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 In our cashless credit card world, we have all been introduced to the concept and necessity for secret numbers. You cannot just use your credit card to withdraw money or make major purchases without also revealing to that heartless machine confronting and challenging you, your secret code or number. One is supposed to commit this number to one's permanent memory, and not even carry around a piece of paper with that number on it, lest the bad people in the world put everything together and empty your bank account.

This presents a challenge, because it is not easy to remember different numbers, especially numbers that you do not use every day. I have personally been foiled several times in my life when I did not remember the secret number of my credit card. This happens especially when one is issued a new credit card to replace an older one that has expired. I remember the old secret number, but that is to no avail when applied to the new credit card. It took all the environmental resources, sorrowful prayers, and overtaxed memory, for me to finally come up with the correct four digits that would allow me to withdraw my own money from my bank account.
Naturally, in today's world all of this is done by impersonal machines, and there is nary a human being that one can ask for help. The problem of secret numbers and codes is that they are secret. I think that this should have been obvious to those who created the system, but, somehow, it has apparently escaped their notice, and secret remains secret even when one does not wish it to be secret any longer.
I find it fascinating how great is the ingenuity of human beings to do harm and evil to others for their own financial gain. I have had my email hacked a few times over the past decades. Since I never have any valuable information nor do I purchase things by credit card on the Internet, there is little value for anyone to want to hack my account. Nevertheless, the hacker is unaware that he is pursuing a fruitless venture and goes ahead and does so anyway, causing me the frustration of having to change my username and to acquire a different email account. Being the wicked person that I am, I do gain some satisfaction in the knowledge that the one who hacked my email account has gained nothing thereby, and that person is also undergoing a certain feeling of frustration that probably matches or even exceeds my feelings of frustration of having been hacked. I followed instructions from my bank to the letter, so that no one knows my secret code or number to my credit card. Of course, this also is of great frustration to me when I no longer easily remember that number or code.
All my life I have relied on associative memory to allow me to function when I speak, when I write, or even go about dealing with everyday life and its challenges. One of my secrets in remembering my secret code or number is to translate the English numbers into Hebrew characters and then simply remember the Hebrew word that is formed by my secret number or code. By some quirk of my mind, I find it much easier to remember the Hebrew acronym that I have established, and then translate it back into English letters or numbers to be able to remember the original number or code itself.
The human mind works in strange ways, and one must be able to adapt one's own lifestyle to the individual capacities of how his/her brain works. This really is the secret of our different personalities, opinions, and attitudes, that makes each so unique and unlike any other human being on the planet.
Whether we appreciate it or not, it is apparent that each of us stores a secret number with a secret code built into our psyche and personality. And our brain functions according to that secret number and code, even if we are not aware of its existence or importance. Perhaps that secret code of ours is a product of our eternal soul, combined with our physical structure and makeup. But whatever its source, I think we can all agree that it somehow exists within us and allows us to function as independent and thinking human beings.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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