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The Art of Listening!

Thursday, 28 January, 2016 - 11:20 pm

It’s no secret that relationships with in-laws could be interesting. Many family feuds start with silly personality clashes with a mother in law, son in law, sister in law or even a father in law. In Yiddish,Shver, means a father in law and as many of you know, my Shver and I are very close. I seek his guidance constantly and have him, and my adored Shviger, join our Montana community as much as possible. It’s not only that he raised Chavie and her eight siblings, but that he’s adopted me, his first son in law, and has treated me like his own for the past ten years.

This week’s Torah portion, Yitro, talks about the first biblical shver, Jethro. Despite being a former Midianite pastor of idolatry, a past advisor to king Pharaoh of Egypt and a newcomer to Judaism, his daughter Tzipporah was married to Moses. Now that he joined Jewry, Jethro chooses to give Moses advice about leadership. He teaches his son in law that the key to survival and success is to delegate some of his workload to others. Moses is hesitant, and like many of us, I’m sure he was astonished by the Chutzpah of his father in law mixing in to his life. Yet, G-d agreed with Jethro and told Moses to accept the advice.

Maimonides enjoyed Aristotelian philosophy and quipped that “one should accept the truth from whoever teaches it”. If the great codifier of Jewish law could accept guidance from a Greek philosopher, we should be able to handle constructive advice from friends, family and coworkers who we feel are looking out for our best interests. It’s never easy to be a recipient, giving is always more pleasurable, but if we are to grow as individuals, both spiritually and materially, we must learn to listen to those who can help uplift us, inspire us and change us. As the Turkish proverb says “If speaking is silver, listening is gold”.

Listening helped Moses and it could help you!



May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!! 

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