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Help - My Life Could Use Some Tech Support!

(Insights from this week’s Portion: Yisro)

  • This Week's RRR (Relevant Religious Reference): “For they (the words of Torah) are our LIFE and the length of our days...may you not remove Your LOVE from us forever” – from the Evening Service (Maariv)

  • This Week's SSC (Suitable Secular Citation):

    - Michael Newman (Adam Sandler), asking about a Universal Remote Control that actually has life-altering powers: “Does it come with directions?

    - Morty (Christopher Walken), who is actually the Angel of Death, responds mysteriously: “Not necessary – just point, click. Eventually, it will program itself. It's a very powerful device - use it with caution!” – from the movie “CLICK”, in which Adam Sandler soon becomes quite sorry that he never received an OWNERS MANUAL!


Imagine you were the recipient of a priceless super-computer, possessing the technology to help you make wondrous advances on behalf of humankind. There's only one problem: the great super-genius who created this technology gifted it to you without including an instruction manual. No customer support website, no online training videos, no FAQ links – just a few blogs by users that haven't made much more usage headway than you. Sure, you've figured out how to navigate some of the user-friendly applications like Word and Photoshop; but frustration sets in as you begin to perceive how much this machine is truly capable of, knowing that you can only tap into a minute fraction of its potential. Once you realize that this super-computer can accomplish far too much for you to be satisfied with just its“survival” and mediocre productivity – and after barely bouncing back from your latest hard-drive crash – you begin to seek out the system's creator for guidance and instruction.


From the dawn of human creation until history's Seminal Event at Mount Sinai, people had been steeped in the predicament described above. When human beings arrived on the world scene, they were given the incomparable gift of their own world-altering potential. True, many other forms of living beings existed before them [we can tackle the questions of how dinosaurs, Neanderthal man, and the Flintstones fit into the picture on another occasion]. But human beings were the first “super computer” creations endowed with the inner “technology” – i.e. freewill – to make moral decisions and wield global impact.

There was just one problem: the great “Super Genius” who created our “technology” gifted it to us without including an instruction manual. Sure, we were programmed with the wherewithal to learn user-friendly applications like “Word” (basic language skills) and “Photoshop” (achievements in Design & the Arts); but frustration began to set in for those who perceived how much the human machine is truly capable of, knowing that we were only tapping into a minute fraction of our potential. After a while, we realized that even our glorious feats in the realms of architecture, commerce, and the arts – while quite wonderful and often crucial as means to more fundamental goals – were not what essential human achievement is really about.


Perhaps it was inevitable that at some point, we would begin to ♪“wonder wonder Who”♫ created us and whether this Being could provide us with a ♪“Book of Love”♫: an Owners Manual for living that would lovingly guide us towards our positive potential. When Abraham and Sarah entered onto history's stage, they soon intuited that human beings could accomplish far too much to be satisfied with just their survival and “mediocre productivity” (i.e. progress in economic & cultural productivity but stagnation in the moral realm). They embarked on a soulful search for their Creator, eager to discover Who that Creator was, who they themselves were, how they worked, etc.

Until then, this “Super Genius” Creator had been hiding behind the scenes for good reason: not to play “hard to get”, but because He knew that people wouldn’t be especially open to guidance unless they were driven to seek it out for themselves. But now He no longer needed to hide. And because of their passionate quest, our pioneering Patriarch and Matriarch merited that their descendants would stand at Sinai to bring humanity's long-awaited Instruction Manual into the world. At long last, the world was given its “Book of Love” called the “Torah” – short for “Torat Chaim”, which means “Instructions for Living” – the definitive Owner's Manual for human development.


Accordingly, the Sinai experience was the crowning day of Creation. In fact, the Torah provides various hints and linguistic cues connecting the 6th day of Creation (the day humans were created) with the 6th day of Sivan (the day the Torah was given). At Mount Sinai, the Creator came out from behind the proverbial mask of nature to reveal once-and-for-all that life has a purpose and that humans have a special mission. He revealed that our essential mission exists in the realms of morality and holiness, and He even taught us “Best Practice” tips we could use to achieve our assignments. He made it known that in order to capitalize on the tremendous gift of human life, each of us is called upon to enthusiastically & sincerely seek out the coveted “Instructions for Living”. May we all be successful in our noble, passionate pursuit!

Have a Wonderful Shabbos! Love, Jon & The Chevra

1. From the hit song “The Book of Love” by The Monotones

Text Copyright © 2008 by Jon Erlbaum and



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