30 Av 5782
Is anyone listening?
To listen to the recorded message, click on https://youtu.be/HYnK0bImfrE
In this parashah, Re’eh, God gives us a type of “formula” for the blessing and that formula is to “listen to” God.
Hearing is perceiving a sound, which requires a sense of hearing and an auditory system to interpret its meaning. Listening, on the other hand, involves not only the action of hearing sounds, but also understanding them and responding to these stimuli.
Listening means obeying, that is, “hearing from below”, bearing in mind that the Word of the Eternal shapes our very existence. I understand His Word as being able to continue my path in life. So, more than hearing, we must listen to the voice of God.
Hearing the voice of God must be one of our core values. Like a driving force deeply embedded in our DNA. It is through listening to the voice of God and obeying him that we can further our growth and achieve our goals. God speaks all the time and, in many ways, but more often than not, we are too busy to stop and listen.
Commentators explain that the giving of the Torah is not over, as it is written, “The sound of the trumpet increased more and more” (Deuteronomy 19:19).
Our Sages tell us that the outer ear serves as a funnel to collect sound waves and direct them to the inner ear. That is, the sound waves are picked up from the environment and enter the ear like a liquid through a funnel, at which point they become more “personal”. Thus, the voice of God becomes personal for each one of us and although it is addressed to the entire world, we take it as if it were only addressed to each one of us individually.
We cannot see God, but we can hear Him, and He can hear us. It is through the word, spoken and heard, that we can have an intimate relationship with God.
The blessings that we are told about in this parashah will be received by listening to God’s voice, that is, by hearing and obeying. Blessing is the awareness of the origin and objective of all thoughts, emotions and situations that life confronts us with. What does this mean?
The most common understanding of what it means to be blessed by God is that we receive good things from Him. We have all heard someone say: “God has blessed me” and we usually associate it with success, health, wealth or a job. But is God’s blessing limited to material things alone? For example, when God told Abram, in Genesis 12:3: “And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you“, did he mean that all the families would have a good material life? There is nothing that man has that is not given to him from above. It is the awareness of that gift and the recognition that everything comes from the heavens where the blessing is found; because at that moment we can thank Him for everything and that gratitude draws us nearer to the Bore Olam, to the Creator of all things.
The opposite is just as simple: the curse is not listening to God. It is written “Today… if you hear His voice…” This is very important. Whether in relation to daily sustenance or other necessities, man does not have to worry about tomorrow. We must set before us “this day and this moment.” Thinking about the future can feel like a huge burden, but if we think about what we have today, it will lighten our load.
The Torah says: “Look, today I put before you a blessing and a curse.” In other words, “I am giving you the power today.” This means that we focus on today and not confuse it with tomorrow.
During these days of teshuva, it is important that WE LISTEN TO HIS VOICE TODAY. May we fill each day with a lot of Torah, with prayer, and good deeds so that we can be blessed and receive his mercy.
Let us take time to “set aside” a few moments each day to study Torah, to meditate and to listen to the voice of God as we set our hearts to obey Him; then we will be blessed with the knowledge that everything comes from Him.