|Pondering the Pasuk-There is Magic . . . and Holiness . . . . in Silence|
|Written by Dr Heshie Klein|
In his newsletter last week, entitled, “Following the Silence”, Rabbi Simcha Weinberg, shlit’a, wrote a very moving and powerful piece . . . on peace. . . and silence. Thank you Rabbi. (No! Thank You!)
How much greatness comes out of silence!
Our sages teach us, s’yag l’chochma shtika – a fence for wisdom is silence.
Aicha yashva badad . . . Alas – she sits in solitude . . . (Lamentations 1:1)
The words we speak are punctuated and often shaped by the silence between them.
The inhalation must cease for a second or two in order for the exhalation to begin . . . and vice versa.
When a windshield wiper reaches its maximum position in either direction, it stops for a split second, in order to reverse its direction. There is a deceleration to a still point, a moment of zero velocity, and then an acceleration in the reverse direction. Without that moment of rest, it cannot work - the mechanism will seize.
Without the rest afforded us on the Holy day of Shabbos, we would not be able to move forward into the next week.
How often do we stop and reverse our directions?
How often do we stop and think . . . or just listen . . . to the silence.
Every solid object as we know it, is made up mostly of empty space. The molecules of the substance, if compressed together into a ball would occupy less than one percent of the size of the physical object. Yet the space between the molecules is equally as important as the molecules themselves in maintaining the shape, the structure and the characteristics of the object.
As any good orator knows, the silent pauses in a delivery are much more powerful than the actual text – i.e. – the pauses set the context as much, or even more so, than the spoken words.
In any conversation or negotiation, often more can be learned by what is not said, then by what is said.
The silence when two lovers gaze into each other’s souls . . . has no equal.
When doing energy work on a patient or a client, the “still point”, when all motion stops, both physically and energetically, is when major healing occurs. That Still Point is often referred to as “The Breath of God.”
It is an amazing phenomenon when one is blessed to bring a client or patient to that level.
The silence is so still and yet so palpable, it is almost like the counterpart to the plague of darkness – palpable in its lightness and its gossamer nature, soft as the breath of the universe, perhaps like the gentle breath of life that the Almighty breathes into each and every one of us when we are born.
There is great power in silence and in the practice of silence.
We learn so much about how to pray from Chana, the mother of Samuel the Prophet, who was praying in total silence – so much so, that Eli, the High Priest, thought she was drunk, for her lips were moving but no sound emerged . . . no sound that a human being could hear . . . but oh, so directly and clearly heard by the Master of the Universe.
On visiting the sick (choleh) or the mourner, the first thing we say . . . . is . . . nothing – total and absolute silence . . . and we wait . . . for the choleh or the mourner to open the conversation and guide us to what he or she needs of us.
When the Beis HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, was destroyed, the angels tried to console the Ribono Shel Olam, the Master of the Universe.
And He said, “SILENCE! There is nothing you can say to console me!”
On fast days we say, “The One who answered to Abraham our forefather, may He answer us.
There is no prayer recorded by Abraham in the Torah. This verse, then, must be referring to a silent prayer offered by Abraham on behalf of his son, Isaac, or perhaps on behalf of all the promised generations that were to come from him.
From the powerful silences such as when Rabbi Weinberg’s father zt"l, rather than speak, simply held his hand and shared a few moments of silent pain with him as he lay seriously ill in the hospital . . . . to the Shhhhh sound that begins the Shema Yisroel, which Rabbi Simcha Weinberg shlita teaches, there are many magical, powerful moments to be gently caressed and treasured . . . moments when God joins into the conversation . . . if we listen carefully and silently enough . . . and patiently enough, without doing . . . . rather just being.
After all, we are, in fact, human beings . . . not human doings. I frequently have to remind myself of that – to take time to stop doing . . . and to just be.
There is magic . . . and holiness . . . . in silence.
Copyright, 2012 by Harvey (Heshie) Klein, MD