Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: All Actions Leave a Permanent Record

I worked about 10 years for Motorola in Arlington Heights, IL.  It's a reasonable place to work and like most offices now-a-days, we all worked in cubicles.  (The best offices I have had, in fact, were all in graduate school.)  Since the internet there has been another innovation in office work -- you don't have to be geographically co-located with your team.  My last team at Motorola was mostly located in Fort Worth, TX.  So when I left Motorola, I called my manager in Fort Worth to tell him I had found a new position and to work out an exit plan.  As soon as I hung up the phone, two people came around from the adjoining cubicles to wish me well in my new job.  I thanked them, sat back down; then sat straight up!  Yikes!  I started thinking about all the conversations I had had over the last 10 years in the (illusory) privacy of my cubicle.  Its so easy when you don't see someone, even someone separated from you by a couple of thin sheets of cloth.

At the end of the the mishna (Avos 2:1), we are told: seriously contemplate (histakel b-) three things and you won't come to sin: and eye that sees, an ear that understands your motivations, and all of your actions are written in a book.  I can certainly appreciate how keeping in mind that there is someone watching should modify my actions; who hasn't straightened up a bit when someone (even a strander) walks into the room?  I can also appreciate that knowing people are listening will modify a person's actions; as evidenced by how nervous I felt when I had hard evidence that all my "private" conversations were, in fact, quite public.  Moreover, the mishna makes a point of the fact that the listener understands your motivations; no trying to wiggle out of anything by saying "ooops!  darn that google, it sometimes finds the craziest things from even the most innocent searches ... "  But if that doesn't do it, why does it matter that things are written down?  Yes, there is a written record, so I won't be able to argue later, but the mishna says contemplation of these three things right now will stop me from sinning right now.

So let me tell you about my first boss at The Nielsen Co.  He was a vice president in a Fortune 500 company.  Masters degree in statistics.  A wife (high school teacher) and two children (boy and girl, preteens when I knew him).  He lived in Lisle, IL.  Want to know more about him?  Type "gregory d anderson lisle" into google and you'll get a whole page of links to more information.  He was caught in a sting operation having child pornography on his computer.  If you click on the first link you can see a great picture of him.  That happened almost four years ago,  but it just as fresh today as it was then.  Forever more, that's how he will be known and seen; because it is written down.  Not all the links are about his crime; some are about the foreclosure on his house.

An eye watching; that will make you straighten up.  An understanding ear; that closes off all excuses of "oops!  made a mistake".  All the details written down for all to see forever more as fresh as the day they were committed.... that's bone chilling scary.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…