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Thursday, December 1, 2022 - 7 Kislev 5783
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We live in the age of memory. Plentiful, ubiquitous, cheap. By the end of last decade, it had already become possible to save all the music ever written on a disc the size of your thumb. Within the next few years, thumb drives will have enough memory to be able to hold every video ever recorded.

The drives of the future will be so compact and will hold so much data that there will be no need to agonize over what to record and what to save – it will be possible to store everything.

It's now typical to carry devices around in our pockets, like camera-equipped cell phones, that allow us to record every moment of daily life. Add to this some indexing software and a good search engine, and you have the makings of a complete, detailed archive of everything you have ever seen or done.

Take it a step further, and you could evaluate your raw data using sophisticated statistical analysis, for a powerful new way of gaining a long-range perspective on life. These tools would allow you to examine every deed and interaction – was it worthwhile? Did it further your goals? Applying an objective analysis to repeated behaviors will allow you to focus your energies in the future, to be more effective and successful.

Actually, the recording of every detail of our lives is not such a new concept. Ethics of Our Fathers says, "Know what is above you: An eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all your deeds are recorded in a book." Being mindful of the Divine eye that is constantly observing, constantly recording, gives us the impetus to evaluate our own behavior and engage only in acts that will refine and elevate us.

The process of evaluating our own actions is known as "cheshbon hanefesh," soul accounting. Each night before going to sleep, as well as at the end of each week, each month and each year, we sit down and review our “books”—the spiritual progress we have made in overcoming negative tendencies and building positive character traits.

Of course, we don’t remember everything. Our human memory is reliable only up to a point, and we tend to conveniently forget those episodes that don’t cast us in the best light. But the books don’t lie. In an information era, it’s time for us to be ever more mindful of the effects of every deed, word and even thought. Each act leaves an indelible impression on the world around us.

When Moshiach comes, say the prophets, the stones will cry out. The inanimate objects will give testimony to the way we used (or abused) them. If we used our possessions to perform mitzvot, they will testify on our behalf. We are already living in an era that the stones (silicon, to be exact) speak out. We are being recorded; let each moment count.



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