This weekend marks the 34th anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah. The portion we read this week is the same one I read when I was 13. Therefore today's blog is related to this weeks Torah portion. When I look for insights on the weekly portion I look towards Rabbi Sacks for his insights since they are far better than mine.
This weeks article "To Lead is to Listen" is once again spot on.
Let me share with you some of Rabbi Sacks' words:
" There is no single English word that means to hear, to listen, to heed, to pay attention to, and to obey. Sh-m-a also means “to understand,” as in the story of the tower of Babel, when God says, Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand [yishme’u] each other” (Gen. 11: 7).
As I have argued elsewhere, one of the most striking facts about the Torah is that, although it contains 613 commands, it does not contain a word that means “to obey.” When such a word was needed in modern Hebrew, the verble-tzayet was borrowed from Aramaic. The verb used by the Torah in place of “to obey” is sh-m-a. This is of the highest possible significance. It means thatblind obedience is not a virtue in Judaism. God wants us to understand the laws He has commanded us. He wants us to reflect on why this law, not that. He wants us to listen, to reflect, to seek to understand, to internalise and to respond. He wants us to become a listening people.
It follows that in Judaism listening is a deeply spiritual act. To listen to God is to be open to God. That is what Moses is saying throughout Devarim: “If only you would listen.” So it is with leadership – indeed with all forms of interpersonal relationship. Often the greatest gift we can give someone is to listen to them."
In education and in life we talk about communication, collaboration, caring, and concern for others . A whole new set of "C" skills. We also often focus on what is being said and how it is being said and at times during a conversation we are really thinking about what we are going to say and not what the other person is saying.
In any type of relationship we need to remember that listening is an equal part of having a conversation and that when we listen we show that the person we are listening to is important and that we care about that individual
I ask this of myself as well, how many of us truly listen to our spouses, friends, co-workers and maybe most importantly our students.
So as Rabbi Sacks said " Often the greatest gift we can give someone is to listen to them "