What Facebook Isn’t Telling You

I’ll let you in on a few of the secrets.

Each week, I put out a call on Facebook for those in need of blessings. I time these calls to connect with ritual making bread for Shabbat. It is customary to set aside a portion of dough, as a token of recognition of God’s generosity, when making a large amount of bread. Fulfilling of the obligation provides a unique opportunity for prayers of healing and divine intersession. Most weeks I make a large quantity of bread and have always offered personal prayers for those who I knew were in need. But within the last year or so, I have been placing calls on social media to add names to my list.

At the beginning, I was unsure what this odd call into the wilderness would yield. Was Facebook, the forum for cute babies and cats, breaking news and political commentary a place for prayer?

The results have been instructive.

Unlike the cute baby photo of my kid that I recently posted, I don’t get a deluge of responses. Each week not many more than handful of people take me up on the offer and simply like my post and I add them to my list.

But it is not quantity that matters. Many just leave a name or a ‘like.’ Sometimes I know from their feed what the issue is, sometimes not. But opening up this venue has lead to some of the most meaningful sharing and connecting that I have experienced on social media. I have learned some amazing and difficult truths about what is going on in people’s lives.

Here is some of what I know, that you might have missed completely.

– Your friend with the perfect kids in the amazingly cute dance outfits is not sleeping at night because it has been more than a year since her husband had full time employment

– All the photos of food in fancy restaurants are the way B. recovers from another bout of bad news at the fertility clinic.

– The increased posts about the family dog are in inverse proportion to the level of affection M. is feeling for her husband. Any day now she is likely to replace her spouse of 11 years with another pet.

Posted on March 6, 2014

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