Beyonce broke the internet with her announcement on Instagram that she is expecting twins. In just eight hours she broke the records for the most liked photo, getting 6,481,207 likes and over 350,000 comments. With headlines like ‘What a Reveal’, Beyonce’s rather bare images were shared around the world, offering an intimate glimpse into her latest journey to motherhood.
We all wish the entertainer well. Her words thanking fans for their well wishes and gratitude for her double blessing is beautiful. But perhaps we should take a moment to consider the way we share the most intimate moments of our lives. Because it is not just entertainers and superstars who post their bodies and expose their inner lives for the world to comment on. This has become the way we live.
We broadcast our lives. Not a trip is taken, roll of sushi eaten, trophy given, without first snapping a photo and posting it. Every accomplishment – from potty training our kids to attaining a higher position in the office – is publicly announced and displayed for all to see and comment on.
Most of the millennials I spoke to about Beyonce’s photo just shrugged it off. “This is what everyone does. We don’t even think about it,” one woman said.
Maybe that’s the root of the problem. We have stopped thinking before we push send.
“Yes,” she nodded. “I bet if we gave it a bit more thought, half these pictures wouldn’t end up online.”
The risk we face is that we forfeit our privacy. We reveal parts of our most intimate selves. Boundaries that were once held sacred are now casually crossed.
This is not about body shaming or restricting self-expression. It is about finding balance between the public and private domain of our lives. It’s about living with nobility, modesty and self-respect.
Judaism encourages us to enjoy your blessings, but to do so modestly. Leave the public display behind. This is the key to tranquility and inner peace. Walk with dignity. Don’t flaunt your life. Not everything is meant to be broadcast and shared with the world.
Radiate your spirit without having to be the center of attention. Maintain the privacy of your inner sanctuary.
When it comes to pregnancy, Judaism gives us a most beautiful expression. We congratulate the expectant parents with the Hebrew words b’sha’ah tovah – a favorable hour. This is a prayer of sorts. We pray for good health and a successful entry by this new soul into the world. We traditionally do not give gifts before the baby is born or celebrate baby showers. There is so much that is out of our hands. Sometimes these innocent souls come into this world suddenly. Anyone who has been witness to a birth and hears the constant heartbeat monitor knows the trembling felt when there seems to be trouble. Holding that baby in your arms and hearing the first sweet sounds of a newborn wailing, one experiences a level of joy never felt before. We don’t take the life that we are carrying for granted. Birth is truly miracle.
So to Beyonce -- and all those expecting babies -- b’sha’ah tovah. May you have an easy pregnancy and merit to raise healthy twins. And I offer this prayer to everyone. Let us never take our time here for granted. Let us resolve to hold onto the sanctity of our inner selves. Value time together, family life, and the hidden blessing that rests within our homes. When we live with gracious modesty, we plug into the dignity that lies within. May we raise our children in good health and joy.