3 Teves 5782 / Tuesday, December 07, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayigash
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Shema Yisrael in Java    

Shema Yisrael in Java

We have to decide whether to walk away or keep trying. To persist in closing our eyes, holding our breath, and pressing RUN once more.


I was working on a simple program the other day. It was a Java function built to perform one simple task. I finished the code, took a deep breath, and clicked RUN.  


The computer belched.  


I got an error message. 


Twenty minutes later, I am fighting the urge to ram my head into the keyboard to see how many pieces will go flying into the air. Everything looked right. There was no reason why this simple block of code shouldn’t run.  


Or so I thought.  


It turned out that I took down an entire web page because of one poorly sized letter. I declared a variable called needThis, and later on in the program called the variable needthis 


Out of 3600 letters I typed, in which every one of them was correct, a single letter that was not  capitalized  properly  prevented  the  entire  program from working.  


That is the attribute of justice. That is Hashem's Name Elokim. We learned in the article Shema  Yisrael   in  HTML, that Hashem’s attribute of Mercy, expressed in the Name Hashem, is where you will always receive results.  


Java Takes it to a New Level  


In Java, unless the program is coded perfectly, it won’t run.  


The computer didn't care that it was 99.99% right. It didn't matter that I was still a novice coder who was trying really hard. A machine doesn't give empathy or compassion. It is either right or wrong, 1 or 0; theres no wiggle room.  


The blessing of justice is that we have to work as hard as we can, making changes to every aspect of our lives until we reach a level where Hashem will bless us with an even greater blessing. We cannot put on Tefillin until we know how. We cannot get called up to the Torah until we learn the blessings. We cannot thrive in Israel until we have braved the trials and learned the ropes.  


We cannot take everything in life with a smile unless we constantly bless Hashem for the good along with the bad and forces ourselves, over and again, to mean it from the depths of our heart.  


Mercy is where you get something for 3rd place. You get an answer even if you don’t finish the task. Justice is where you get nothing until you finish your dinner – and if you don’t – tough.  


You either concede failure, resolve to do it again, or reach the finish line. There are no other options.  


In this Java example, I had to look over my code about 10 times, making changes that I thought were necessary with each revision. Every time I executed the program, I got an error.  


I failed 10 times before I got it. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he got the lightbulb right. A hundred years later, the company he founded was worth a quarter trillion dollars 


The Lubavitcher Rebbe reflected on one of the pioneer space missions taken by NASA. He noted that inside this vessel were thousands of moving parts, all working together to propel man to new frontiers. He noted that the more momentous the task, the more important every single component. If one part failed to work, the entire mission would fail.  


The Importance of Repentance 


That is the reason why the righteous fall seven times before rising. It is why we all fall countless times before reaching the finish line of our next goal.  


There are scores of details we have to get right. If we want to improve in our speech, we have to work on what we say. We have to work on what we read. We have to work on what we listen to. We have to work on when to tell someone they broke a boundary and need to change the subject.  


Lot’s of moving parts – each one vital to the mission.  


But the greater the mission, the more valuable each part, the more important each line of code, the more crucial each and every letter, and the more satisfying the outcome when everything works out and you see the screen play the great symphony of what you originally planned 


It’s a higher level of service. It requires a greater commitment. It’s a greater act of Divine Love because no father wants to tell his kid that he didn’t do it right. But it is something we in Israel cherish – the honesty, even from our Daddy who loves us, that it just isn’t good enough and we need to try again.  


We have to decide whether to walk away or keep trying. To persist in closing our eyes, holding our breath, and pressing RUN once more.  


And that is why at the end of the day, Rabbi Arush says that the most important thing is your desire – which means that you won’t give up until the program runs properly! 


* * * 

David Ben Horin lives in Israel with his wife and children. 



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