Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks vs. Steve Jobs

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks vs. Steve Jobs

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks caused quite a stir last week when he discussed the negative impact of Apple CEO’s Steve Job’s legacy:
Rabbi Sacks explained:

“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.”

So this is what I was wondering…

While I agree with Rabbi Sacks’ comments about society as a whole becoming more self-centered and selfish, I also think that most of the
JewishMOMs I know suffer from a LACK of the egocentricity that Rabbi Sacks condemns.

The moms I know, in general, are giving so much to their families and spouses and communities and jobs, that they desperately need some more “i” in their lives.

They need more time to take care of themselves, to express themselves, to uplift themselves through connecting with Hashem and the Torah.

But I also know from past times I have written about this need for self-nurturing that many of you see eye-to-eye with Rabbi Sacks: you believe that JewishMOMs also need to be encouraged to get away from the “i,i,i” and focus more on the u,u,u: their kids, their husbands, their communities.

So, what do you think, JewishMOM? In your own life do you think you need to work on more “i,i,i” or more “u,u,u”? Would you and your family benefit more from you giving more to YOURSELF or to OTHERS.

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  1. It’s possible to be truly i,i,i while outwardly being u,u,u. That’s what the classic guilt-tripping, self-sacrificing yiddishe mamma is all about. That’s an extreme example but we all recognize the grain of truth in it. We are devoted to those we love because we want to be. There is a big payoff in it for us. And that’s OK. But it’s helpful to acknowledge it in order to cure our resentment.
    But I’m getting too philosophical here.
    PS. I’m not a fan of Rabbi Sacks’ statement. I don’t care for those kinds of generalizations about humanity.

  2. i think apple definitely revolutionized the world with their products and their culture. They constantly come out with newer and better and thereby feeding the cycle of consumerism. Before the ipad had time to sell, there was an ipad 2, leaving ipad Oners feeling inadequate and desiring the newer one.

    but when it comes to mothers, i think the challenge is finding the appropriate balance. It’s so hard to know when i,i,i is overtaking u, u, u and vice versa.

    but once you find that balance, a happy mother it makes!

  3. I find it so much easier to give. A typical scene:

    My son woke up early this morning. I am still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes as I pour his bowl of cereal. Then I start washing yesterday’s still-dirty pot. “Sit, Mommy!” he demands. So I sit, and watch him eat.

    Then I start packing his lunch for later that day. And I watch him eat.

    The baby wakes up. I start feeding her at the kitchen table, watching my son eat his cereal.

    My husband wakes up. I pass a bowl his way, and watch him eat. “Won’t you eat?” he asks me. He knows I have been busy.

    But I don’t. I am too busy giving, serving. I will, sure. Just not yet. It’s breakfast time, and I am nurturing my family, watching them eat. And that nurtures me.

    Excuse me, my breakfast is calling…

  4. The ‘i’ in front of Mr. Jobs’ products might underscore the reality, but I don’t believe he is anymore to blame than say Jaguar who put out a new car every six months and look to entice the same insatiability within would-be buyers.

    Quoted from Rabbi Yitzchok Shochet’s response to Rabbi Sacks’ article. See the full version at

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