At a recent holiday celebration, while praying and sermonizing, I noticed the loud raucous noise of a construction site. In between my page calling were sounds of drilling, humming of excavators and beeping of bulldozers moving backwards and forward. I was appalled. How could the congregation possibly concentrate as we were pulled towards noise outside of prayer?
In a moment of exasperation, I leaned into the microphone and muttered, “I guess this is symbolic of life. How many sounds are we challenged to tune out?”
At the service, I was tasked to tune out the construction site. But every day, we face the seemingly impossible task of weeding through noise: the voices of those that deserve to be heard and the voices we give far too much attention. We hold the ability to train our minds and teach our ears to listen better, improving the skill of tuning out.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz teaches that God’s voice on Mount Sinai never stopped. The same Godly voice that gave the Ten Commandments and Shema continues to speak. Steinsaltz explains that there is a clear divine message always being transmitted but sadly, we are no longer listening.
Authentic listening may start with deciphering between noise and sound. Noise is that which distracts us from living with purpose and intention. Beyond the noise, we may be able to hear the sounds of God’s creations unfolding. The sounds of miracles. The sounds of wonder. The sounds of awe.
Perhaps, to really listen, the time has come to start tuning out.
In doing so, God’s voice is waiting just for you.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.