Lessons from the Ashley Madison Hack

I have a vague memory of seeing an Ashley Madison billboard advertisement some years ago. I was shocked at the mainstreaming of adulterous cheating, but soon overcame my shock and promptly forgot about it. That memory came flooding back when I heard about the hack.
Thirty seven million cheaters are subscribed to this website and a hack has recently outed seven-hundred-and-sixty-thousand of them. Am I surprised that so many people cheat? I guess not. Do I feel bad for those that were outed? Yes I do. Do I feel worse for the people they cheated on? Absolutely. Do I think the hacker did a good thing? No way. Are the all the broken families and divorces that might arise from this, good? Some might be, most probably won’t.
So where is the lesson?
The lesson is this: You can’t hide forever. Actually, check that. The message is this, you thought you were hiding, but you never really were.
The Talmudic sages often reminded us that an eye is always watching, an ear is always listening and our actions are always recorded. They also added a tidbit about the day of reckoning. One day we will be made to account for everything we did. Of course this thought is enough to make you flee anything that even smells inappropriate, but up till now it was just an idea. An abstract concept that couldn’t be demonstrated in tangible form.
They were talking about G-d and you can’t even see G-d. If you can’t see G-d, how can you know He was watching? We might need to worry about this in the afterlife, but, we told ourselves, the afterlife is in plenty of time. Live it up now and worry later!
Well the chickens have come home to roost. You have been hearing for years that mega internet companies store way too much personal date. Google is a peeping tom and Facebook is a shameless snoop. Stores, malls and the government constantly collect and even sell your data. Internet providers log and store your browsing history.
If you are like me, you dismissed these warnings because they were irrelevant. Why do I care if my browsing history is sold to digital advertisers who target my computer with ads related to my areas of interest? Yes, it’s a violation of privacy, but big deal. I don’t care all that much. Right? I guess many people out there are like me because we are all still browsing.
Well that changed today. The day of reckoning has arrived. Thirty-seven million people are biting their nails to the quick and seven-hundred-and-sixty-thousand people are waiting for the piper to come knocking. The eye in the sky has become real for them. Their private escapades have been made public.
If a hacker can make the abstract real for us on the internet, it can make G-d’s watchful presence real for us in life. Hey, would you like to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar by say, your mother, your wife, your students or the television cameras? Would you like to be caught cheating by an enterprising kid on a phone who then splashes your video all over you tube?
No, that would be mortifying!
If you don’t want your mother or spouse to catch you, if you don’t want your kids or the public to know about you, then you don’t want G-d to catch you either. You certainly don’t want Him to record it for posterity and then make you account for it.
But guess, what. That is exactly what he is doing. So…..
Happy Living