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A Different Type of Voice

Friday, 19 August, 2016 - 1:02 pm

When the Jews stood at Sinai, they heard G-d’s voice. Moshe reminds them, in this week’s parsha Va’Etchanan, that they heard a voice that did not cease.

Now, although we can accept the spiritual meaning of this – that G-d’s words reverberate until today, even if we can’t physically hear them – how did the Jews know at the time that G-d’s voice would not stop? Clearly, they were engaged in a mystical moment, so why did they assume this once-in-a-lifetime experience would somehow endure forever?


The cry of a mother over her dead child is a cry that I will never forget for the rest of my life. It’s not the words, the volume, the pitch or the tone. It’s simply a different voice altogether.  To hear a mother call out goodbye as her son is being buried is a sound from a different universe. Heartbreaking doesn’t do justice to describe it.

Hearing this cry last week helps me relate to the Jewish people at Sinai.  There are some experiences that simply transport you to a different dimension.


And, this helps explain the confidence the Jews had at Sinai. The Jewish people were not commenting on the linear length of what they heard. The Torah states that at Sinai they heard the lightning and saw the thunder. In other words, it was a completely different experience. It was not merely a greater degree of intensity. It was an other-worldly quality altogether.

And, that’s how they knew it was endless. When they recognized the infinite quality of the experience, they knew that they were transported into an experience that transcended time.

It wasn’t that this sound would continue in all times. It was that this type of sound is not subject to the limitations of time in the first place.


Just as our ancestors heard the voice of G-d, an infinite voice of holiness and goodness, so may those that have lost loved ones be comforted with the advent of true Divine revelation and joy. As we begin the Seven of Consolation with Shabbat Nachamu, may they be reunited with their loved ones here on earth and soon witness the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Then our mouths will be filled with laughter and our tongues with songs of praise.”

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