1 Hacker Way
Menlo Park, CA
I’ve been using Facebook for a very long time, and I am grateful to you for creating a platform that allows me to keep in touch with people all over the world, including congregants and friends who have left New York City.
You see, I use Facebook for my job. I use it to spread Torah and mitzvot and try to do my part in bettering the world, which is why I was absolutely astounded to discover I’d been banned this week!
Since the pandemic began, I’ve been giving my Torah classes online. For maximum accessibility, before each class I log into Zoom and connect it to Facebook. This allows me to reach more people. But this week, you cancelled my class, shut me out of Facebook, and sent me a message claiming I had violated your community standards!
What?! To say I was thoroughly confused would be an understatement of the highest order.
I have never posted anything hateful or political in the 12 or so years I’ve been using your platform! As a rabbi, I serve a community comprising people on the right and people on the left, so I stick to my job—promoting and spreading Torah and mitzvot; I don’t dabble in politics. So what could have possibly led you to shut down my account?
I took a closer look at which classes apparently violated your community standards. There were four, and the one that sent me to “Facebook jail” was this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEn7zRQDO6Y&t=760s – “The cure for COVID-19 is to be found in this week’s Torah portion.”
I wondered, what could possibly be in violation? In the video, I explained that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed because of hatred for one another. I explained that the Talmud equates that hatred to the three cardinal sins: idolatry, adultery, murder, and that to rectify this and rebuild the third and final Temple, we need to love each other more. True, expansive, unconditional love will lead to the Redemption, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the end to all ailments and illnesses, including COVID-19.
This is one of our most basic beliefs, found in our holy Torah. So yes, the cure for coronavirus is in fact in the Torah!
Your message claimed, “We have these standards because misinformation that could cause physical harm can make some people feel unsafe on Facebook.”
Well, I can assure you that there is no message the inhabitants of this universe need to hear more than what I shared!
Unconditional love – it’s what we all need, the US more than anyone! Not only can this not possibly lead to physical harm, it can lead to great healing and unification.
In fact, Mark, you and I probably disagree on about 99% of things, but that does not diminish my love for you. I love you, heart and soul, like a brother.
Misinformation, you say? I can assure you there is no book more authentic than the Torah. In fact, you and I were both present at the foot of Mount Sinai over 4000 years ago. You and I both heard the voice of G-d. You and I both received His Torah at the exact same moment. This is a proven historical fact.
Mark, in this week’s Torah portion we read about the 10 commandments—G-d’s precious gift to us. In that spirit, I invite you to study Torah with me anytime. We can easily do it over the powerful tool you’ve created: Facebook!
I also invite you to attend services at my shul, have an aliya, and be called up to the Torah. You see, Mark, despite our differences, my love for you is unconditional, and that is the message my classes promote.
With tremendous love,
Rabbi Uriel Vigler
Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side of Manhattan