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It could no longer be avoided. Despite my techno-phobia, the time had come for me to learn a new computer program for my work.

"Chana, I'll walk you through the tutorial first thing tomorrow morning," the chabad.org technical director confirmed our cyber appointment. He couldn't have fathomed how his ominous words were raising my blood pressure by the minute, especially after I realized that at that hour my personal technical assistant wouldn't be nearby to help, but would be studiously studying in his fourth grade classroom.

And so, 9:15AM on Thursday morning, I was introduced to a hitherto unheard of desktop accessory called the "remote desktop connection." This remarkable accessory somehow connected me from my small computer desk in the family room of my suburban Toronto home to the many gizmos, programs, library and resources on the powerful chabad.org computers located at our headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

With extreme patience and steel nerves, our technical director slowly (as in s-l-o-w-l-y) demonstrated the program and explained step-by-step how it works. And after enough time, I actually got it.

I now had so many new skills at my fingertips. With ease, I glided through the program and had access to a whole cyber world of programming aides, information and publishing wherewithal.

"Wow, this is amazing! Look at what I can accomplish!" I enthused, a tad too proud.

Sure enough, that moment, I encountered a glitch in the system, some problem that I had neither the expertise nor the know-how to overcome. But not to worry, our savvy technical director was still at hand to help. Expertly, he connected to my computer, and from his seat in Brooklyn directed my curser and mouse as if I was pressing the right buttons myself to deftly overcome this challenge. We were once again, back on track, sailing through the tutorial.

Though it was only a momentary glitch, that malfunction reminded me that this learning session wasn't about my newfound aptitude—or about me at all. On my own, on my little computer in suburban Toronto, there was little that I could accomplish. It was only once I was connected to this potent powerhouse of resources, information and programs, content and graphics, that I was given the tools to undertake so much more than the sum total of my own means.

That moment made me realize that no matter how much talent, proficiency, or resources we may think we possess, we are all limited.

It is only when we "connect" ourselves to something so much greater than ourselves that we become empowered to do so much more than we ever envisioned. When we tap into the vast storehouse of Divine wisdom and timeless teachings of our traditions, we enrich our lives with more than we could have ever learned on our own. When we feel connected to the infinite powers of our Creator, we can maximize our truly unlimited inner potential.

And when we palpably feel this real "connection" to something and Someone greater than ourselves, then even when we experience glitches and barriers along our system in life, we will be helped along, and the "right buttons" will be pressed to help us overcome our challenges.

It may not be instantly, but with the right connection, and with the savvy Programmer at our side, we are on the right path.

What makes you feel "connected" to something Higher than yourself?

What do you do when you feel this "connection" is becoming weaker?


Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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ML/NJ May 27, 2014

Re: Remote Connection I have my own wireless, and Cablevision provides connections while I'm driving around BUT ... These days everyone who doesn't guard his router with a password is essentially giving implied consent. These days, many people have to REMOVE the password that comes with the router their provider provides them with, and so that is more than implied consent. Reply

Anonymous February 14, 2008

I made aliyah 3 yrs ago. I understand as much as ten words of Hebrew and few if any of the prayers. My dad was a sabra. I am
quite hard of hearing even with aids and legally blind. I am elderly and often hope the end will be soon. Reply

Suleyma Romero Riverhead, NY February 14, 2008

Connection Matters Since I was a child to me davening and meditating on Torah was the hardest things to do. I could not stand it...the long hours with no food...the long readings.
However, as I grew older and in the deepest quest of my life, I found myself looking back to my roots...and my G-d. When I found this website I encountered myself in a new light. I was encouraged and challenged to take a deeper look with fresh eyes to a Torah-centered lifestyle.
Through davening and engrossing myself in Torah, I have found a connection I did not have when I was young. When I pray something inside of me stirs up with such a fire I can't controlled it...just experience it. I have become more like the people at the synagogue...there is no time...just the Infinite knowledge of the Most High in our midst. When I postponed my davening or my time reading and meditating on Torah to do other things, I find myself worn out and unable to do things right. Everything comes to a halt. I can't explain it, but it is the most disturbing thing I have experienced.
I concluded and promised myself to make the most of my time in His Torah and daven as much as I can. So, that I find delight in the little things that may come my way during the day. Reply

chana weisberg via mychabad.org February 6, 2008

Thanks, but let's not make the men feel excluded. :) Reply

Anonymous Greenville, SC February 6, 2008

A Nice Space This blog-column and comment space has provided such a nice place for women to support each other. Wow, Chana, you do good work! Reply

Liebele Haiku, Maui, Hawaii February 6, 2008

Tikkun Olam-To Fix The World It is in Service that I feel free and in Giving that I truly receive. Reply

