Even before the U.S. presidential election, there was a growing rift in society. Opinions on many issues had become so divergent and conversations so toxic that people hesitated to befriend on social media realI did not want to befriend him on Facebook life friends who had different opinions than them, because they were afraid of losing those friendships to social media battles.

I recently left a position where I had a colleague who I was very friendly with, but whose politics were different from mine. I was happy to connect with him on LinkedIn, but I told him that I did not want to befriend him on Facebook, because it would lead to the end of our friendship if we began to argue on Facebook.

Right before the Torah portion of Mishpatim in the book of Shemot, the Torah discusses the need to build a ramp to the altar: "Do not climb stairs to my altar.”

The Midrash Michilta explains that one should not take wide steps in the Mishkan, and the purpose of the ramp is to slow down the climb up to the altar. Whereas one can ascend stairs in a rush, a ramp requires a slower ascent. The Mishkan is a place for contemplation, where one must walk slowly, carefully and thoughtfully.

The description of the altar is juxtaposed to the portion of Mishpatim, because judges must also deliberate carefully, thoughtfully and cautiously before passing judgement. The very first teaching in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) tells us to “be cautious in judgement.” Take the time to review and think through a situation and its ramifications before you pass judgment. This is a basic principle of Jewish wisdom.

However, in our fast-paced digital world, is it possible to take the time to review and gather all the necessary information before judging a situation? I am amazed at how quickly op-ed writers and bloggers produce articles describing the root cause, and even the future implications, of an event that occurred only a few hours ago. Journalists and reporters often serve as judge, jury and executioner. With the advances of technology and social media, each of us has been granted these capabilities through blog posts, Facebook posts, tweets and talkbacks, and we instinctively rush to say something witty and clever, to get as many likes and shares as possible.

The opportunities provided by technological advances are having a polarizing effect on society, with so many of us rushing to judge the latest situation or our friend’s post. What once may have been a lively discussion around a dinner table, which perhaps ended with some newfound friendships, now too often explodes into an international battle of soliloquies, where many are judges, but very few are winners. Technology will continue to speed up the pace with which we can post our opinions, but how do we mitigate its potentially polarizing effect?

I used to attend the same morning prayer service as Rabbi Yitzchak Kulitz, of blessed memory, the previous Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.Even if technology enables us to post in an instant, it does not mean we should do so Whenever I asked Rabbi Kulitz a non-urgent question of Jewish law, even if it was a simple question, he would tell me that he would answer the question the following morning. I learned from Rabbi Kulitz that even if we have the ability to judge something immediately, we should accustom ourselves to slow down. Even if technology enables us to post or reply in an instant, it does not mean that we should do so. We can stop to think before we hit “reply,” first gathering information and taking into consideration the feelings of our readers and the real people that exist behind the social media accounts. The impersonal nature of social media prevents us from internalizing how others are affected by our comments. If we train ourselves to be cautious when posting and slow down the process of judging others, we will minimize the polarizing effect of social media ecosystems and make our world more pleasant for others and ourselves.