ONE LETTER AT A TIME
HARAV Y. REUVEN RUBIN SHLITA
In a world where so much has changed… where our everyday routine has been contorted till we barely recognise it, we have all fallen into routines which are minimalist in many ways yet we find ourselves holding on to every nuance of normality by our fingertips. And then something else happens, and even the small routines that you look to for some semblance of normalcy are taken away.
As the reader will surmise, I use a computer to churn out my articles and shiurim. It sits on my desk, just waiting to spring to attention at my merest touch. Hungry to help in all weathers and hours, it is my key to opening and discussing my thoughts and ideas to others, (and myself). So despite lockdowns, isolating, masks et al, I have felt that at least in this way, I am still in touch with the world outside my door. That is until two days ago, when my trusted and benevolent computer refused to turn on. Now I am no expert, yet I know a few tricks that have come in handy in the past, however this time nothing worked, nothing! I spoke to the helpful representatives of the computer manufacturers for hours, following their long distance instructions, all to no avail. My computer was not to be dissuaded, it was asleep and would not be disturbed. As one who writes regularly, this is no simple matter. My deadline is a sacred trust that I have with myself, and nothing ever gets in the way, well almost nothing. Now I was struck silent by some unknown technological malady that defied even the good folk who built the thing. Before any of you technological mavin’s ask, Yes I have a backup on an external hard drive, (I can’t believe how tech-savvy I’ve become) but without another computer, such a tool isn’t very helpful.
So, yes I’m a bit frazzled at the moment, but I’m also thankful. Hashem has chosen this challenge just for me, and if I keep focused on that I’ll be okay.
We all have become over-attached to the tools that are to hand. These machines seem faultless, ready and able to do so much to ease our daily routines. Then, for no apparent reason, something goes wrong and everything becomes fraught. We have become intoxicated with the merchandising guru’s who tell us life can be easy and simple if you just trust in their genius. For a Yied, this is just a facade, life is all about the Eibishter’s Will, and our challenges, both small and large, are stepping stones to Kedusha.
We are in the midst of reading Sefer Breishis, known as well as Toras Avos. This is the saga of our people, the patterns of our future were set by what our forefathers faced. Reading what Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yakov lived through is meant to infuse in us the wherewithal to see The Eibishter in everything life serves up. Yaakov seeks tranquility only to face new and even more difficulties, yet he remains Yisroil, which is the name given to all of us, his descendants, marching to the rhythm of Hashem’s plan.
The faulty computer is a small event in a year where I have lived through so much darkness. It could be that dafka because we have had to face so many challenges Kaviuchal the Eibishter has orchestrated this just now. In a world where so much is needed to just move a step forward, we can mistake the loss of something comparatively minor, as being a challenge too far. But this is just the point, our growth depends on overcoming the small stuff that drifts into our lives just when we are struggling with the giant icebergs that seem so threatening to our very being.
Every step in life is filled with potential, and no one should ever give up. No, my computer isn’t fixed, and yes I write these words on a devise that insists that I peck out each letter with my finger, slowly and arduously. However, I am uplifted in the knowledge that this too is Hashem’s Will, and therefore I pray that these stumbling efforts will find favour in His eyes.