I was filling up my car with gas at a regular gas station one morning this week, when suddenly I realized that the upcoming Parshiyot (Tora Portions) are more relevant than ever. As the gas was being pumped in to the car, on the screen of the pump a video started playing. It was as series of sports clips and commercials for new movies. I stood there like a zombie, mesmerized by this video and then it hit me.
How sad is it that we can’t be, not even for one moment, alone with ourselves? We can’t stand the quiet. It was a beautiful day around, the sun was shining, there were people all around me, but like zombies we were all glued to the screen unable and afraid to maybe think about anything for a moment. In a world where we are overflowed with commercials, over stimulated 24/7. We are afraid of the silence. An average person looks at their phone once every 90 seconds studies show. What has become so important? What has changed in our lives that suddenly we are chained to this (jail)cell-phone?
When Pharaoh fears that the Hebrews will rise up against him he gives them work. He fills up their day to day with more and more work, enslaving them, not giving them a moment to think. The moment they finally have at home to think about life, or anything worth thinking about, they will be too tired to think.
What would happen if we stop and think? If we were to break free of the chains of our phones, jobs, emails, text messages, facebook likes and just for a moment at a gas station be in the present moment, live life in the most basic and pure way? We are terrified of this. Terrified of what we may find inside us. Terrified of what we may think, maybe I am not trying hard enough and am settling for mediocracy? Maybe my priorities in life are out of order? The consequences of answering these questions are too heavy to deal with, so we prefer to fill our mind with anything but what is really important. We are slaves. We bow to the neon Gods, afraid to disturb the sound of silence as Simon and Garfunkel said.
What is in the sound of silence? What is it about it that causes us to run from it, but at the same time redeem us from all our slavery? We run for within it lay all the toughest questions that cannot always be answered. All our fears and regrets, our pain and sadness. But it the silence there is something else.as it says in Kings 1 19:
” ויאמר, צא ועמדת בהר לפני ה’, והנה ה’ עובר ורוח גדולה וחזק מפרק הרים ומשבר סלעים לפני ה’, לא ברוח ה’ ואחר הרוח רעש, לא ברעש ה’. . ואחר הרעש אש, לא באש ה’; ואחר האש, קול דממה דקה”
“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; and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
It is in the sound of Silence that we find the Almighty. It is in the sound of silence that we transcend reality and touch infinity. It is in the sound of silence where the key to unlocking all our hidden potential resides. In the sound of silence lays truth.
So we run from it. Slaves to time, slaves to material. Slaves to this reality when truthfully we have the power to defy gravity, but only when we face the sound of silence and head in to the fog, for in the fog, as we will read in the story ofMount Sinai, is where G-d is.
We spend our lives living as slaves and we never know we have the keys, the keys to be free and just be able to enjoy the sound of silence as the gas is pumped in to our cars, and energy pumped in to our hearts to live life to the fullest.