Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hearing - #BlogElul 21

The High Holiday services are very auditory - the cantor leads the congregation in many traditional tunes, often there is a choir to enhance the experience. The rabbi gives a longer and more intense sermon than usual. The shofar sounds 100 times over the two days of Rosh HaShanah, and with full force at the end of Yom Kippur.

In the congregation itself, people talk and sing and there is often much noise going on. We think about the meal we need to prepare, about the family and friends we will be greeting at our table. We chat with people we may not have seen all year. So much distraction.

Where is G-d in all this? In the noise and singing? Let us think for a moment about these lines from the Book of Kings.

יא  וַיֹּאמֶר, צֵא וְעָמַדְתָּ בָהָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, וְהִנֵּה יְהוָה עֹבֵר וְרוּחַ גְּדוֹלָה וְחָזָק מְפָרֵק הָרִים וּמְשַׁבֵּר סְלָעִים לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, לֹא בָרוּחַ יְהוָה; וְאַחַר הָרוּחַ רַעַשׁ, לֹא בָרַעַשׁ יְהוָה. 11 And He said: 'Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.' And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
יב  וְאַחַר הָרַעַשׁ אֵשׁ, לֹא בָאֵשׁ יְהוָה; וְאַחַר הָאֵשׁ, קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה. 12 and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
יג  וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ אֵלִיָּהוּ, וַיָּלֶט פָּנָיו בְּאַדַּרְתּוֹ, וַיֵּצֵא, וַיַּעֲמֹד פֶּתַח הַמְּעָרָה; וְהִנֵּה אֵלָיו, קוֹל, וַיֹּאמֶר, מַה-לְּךָ פֹה אֵלִיָּהוּ. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said: 'What doest thou here, Elijah?'

When the prophet Elijah was called to stand before G-d, he got quite the display of natural wonders, wind and earthquake and fire - so much noise. But in the end, G-d was in the still small voice that spoke to him. Elijah needed to get through all the distraction and noise to be able to hear the voice of G-d in his heart.

Can we put all the distraction aside and hear the still small voice?


  1. This is the voice the Quakers sit and wait to hear too:-). Very nice post, I have been enjoying the theme.

    1. Thanks, dear! Yes, there should be some commonalities ;-).


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