11 Tishrei 5781 / Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
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Being a Noahide, we acknowledge Shabbos and celebrate it – a nice meal, Torah study, family time – but, in my household, much of the day is similar to the other days of the week…


The virtual meeting had long ago started and there my computer sat, yellow screen, spinning wheel and an ironic statement “updates in progress… this may take a significant amount of time.” As my frustration level began to rise I challenged myself to engage my emuna. “If Hashem wanted me in this meeting, then my computer would be working.” I told myself repeatedly while attempting to banish the “Why is my computer doing this now? I didn’t schedule updates, why did this start? Exactly how long is ‘a significant amount of time’ anyway?” type of questions. The answer to the last one ended up being about 3 ½ hours by the way.


Updating my computer is one of those tasks I just would rather not do. Kind of like putting fuel in my car, emptying the vacuum canister, making appointments, and putting laundry away. All those things that need to happen in order for general life to run smoothly but take up my time and interrupt other things I’d rather be doing.


Apparently my computer had had enough of not being shut off for months and having the “updates needed” button constantly clicked “remind me later” – which this particular morning I had been distracted and didn’t click. After the one minute count down the update started and I was stuck.


Fast forward to post update and guess what? My computer began running better than it has in months! The updates, the rebooting, the necessary downtime had actually improved things! What a concept!


This got me thinking – which, I’m sure, is exactly what Hashem wanted – If my computer runs so much better after a reboot, I wonder how I would do with a regular reboot schedule?


Being a Noahide, we acknowledge Shabbos, and celebrate it – a nice meal, Torah study, family time – but, in my household, much of the day is similar to the other days of the week. I’m plugged in 24/7 to work and virtual-communication with others.


What if I practiced a weekly reboot? Disconnecting from technology and connecting for a full day, uninterrupted with the people around me and Hashem? What if I took this even a step farther and disconnected daily for a set amount of time? Connecting with Hashem and myself through hitbodedut (personal prayer) and meditation? Would I “run” better?


The answer is undoubtedly yes.


I’m coming to understand that a non-stop lifestyle hampers more than just our in-person connections. Though our Facebook status updates and Instagram feeds may be on point, our office hours fulfilled and overflowing with overtime… the problem is our real relationships and our connection to ourselves is suffering.


I didn’t see it for a long time. Many people don’t – we’re all so wrapped up in squeezing more meetings, posts, emails, and one more status update into our days that we, I, lose sight of what truly matters. My systems get clogged up from being constantly on and connected… and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve pressed the “remind me later” button on my hitbodedut sessions way to many times.


Rebooting woke me up. I looked around, took a deep breath and wondered what took me so long to unplug. Life is out there – with Hashem, our families, communities, and nature. Although work, the internet, and social media are part of our lives, I’ve discovered that I’m much more capable, creative and effective in those arenas when I’ve taken the time to step away from them and connect into real life.


Want to join me in rebooting? It’s pretty simple. Close your laptop. Put your phone on airplane mode. Take a deep breath, say “Thank you Hashem”, and then just keep talking with Him.


* * *

Jennifer invites you to participate in a regularly held on-line study group that reviews the garden series books of Rabbi Arush. You can contact her at jenniferjwoodward@gmail.com to be added to the weekly newsletter for dates and times.

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