Word of the Day

Elul 6, 5779
September 6, 2019

Literally, shmirat ozen means “a listening ear.” Attentive listening is active listening. It means being engaged in what someone is saying to you – listening not only for the factual content being conveyed, but also listening for any feelings that are being shared.  

From our Sources

We learn about a listening ear from a story about Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (1800’s). A man approached the rabbi to ask if it would be permissible to fulfill the obligation of drinking four cups of wine at the Passover seder with milk instead of wine. The rabbi asked the man f he was considering making the switch because he was ill. No, the man told him, his health was not the issue. Wine as just more expensive than he could afford.

The rabbi then gave the man 25 rubies. After the man left, the rabbi’s wife asked why he had given the man so much money when 2 or 3 rubies would have been enough to buy wine. The rabbi said, “If that man was thinking of drinking milk at the seder, not only did he not have enough money for wine, he didn’t have enough money for meat or other necessities of the seder either.

What was the question? Could milk be used instead of wine? Was that what the rabbi heard? No – because he really listened, he was able to hear so much more.
-Alan Morinis, With Heart of Mind

Reflections

How effectively do you listen to what others say to you?
What gets in your way of being able to listen attentively to others?
Do you find yourself planning the next thing you want to say?
Distracted by electronics? Wrapped up in your own thoughts?
How might you change these patterns in the year ahead?