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Since I wish to present an opinion article to you, my beloved and loyal readers, on a weekly basis, I am always there thinking about what to write. This is a very taxing experience because thinking requires focus and attention and at my stage of life neither of these attributes is found in abundance any longer. But I continue to think daily about what I want to say and how I want to say it, and when I will actually get down to writing the essay. 

On a recent Shabbat afternoon when I usually attempt to take a restful nap, somehow sleep did not come. Instead, I thought about an article that I could write for this week. And as I continued thinking about it, I was able to outline the entire article in my mind and even think of the phrasing that I would employ in producing the article. Usually when I write the article or essay, once it is started it writes itself, so to speak. 
There is a stream of consciousness that allows words and ideas to flow in a somewhat coherent manner even though there has been little forethought given to the exact wording or formation of the essay itself. But here I had an example of a complete article, almost all the wording and paragraphing in advance, formed in my mind and ready to be dictated to my computer screen and from there eventually to reach your eyes. I was proud of myself and I anticipated doing exactly as I had planned in my mind, after the holy Shabbat had departed.
I was however then struck by some pangs of conscience. I had thoughts, about this article that I wished to write, on the holy Shabbat. Even though I had not committed anything in writing and technically not violated any principles of Shabbat observance, nevertheless I thought that perhaps I had violated the idea that one does not prepare on Shabbat for work that one will do during the week. That is why I do not wash my dishes after the Shabbat morning meal because that would be, in the sense, a preparation for the weekday. 
But I must admit that I do not overly search for additional pieties in my Jewish observance. I always have in mind the statement in the Talmud that disapproves of unnecessary voluntary vows: “Is it not sufficient for you what the Torah has already forbidden, that you somehow wish to add to them?" Therefore, I decided that technically my thinking about the article that I was going to write on Shabbat was not really a violation of the prohibition of preparing on the Shabbat for the workweek.  I thought about this matter over again during the balance of that Shabbat afternoon and I was convinced that my decision was ritually correct and without blemish.
However, as I was walking to the synagogue later that Shabbat afternoon, I reconsidered the matter and I decided that it would be wrong of me to use those creative and literary gems from my imagination that I thought of on Shabbat in an article that I would write after the holy Shabbat had departed. But after Shabbat ended, faced with the pressure of producing a cogent and readable essay, I wavered again. But then Heaven intervened, as it usually does in our lives even when we are unaware that it is happening.
When I sat down at the computer and was about to dictate the article, I discovered that I no longer remembered what I was going to write. I was astounded that such a well-planned and well-thought-out piece of writing should so completely disappear from my conscious mind. I did not ascribe this phenomenon to my advancing years but rather to the fact that perhaps articles that are shaped and planned in one's mind on Shabbat really do fall into the category of planning for weekday work. 
This may be too spiritual an interpretation of my loss of memory, but I prefer it to the one that just says that I am a victim of advancing years and its consequences. This article is not a direct product of Shabbat thinking but rather a very indirect result, so I have no qualms whatsoever in sharing its brilliance with you.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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