Steve Jobs, the Torah, and Technology

1280px-steve_jobs_headshot_2010-cropSteve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. As an owner of a MacBook, an iPad Mini, an Apple watch, and an iPhone, I guess you could call me an Apple man.

I love these wonderful devices. I recall when the first iPhone was released. The Torah reading was Balak, which tells the story of Balaam, the pagan prophet who was hired to curse Israel but ended up blessing them instead.

I found it interesting then, and still do, that this was not the first technological advancement that was associated with this ancient Torah reading and the words of Balaam.

On Shavuot (Pentecost), in the year 1844, a similar advancement in technology took place. At 8:45 AM on Friday, May 24th, 1844, Samuel Morse sent a communication from Washington to Alfred Vail in Baltimore. The technology revolution of that time was called the telegraph – formed by two Greek words; tele=far and graphy=to write.

Interestingly, the technological advances brought about by the telegraph were also strangely connected to Torah reading Balak. The first message telegraphed by Morse were suggested to him by Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of a friend. The message was short, and taken from the King James Version of the Bible. The message said,

“What hath God wrought?”

Annie Ellsworth chose Balaam’s words to inaugurate the Technological Communication Age and then the latest “revolution” in Communication Technology was released on the day that these words were read again in synagogues throughout the world!

Is there something deeper in all of this? Is there a Divine hand at work? I am a fan of technology and continually seek new ways to utilize it in my efforts to teach the Bible. Steve Jobs and Apple have been very instrumental in providing innovative devices that enable me to reach the ends of the earth with my teachings. His work has been a blessing to me and to many others. Thinking of the genius today. May he rest in peace, and may his name be for a blessing.

Samuel Morse sent a final telegraph in June of 1871. It read,

“Greetings and thanks to the telegraph Fraternity throughout the world, Glory to God in the Highest, on earth, peace, goodwill to men.”

May we always find more ways to speak and communicate God’s prophetic word through modern technology! Indeed, what hath God wrought!

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