Parshas Emor - My Trip to the Amazon

By BJLife/Ori Strum
Posted on 05/13/22

I was recently visiting the Amazon.  

No, I am not talking about the epic Amazon River that runs through South America; rather, I am talking about the Amazon that everyone else visits: the online Amazon store! 

Anyways, to keep a short story short, I was looking around on the Amazon website, and I chanced upon a décor picture that had the following inspirational quote on it: 

“Good morning, this is G-d. I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help so have a great day.” 

“Wow,” I thought to myself, “what a wonderful quote.” I truly felt uplifted and inspired. I felt that this quote portrayed such positive vibes. It was a reminder for me that despite all of life’s ups and downs, G-d is the One in control. I felt close to G-d, knowing that I can trust and rely on Him, no matter what.  

But then I noticed the small description next to the price for this picture. It read: “$12.95 Prime & FREE Returns.” It hurt. I felt a chord of melancholy play inside my heart. 

I am all for free returns, don’t get me wrong. In fact, who isn’t for free returns? But still, it bothered me that you can have an item that literally speaks of the close connection between man and G-d, and a person if he wants can just return it – for free – just like that. No harm done. No foul play.  

Technology is unique. On one hand, with the advent of technology – including computers, phones, apps, and more – there have been more relationships created than ever before. Not too long ago, it was almost unheard of to be connected to and build a relationship with people outside of your hometown. Now, with one click on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, you can be connected with a random person from Madagascar. So, in this regard, relationships are booming. 

On the other hand, with the advent of technology, there have been more relationships hurt than ever before. Not too long ago, people would have to actually confront others, face to face, and experience real, authentic, and unadulterated communication. Now, with one click of a button – one dislike, one negative emoji, and one nasty comment – you can simply write people off and hurt them in a very strong way.  

It's true. The quantity of relationships may be increasing in the world. But at the same time, it’s scary to think that the quality of relationships is decreasing. “Free returns” has become a culture, and even more, a threatening mentality. Everything can be returned. If you don’t like something – whether it be a phone, a spouse, a religion, and as we now see, even G-d! – you can simply “return” it, free of charge. It’s absolutely mind boggling.  

As the holiday of Shavuos – a day which is compared to a wedding between the Jewish people and Hashem – is fast approaching, we should use these days of Sefiras Haomer to being more committed in our relationships, as this will dramatically influence how committed we are to Hashem. Let us not become influenced by the “free return” culture of society. Let us remain strong, committed, and devoted to our relationships, our religion, and of course, to G-d.