I saw this on the internet:
When The Children Open Their Hearts
The Connecting Link… / Meirav Maggeni,
Author of Content and Stories in Chemed, the Religious School System
For the last few days, the first thing I did when I got home from school was to open my email, but I have been disappointed every time. I don’t understand why Rabbi Chaim, the school rabbi, didn’t send me a reply, like he promised to do.
A week ago, I went to Rabbi Chaim and asked him a question about something that really bothers me. “How can it be that the great and mighty Holy One, Blessed be He, who created heaven and earth and is all-powerful, cares about what I do (small and puny that I am) when I wake up in the morning? What difference does it make to Him whether I wash my hands and which shoe I put on first, the left one or the rig ht one? What is the point of all of these nitty-gritty details in our lives? Does the Master of the Universe really care how I make a glass of tea on Shabbat? I really don’t understand why all of these tiny points are so important. The main goal is that we should be good to each other, help our friends, pray, and study Torah. Why do we need all of this detail??”
Rabbi Chaim listened carefully to my questions and wrote down my email address, and he promised to send me an answer soon. But a whole week has already gone by, and I am disappointed to say that no answer came. So I decided to go to his house, pound on the table, and demand an answer.
Rabbi Chaim greeted me warmly, and he showed me respect as an important guest. He told me to sit in the living room, and hinted to his wife Batsheva that he wanted her to bring us some refreshments. He sat down next to me and waited for me to speak as if he had all the time in the world to meet me. To tell the truth, the way he greeted me so warmly confused me a bit. If he has so much free time, why didn’t the rabbi send me an email, I thought to myself.
However, Rabbi Chaim didn’t leave much time for thinking, and he turned to me and asked, “Why have I been privileged to have you visit me today?” I was very surprised. I said, “Don’t you remember that I asked you a question?” And he replied, “Of course I remember. The very same day I wrote you a detailed and reasonable reply. Are you sure that you didn’t get my letter?”
I shook my head, and told him that I had not received any letter. Rabbi Chaim took a piece of paper out of his pocket, where he had written down my email address: “yoav@gmail com” – and he showed it to me. And I said, “Now I understand why your mail didn’t get to me. There is a period missing. Here is how you have to write the address: yoa firstname.lastname@example.org – then I will get your email.”
But Rabbi Chaim looked surprised. “Oh, come on,” he said to me. “What does it matter if there is a period in the middle of the address or not? Don’t try to tell me that such small details are important! Doesn’t it seem funny to think that because of a missing period we can’t send mail back and forth between us?” Rabbi Chaim said this with a big smile, to show me that he didn’t really believe what he was saying. Rather, he wanted to teach me something about the significance of small details.
“Do you see it now?” He went on. “The purpose of the mitzvot is to help us form a link to the Holy One, Blessed be He. In order for the link to form properly, it is important to ‘key in’ the exact address, without missing even one single ‘period.'”
I thanked Rabbi Chaim for the special way he answered my question. He smiled and said, “It was not my ide a. This is a well-known story that a friend of mine sent me. I am lucky that he didn’t forget to put the ‘period’ in my address, otherwise it would not have gotten to me.”
On the way home I thought about what the rabbi taught me. Now I understand that the mitzvot make a connection between us and G-d. The only way to form the link is to observe all the precise details of the mitzva. I realized that I still have a lot to learn about the mitzvot and about how to observe them in a precise way. I therefore took it upon myself to study halacha very seriously, and I decided that if I had any questions I would turn once again to Rabbi Chaim. And please pray for me to be successful in forming my link to G-d…
What do you think, my readers? I am sure that you want to be form a link with the Creator of the World. So from now on, always make sure to remember the ‘tiny period’ and where it must go.
I have just a “teeny” problem with this story, viz, the truth. if you have an email address MoisheKapoyer@gmail.com then according to gmail this is the same as Moise.Kapoyer@gmail.com (also email@example.com is the same etc)
This isn’t known, but try it. As such, I look at the above story, and unless I have misread, it’s Gneivas Daas and untrue. It does us no good.
One thought on “I prefer truth”
The rabbi was correct. On the domain name side of the “@”, the period is defintiely required (gmail.com works, gmail com does not). On the name side, as you point out, Gmail decided that you can add periods to make your name more readable, without affecting the delivery. In other words, what you call yourself is not so important, but “where” you are is very important.