Apple’s WWDC, Pirkei Avot And Korach

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Shacharit before WWDC, June 10, 2013

By Natan Rolnik | San Francisco –  Around 3 years ago I started my journey into the iOS world.

I wanted Jews around the world to be able to read, everywhere they would be, the Pirkei Avot – The Ethics of the Fathers. Although it’s part of the Shisha Sidrei Mishna, it doesn’t speak specifically about halachot. It’s the most ancient source in the Torah that talks about Musar, good manners, and behavior.  In others words, in how to be a Tzadik   and a Jewish Mensch.

In that time, my intention was to spread Torah – not to make money, not for having my name appearing in the AppStore.

There is a high number of mishnayot in the Pirkei Avot that speaks about humility, and I would like to talk about two of them. Hillel used to say: “The person that seeks a good name, ends loosing his name (…) and the one who tries to use the crown of the Torah for his own pride, will perish.

This week we read the portion of Korach, and we can see the  disastrous results of what can  happen to someone when he tries to bring himself Kavod – honor – using the name of G-d and the Torah.  Korach questioned Moshe Rabeinu saying: “All of us were at Har Sinai,  why only you are special?” But he didn’t do it to spread Hashem’s name or to give more strength to the People of Israel, or to unite them; instead,   they were searching for honor and to increase Machloket  in Am Israel.

Moshe Rabeinu was the most humble person ever in the Earth. He took Am Israel from Egypt, opened the Sea, received the Torah, had free and direct “FaceTime” with Bore Olam – the creator.  And even with all of this and more, he kept his humility.  How is it possible?  Because he  knew he was a mere Shaliach – an emissary – that had a mission to accomplish in the name of Hashem.

The second Mishna I wanted to mention says exactly this: “and may all your actions be Leshem Shamaim (in the name of G-d)“.  Moshe Emet Vetorato Emet – Moshe is true and His Torah is true. As a great leader, he not only spoke what people needed to do or how they needed to behave.  He was a Dugma Ishit – a living example. When confronted by Korach, Moshe showed that he wasn’t doing it for honor: “And Moses said, Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of my own mind.

Nowadays, what was just a hobby became my profession.

Thanks G-d, I was able to learn more and tried do more apps to help Klal Israel get closer to its  Creator.

Now I’m heading to WWDC  – Apple’s annual conference – a big dream that thanks G-d is becoming a reality.

I hope I can keep learning – and be a shaliach for Klal Israel, doing apps with pure intentions and leshem shamaim!



Natan Rolnik is a Brazilian religious programmer and… pharmacist (Diploma of  Universidade de São Paulo). He was also an active member of Brazilian Bnei Akiva. He made aliyah with his wife two years ago.  He lives in Modiin, Israel. (Natan’s Rolnik apps – click here)


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