Anonymous Tzfat, Israel February 6, 2008

reaching out from IL Dear Anonymous, if I knew your name I'd call you now and have a cup of coffee with you. There are few, I'm sure, who can imagine what pain you are going through. What you are feeling and what you are going through is only known between you and Hashem. You are special to Him, even if you feel he is not listening and you can believe or not believe that. We are listening to you on Chana's wonderful blog and my heart goes out to you. May Hashem inspire you with one little idea that will help you see His brochos and may you have courage and strength to love your son no matter what he says. Thank you Chana for being here for all of us. Now I must tackle my computer problems and the Yetzer Hara that says "do it before davening"!!!! Chodesh Tov and much Simcha in our lives. DeeBee in Israel Reply

chana weisberg via mychabad.org February 5, 2008

Dear Anonymous, Northbrook When I read your sad, sad post, about how you feel so hated by your closest relatives and so alone, it reminded me of another individual who for many years in his life faced the greatest challenges and for the first three decades of his life was also so hated by his brothers and family.
I am referring to the life of non other than King David.
I invite you to read this article, perhaps it will help to give you some necessary strength and solace:
Nitzevet Mother of David. Reply

Anonymous Northbrook, IL February 5, 2008

what speaks to my soul I am at a loss about what speaks to my soul. Nothing, not prayer, not the little faith I have left, nothing seems to wake my soul. I am alone. No friends, no family, no rabbi. Will anyone notice if I'm gone? Does anyone care or would everyone just find another reason to hate me if I no longer exist? I'm tired of starting my day with fear and ending it with fear. I'm tried of how hard everyday gets to keep any faith. I have no answers to why I'm here. I just want peace in my mind. My heart, my soul cannot find peace. The pain of my sons hatred towards me is unbearable. The pain that no one will stand up for me hurts like the pain that no one believes in me or that I'm not good makes me wonder why am i here? Is my purpose to be hated and looked down upon by my family it hurts to be hated and mistrusted. Talk to G-d you say. G-d doesn't hear me when I try to talk to G-d. I don't even hear myself. Part of me feels that I desire the pain so why should G-d listen. Reply

Kelly Rae Sydney, Australia February 5, 2008

Dear Chana,
First I would like to say that your column is fantastic! I think it is just what I need to connect with other Jewish women, although most of you are far away.
As is my own Personal Technical Assistant. She is in the states, about 10,000 miles away, but still will give me a phone tutorial when I am confused on some "new" technology that she has mastered years ago!
One thing that keeps me feeling connected to my 'mainframe' is the fact that I am a social worker now. No matter what difficulties that women have gone through to end up at our shelter, they show incredible inborn strength when they are clothed, fed, housed and have someone who really cares about the outcome of their case. It reminds me of Hashem who stated, "He who is touching (going against) you is touching My eyeball." Zech 2:8
He truly feels our pain and Hashem's reaction is immediate. We may not see the results immediately since we are not the only person on earth - but He puts the ball in motion as quickly as we, ourselves, would react to someone poking our own eye.
As we read a few weeks back, Hashem would not allow the angels to rejoice as the Egyptians were swallowed up in the Sea. Why? Because they were His children too. He is sensitive to all of us. All.

If I feel that my connection is becoming weaker, I usually take a good long look in the mirror. I ask myself, "Is my conduct befitting that of a spiritual woman? Am I keeping up with my Torah reading? Am I praying to Hashem - not only the prayers before bed or after washing my hands, but the conversations I should be having daily with him on a level that is more intimate. I also examine my own motives in life and if I am focusing on my wants rather than my own needs.
I am not always good at this. I fail often. But I try. I think knowing that I am weak on my own is probably the best way to know that it is time to reach out to Hashem or if I am unable to do that, to reach out to my own Rabbi, who will help me.

Thanks again for the wonderful article. Reply

JA February 4, 2008

I'm very much a novice when it comes to 'all things Jewish' having grown up in a very secular home where we didn't even celebrate the holidays. However, I am gradually exploring my faith and heritage and recently took up saying the Modeh Ani.
Admittedly my pronounciation is probably not great as I sound out the words (I have them written down as I have not yet managed to commit them to memory) but I have found it makes the perfect start to the day. No matter how sad I was the night before, even if I am dreading the day ahead there are a few moments where I think "Yes. I am here for a reason. Everything will be OK because I woke up."
And as someone who has suffered depression in the past and has woken despairing that I was still here, you can't really get much better than that. Reply

chana weisberg via mychabad.org February 4, 2008

please continue to share Thank you all for your positive comments and great feedback!

