Can You Hear Me?
When we moved to Israel, I crashed. My Type A personality could not deal with the fact that everything was so hard. New culture, new language, new school system... I thought almost 15 years in New York City would prepare me - after all, NYC is famous for its rude and loud people, for being crazy expensive, and for its small apartments lacking green gardens.
Israel felt like a whole new level. My 12 year old had to order pizza, help us open bank accounts, and translate for us at parent teacher conferences. Google translate required learning a whole other language. There was no more Instacart, private schools or extended school days.
I sobbed every day. I can recall coming back to NYC, and on more than one occasion people would ask me “How is Israel?” My lip would quiver while my eyes would fill with tears, and I would explain how hard it is for me. They would reply “Great” - hearing how happy we are, or how settled we are. “No!! That is not what I said!!!!” Did they listen at all???
People love to hear their own voice. They love to talk. They love to tell you their opinions because it makes them feel good. But what they weren’t doing was listening. During their encounter at the Burning Bush, God summoned Moses to be a leader to which Moses replied that he is slow of speech. Why would God choose a man who found it difficult to speak to lead the Jewish people?
Perhaps because one who cannot speak learns how to listen!
This Shabbat, let’s all turn off our devices, be present in moment, and see how long we can really listen.