Pokemon go, just keep going.

Wednesday, 13 July, 2016 - 1:16 am

By now, you must have seen all those crazy people walking, running, or biking around with their phones out, and wondered what they're doing?

Well, there's this new phenomenon of Pokémon Go, it has become all the rage among Americans of all ages. 

As you may know by now, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where people run around the city, using their phones to find imaginary critters.

The Baal Shem Tov (founder of the Chassidic movement) taught that one should always learn a lesson from anything s/he hears or sees. So, what lesson can we learn from Pokemon Go?

As a religious Jew, I don't believe anything is coincidence. It all happens for a reason. Therefore, I don't think that it was a coincidence (though obviously not the intention of those who released the game) that the game was released on Thursday, the 1st of the month of Tammuz in the Hebrew calendar, right before the 22nd anniversary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's passing.  

The Lubavitcher Rebbe created and promoted the original augmented reality game, a “game” to augment our mundane reality with holiness and goodness. The game was released back in 1967, just weeks before the Six Day War. The Rebbe started sending young people around their respective cities, to use their "Jew-dar" to find other Jews and put on tefillin with—gathering Pokemon, so to speak. 

Over the next 9 years, the Rebbe added 9 more missions. He encouraged young men and women to go out around the city and find other Jews to perform mitzvahs that included affixing kosher mezuzot, lighting Shabbat candles, keeping kosher, giving charity, loving your fellow, promoting Jewish education, teaching the beauty of Jewish family life, etc.

The Rebbe also taught us to not to be afraid to use modern technologies as a part of the effort to augment goodness and kindness throughout the world. 

So while you all are running around, trying to find Pokemon gyms:

#1: Be careful! Your life is more valuable than any Pokemon. 

#2: Use this game as an opportunity to spread goodness and kindness:

A) Be sure to find a charity along the way and donate a dollar or two (or twenty). 

B) If you pass a synagogue, hop in and put on tefillin or pray. 

C) Try to find a store along the way and buy a kosher snack. 

D) Be kind to someone in need. Not just if the need falls into your lap, but search for someone in need, as you would for a Pokestop. 

I'm sure we can all use this as an opportunity for many creative ways to spread light throughout our communities!


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