Ava, I love the way you describe the beauty of your garden, despite the difficult circumstances.
Jampa, it's amazing how some small events in our lives make us feel encouraged that G-d is once again with us.
Anonymous, I agree, it helps to keep on plodding along despite our clenched teeth. And often if we can, it helps to even "act" the part, act inspired, act happy and often the act will become real.
Patricia, what a deep thought. Love does connect us all. What do you do if you feel the love is not being reciprocated? Do you continue to demonstrate the love, until it becomes reflected back?
Anonymous of Northbrook, I am so sorry that you are going through these difficulties and rarely do we understand why things are that way. Sometimes, in retrospect, you can understand how you have grown from a situation. Sometimes we aren't even able to see that. You ask how to pray, I think you pray just as you speak to a close friend, as an intimate discussion with your Creator, confiding in Him all that you are going through and asking Him to help you deal with it and heal you of these problems.
Do any of you have any other tips in how to connect through your prayers? I'd love to hear.
Do you ever listen to music? Does that speak to your soul?

This morning, as I was working on my computer, the connection got lost and I needed to restart the modem and the computer to get back 'reconnected.' I thought, then, how wonderful it would be if we could only easily push a button to 'restart' our relationships, inspiration, faith, or connection after we feel 'disconnected.'

Please continue to share your inspiration--that's something that nowadays there isn't enough of! Reply

Patricia via chabadpasadena.com February 4, 2008

Connecting I would have to say that love not only makes me feel connected to a higher self but is the connection itself.
When I 'feel' as if I am not connected fully, I find ways to utilize love. Reply

Anonymous Greenville, SC February 4, 2008

I Really Like Your New Blog-Column Chana, this column is great--I especially like the title.

This particular post--on learning new computer technology--hit home for me. I am taking a class in teaching college English online. I like the class; I have learned things that have revolutionized even what I am doing in the traditional classroom, but I am going to have to learn to use tools like--gulp--avatars and virtual worlds. And I need to figure out how to make an online class feel like a personal connection, which is something that Chabad does really well with this magazine. (Maybe Chabad.org is my role model in this as well).

What do I do when the Connection feels weak? Funny you should ask; this happened to me yesterday and this morning. I keep doing the mitzvot, even if I'm mad: say the brachah before drinking coffee, say the Modah ani.... The "being mad" or whatever my problem is passes faster if I just keep doing what I ought, even if through clenched teeth. Reply

Jampa West Hartford, CT February 3, 2008

Connecting with HaShem I love Ms. Weisberg's column! And, as it happens, I too am in the position of needing to learn some new computer skills, something I normally find very intimidating, but I am going to post Ms. Weisberg's column by my desk....there are times when one does feel so utterly alone with one's challenges, and connecting with a greater power feels elusive. Sometimes that connection comes unexpectedly. The other day, riding a packed bus, I was worriedly writing a list of all bills that needed paying. Such a long list! Suddenly I dropped my pen, and it rolled way under the seat in front of me. The woman next to me, already burdened with parcels, somehow managed to slide down in her seat and nudge the pen out from under the seat with her boot. Then she picked up the pen, dusted it off, and returned it to me with a beautiful smile. It felt precisely as if G-d were saying, "You see how beautiful life can be?" My heart is with all who are enduring trying times. Reply

Ava G NYC, 11209 February 3, 2008

So many times we don't know why G-d gives us horrible emotional pain to work through. I myself am the only child of World War II survivors and have had to be their emotional support throughout my life rather than being able to turn to a normal, loving Mommy or Daddy like my peers. Because my Parents were (and are) emotionally stuck in the early childhood when they were orphaned and because they've never had therapy or the benefit of Torah learning, they've been very cold extremely selfish parents. But the Torah tells us that G-d gives us these trials to make us better people, to refine our sensibilities and our understanding of G-d's greatness. Our suffering brings us closer to G-d. I remember when I was a child and I was very very lonely and thoroughly rejected in school and constantly criticized at home- that, like the Baal Shem Tov- I really saw G-d at work in the miraculous way my garden grew, how amazingly beautiful every part of it was and how doing good deeds helped me. Reply

Anonymous February 3, 2008

Coffee I'm ready for my cup of coffee! Reply

Anonymous Northbrook, IL February 1, 2008

I am at a loss. My belief in G-d is getting difficult to hold on to. The last four months life has been cruel. I am alone. My son (age 23) has disowned me and has written a 25 page report on what a terrible unavailable mother I've been. My friend of 30 yrs has turned his back on me and I'm fighting not to lose my baby girl. I try to tell myself that things are not as bad as they seem but everyday ends with a bitter painful surprise. I ask G-d to help me be strong. I tell myself everything is from G-d. I light Shabbat candles with my two daughters as the older one recites kiddish and blesses her sister. I do not wish to tell my story it's too painful. I've written notes I read throughout the day like everything G-d does has a purpose but I'm at a loss as to what is the purpose for this unbearable pain. What am I to learn or change? How do i pray? Reply

Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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