steve Jobs were to learn about these parallels?
Here is a brief overview of the parting sea’s spiritual
relevance: Land and sea represent two realities –
two forms of consciousness: The “revealed worlds”
of dry land are our conscious experiences. The “hidden
worlds” of the sea are our unconscious experiences.
In truth these two states are one seamless whole. Thus,
in the beginning of time all Earth was submerged in water,
as each of us (the universe in microcosm) begins our life
submerged in the embryonic fluids of our mothers’
wombs. Then, a parting took place – a parting that
divided separated between “land” consciousness
and water consciousness. The boundaries between land and
sea were set in place.
This division is actually only from our perspective. If
you think about it, all land on Earth is actually an island
jutting out of water. 75% of the globe is covered with water,
leaving 25% uncovered. The same is true of the microcosm:
Two thirds of the body is made up of water. Our conscious
minds are just a “tip of the iceberg” (no pun
intended) jutting out of our unconscious.
Yet a deep separation between land and water define our
reality. We cannot see behind the curtain dividing our conscious
and unconscious. But this separation is not airtight. At
the outset of creation, when G-d separated between land
and sea, He did so on the condition that the sea would always
remember that it would one day part and allow man to walk
through its depths as we walk on land.
The parting of the sea – in which “water was transformed
into land” (Hofach yom l’yabosho) – was a one-time
in history demonstration of the naked truth: That sea and
land are two dimensions of one reality. The window opened
up at that point, as a preparation to Sinai when the rift
was bridged between spirit and matter. Until Sinai a decree
dictated a “line in the sand,” which stated, “that which
is above shall not come below, and that which is below shall
not ascend above.”
This is also the reason that the people sang praise following
the parting of the sea: Song is the language of the sea.
Conventional speech (“land language”) consists
of staccato-like fragments of disconnected words, separated
by spaces and breaths, combining together to express an
idea. Melody flows like water in one seamless stream.
The parting of the sea – an integral part of the sea’ nature
from its inception – paved the way so that today we have
the power to sing, the power to unite what is above and
what is below, in one harmonious flow.
Now imagine this: Imagine that headlines today would be
screaming not just about iPads but about unprecedented breakthroughs
and insights into our souls. Imagine people being excited
about discovering new dimensions of their psyches, new reservoirs
of strength (to counter their fears and insecurities) –
as excited as they are when they procure a new iPhone. Imagine
a world enamored by exploring the deeper possibilities in
our relationships and loves, by finding inner contentment
– as enamored as we are by the newest gadgets coming
This, in a nutshell, is the challenge of our times: To
rediscover the electricity of spirituality, and integrate
it with the sensations of our modern innovations.
The iPad mania reflects the design and marketing genius
of Steve Jobs and his gifted team. But it also reveals the
gaping vacuum in our lack of spiritual visionaries.
Who will rise today as a spiritual Steve Jobs, ready to
pioneer a new spiritual path?