To Hear With Your Eyes

posted: July 12, 2008 Twitter Facebook Print   |   ... more

[The following is written by Moshe Kempinski, a friend of mine who lives in Israel. I thought you might enjoy it. Be sure also to visit Moshe's Web site.]

The road forward for the Jewish people is meant to be long, circuitous, and torturous. The road for the people of this country is especially convoluted and confusing. It is a road beset by many pitfalls and many precipitous drops. Yet it is a road that must be taken, as the history of the Jewish people in particular and that of mankind in general, continue forward towards their destiny. At times in the midst of that journey, the Jewish people seem to lose direction and purpose as they wander into pastures and hills that were not meant for them. Yet that too is part of the exile and is also part of the wilderness that must be travelled.

So were they scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill, yea, upon all the face of the earth were My sheep scattered, and there was none that did search or seek. (Ezekiel 34:5-6)

Yet if one listens to the melody of destiny, then purpose and direction is rediscovered. There are many in this country — including those that claim to be our leadership — that have lost the ability to hear that melody. Yet there are many amongst this people that have learned to attune their ears to hear what must be heard. Those that are still being guided by that ancient melody have learnt that the ability to hear that unending Hear O Israel call involves using something other than one's ears.

In the Torah portion of Balak, we learn of how the Prophet to the Nations, Bilaam, attempts to hear G-d's clear voice in order to curse the people that had come out of the slavery of Egypt. Bilaam, under the prodding of Balak the King of Moav, walks to a place high in the hills where he can view the Israelite people. He then hears and relates G-d's message;

How shall I curse, whom G-d hath not cursed? And how shall I execrate, whom HaShem hath not execrated? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. (Numbers 23:8-9)

Frustrated the king Balak tries again:

And Balak said unto him: 'Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them; thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all; and curse me them from thence.' (Numbers 23:13)

As a result Bilaam returns with the following message:

Behold, I am bidden to bless; and when He hath blessed, I cannot call it back. None hath beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath one seen perverseness in Israel; HaShem his G-d is with him, and the shouting for the King is among them (Numbers 23:20-21)

Hearing the voice of G-d necessitated the ability to be able to truly "see".

When the Israelites stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, the entire nation saw the voices and the thunder, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain was consumed with smoke [Exodus 20:15].

Rashi on that verse explains they saw the sounds; they saw that which is usually heard, that which was impossible to see under different circumstances.

In order to truly comprehend the Divine message that was relayed at Mount Sinai and the Divine message that is still being relayed to this very day, one would need to begin to listen with ones eyes.

I made the serious mistake of listening to all the noise and confusion coming out of our governments cabinet meetings relating to the situation in the north and south. The words and ideas being expressed reeked of selfish motives and small-minded vision. The burden it put on my heart was overwhelming, so I walked out of my shop in the middle of the central square of the Jewish quarter in Jerusalems Old City to get some air.

Suddenly to my right a large procession of French speaking Jews walked by singing and dancing with young bar mitzvah boys on their shoulders. They streamed into the square, dancing with Israeli flags and musical instruments. I watched entranced. At that point a group of young soldiers who were having a break at the side of the square got up and formed another dancing circle in the middle of the square. Next to me, a young girl turned to her grandmother and spoke in what was obviously a British accent and said, "Bubbie, are you ok?" The grandmother just nodded and watched with tears streaming down her face.

I wasn't simply watching a scene unfold before my eyes; I was listening to a Divine message. In order to understand the Divine plan being unfolded in our days we must truly develop the ability to hear with our eyes. G-d is speaking with pictures.



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