- The Feedburner subscription stopped working for real around 2 months ago.
In other words, subscribers will no longer receive new posts in their Inbox.
Long before this happened, a blog post went up warning of this, plus a notice sits in the sidebar.
I'm sorry for any inconvenience or "Huh?" that occurred from this (even though it's not my fault Google phased out Feedburner).
Having said that, I decided not to sign up for a new free subscription service. So anyone interested in new posts will need to come here to see them (which won't be often, as explained next).
- I was mostly offline for around a month.
That's why this blog didn't get updated for so long.
What happened was this:
I switched to Netfree's Limited Plan (Netfree also has other, more open plans, but I chose their Limited Plan), which blocks access to ALL websites except those appearing on this page:
(For me, this page appears in Hebrew, but a friend outside of Eretz Yisrael said the page shows up in English for her.)
It happened suddenly in the middle of the night, when hit by the realization I simply must switch immediately.
It felt rude, like a host who invited everyone to an open-house, then suddenly disappeared without explanation.
I felt bad about the rudeness (and I apologize), but also realized I faced no other choice.
(It's hard to explain because, for some reason, I kept pushing off the switch in order to post an announcement on the blog, but kept pushing off that too, and then realized I needed to just DO it. Again, not sure myself how to explain what was happening.)
On Netfree's Limited Plan, I cannot even conduct a search on any search engine.
Also, Netfree "fines" users 20-25 shekels for switching to a more open plan.
(Though a small amount of money, it still acts as a wonderful deterrent.)
It also takes 2 hours for the switch to a more open plan to occur, so no instant "hit" or gratification—very wise.
And on the Limited Plan, I cannot access my own blog...nothing, other than the boring utilitarian sites seen at the above link.
This means that if you send me a link, I will not be able to access it (unless it is one of those boring websites featured in my plan, as appearing on the page in the above Netfree link).
(If they really want me to see an article, some people copy the text, paste it into an email, and send it to me instead of a link.)
So that's what happened.
I'm on a more open plan very temporarily for now, but am switching back to the Limited Plan pretty quickly.
Internet Ups & Downs
And why am I doing it again?
First of all, I'd been having conflicts over my Internet use for ages.
It's too much to go into the whole history and back-and-forth...sometimes I had Internet, sometimes not at all, sometimes only email, plus I went through 3 different filters using their different plans, etc.
In short, this is personal and varies for each individual.
Each person needs to be honest with themselves about why they have Internet and why they have their particular plan/filter to access the Internet.
At one point, I switched from email-only to Internet for parnasa.
I didn't realize no respectable rabbinical heter actually existed for this in the way many people assumed.
(Rav Itamar Schwartz explains this in detail here: https://question.bilvavi.net/blog/2021/08/24/the-gedolims-view-on-internet-use/)
For me, this loomed as a big mistake only realized later.
Upon honest analysis, the benefits and positive results do not outweigh the negative—at least, not for me.
Hashem showed me over the past year that even the reasons I initially thought I needed Internet were actually not so true...and at this point, they no longer held true at all.
(This made me sad and still pangs me in some ways, but the truth often hurts—at least in the beginning of a transition. Later, that same originally painful truth can paradoxically end up feeling great!)
A Significant & Unique Benefit to Living in Eretz Yisrael
I think it's different in the USA and most other modern countries because it seems certain services simply cannot be accessed without an app or some kind of Internet connection.
Not 100% sure, but this is my impression.
Yet because of the burgeoning religious clout in Eretz Yisrael, most services offer a non-Internet option.
Is it as convenient?
But it exists.
Heck, I even lived without my own cell phone for the past couple of years.
Because I live in a charedi community (where it's admittedly unusual to not have a cell phone at all, even the little dinky "dumbphones"), people still managed with me—and did so non-judgmentally—even though I seemed to be one of the only people with no cell phone at all.
(Recently I started working almost full-time at a charedi gender-segregated office, and it made sense to have one. So now I have a little dinky Internet-free text-free cell phone.)
Having said all that, I know some extremely & sincerely frum people who finally caved in to get a computer with email ONLY.
Charedi communities also host Internet centers using a Netfree filter, so a person in real need of an Internet connection can use those.
I personally won't be doing that because it ends up being too stressful, (I find the need for passwords extremely aggravating for some reason—also at work!), the sometimes lack of privacy & being around other people when I'm an introvert at heart, going so much out of my way to get to the place (even though 2 Internet centers are within walking distance)...
...and when I tried to access my own blog to post articles at one of these places, I could not access it for some reason—which likely has a solution because I knew of another Weebly-user who posted regularly from an Internet center to her blog—but it's too much aggravation for my kind of personality & in the phase I'm in now.
And that's the gist of it.
The Surprising & Liberating Result of Severe Internet Limitation
I thought I'd suffer some kind of withdrawal.
After all, when I switched to Netfree in the beginning (on its more open plans with access to more websites and even specifically chosen YouTube videos), there were certain now-prohibited sites I secretly longed for over several months.
So I thought that might happen again when choosing an even more limited plan.
After all, the only websites available on the Netfee's Limited Plan are ones like "The Municipality of Ashkelon" or "Bank Hapoalim" or "Train Schedules" or "Gmail."
In other words, only utilitarian sites remain available.
For example, no temptation exists to go surfing through the Discount Bank website with its pages of Hebrew text.
Sure, I could spend a lot of time in my Gmail account, but am not compelled to...so I don't.
To my surprise, I experienced only a couple of phases of boredom, but remedied them by doing something in the house that needed to be done, or running an errand, or reading a good book I hadn't read in a while.
In general, I felt much better too.
Even more oddly, I stopped pining for that tiny handful of sites I'd really enjoyed before Netfree.
Why did cutting out the Internet so drastically eliminate my longings when limiting it moderately did not?
Anyway, I also started going to sleep earlier, getting more things done both in the house and out (despite an actual decrease in time due to a new work schedule), and in general felt happier.
Also, I fully expected to miss the sites I visited the most...yet didn't.
Now that I've been back online for a week, I see why it's so bad for me.
The War for Your Brain
The Internet (and its tentacles of social media, apps, etc.) are built & fine-tuned to suck you in by your brain chemistry (to funnel money & control to their greedy creators).
I've written here before about our brains being under attack. We're wired a certain way and the creators of these technologies know all about it.
For example, please see these posts on the topic:
I know people who boast of being perfectly self-disciplined about their Internet use, but I see they are not. They simply adjust their standards to fit their self-serving principles and definitions.
Not purposely, but instinctively. They're honestly not aware of what they're doing.
Again, we're all on different levels and different stages of our journeys.
This is where I'm personally holding.
I wish I could get down to having just email, but I'm not ready for that.
A Short Note before Saying Good-Bye Again
But I didn't! I just re-posted an old post and created another mostly from copy 'n' paste...and that was it.
Even this post, which I meant to write immediately, only got done now!
I just couldn't do it. Not sure why.
So I'm going back to the Limited Plan.
In other words, this website will remain online, but I'm not actually here.
In the meantime, if I manage it, I will write posts in Word, and then switch plans again to access this blog, post a series of scheduled posts, then go back to the Limited Plan again.
I don't think that's a perfect solution, but it's honestly where I'm holding now.
Someone brilliantly suggested sending out posts by email subscription and avoiding the blog entirely.
That's actually a real good alternative, but I'm hesitant about encountering the same response I had before to some who subscribers who felt the need to immediately respond in a way I found challenging whenever triggered by a post.
(And they could go off-topic or misunderstand the whole meaning of the post in their triggered state. Not bad people at all, but just people who didn't realize what they were doing, by misunderstanding, getting triggered, then responding in that passionate state. I've done it a couple of times myself — though not anymore — so I don't judge them negatively, but objectively realize that, despite their good intentions, I find it too much of a challenge. Not coincidentally, this happened most with those who received the post directly to their Inbox as opposed to reading it on the blog.)
It seems something about receiving it as an email created that dynamic.
So maybe I will do that, but not sure yet.
Thanks for reading.