Friday, September 21, 2007

My Life Flashed Before my Eyes...on the eve of Yom Kippur

Last night, my life flashed before my eyes. Thank God, I was not on the verge of death, though some say that on the eve of Yom Kippur, we are in such a state. Last night, I saw flashes of all my memorable moments since 2003, in fractions-of-a-second glimpses. I was mesmerized; I couldn't budge, as time moved before me; my daughter went from a gangly little girl to beautiful young woman; my son from pre-pubescent child to a young man nearly six feet tall. The seasons changed as I stared, with afternoons in the swimming pool shifting to autumn pumpkin fields and falling leaves, to snow-covered driveways with kids on sleds, through Passovers in Phoenix, San Diego, Hawaii, Los Angeles, and tulip fields of blindingly brilliant color.

All on my computer screen.

I had installed a new printer, one that works through a local internet connection, and upon its settling in on my hard drive, the web offered me the chance to start up. Click! And suddenly all the photos in my "My Pictures" file--about 19,000 of them--started appearing in front of me. Apparently, I'd inadvertently started up a photo editing and organizing program that needed to download all my photos so I could use it. Never mind that I've got several other brands of the same kind of software (my favorite by far is Microsoft Picture It! because it offers you one button none of the others do: "sharpen or blur." If the photo is a gooey mess, one shift of this slider gives you sharpness! Amazing! It's rescued and perfected many an underlit snapshot).

But I took this display of my life as more than just an internet quirk. On the eve of Yom Kippur, I assigned it an almost mystical significance. It allowed me to realize how very blessed I am, how free from any real problems, and to pledge (ble nedar!) to be worthy of such riches by applying myself to mitzvot and Torah study with greater dedication. It inspired me to take Yom Kippur even more seriously--I think of the word 'pleading'--that the coming year allows me to continue with the same opportunities, creating the same types of marvelous memories, that I saw last night on my computer screen.

Maybe this sounds hokey. Like most people, I do see Yom Kippur as a challenge, something difficult to get through. But of course it's the opposite; it's a means toward liberation, a clean slate. I wish all my Jewish friends g'mar chatima tova, may you be sealed for a good and sweet year, and may you enjoy each moment as much as I've enjoyed mine.


  1. Picasa!!! :) (try it, it's amazing. has sharpen, too, but lots of other good stuff.)

    I love having my screensaver flash all my pictures; it used to bring back tons of great memories. Now only the recent pics are on this computer, so it's not the same, but it's slowly getting more and more (mostly Elianna!) pictures, so it's getting there.

    And amen on the lesson. [Similarly] Most years, as the end of Neilah comes, I feel a wave of happiness come over me... and a similar feeling when thinking about the good things in life. I like to link them together.

  2. Ezzie, I do have Picasa! The best part of Picasa is 'HELLO' through which I send scads of emails to my designated friends, some of whom you know! I still think Picture It is better-it doesn't download all your photos (meaning, you don't have all the photos twice on your hard drive) and I find it easier to use. I like Adobe Photoshop for removing scratches, restoring, adjusting content in photos. Why not import all of your photos onto your computer via 'Hello' so you have a complete screen saver?

    This year at Neilah I was in TEARS! Glad I had a silly-sounding shofar blow during which to smile and recoup my composure! My best to your family for Sukkot; chag sameach!