Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

Quiet Please

Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

Mishna Avot 1.17

SIMEON, HIS SON, USED TO SAY: ALL MY DAYS I GREW UP AMONG THE SAGES, AND I HAVE FOUND NOTHING BETTER FOR A PERSON THAN SILENCE. STUDY IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, BUT DEED; WHOEVER INDULGES IN TOO MANY WORDS BRINGS ABOUT SIN.

We live in a world of people with a dire need to express themselves. We all want to be heard and we all desperately want to get the feelings out. The therapists in all of us beg for us to share so that we don’t keep things bottled up. I agree, but there is a step that must precede the talking.

As our Mishna suggests, we ought to take a minute to simply sit in quiet. Gather our thoughts.  Recognize the ramifications our words might have. Sometimes in the quiet we can dig deeper, we can understand more fully. If we jump right to speaking we may not have given ourselves the opportunity to understand the more true emotion in play.

Our Mishna continues, begging us to act. That action may be sharing a thought, an idea, a kindness. When we take a moment of silence to center ourselves, we become open to our world. We believe prayer is about the sounds that come out. I believe prayerful moments happen in silence as well. It is in those moments our hearts open and we are able to receive the gifts all around us.