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BlogElul Day 22: End

Here on Technically Religious, we do not shy away from endings.

For those truly faithful (or crazy, and let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference) listeners, we put an amusing (we hope) tag at he end of our episodes. But beyond that, our discussions are rife with stories of endings: the time we ended a job; a bad habit; a relationship; a religious observance; a stage of our life.

Some endings are amusing while others are bittersweet, and still others are still so raw that we’re not ready to process them or ascribe an emotional state.

But what they all have in common is the “but”. “This thing ended,” we say, “but then I was able to re-asses and focus on starting this other thing.”

From a religious (and specifically Jewish) point of view, ending is built into the system. In the face of divorce, it’s common to the point of cliche to point out how the tractate on the laws of divorce (Gittin) appears (and are often learned) before the laws on marriage (Kedushin). This is on purpose, as if to say “Before one enters into a vow as serious as marriage, one must understand the mechanism by which it might end. Not because doing so should be convenient, or because it’s inevitable, but because it’s not impossible.”

And that’s an interesting thought, although cold comfort to those going through it in the moment. But you know what else comes before tractate Kedushin? The laws of death and burial. And those on ending the harvest. And a whole host of other endings.

All things end. In fact, as people working in tech, we know that things which don’t end – programs which don’t terminate, virtual systems which exceed their configured resources, AWS billing which doesn’t stop – are not only strange, they are unwelcome and often business-impacting.

Our focus should not be on the fact that something ended, or is ending, or will end, but on HOW it will end.

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