Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Sound of Silence

Art: Charnine

Most people these days are going about their lives as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening.  I can't really understand it, because to me the world is on the verge of something huge, and yet only a small percentage of people seem to "see" it.   Not only can people not see what's going on in front of their eyes, they can no longer hear either..... as Rebbetzin Jungreis writes:

The Rebbetzin's Viewpoint
By: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

`Deaf and Dumb` 

I have often written and said that we are living today in remarkable but dangerous times in which we can hear (provided we know how to listen) the footsteps of Messiah. Ours however, is a generation that has difficulty hearing. We are saturated with constant noise, not only by world events that are so rapidly unfolding that before we digest one, another is upon us. But we are also assailed by our own tumultuous, seductive life styles – lifestyles that are conducive to self-absorption and “deafness”.

You might, of course, wonder at the appropriateness of the word “deafness”. “Isn’t that a bit too extreme?” No! Even if there was a stronger expression, I would resort to that, because indeed, our generation has become deaf – no matter how thunderous the call of Hashem may be.

But still you might ask, “Why deaf?” What is there in our society that inhibits a person from listening? Why should our generation be more deaf than those that preceded us? To be sure, in every generation we have had problems hearing that “still small voice” that comes in many shapes and forms. However, in our generation, that blockage has become even more acute. There are so many sounds that divert us from hearing. Nowadays, it is rare to see anyone take even a moment to think. There was a time when people took walks to contemplate or they secluded themselves to give themselves time to think and review their lives. Today however, such happenings hardly occur, if at all. Today, when you see people walking, they are always involved in some activity, be it talking on their cell phones, text messaging, scrolling through their e-mail on their blackberrys, or listening to their I-pods. And should they steal some moments to seclude themselves, there are always other diversions vying for their attention, be it the internet, TV, or video games, etc.

In the interim, time relentlessly passes by, and with every moment, events unfold that we don’t hear or see. Not only have we lost our ability to hear, but we have also lost our ability to talk.... to hold a conversation. Nowadays, people communicate through e-mail, texting, or twitter. This has become so prevalent that children no longer speak to parents, couples no longer speak to each other. They find it much easier to text or resort to other technological means of communication, because through these methods, they don’t have to hear a response – another voice which might question or negate their message. Nor are they obliged to hear expressions of love which might make them feel guilty or indebted. There is an old Yiddish saying, “There was a time when parents taught their children to talk, but now, children teach their parents to keep quiet.”

Regardless of our reaction however, the messages continue.... the sounds become louder and louder, demanding a response, but how can we respond if we no longer know how to hear? Deaf, dumb, and blind, we continue to march on to the sound of our own music and congratulate ourselves on our open-mindedness and ready acceptance of all life-styles.

So it is that we never learn. Even the most world-shaking events go unheeded. Neither the Holocaust nor the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years of exile has made us stop and re-think our lives.

I could go through countless happenings of our contemporary life, but I will skip to 9/11 a tragedy which spoke thunderously to all the citizens of our USA. Remarkably, even then, we continued to remain deaf, and perverted its message to that which we regarded as “politically correct”.

We have become so inured that we see nothing unusual in the constant escalation of natural disasters, be they tsunamis, floods, tornados, earthquakes, nuclear spills, and so on. Nor do we see anything remarkable about dead birds falling from the skies or dead fish – sardines washing ashore. Even though they numbered a million. Nor did we wake up when financial disaster overtook us. Overnight, we witnessed the collapse of giant corporations and industries.... the melt-down of Wall Street and the devaluation of the dollar, all of which we once believed to be invincible.

Our inability to hear rendered us deaf and blind to the messages behind the toppling of powerful governments – governments that for years were controlled by dictators who ruled with iron fists. We delude ourselves into believing that that which we are witnessing is the establishment of democratic societies, the dawn of freedom and peace in the dark world of the Middle East. We refuse to consider that the mobs on the streets are the precursors of even more tyrannical dictatorships. Take, for example, Egypt, which we believe to be the perfect example of the democratic dream fulfilled. In our blindness and deafness, we refused to pay heed to the heinous shouts of “Jew! Jew” as Lara Logan, the CBS foreign correspondent was barbarously attacked (although Lara Logan is not a Jew). Nor has the world paid heed to the destruction of churches and the killing of those of the Christian faith. Yes, all this is unfolding in the “democratic new Egypt”. Paradoxically, neither Rome nor any other Christian denominations have raised voices of outrage. The silence is deafening. Why? Why? But we dismiss that question as well. We have our own problems. We can’t really get involved in world events. It won’t help anyway, so the call continues to be sounded and we continue to remain blind, dumb and deaf.

[to be continued]

Source: Hineni

6 comments:

  1. i can not come up with any other words to describe how i feel about this than.. very well said.. this is something i have been saying and feeling for very long. thank you for this post.

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  2. You'll have to thank Rebbetzin Jungreis. She's fabulous.... I heard her speak a few years ago when she came to Sydney.

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  3. I am tremendously grateful to Rebbetzen Jungreis for speaking outwardly because we need more like her to really scream it out to the world what is going on and that it is serious.

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  4. Perhaps, Westerners are the sort of deaf and dumb Watchmen who are merely Golem.

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  5. If there is a remnant of Amalek in The West, they will be rooted out, massacred on the battlefield of their own making, or aborted. "Only B'nei Yosef {a ben Menashe or ben Efrayim} can defeat B'nei Amalek." Or. Only Beis Yosef {10 Shevatim of Israel, including Jews of Colors, I SUPPOSE} can defeat Beis Edom.

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  6. Rebbetzin Jungreis is a rare gem that Hashem has spared from the inferno of the Holoucaust. We need to heed her words of wisdom gleaned from the deepest depth of our holy Torah. Especially in this day and age, where our generation hasn't got the 'foggiest' of what the evil, dark side of this world is capable of unleashing.
    I have merited to have met this dimunitive figure of a giant of a personality b"h and heard her talk.
    May Hashem keep her in the best of health for many healthy years to come.
    And may Hashem bless his nation, Israel with enduring PEACE.
    Thank you, Devorah, for posting this. We really need to internalise and heed the Rebetzin's sagely words.

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