Why Can’t We Hear It?
To be honest, I never really liked ritual prayers. It demands discipline, focus, consistency and, well, it takes up time. All those requisites challenged the artistic free spirit that I am. And though I’m a religious woman, I’ve stretched the leniency afforded to women regarding prayers as I’m always busy and in a rush. But my nagging feelings of guilt forced me to reckon with a question that is relevant to us all: “To where are we really rushing if G-d is not accompanying our journey?” And so, “I bit the bullet,” as they say, and started praying. Turns out that it is not a "bullet," but truly a curative time-release capsule for every soul. I was finally talking to G-d as did our fathers and their fathers before them. That dedication came with colossal expectations on my part: “G-d, I’m finally talking to you properly (and loving it), now when are you going to start talking to me?” What chutzpa! I then recalled the Yiddish expression: Mahn lernt aun lernt aun men shtarbt a nar, i.e., “Man learns and learns and dies a fool.” Because the truth is, G-d is talking to us ALL the time. The problem is that we are all hard of hearing. Watch this article on YouTube
This week, we began reading the last of the Five Books of Moses, Devarim. In English it is called, Deuteronomy. But only in Hebrew is it called what it really is, Devarim, which means both “words” and “things.” Why should we care? Because every single THING that happens to us in life is a conversation with the Almighty. Ein od milvado (There is nothing but Him). The world was created by G-d’s words and thus everything that happens in our life is the “words” of G-d manifested as “things,” i.e., happenings, incidents, sickness, a trip and fall, etc. If we want to change the course of our dialogue with the Divine, instead of turning a blind eye to the truth, perhaps it is time to give ear to what He is telling us.
When things go well for us, we walk through life sure-footedly and trust the ground beneath us. And then we have an unprecedented building collapse. Then we can’t help but pause, ponder, look up and ask “What’s going on?” Perhaps because we didn’t pay attention last year when a bolt of lightning and its accompanying roaring thunder nearly hit the Statue of Liberty we are reminded again. The visual was spectacular; The warning was in the air. For the Talmud teaches: “Thunder was created only in order to straighten the crookedness of the heart.” The global symbol of freedom and power, Lady Liberty, almost hit by the finger of G-d should have been an eye opener. Don’t be sure of anything. Fast forward one year: Almost to the day, this past week, a bolt of lightning destroyed a mural honoring the late George Floyd whose death has catapulted the trajectory of self-destruction that the USA is on currently.