‘Like’ me online but love me in real life

“Like me on Facebook!”

The last time I tried to “Like” something on Facebook, I failed because Facebook didn’t want to let me in!

Either I had the wrong password, or I had used the wrong email address, or I was simply born too soon to be able to successfully navigate Facebook.

All of this led me to consider the deeper meaning for our lives in these days of the nearly ubiquitous plea, “Like Me On Facebook.”

At times, the request to “Like” something or some company on Facebook really does appeal to me, especially if the request is for a nonprofit agency or a cause that is especially important to me. On the other hand, I often wonder if my “liking” a certain product or enterprise is really something for which I need devote more time on the Internet.

Then I began to wonder about another possible effect of the words. I have been pondering if Facebook “liking” might be spilling over onto our own daily lives: Is the only way we can “Like” something is to Facebook Like it? Are we beginning to forget the importance of showing our tangible support for important causes, or affection for friends, in real life?

I know that many now communicate regularly with family and friends via Facebook or other social media.

The limited times that I have been on Facebook have allowed me to reconnect with my high school graduation class of 1960. I am saddened to learn of those who have passed, but I am grateful to be in touch once again with people I have not seen in nearly 54 years. Even more, as we are now in the religious holiday season of Easter and Passover, I shudder to think that we might be asked to “Like” one or both on Facebook.

Instead, for those of us who are Jewish or Christian, this is the time for us to celebrate our respective annual observances through worship, prayer and sacred gatherings at home in synagogue or church.

And most of us will remember the teaching of the Torah in Leviticus 19:18, emphasized as well in Christian Scripture: “Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Isn’t this the more important manner of showing our support for those whom we like or, more importantly, those whom we love? I’m sure that “Like me on Facebook” is going to be with us for a long, long time. I just hope that the biblical teaching will always be the words that will prompt us to share our love for those persons and causes nearest and dearest to us throughout our lives.

Yes, “Like me on Facebook,” but better: Love me for who I am as your friend, your equally sacred creation of God.

Rabbi Weinstein lives in Baton Rouge and is Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge, Rabbi at Temple Shalom in Lafayette and Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Lake Charles.

Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to the Human Condition at features@theadvocate.com or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810. There is no payment, and stories will be edited.