Batteries not included

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This week Gizmodo included the Say-a-blessing key chain among its featured products. The device has eight buttons with icons representing prayers one might need to say when eating. This includes the blessing for n’tilat yadayim, the ritual washing of hands, and the grace after meals as well as a variety of food groups: bread, other baked goods, wine, fruit, vegetables, and all other foods. And if that wasn’t enough, it includes two bonuses: the Shema and Modeh Ani, the prayer said upon waking each morning.say_a_blessing.jpg

Now I’m all for harnessing the powers of technology to make Judaism more accessible. However, I don’t believe that this key chain actually increases knowledge of commonly used blessings.

Before speed dial, people knew phone numbers by heart. Now, when someone looses their cell phone or leaves it at home, he or she is often rendered useless when it comes to contacting people.

Increased automation appears in much of modern Jewish observance. Timers for lights prevent one from breaking Shabbat. Kosher for Passover cruises mean that one doesn’t have to be conscious of keeping the holiday.

Where does one draw the line?

Posted on June 7, 2007

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5 thoughts on “Batteries not included

  1. jskobin

    Unlike a cell, where it remembers the numbers for you, this keychain sounds like it could actually motivate someone to learn the prayers if they play them enough times. I think it’s a clever idea!
    Good find!

  2. The Doctor

    Ah, but does it have a calendar function which keeps you from activating it on Shabbat?

  3. sxylxi830

    Great first post Mer! And I totally agree…we need to draw the line somewhere, I mean as it says in Pirke Avot.. “if not now, when?!”

  4. Ezekah

    If it just turns on automatically, it should be ok for Shabbat. Much like the Shabbat elevators, lights, or any electronic device pre-set on a timer.

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