Esor Ben-Sorek

An illiterate Idiot (c’est moi)

This is my 500th article for the TIMES OF ISRAEL. Truly, I do not know how I could have managed it were it not for the caring and encouraging help of my Editor, Miriam Herschlag and Deputy Editor, Anne Gordon. These two wonderful women deserve a noble Nobel prize for having the time and the patience to put up with my stupidity.

The truth is, I am ashamed to admit, that I am an illiterate idiot when it comes to use of a computer. I only know how to write articles, pages for a book and to send and receive e-mail messages. I am, otherwise, completely computer illiterate. I was born in a different generation. Though I speak and understand several languages, I am bewildered with the technical language and terminology of the computer.

For this article I have made 23 attempts to send it following the clear directions from Miriam and Anne. All to no avail. 23 attempts. 23 failures.

It would be much simpler if I could transmit my material by a carrier pigeon, but cannot find one in Rishon who knows the flight route to Jerusalem.

I follow the instructions faithfully and as I attempt to send I receive alternately two separate messages.

“User Name and/or Password is invalid” or “you must enable cookies to connect to WordPress”.

What kind of cookies is Google mail asking of me? Chocolate chip or butterscotch?

A bottle of Acamol sits on my desk and every few hours I pop one into my mouth in a futile attempt to lessen the pain of failure. As my beloved grandfather would have told me “s’vet gornisht helfen”… nothing can help.

My children have for some years insisted that I take a course in the use of the computer. They insist and I resist. “Why do I need a course,” I ask? “After all, I only use it to write letters, articles, and materials requested of me by my publisher, a revised edition of my 1967 book (long since out of print) and brief articles for professional academic journals. No games. No puzzles. Nothing more”.

It is not always easy to prepare an article on a given subject in the hope that it will appeal to readers.

After I submitted the 499th, I told myself that the 500th (this one) would be completion of a goal I had set. Nevertheless, writing for the TIMES OF ISRAEL has been a catharsis for me, a very good medicine.

My beloved wife had always been my inspiration and my chief critic. If she disagreed with something I had written, either I had to edit it out or cast it into the basket of errors. She read every word that I wrote and even in her criticism she was kind, gentle and well-meaning. That was the woman who shared 56 happy years of my life until pancreatic cancer took her away from me in September 2016.

Continuing to write has greatly reduced my depression and loneliness. I sit at the computer each morning and I talk to it as if I were speaking with my wife. Regrettably, the computer does not answer me.

I am about to take a brief travel vacation before returning to Israel at end of January. Perhaps fresh air will revive my soul, clear my mind, and enable me to become more literate .I ask forgiveness for my idiocy but I am firmly convinced that at age 85 this old dog cannot learn new tricks.

Until # 501…shalom, good health, long life and happiness to my many devoted readers.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.