Friday, April 29, 2011

269 - Shemini

Chazal tell us that Rochel Imeinu engaged in the "occupation" of silence and therefore her offspring engaged in the same "occupation." Binyomin, her son, although privy to the sale of Yosef, did not reveal this knowledge to Yaakov. Her descendant, Shaul Hamelech, was anointed king and chose not to relate this amazing piece of information to others. Additionally, Esther, did not reveal her nationality to anyone in Achasveirosh's palace.

To remain silent is an Avodah, and sometimes silence expresses much more than words themselves. In this week's Parsha, we read how Aharon's two sons, Nadav and Avihu, were consumed by a Heavenly fire when they brought an unauthorized incense offering. Thereafter we are told, "And Aharon was silent." His silence was an expression of his total acceptance of this Heavenly, albeit very painful, decree, and Chazal tell us that he was rewarded for his silence.

Rav Wolbe adds (Alei Shur vol. I pg. 178) that one who has difficulty remaining silent, will never fully appreciate anything that he experiences. When he is awed or shaken by something that he has heard or seen, he always feels compelled to categorize the occurrence with a verbal description: "amazing" or "very nice!" If he would remain silent and allow what he has seen or heard to seep in and be internalized, it would make a much bigger impression on him.

Additionally, silence goes hand and hand with the capacity of solitude. One who doesn't know how to remain silent, runs away from any amount of solitude. A moment of solitude affords him a private audience with himself - someone he has no specific interest in getting to know. In contrast, a person who enjoys a quiet moment, gets to know himself and his internal world, and will actually make an effort to find time for solitude.

If not for nighttime, we wouldn't know that there are stars. Only once the sun sets are the stars revealed, and along with them new and almost endless expansions. Likewise, during the day one is busy with a multitude of people and other worldly pursuits. Only once the day concludes and he isolates himself from all the commotion does he have the ability to perceive his internal world and the spiritual yearnings that come along with it.

We run from work to home, from the company of people to the radio, from cell phone to ipod, and we don't have a minute for ourselves. Sometimes we get so caught up in our work and the technological hubbub that, even if we would have a quiet minute, we wouldn't know what to do with it. There is no one in the entire world more interesting than you yourself. Take a few minutes a week to try to get to know the spiritual yearnings of that most amazing personality!

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