Rabbi Sacks Mocks Steve Jobs - but he is dead and cannot answer

Oy, oy, oy. The rabbi maybe should have retired last year, not next year. He's got it wrong, oy, oy, oy.

"The late Steve Jobs helped create a selfish 'i, i, i' consumer culture that has only brought unhappiness, the Chief Rabbi has claimed."

There is nothing at all about Apple products that is any more selfish or materialist than any other consumer market product. iPad has Torah apps! What is the man talking about?

[The rabbi sort-of apologized for his dumb remarks according to the EJP, to wit, "Rabbi Sacks, the clarification statement added, "uses an iPhone and an iPad on a daily basis" and "was simply pointing out the potential dangers of consumerism when taken too far.""]

iPad has brought this writer more happiness than any previous technological invention, and that includes the remote garage door opener and the cell phone, two previous inventions that changed our lives completely.

The iPad and iPod machines are not sources of unhappiness or selfishness or materialism. That blast from the chief is way out of line.

Now if we were chief rabbi (like the if we were a horse anthropologist) and we wanted to chastise Steve Jobs, there is ample room for criticizing the man. We wouldn't do it as a criticism though because that is contrary to the Torah. You are not permitted to mock the dead. They cannot answer. The rabbis remind us that one who mocks the dead is like one who insults his creator. It's based on a verse in the bible about the poor and weak, only it is applied to the dead. Proverbs 17:5 is the verse that is invoked in this regard, לועג לרש חרף עושהו "One who mocks the poor affronts his Maker."

The rabbi ought politely to have raised issues about Jobs' actions as a person during his life. We complimented last week the president of a respected company because he brought representatives of an NGO to his corporate office and recommended that all employees support their charitable efforts. We applauded him for following the model of Bill Gates in seeking to bolster philanthropy. And we mentioned to him by contrast Steve Jobs, who was not known as a philanthropist during his lifetime.

Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote about this known issue (a bug in the program?) in August 2011 ("The Mystery of Steve Jobs’s Public Giving") saying among other things, "...the lack of public philanthropy by Mr. Jobs — long whispered about, but rarely said aloud — raises some important questions about the way the public views business and business people at a time when some 'millionaires and billionaires' are criticized for not giving back enough while others like Mr. Jobs are lionized."

The chief rabbi had an ample opportunity to raise the p-question, without insult to Jobs' memory, to probe why he never set a public example as a big philanthropist or even as a simple charitable person.

But for the rabbi to attack the iPad and insinuate that it is a source of the world's unhappiness -- that is silly talk. The Telegraph reported the story of the rabbi's rants in front of the queen:
Chief Rabbi blames Apple for helping create selfish society
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, and Martin Beckford

Lord Sacks said that advertising only made shoppers aware of what they did not own, rather than feeling grateful for what they have.

He insisted that a culture in which people cared solely about themselves and their possessions could not last long, and that only faith and spending time with family could bring true happiness.

The Chief Rabbi’s comments are likely to raise eyebrows because he singled out for blame Jobs – the co-founder of Apple who died last month – by likening his iPad tablet computers to the tablets of stone bearing the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses.

Speaking at an interfaith reception attended by the Queen this week, Lord Sacks said: “People are looking for values other than the values of a consumer society. The values of a consumer society really aren’t ones you can live by for terribly long.

“The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTune, i, i, i.

“When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about 'i’, you don’t do terribly well.”

He went on: “What does a consumer ethic do? It makes you aware all the time of the things you don’t have instead of thanking God for all the things you do have.

“If in a consumer society, through all the advertising and subtly seductive approaches to it, you’ve got an iPhone but you haven’t got a fourth generation one, the consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness.”...more...
Thank Henry for this post, he sent me the link to the news story.

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