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{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

The moment was one that demanded a choice between seeing and hearing. “They heard the voice of God, the Lord, walking in the garden toward evening, and the man and his wife hid from God, the Lord, among the trees of the garden. God, the Lord, called out to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ (Genesis 3:8-9).” Adam and Eve, having chosen to ignore the message of forgiveness implicit in their ability to hear the Divine voice, chose to infer from God’s question that God did not see them. The people whose eyes “were opened (Verse 6),” preferred to hear without seeing. Ultimately, it was a hearing that would never include seeing, a limited hearing.

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It was another moment that offered a choice between seeing and hearing. “The entire people saw the thunder and the flames, the sound of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw and trembled and stood from afar. They said to Moses, ‘you speak to us and we shall hear; let not the Lord speak to us lest we die’ (Exodus 20:15-16).” The people, who were able to see the sounds (Rashi), chose to hear, again a limited hearing, “You, Moses, speak to us and we shall hear; let not the Lord speak to us lest we die.”

 

The people celebrated for responding to God’s call for a relationship by saying, “We will do and we will hear (24:7),” were granted the gift of the Shema, “Hear, O Israel (Deuteronomy 6:4).” The gift of “Hear, O Israel,” is the possibility of higher hearing, a hearing of intimacy (Rashi; Genesis 4:23).”

 

This week’s portion, Eikev, beginning with, “This shall be the reward when you hear these ordinances (Deuteronomy 7:12),” and concluding, “It will be that if you hear and relate to My commandments (11:13),” is about Hearing To See. Next week’s portion, Re’ei, is about seeing, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse (11:26).”

 

Our portion is an opportunity to restore the Hearing To See rejected by Adam and Eve, and again by Israel at Revelation. If we master the higher hearing of Eikev, we will be granted the clear Vision offered in Re’ei.

 

“At that time God said to me, ‘Carve for yourself two stone Tablets like the first ones and ascend to Me to the mountain, and make a wooden Ark for yourself’ (10:1).” The original Tablets were never intended to be enclosed in an Ark. Moses, “smashed them before your eyes (9:17),” because the first Tablets offered a relationship with God that had the same visual quality of Eden and Revelation.

 

The second Tablets needed an Ark. They were enclosed, just beyond the reach of their eyes. The people who said, “We will hear,” would have to master the art of hearing through the Ark’s walls, piercing them so that we can regain what they had forfeit at Revelation, originally lost by Adam and Eve in the garden.

 

Which form of hearing do we use when reading a verse? Which form of hearing do we use when listening to a commandment? Are we hearing instructions, or hearing the whispers coming from inside the Ark (Rashi; Numbers 7:89)?

 

The Second Tablets offer the opportunity to hear at the highest level; Hearing To See, hearing with such intimacy that our eyes are opened and afforded that wished for by Moses when he requested, “Show me, now Your glory (Exodus 33:18).”

 

I wish all of us, parents and teachers, would listen to everything our children ask and say. I dream of our hearing them so well that we can begin to visualize and relate to them as who they can be when they fulfill all their potential.

 

I wish all of us, husbands and wives, would listen to everything a spouse wants to say. I dream of our mastering higher hearing, Hearing To See, so that we can say that which even Adam never achieved, “I have found my perfect helpmate right before my eyes (Based on Genesis 2:20).”

 

Our year begins with hearing the Shofar. When we Hear To See, we can enter and see the most hidden of places, the Holy of Holies, on Yom Kippur, facing the Ark and Hearing the whispers within its walls so well that we can visualize the coming year with total clarity.

 

My wife lights her Shabbat candles and then covers her eyes while whispering her blessing: Hearing To See. She opens her eyes and sees, not candles, but the sanctity and meaning in the home she is enlightening.

 

Shabbat Shalom

 

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