27 May After The Blast?
We were close to Israel’s border with Lebanon when we heard a frightening sound. The soldier with us rushed us into a bomb shelter. The sound was a katushya rocket. “The noise is the worst part!” said the soldier. There is a long, scary, whistling sound that haunts you until the rocket lands. This one happened to be a dud.
Sound is effective, and sound, or sound making, is one of the ideas in this week’s portion. God commanded Moses to make trumpets that would summon the people and send messages through the camp. I think of them whenever I hear the Shabbat siren in Israel.
I find it interesting that God makes a point with Elijah that He is not in the shivaree, but in the small voice: (See Beeps, Pwets, and Pons) “11. And He said: ‘Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.’ And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12. and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” (Kings I, Chapter 19)
God was in the “still small voice,” not in the wind, earthquake or fire. What happened to the Trumpets and the loud noise?
We find both the trumpets and the still, small, voice in our High Holiday prayers: “The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard.” (Unetaneh Tokef) What happens after a shockingly loud noise? There is silence. Only in that silence will we be able to hear the still, small voice, in which we can truly find God.
Perhaps the trumpets were not only an announcement; they were also intended for us to pay attention to what we could hear in the silence that followed.
We have recently been awaked by winds, earthquakes, oil spills, and volcanos. The trumpets were sounded and we focused on the loud noises. Perhaps the lesson of Moshe’s trumpets was that we must learn to pay attention to the “still, small voice,” that speaks to us in all of our life experiences.
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