For about a half year now, my laptop battery has been charging less and less, until its gotten to the point that I can only use it while its plugged in. Finally I ordered a replacement battery online, but when it arrived it turned out to be the wrong battery and wouldn’t fit in my laptop. During the time that I sent it back my computer started flashing a warning screen on startup that my Primary Battery #60?? was failing and I should replace it.

I googled Primary Battery and that code, and it turns out that this is my CMOS battery, the internal battery affixed to the guts of the computer near the computer chip. This was no simple swap and replace as the external battery was. It would require opening the back of my laptop with a screwdriver, unplugging component, messing around inside and putting a new battery inside, and then getting it all back together. Oy!

I spoke to a few students who know how to tinker inside, one suggested that I wait until I got the external replacement battery first and see if that might resolve the problem. That battery arrived on Thursday, one day before Yom Kippur. I popped the old battery out, put the new one in, let it charge, and restarted the computer. Yes!! The Primary Battery error message disappeared from the startup! All is well!

What happened here? When my external battery supply dried up, the computer felt the void, the energy drain. It got a little confused where it was coming from. It mistook an external battery loss for an internal one. Often in life we do the same. We sense this gnawing void and emptiness, and feel it deep within. It can be quite intimidating to tinker around in our internals so we don’t know how to deal with it. But, sometimes, not always, the void isn’t on the inside. Instead it’s external. We can increase in physical, external Mitzvot, and shut off or diminish that internal error code.

Based on the inspiration of this story, this year’s Yom Kippur appeal isn’t about involvement, feelings or character, but practical 5-minute Mitzvot we can add to our daily lives. See our Take5 Yom Kippur Appeal.