Lately I've been mulling over the divine summons toward the Third Exodus. I work with the Ministry of Education in Israel in the city of Beer Sheva -- the city of Abraham, the Patriarch of all of the Western traditions. The very first words that God said to the first Hebrew (the word Hebrew is derived from "ever", the one who crossed over the frontier) was "Lech Lecha" -- Get thee out.....
|The Third Exodus will require us to cross the frontier of what it means to be human in cyberspace.|
Abraham had to cross one of the most significant frontiers in the history of what it means to be human. What is the most significant frontier before us today?
While Abraham began that desert trek as a family, it would fall upon Moses to lead a nation out of captivity. So the First Exodus, was the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt is "Mitzrayim" which means "constrained, tight". That is also the classical name that Egypt called itself--"Metzer." So the basic idea is "from slavery unto freedom" both in ending actual slavery and freeing oneself to go into the desert - the place of no limits.
It was here in this unlimited space that the Jews received the Torah on Sinai, and shared it with the rest of humanity. I live in the desert in Israel and see its magic, mystery, and majesty every day. It was here that the spiritual message of Israel was formed and continues until today.
The Second Exodus was that of Rabbinic Judaism, Jesus and Islam that became focused in Synagogues, Churches and Mosques-- each dealing with the idea of "sacred space" in geographic terrain. After the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, both Judaism and Christianity expanded from a single worship space into a global frame-of-reference, and Islam followed suite. Each of these faith communities has in its own way created some of the most glorious buildings that have served us all so well over the generations.
The Third Exodus - is now taking place beyond congregational walls. It is seeking the spiritual dimensions of the sacred in Cyberspace. It is in this Cyberia that people everywhere are exploring the divine aspects of the potential human.
We know how to build structures of stone, we have yet to learn how to relate to the sacred in space, mediated through technology.
The Third Exodus call us to design a "garden." Each tradition has its own version of the garden that we all want to return to, and be fully human again. We need not send up rocks and trees only but perhaps holograms of the many versions of the Eden of each of the human visions and the new visions that we all cherish. Of course, this is basically a Midrash for Cyberia.
I will soon mark my seventy birthday. All of my children and yours are now full "Netizens of Cyberia." How can we begin to meet their spiritual needs for the future? What would it mean for them to build a Spiritual Civilization in Cyberia?
How are we to relate to this fascinating new frontier of virtual space, building the communities of tomorrow, that know no boundaries? This is the question before us, this is the Third Exodus.
Dr. Moshe Dror, WNRF's Cyber Rabbi, is coordinator of the computer mediated communication department of the National Center for Teacher's In-Service Training in Judaica of the Israel Ministry of Education (Bet-Yatziv, Beer Sheva); chairman of the Israel node of the World Future Society and president of the Jewish Futures Network.