How to Buy a Safe Cell Phone – the Three Major Concerns

“And you shall surely protect yourself.” ( Devarim / Deut 4,15) – Venishmartem Meod lenafshotechem.

A commandment of the Torah. This commandment applies to keeping safe and healthy.  Yes – like any good parent – G-d wants you to be safe and healthy.

Three safety concerns in purchasing a cell phone –

is it spiritually safe?

is it productively safe?

is it physically safe?

1. Spiritually Safe

Assume that your child will use your phone. Thus safeguards should be taken into account before purchasing the phone. Some opt for no internet phones. Thus there is no temptations to surf to improper sites. This is the safest route. Thus many orthodox Jews have a flip phone or a no-internet phone to detour this problem.

Others buy the smart phone but put the app locks on. They download an app that one must put a code in order to access a particular app. On Apple phones one can remove apps altogether from the phone. So one can remove the browser. No browser – no internet.

There are other things to do – but if you want more info – see the article on 70 ways to protect your home from bad influences of the Internet.

2. Productively Safe

Some think that the latest smart phone will help you be more productive. Perhaps. Some studies find that the time used surfing, texting and social media-ing counters all gains in productivity. Do the research. And know yourself.

Time is a resource that is limited. Waste a minute – you can never get it back.

3. Physically Safe

The first thing I look for before purchasing a cell phone is it’s EMF (electro-magnetic field) or SAR (Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)).

Here is an article from the US government FCC Site on SAR of Cell Phones

A site that makes it easy to look it up is phone more. Type in the model of phone you are interested in and scroll down and see the SAR rating. It will usually give you two ratings one for the head and one for the body. You can also check the FCC site above for ratings as well.

Both should be less than .80 but the more important rate is the head SAR. When selecting a phone – between choices – I try to choose the phone that has the lowest SAR. I prefer ones that have less than .6 to the head. Some phones have ratings as low as .21 for the head. The lower the better.

If you cant find SAR level on the above sites – you can google – the exact model of phone and SAR rating.

The Two Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Car

I’m in the market for a car. My last one was smashed up. Gam Zu le Tova. Even this is for the best.

I once wanted to find a car that runs on water. But I didn’t find any dealers.

So the next best thing I thought, was to get one that runs on ethanol. The gas is much cheaper. But some say that the lower price is a compensation for lower gas mileage.

But then I thought of another issue that is much more important than gas mileage.

You’re probably asking – “a Car?”

“What does that have to do with Judaism?”

Obviously you don’t want to be ostentatious. A modest car will do.

But the Torah says “Guard Very Much Your Souls.” (Devarim / Deut. 4:15)

Meaning be careful to be prudent to stay safe.

Stand far from rails in the subway. Don’t drive too fast. If tired driving take a break. Don’t talk or text on cell while driving…

The list goes on. Teach it to your children. (We offer a Free Health & Safety Coloring Book)

Many people spend time in cars – thus it make sense to make sure it is safe.

Safety aspects to consider are – airbags, side and front collision strength, etc.

Two websites that will let you know about the safety ratings of a vehicle is –

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute

Remember to purchase safe carseats before taking children.

The Second thing is to consider is what kind of kindness will you primarily be doing – to decide what kind of car you need. If it is to bring your kids to school – a mini-van or SUV might be in order. If it is to drive your mother around – consider a car that is easy to enter and exit. If you need to drive a handicapped person – find one that can accommodate a wheelchair.

Other Helpful websites when buying a car include:
J.D. Power – Car Ratings
Consumer Reports – they offer car-info with a paid subscription
Edmonds
Kelley Blue Book
Cars.com

Evaluate Your Safety

Ask Yourself are you a safe driver. Do People feel assured when driving with you?

Signs it is time to Drive More safely
or do they rush to get out of the car when you stop. Are they constantly telling you to slow down? Do dark haired people come out with white hair after a ride with you? Do your emotions control your speed? Do you text or hold phone while driving? Do you surf web? Do you program GPS in middle of route? Better to talk to GPS than to type. Do you enforce seat belts for people riding in car?

We pray not to get into accidents. We even have a special Jewish Traveler’s Prayer to arrive at our destination safely.

Prudence starts with the type of car. A SUV is usually safer than a compact car. Each time a person drives it is prudent to assure passengers always wear seat belts – even in back seats. Children should always be buckled before driving.

Better [to get there] late than never.

Drive Safely.