I am not much of a cook. The only time I feel the need to interact with the oven is when the timer goes off. I can take the beeping for just under 13 seconds before I am forced to make the trip to the kitchen and shut it off.

However, as is well known, the timer does not go off arbitrarily. The timer goes off because somebody programmed it to do so. Generally, in my home, that person is my wife. I therefore must consult with her regarding her intentions in setting the timer. Does the beep-beep-beep mean that the oven is to be turned off, or does it mean that the oven is to be turned down? Should the kugel be taken out, or left in? All of these crucial questions must be answered prior to the shutting off of the timer, since once the timer ceases its incessant beep one no longer senses the urgency of either turning off the oven, or lowering the oven, or leaving the food in the oven, or removing it and placing on the counter to cool (uncovered?).

Thus, one is best advised to do whatever it is that needs doing and then turn off the timer. You are then in the dichotomous position of being so close to the timer which can now so easily be turned off with a simple press of a finger and yet must wait until whatever it is that needs doing is done before silencing the beep. And it is during those seconds, when all the contradiction and counter-intuitiveness of the universe is brought home, that the irritation caused by the timer is most severe.

This has been my experience with oven timers prior to the purchase of our new oven.

The new oven, while not smart enough to shut itself off or lower its temperature, is smarter than the old one in one respect that I have noticed. (Of course, as mentioned, my interaction with the oven is limited and relates primarily to the timer.)

The new oven's timer is a genius. Whereas when one would shut off the old oven the timer would continue to beep, when one shuts off the new oven the timer automatically goes off.

The old timer is indeed a fool. It is so absorbed in its beeping that even after you have shut off the oven it continues unperturbed with the same strength and vigor, at the exact same tempo. One senses no hint of intention on its part to even gradually cease its beeping.

There is in this old oven a dissonance, a lack of communication between timer and oven.

Not so in the case of the new oven. The new timer knows that the purpose of its beeping has been fulfilled, and that for it to continue beeping would only betray its own foolishness and self-absorption.

This is brilliant.

We all beep from time to time. Beeping is a nuisance and one who beeps too often will find him or herself without friends. However, beeping is at times necessary and the sign of a caring soul. If someone is oblivious to the destruction being wrought in his or her oven, the one who beeps and draws attention to the need for corrective action has done the oblivious one a great favor.

Beeping could be a good thing. The Torah tells us to beep when we see our fellows burning their kugels.

But beeping for a human is a tricky business. If you are like the old timer and beep because you feel the need to beep-and therefore if the need for your beeping would cease you would continue to beep-your beeping will not have any effect. The person to whom your beeping is directed will sense that you are not beeping for him but for yourself, and a selfish beeper, in the human realm, is seldom heeded.

The chasidic masters spoke about beeping. They said that before beeping your fellow, cut your nails. Don't stab.

Why am I beeping this person? Am I trying to help her? Or am I unloading on her because of my own issues? Do I care for him? Or am I just being self-righteous?

When beeping is an expression of love it shouldn't hurt and it should shut off when it is no longer needed.

Our rosh yeshivah in Los Angeles once told us about the difference between the cat and the woman of the house. They're both after the mice. But while the woman of the house would be glad if the mice would disappear forever, the cat would be devastated.

Beep? Yes. But don't become a beeper.