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September 5, 2015 / 21 Elul, 5775
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Movie Star


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Even if nobody sees us, everything we do is being watched and recorded on video…by Hashem. Our conscience, that part of us that makes us feel guilty if we do something we shouldn’t have, is Hashem’s loving way of reminding us that He knows what we did, and knows that we’ll feel better, and become better by coming clean and putting it right. In the times of the Mishkan a person could go about putting right the mistakes that he made, even those only he — and Hashem — were aware of. Today, the way is to become aware of the fact that we’re always “on video,” and let that motivate us to try our best to act in a way that will make ourselves and Hashem proud.

In our story, a kid sees life differently once she realizes the camera’s rolling.

You’d think it was a different class. I’d never seen everyone looking as good, and behaving as well. Everybody was tucked in and sitting up straight. The noisy kids in the back row, who usually spent the whole class whispering and giggling, were paying attention and as quiet as mice. Even Rena, the class clown, for once had put her antics on hold. What was the cause of this miraculous turnabout?

It was all because of the woman standing quietly in the corner of the classroom, or I should say, because of the video camera she was pointing our way. They were making a movie of our school to show at the annual fundraising banquet, and everybody, from our parents to the principal, would be watching. Naturally, none of us wanted to be caught on film at any less than our very best.

But soon enough the lunch bell rang, and everyone poured out of the classroom, relieved that the “show” was finally over.

“I bet you’d like it if the camerawoman was here all the time?” I quipped to Mrs. Markowitz, our teacher, on the way out.

I thought she would just laugh, but instead she gave me a thoughtful look and said, “Tammy, we are always on camera, it’s just that that the camera is usually hidden.”

What? Were there hidden video monitors in the classrooms?

She explained: “Hashem is watching us all the time, and taking pictures of whatever we do. He’s recording our every word too. If people would only realize it, they would act a lot differently.”

I never quite thought of it that way, and deep down I knew she was right. But soon enough the thought slipped out of my head as I joined the rest of the kids in the cafeteria.

“Oh no,” I thought looking at the huge line. I was really hungry, and it was going to take forever to get through.

Just then, I heard someone whisper my name. “Psst, Tammy! Come cut in behind me. Quick, while nobody’s looking.”

It was my friend Rachel. “Great.” I slipped into the line, and sure enough no one noticed. There was a strict rule that nobody was allowed to cut into line or save places for anyone else. It made sense — if not, people would be always pushing and fighting. But still, if you could get away with it — why not?

We started to chat. “That was some class today, huh Tammy?” she said. “It’s hard to be on camera. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and be myself again.”

I nodded and smiled, but something inside didn’t feel right. I thought about the teacher’s words, “We’re always on camera…” Did that mean I had just been videoed sneaking into line? That certainly wasn’t a movie I’d want anybody to see. We moved forward, and I felt a little guilty as I thought about the ‘hidden camera’ still running.

“Why so quiet, Tam?” asked my friend. “Anyway, did you hear what Yael did yesterday? You know she…”

I perked up my ears. Rachel always had the juiciest gossip. But then I thought, “…and He’s recording our every word too…” Was this gossip session also going to be part of the tape? I squirmed. How could I explain to my friend that the video camera was still running?

About the Author: Nesanel Yoel Safran is a published writer and yeshiva cook. He has been studying Torah for the last 25 years, and lives in Israel with his family.


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