click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

My Broken Laptop
Chief Editor's Blog

My Broken Laptop

To fix or not to fix? A too-good-to-be-true story for Elul.


I realized it was a careless thing to do the second I did it. I closed the laptop I use at home while its plug was lying on the keyboard – not hard, mind you – but that unusual cracking noise didn’t sound good. I turned it on and the screen was totally shattered inside, displaying digital abstract art. I couldn’t believe it broke.

It’s Elul, I told myself. I’m not going to let myself get all upset about this. It’s obvious the Almighty is sending me a message about my overuse of the computer.

I schlepped my laptop to the office to give it to the computer support team who service the Aish offices. Our office manager wasn’t encouraging. “Getting a new screen is very expensive. It might not pay to fix it.”

The computer technician called me right away. “How old is your laptop?”

“Two or three years old. But it’s a perfectly good computer.”

“It’s not worth fixing. A new screen is going to cost you between 1500 to 2000 shekels. You can get a new one in the U.S. for that price.”

“What?! Are you sure it’s going to cost that much? Can I first get a quote and then I’ll decide what to do?”

“Sure, but the quote will cost you 300 NIS if you don’t fix it.”

This is absurd, I thought to myself.

“Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”

Then I remembered this computer technician, a Chassidic woman, who once paid a house call and fixed our computer that got hit with a virus. She was intelligent and affordable. Called her to see what she could offer.

“It’ll cost you 450 NIS. I can come by tonight to pick it up.”

I was incredulous (second time that day). She drove over 9 PM that night in her beat up car and I handed her the goods.

9 AM the next morning she called to tell me it’s ready. “When can I drop it off?” she asked.

Just fix it.

It was too good to be true. I have a rule that I use, especially when it comes to some of the more fantastical submissions to that come my way, that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, though, it was an exception. My laptop was gleaming with its new screen, it cost less than a quarter of the original quote, I got it back in one day, delivery included, and I helped support a mother of many children (they were all packed into the car when she dropped it off) who I’m sure needed the business more than the professional company who services the Aish HaTorah offices.

I was relieved that I didn’t listen to the “expert advice” to buy a new laptop, something I momentarily considered, and just fixed the one I had. Perhaps this is the message I’m supposed to get during this period of Elul: Just fix it. Don’t discard the problem. Don’t avoid dealing with the issue at hand. It's easy to despair when thinking about all the issues you need to fix in your life as you gear up for Rosh Hashanah. How can I possibly create a whole new me? Confronting the problem is just too costly and difficult. It seems impossible to change.

All that negative self-talk is just a distraction designed to get us to run away from dealing with our real issues.

Don't listen to that voice. Fix the problem instead. Confront the challenge head on and with some honesty and a sincere desire to repair it, you’ll be surprised to discover one or two very doable steps that could really make a difference and are not as hard as you initially thought.

Just fix it.

September 10, 2016

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 8

(7) Yerachmiel, September 21, 2016 1:12 PM


Nechemia: very nice article.
Yerachmiel Tilles, Ascent-of -Safed

(6) Bunny Shuch, September 15, 2016 5:12 PM

Hire the Chassidic woman

I agree with Dvirah. Aish should hire the Chassidic woman instead of using the professional company!

(5) Nava, September 14, 2016 4:36 PM

My Laptop crashed last April. It had lasted to the end of an assignment I had been working on that year, and my screen was messed up for that whole year of working with those conditions, but it was strong and hung in there for me, until I was done, (they can be so faithful & loyal) which I was so very thankful for that. When you wrote that you thought it happened to you because you were on your computer to much, I also could relate and thought the same thing, so I spent the summer without a computer, and I had mourned the whole summer. My best friend had died. I got a lot of books read this past summer though. Without my best friend, and during this month of meditation, I realized I needed to use this time to reconcile with some relationships that had been strained for several years. That's exactly what I have been doing, peacemaking. Preparing for the High Holy Days, restoring relationships, with people that can be seen face to face, has been putting the message of the Holy Season into action, and feeling the Shekhinah, in a whole new light.
Last week I did get a new computer, and I realized no computer could take the place of my old one. However, with my new one, I finally bonded after a few days, knowing this has something the old one didn't have, I have my privacy with the new one, without all the contacts loaded on it.
When I was told I could put my hard-drive of my old computer into a new one, my old friend wasn't dead, just hidden away, so I could make new friends, and restore old ones.
Gott was in this all along, cleansing with the bath of mournful tears this past summer, and turned my mourning into rejoicing.

Bunny Shuch, September 15, 2016 5:14 PM


Beautiful comment! I could relate. Thanks.

(4) Dvirah, September 14, 2016 5:56 AM

Price of Screen

I curious as to where the Hassidic woman obtained the new screen so quickly and inexpensively. I am sure she could not afford to take a loss, so must have a supplier that works in the same price range. Also, it might be worthwhile for Aish to consider employing this woman routinely.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment