Dear Readers,

Due to security precautions, every once in a while, our IT management team decides on new protocol. Since so many of us are logging into our computer systems, often remotely from all over the world, I understand why these practices are necessary.

But at the same time, as someone who isn’t adept to change, especially technological ones, I usually say a silent prayer before trying the new procedure, in the hopes that it will work for me.

A couple of weeks ago, we were told by our IT team that we have a new remote desktop server. “The new server is faster, has updated software, is more secure, and has some new features that I know you are going to like.” Hmmm, I thought warily as I read the memo.

We were given a new remote address and instructions for logging on and told that it should progress simply. Except “simple” is rarely a word that I use to describe anything remotely related to technology.

Sure enough, moments later, I was emailing our support team: “Please let me know how I can log on, when I tried to set up my password it did not recognize me. I am being told that the credentials that I used to log on did not work and it is asking for new credentials.”

Their response was swift: “Did you change the username to start with CO\ and then your username?”

After several more attempts, checking and rechecking to make sure I was following all directions precisely, I wrote back, “Yes, and it still isn’t working!”

Eventually, the head IT guy personally helped me figure out the glitch. Of course, I felt like a complete idiot when I discovered that I had typed the forward slash (/) instead of the backward slash (\). I am so used to using the forward slash that I didn’t even realize there is a backward slash on the keyboard! But this tiny difference made all the difference in failing to make the connection.

I learned a few things from this incident.

  1. Details are important. I’m often asked why the Code of Jewish Law goes into such intricate details and requirements for every mitzvah. Why can’t we just feel Jewish or connected to G‑d? Just as a computer can only read specific codes, spiritually, too, we enable certain connections when we follow precise instructions.
  2. It’s hard to change perceptions. Once we get used to doing things in a certain way, or viewing our circumstances as we do, we may not recognize what we are missing. Even after checking and rechecking my password, I didn’t realize I was typing the wrong key—because that was the one I always used!
  3. A friend, mentor or person with an outside perspective can help us to see what we’re doing wrong and open our eyes to new solutions or opportunities.
  4. IT professionals can be really nice, patient people.

Chana Weisberg,

Editor, TJW