Some years ago, the calendar on my cell phone crashed without warning. I lost my daily schedule, reminders, appointments, to-do list, and more. I had no backup.

I went to the phone company, technical support, and helplines. I schlepped to a service center and spent hours waiting. Ultimately, it took a full 10 days to repair, during which I had no idea when I was meant to be at a meeting or when someone was coming to my office for an appointment.

Thank G‑d, there were no major disasters, but it was very unnerving, and I felt fragile and vulnerable during that week and a half.

But then I had an epiphany.

What if I had never had a calendar and to-do list to begin with? That’s what it must be like for people who have no direction in life, I realized. For 10 days I was somewhat lost and listless. Could I leave the office or was someone coming to see me? Where was I meant to be at 3 p.m.? It now struck me that there are people out there who have no plan in life, no program, and no mission that they are aware of.

I felt so grateful that we, the Jewish people, do have these things to shape our lives. We have a Torah, a yearly cycle, daily to-do lists, and a higher purpose. We are not lost and listless, but on a path from a Higher Source. And with a sense of mission comes a deeper purpose and meaning in life.

Thank You, G‑d.

I recall discussing the Jewish mourning process with a bereaved family whose daughter shared with me that her non-Jewish friend was envious of how clearly we are guided through the most difficult time.

This friend had recently lost a parent herself, and they had to work everything out on their own. Do we do a burial or a cremation? What kind of service should it be? What do the mourners do? She marveled at her Jewish friends’ established tradition. They knew exactly what to do and what not to do, clearly set out in a sensible and meaningful way.

And it went beyond the funeral.

When to stop mourning? Is it not disrespectful? But when Jewish tradition prescribes a week of shiva as respect for the deceased, and then we are taught to get up and go back to work, we know that we are doing it with G‑d’s blessing, with no disrespect to the memory of our loved one.

Indeed, we should thank G‑d that we have a tradition to guide us through this and every other stage of life.

This week we begin reading the Book of Exodus. Moses gets his mission at the Burning Bush: Go to Pharaoh and tell him to “Let my people go.” The Jewish People are given their mission too: “And you will serve G‑d on this mountain (Sinai).” We read of the beginnings of the Egyptian bondage but also of the promised redemption and freedom to fulfill our destiny as G‑d’s messengers on earth.

May I never lose my calendar again, and may all of us never lose our sense of direction. Let us forever thank G‑d that we are blessed to have a shared “planner” - a program and a purpose. And may we all be able to fulfil our mission in life successfully.