A few days ago when I reviewed my calendar, I noticed that my monthly Binah article was due at the beginning of the coming week. Since I am never one to leave anything to the last moment (at least not by choice. As I’ve learned over the years, we are not in charge…), I spent an entire afternoon at my computer, composing the article.. It was magnificent, a real masterpiece, which made sense because I'd had lots of inspiration. Earlier that morning, my grandson came from Beit Shemesh to Yerushalayim to lay tefillin for the first time. He had come for the tremendous zechus of having Rav Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, shlita, Gaavad of Yerushalayim, place the tefillin on his arm and head. Following Shacharis, my grandson and son-in-law celebrated this important milestone with a l’chaim in our living room followed by a festive breakfast. I had to hold myself back from pinching the almost bar mitzvah bachur’s sweet, apple-pink cheeks (ah, those dimples…). He appeared so grownup in his new suit, with the slightly too-large hat perched incongruously on his head.
The article was beautiful, nostalgic, filled with warmth combined with a deep and meaningful message. But it wasn’t meant to be. It disappeared from my computer. Completely. That’s right, for some reason it ceased to exist, not on computer, not on my backup; it just disappeared into nothingness. Poof! I spent close to an hour using advanced search options in a vain attempt to track it down until finally, I came to the conclusion that the article was somewhere in cyberspace, and that instead of wasting my time crying over something that was not meant to be, I should write a new one. Considering my computer’s whimsical sense of humor, it will most probably magically reappear on the very day that I decide to retire from writing forever.
I was stuck. Not only was I stuck without an article, but I couldn’t even remember what profound message I had hoped to convey. Since I had worked up a good sweat and it was almost time to go to bed (and I was beyond frustrated and couldn’t bear looking at the blank word document taunting me beyond belief), I went to wash up. And that’s when, with the steamy water cascading from the faucet and fogging up the bathroom, I came up with a whole new article, even better than the first, from an incredible catch-your-imagination opening to a meaningful hold-back-the-tears ending. I had no doubt that it was a real winner, but first I had to set it to paper before I’d forget my newest masterpiece (When will someone create a keyboard that is waterproof?). So I rushed out of the bathroom, soap hopefully all rinsed off, and sat down at the computer.
That’s where I am now. And once again, blank. I can’t remember what I wanted to write. Just a few moments ago, it was clear and organized in my mind, but now it’s disappeared. Completely. Poof!
As my kids would say (they’re Israeli), "OOOooofffff!"
My mind is like my computer. If a thought is not properly saved before being pushed off the screen, it is lost, gone forever. Irretrievable.
Erev Shabbos my granddaughter and I were sitting at the kitchen table, composing the shopping list, when, just as I was about to add another item to the list, she recited a loud bracha and waited expectantly for me to answer “Amen.” My train of thought was interrupted, and to tell you the truth, I still have no idea what it was that I had wanted her to buy. But whatever it was, it obviously was not that terribly important, because we had a beautiful Shabbos without it.
From what I’ve heard from other women in my age group, forgetting is a normal part of the aging process. But it also has a silver lining, because for the most part, the things forgotten are really not that important. I might forget what I wanted to put on that shopping list or the name of some acquaintance that I barely know, but that gives me more room in my overcrowded brain to remember the people I love and the things that I really want to do. I might forget the reason, or even existence, of old hurts and grudges — and that, of course, makes it easier to forgive and move on.
And although I might forget the words I wrote, I most certainly won’t forget the lesson I learned: Important things must be properly saved.