My computer crashed a week and a half ago. It required that I take it into the shop and have it checked out. There was nothing wrong with the hard drive; it passed the diagnostics test. It had a software problem.
To solve the software problem the technician had to “wipe my computer clean.” In other words, he had to erase all the data off it.
Of course, I panicked. My whole business and all my writing projects exist on that laptop, not to mention years of accumulated files and data. Who knows what all is on there…not even me. Then I realized everything was backed up through an on-line program. I could download it all back onto my laptop…a slow process, but I could get all the data once again.
However, that left the other issue: software. The software had failed me. Somehow one piece of it had become corrupted. And now I would have to reinstall all of it piece by piece. While the hard drive – the internal workings of the computer – its body and soul – was working fine, the part of the programs, computer that tells it what to do – the mind and emotions – had failed. Now I had a chance to add brand new programs.
Each fall Jews have a chance to wipe clean the computers of their personal lives – maybe not of all the data but at least of the programs that aren’t working. When the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur roll around, we are asked to look at which “programs” – which ways of thinking, acting, and feeling – have failed us in the past year. And we are asked to commit to changing out those programs for new or changed ones. We acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with the basic workings of our computer. Indeed, our souls are pure. Elohai neshama shenatata bi t’hora hi. “Oh God, the soul you have given me, she is pure,” we pray each morning when we wake up. It’s the programs – the programming – we give that computer that mucks up the workings.
During this time we look at how our programming might have caused us to hurt others and we repent. We ask for forgiveness. We take time to go inward and to wipe our our computers clean of the files we don’t need — we forgive — and remove the faulty programs that caused us to behave badly. We then can restore files or upload new programs for “better” behavior.
You don’t have to even be Jewish to participate in the High Holy Days. Take advantage of the time and the energy. (Check out my book for help using the 10 day period.) Jews and non-Jews alike can wipe clean their “computers” and install new programs, new thoughts, new actions, new feelings for the New Year. They can commit to thinking more positively, feeling more loving, peaceful, joyous, moving towards the targets they set more diligently every day.
What programs (and data) will you take off your computer this year and what new ones will you install? Will you actually run those programs and use them? Let me know.
Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/27/11. You then have 10 days to wipe your computer clean and install the new programs you want to use in the New Year. However, you really can do this at any time of the year. Good luck with your restore process.