Monday, March 2, 2009

Loving and listening

Last Friday Rabbi R Shapiro was the guest speaker at the Shabbat service. I loved his speech a lot for several reasons. First of all, it made me think about myself, about how exactly I love. Well, obviously there are certain flaws that need to be corrected but I think it is really great that I could see these and therefore I can start working on improving my way of loving.
I also loved his way of speaking, it was impossible not to listen to what he had to say. He is funny, smart and knows how to attract undivided attention :-) He spoke about the commandment of "love thy neighbor". He said what I always thought about it: it is impossible to command someone to feel a certain way. Emotions can not be controlled in ways behavior can. BUT: he emphasized the sentence that precedes the one in question, which says: hear, O, Israel ... hear, as -- according to Rabbi Shapiro -- in listen. Because, and I fully agree on this, too, there is indeed a difference between hearing and listening. The latter involves a whole lot more. If we really listen to someone we care about we will understand not only the words they say but also the complexity of their thoughts and feelings encoded in the words we hear. In a way, we hear words but listen to thoughts and feelings. Therefore listening means caring, and once we are able to listen, we are able to love. Even our neighbor :-)

(This weekend we watched Bill Maher's Religulous. I loved the movie, which is a kind of comedy-documentary. It is focusing on the idea of not using our ability of doubt and critical thinking and on the potential consequences of such behavior. Maher showed it through pointing out obvious contradictions in -- well, mostly in the New Testament -- religious scriptures and asked people about them. He got some interesting answers :-) I am convinced that everyone should see this film.)

No comments:

Post a Comment