"Listen" on Shabbat Shuvah

This Shabbat is significant as we stand between the sacred days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I look forward to this coming Tuesday evening and Wednesday when we will be together again as a congregation either in the Riverside service or in the Sanctuary. This Shabbat is Shabbat Shuvah which gives us an opportunity to both emotionally and spiritually prepare for Yom Kippur and also reflect back on Rosh Hashanah.


My words to the congregation on the First Day of Rosh Hashanah were about the Shofar and how important it is to listen. (If you were not with us in the Sanctuary and you would like a copy of the sermon it will be available for distribution after the holidays.) I also have reflected a bit on my words since Monday and I have been thinking about a poem that I remember reading years ago on the same theme. It was in the Siddur my synagogue used when I was a younger and we often read this poem/prayer on Shabbat. I was not able to find until after I completed the sermon so I thought I would send it to you now.


Shabbat Shalom and Gmar Hatimah Tovah.



Rabbi Adam Feldman




Listen - by Rabbis Jack Riemer and Harold Kushner


Judaism begins with the commandment: Hear, O Israel!

But what does it really mean to hear?


The person who attends a concert with a mind on business,

Hears-but does not really hear.


The person who walks amid the songs of the birds

And thinks only of what will be served for dinner, hears-but does not really hear.


The one who listens to the words of a friend, or spouse, or child, and does not catch the note of urgency: "Notice me, help me, care about me," hears-but does not really hear.


The person who listens to the news and thinks only of how it will affect business,

Hears-but does not really hear.


The person who stifles the sound of conscience and thinks "I have done enough already,"

Hears-but does not really hear.


The person who hears the Hazzan pray And does not feel the call to join in prayer,

Hears-but does not really hear.


The person who listens to the rabbi's sermon and thinks that someone else is being addressed,   Hears - but does not really hear


On this Shabbat, O Lord, Sharpen our ability to hear.


May we hear the music of the world, and the infant's cry, and the lover's sigh.

May we hear the call for help of the lonely soul, and the sound of the breaking heart.


May we hear the words of our friends, and also their unspoken pleas and dreams.


May we hear within ourselves the yearnings that are struggling for expression.


May we hear You, O God.


For only if we hear You

Do we have the right to hope That You will hear us.


Hear the prayers we offer to You this day, O God, And may we hear them too.

Posted: 9/21/2012 10:38:52 AM by | with 0 comments


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