One evening after a light summer rain, a kid named Michael is walking along a quiet street on his way home, after having spent the evening with friends playing computer games and watching a video.
About the same time, a young man named Steve comes out of a bar, slightly drunk. He gets behind the wheel of his father's car and also starts heading home. Somewhat shakily, he drives along the same street that Michael is walking on. At a corner, Michael steps off the sidewalk into the street. Steve, temporarily blinded by a street light jams on his brakes, but because of the slick road, collides with Michael, sending the boy 3 feet into the air, landing with a thud 20 feet away.
Terrified, Steve gets out of his car, sees what happened and then drives off in a panic, unseen by anyone. Moments later, the young boy lies dead.
The next morning, Steve has sobered up enough to remember the tragic event of the night before. He runs outside and inspects the car for any telltale signs of the encounter. Not wanting to take any chances, he drives to the local carwash to wash away any traces and to help erase all memories of the accident from his mind.
How could the arrest have happened so quickly and decisively, without any apparent witnesses?
Several days later there is a knock on his front door. A police officer presents Steve with a warrant for his arrest in the hit-and-run murder of Michael Dawson.
As Steve sits in jail, he wonders: How could the arrest have happened so quickly and decisively, without any apparent witnesses?
His lawyer explains to him that on that particular evening, a weather satellite was monitoring ground conditions in the area where the accident had taken place. A meteorologist at the National Weather Service, reviewing the series of aerial photos, came upon what looked like an auto accident. He slowly played back the shots, frame by frame, noting when Steve had left the bar, his journey down the main avenue, and his turn onto the deserted street where Michael was walking. He skipped forward several shots -- showing the moment of impact, Steve getting out of the car, driving away, parking in front of his house, and the entire of the carwash. Referring this information to the local authorities, a warrant was prepared and Steve was apprehended.
A little far-fetched? Perhaps not. Consider the following news item:
In the stealth of night, a 4,000-ton commercial sea vessel is loaded with 50 tons of weapons and ammunition. It leaves the port and slowly heads out to sea, intent on dropping its cargo into the waters close enough to shore to be retrieved by the organization that purchased these tools of destruction.
A reconnaissance satellite, placed into orbit years ago, captures the scene in its computer memory.
A reconnaissance satellite, placed into orbit years ago, captures the entire scene in its computer memory. At the end of each day, it transmits its data to the military intelligence personnel below whose job it is to analyze the information and determine a course of action.
Immediately upon reviewing this night's pictures, an alarmed Intelligence Officer shows the series of photos to his superiors who bring it to the attention of the Secretary of Defense. A daring plan is conceived to intercept the vessel and confiscate the cargo. Within hours, the vessel is under government control and the potential for shedding innocent blood has been averted.
With today's technology it is not hard to imagine that this might have been the method used by the Israeli Mossad to capture the Karine-A. Communication, weather and spy satellites circle and monitor every area of our globe. High-powered lenses are capable of detecting cloud movements, troop buildups and even a dropped wallet in the street.
In the proper hands, such information can prove invaluable to the safety and security of civilians. Improperly used, we could all become victims of a police state or worse. Our every action would be noted -- irrefutable and undeniable.
VIDEO IN THE NEXT WORLD
Could anyone have ever imagined that a seeing eye from outer space would one day know our most intimate actions and would be able to recount every turn we take and the impact of those decisions on others?
Judaism regards this idea as nothing new.
Eighteen hundred years ago, Rabbi Judah the Prince was the leader of the Jewish people and the greatest scholar of his time. He codified all the rabbinic teachings into a collected work known as the Mishnah. In the year 190 CE, he wrote: "Know what is above: an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and a book in which all is recorded" (Pirkei Avot 2:1).
Know what is above: an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and a book in which all is recorded.
The same way that we understand how modern technology can record our actions digitally, Judaism teaches us that there is an All-Knowing, All-Seeing God Who not only sees our actions, but also knows the thoughts and motivations behind them. That information is being recorded forever in "the mind” of the Almighty -- Who will one day play it back for us to view when we have left this world.
The Mishnah tells us that we are responsible for our actions, that all feeble excuses will eventually fall away, and we will be held accountable for what we have done in our lifetime. We will be able to see in living color, in real-life images, exactly how our behavior affected our life, as well as the lives and actions of those around us. Whether in public or in the privacy of our own homes, our decisions and behaviors do not go unnoticed. As an employee, a spouse, or a trusted friend -- I am expected to do the right thing at all times.
Of course, God knows that we are human and have human failings. God is also merciful. He is aware not only of our actions, but also of our thoughts. Thus the Talmud explains that if you have the intent to do something good, but for some reason are held back from doing it, God gives credit as if you accomplished it.
The next time we are faced with a difficult challenge -- Should I return the extra money to the bank teller? Should I tell my wife the real reason I was late? Should I keep the secret my friend asked me to guard? -- we should remember: The Eye sees, the Ear hears, and all is recorded. Not by Sony, not by Kodak, but by the cutting-edge equipment of the Eternal Guardian of the Universe.