Emuna Goes to Hollywood

Looking for an avenue of escape for your ever-mounting problems? Better to look for an escape from escape. Who needs the entertainment industry?!

3 min

David Ben Horin

Posted on 18.09.22

For the first quarter of the 20th century, the world was mesmerized by the newest technology: The Moving Picture.  

For the first time, people could put aside their troubles by simply plunking down a few cents and entering a dark room. There were even special seats for kids.  

It didn’t matter that the movies were silent. The pictures weren’t, and everything was completely new.  

It was in 1927 that the first movie with sound was released. The movie itself was pretty dull, but the new technology made it a blockbuster.  

Almost every major studio re-shot all movies in production to include the actors’ talk.  

Except one.  

MGM Studios.   

Their CEO refused to embrace the new technology.  

Nobody understood why. New technology meant new money and all the other studios were doing it.  

The reply was simple: 

“People come to movies to escape their lives. Actors talking like you and me is too much reality.” 

This decision saved his company and his job.  

As every other studio borrowed massive amounts from ever willing banks to expand their operations to sound, MGM stayed put. They didn’t take Wall Street money, which was flowing into new technologies like water.   

When the stock market crashed in 1929, all the studios took a huge hit, except for MGM.  

Only after they started to film musicals in the 1930s did they use sound. The thinking was that actors’ singing was still removed enough from “reality” than mere talking.  

They embraced sound for the same reason they originally refused it: To enable all of us to escape the rigors of daily life.  

The Ultimate Escape 

 What exactly are we escaping? 

We are escaping the fact that we don’t control our fate. We can work as hard as we can, and still others take the credit. We build a business, and a competitor takes it all away.  

We invest our lives in being honest, decent, and good, only to watch all the money, influence, and popularity go to those who didn’t put in the effort.  

The world can be unforgiving and unfair. For sure, it is woefully unpredictable. Nothing is guaranteed.  

It’s a lot to take in with open eyes. Drugs, alcohol, politics, social media, and Hollywood are all avenues to look the other way.  

But only if you don’t see God.  

If you don’t see God because you don’t look, these choices are a big temptation. If you don’t see God because you’ve been buried by the everyday challenges of this material world, then Elul and Tishrei are the best times to return to the surface.  

Faith that everything in this life comes directly from God, Who is above all things, is the only true escape hatch for the despairs of life.  

Having faith that everything which happens to us, for good and bad, is directly from God and for our benefit, pulls us away from every hardship of life that forces us to escape in the first place.  

Emuna that Hashem has His eyes on us every moment of every day is the ultimate escape from escape itself. 

We don’t need movies, screens, or substances. The world is filled with His glory. 

Just look up at the sky and He is there. Is there a more lovely hue than His Heavenly abode? 

Look at the flowers, the trees, anything that is blooming. Can man make such wonders in great abundance? 

Even the fly, the moth, or the bird. Only their Creator can enable a being the size of your fingernail to perform with ease what we can only achieve with a 50-ton airplane.  

We live in a miraculous wonderland, immersed in awe inspiring sights to remind us that everything bad is just a short-lived illusion, while all that is good is a taste of forever.  

***

The Ben Horin family lives in Afula with their children, a new high-tech center, Jewish and Arab neighbors, and Matilda, the local camel. David’s Israeli startup, Center Stage Content, provides content services for startups and small businesses.

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