By Malkie Gordon Hirsch

Long before the age of the internet, the age when everything was shared and when nothing was taboo, there was a group of Israelites traveling through the desert. As night fell, they’d pitch their tents with the windows facing away from their neighbors to ensure maximum privacy and thoughtfulness for their brethren.

Their way of doing things would emit a blessing instead of the intended curse from Bilam the prophet. “Ma tovu ohalecha, Yaakov, mishkenotecha, Yisrael—How good are your tents, Yaakov, and your dwelling places, Yisrael.”

In even the most arduous of circumstances, they’d still take privacy into consideration.

Back then and even thousands of years later there was the concept of keeping certain things to yourself. It trended for quite some time, too.

There were things that were said and done within the confines of one’s home that simply weren’t discussed with others. Marital issues and family issues, not necessarily bad ones, still not to be shared on the internet in front of thousands of people.

It was a simpler time, a time when people could discuss matters among their close friends and loved ones. It didn’t have to be announced on some rooftop somewhere, because back then, your business was yours and didn’t need to be approved by strangers watching on a computer screen in a different state.

Some might laugh at what I’m saying because of what I do. My job (one of them, at least) resides on the internet.

It didn’t start out the way it is today. I didn’t set out to become an Instagram blogger or a lover of pretty good pictures or a home baker who makes decent cakes for someone who’s never taken a pastry course, but it still sort of happened.

I’d try new things, and if they came out semi OK-looking, I’d snap a picture and I’d write a cute caption.

It all went swimmingly, and as I tried more, my following grew more. I enjoyed the interaction and the recipe sharing.

One day, my husband didn’t come home after passing suddenly at work, and that’s when people really became interested in my life.

Suddenly I had thousands of people tuning in to see if I’d fall apart while I storied in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. It was voyeurism, Instagram edition.

Throughout our ordeal, I’ve always maintained a level of privacy, to protect my children and me. People might have the impression that I share everything, but in reality, I only share what I want you to see.

Was I ever going to post a video of me breaking down in tears about the recent happenings in my life?

Not likely.

But was I going to share things I felt wasn’t an invasion of our private life?

Absolutely.

Will you find me lip-syncing to a new song on some Instagram reel or narrating a recipe at a mile a minute to fit within the allotted time that’s required for the video to garner way more likes because of the new algorithm on this platform?

Never.

I don’t need to fit my life into these new trends to feel current or to keep up with the latest batch of aspiring home cooks looking to do what I do.

Because I know what this is and where it falls in the priorities of my life.

I’m not building the windows and doors of my tent to face yours. And just like I don’t want you seeing all I’ve got going on, I don’t want to see what you’ve got going on if it’s not appropriate.

There used to be a semblance of sacred and secret, but that’s a novelty today. Our society has lost that sensitivity of wanting some things to remain shadowed instead of placed on a pedestal, no matter how uncomfortably cringe-worthy.

The age of technology has been a gift to so many, but it’s a double-edged sword.

There’s keeping in touch and there’s too much keeping in touch.

There’s sharing and there’s oversharing.

There’s asking for a soup recipe and asking on a group of 10,000 members and receiving more recipes for every imaginable soup concoction known to man.

With the end of privacy came the end of being able to think for oneself and make decisions. It was the end of individuality and not needing to have the same things she has, do the same thing she does, wear the same thing she wears.

We’ve all got one thing in common—we’re all here for one reason or another. We’ve all got a purpose that to most has yet to be discovered.

But I can promise you one thing—your purpose will not have anything to do with a social media platform, a snappy logo, or cute business cards. It’ll more likely have to do with your individual gifts and the reason you’ve been given a life here on Earth.

Use and enjoy the internet in moderation. And then look up from your phone and connect with the people around you. 

Malkie Gordon Hirsch is a native of the Five Towns community, a mom of 5, a writer, a social media influencer, veteran real estate agent, and runs a patisserie in Woodmere.

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