An earthquake in Haiti has shaken the world. How long will its reverberations last? Aid will hopefully continue to pour in. We will send money. We will shake our heads in sorrow. We will read and watch the news until the next earth-shattering event.
The world will pay attention to this devastating tragedy, send money, supplies, even hospitals. Then what? Must we wait for another tragedy in order to share in this outpouring of compassion?
“The word of God said (to Elijah), “Go out and stand on the mountain before God.” And behold, God was passing, and a great, powerful wind, smashing mountains and breaking rocks, went before God. “God is not in the wind!” After the wind came an earthquake. “God is not in the earthquake!” After the earthquake came a fire. “God is not in the fire!” After the fire came a still, thin sound.” God was not in the earthquake, wind or fire. He was in the still, small voice.
Until we learn to pay attention to the “still, thin sound” we will not know how to respond to the earthquakes, winds and fires.
Even as we respond to the desperate needs of Haiti we can begin to pay attention to the smaller sounds whispering for attention. We can begin by listening to the sounds in our homes, our offices and synagogues. We can listen for the subtle changes in our children’s voices. We can pay heed to the quiet sighs of a friend. We can hear the hushed cries in our souls hinting that we must change a behavior. We can take notice of the pain of people who are such constant parts of our lives that we often do not really see them.
I am convinced that when we begin to hear the still, small voices, that we will not have to wait for earthquakes, winds, and fires, to learn the powerful but subtle messages of life.
Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg