Sunday, February 21, 2010

G*d Is Still Talking. Is Anyone Still Listening?

I've sat through many classes taught by thoughtful teachers, exploring why G*d chose Abraham.  Or Noah.  Or Moses.  The instructor asks why G*d chose these particular souls to speak to, and what was special about them?  What can we understand about these men and what can we know about G*d by figuring this out. Which I find a spectacularly uninteresting question.

Our knowledge of these men, or many of the other prophets, is extremely limited.  How much could we ever know about Abraham, and how much do I want to guess about what I can never know?.  And even if I know why G*d chose any one of them, I'm not suddenly going to be able to emulate Abraham and therefore guarantee G*d's voice in my own ear.  I want to be able to hear that voice and be true to myself, not some imitator or impersonator.

No - this is not what I notice about the men in these stories.  What I notice about Abraham, or Noah or Moses, is that one human soul, willing to listen to the voice of G*d, and act on what is heard, can change the world.  I don't know what made them special, but I'm inclined to think it was their willingness to listen to G*d's voice, and act accordingly.

How many of us hear that voice?  Hear it subtlety or loudly, hear it waking us up at night or comforting us in sorrow or confronting us in a moment of challenge?  Hear it through the inspired words of another, the transforming beauty of nature, the poetry of a child's thinking?  And then how many of us ignore it.  We doubt or question or hesitate or wonder or look for confirmation, and in that moment of hesitation, that moment of doubt, the power to move and change and do is lost.

And then we wonder how much greatness it takes for a human soul to hear G*d, or for G*d to choose that soul, because it seems beyond our capacity, beyond our talent or skill or experience or ability.  But I'm not sure it isn't just one person listening, hearing, and then doing.  That simple.  That profound.  That important.