– א –
I did not even make it to a whole word, I got stuck on just a letter. א – Aleph.
One the insights about the experience on Sinai from our tradition that resonates most deeply with me speaks to what was actually spoken in that mythic moment. It was Rabbi Mendel Torum of Rymanov who suggested that it was only the first letter of the first word that was uttered from the Divine. The hook, the rub, the wonderfully confounding aspect of this insight … is that the first letter, א – Aleph, is silent. The first and only sound of that transformative encounter was no sound, silence.
Our minds are wonderful in the ways that they think, and wonder and process the world around and within us. And they do not stop. At their best they are like puppies with endless, playful and loving energy. At worst they are like puppies with unfocused, unsettled and destructive energy. Like a puppy, our minds need to be given attention, nourishment and training.
Beyond and (possibly holding) the ongoing and mysterious workings of our mind, is the soul. I believe reaching and touching the quiet of the א – Aleph is the way we light the path to the soul. When we remember and try to navigate that path, we bring ourselves in better balance … living in the healthy interplay of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual selves.
I love the idea – while simultaneously finding it challenging – that the gateway to the Sinai moment and all that hinged upon it is the silence of א – Aleph. In turn, the way to all that we associate with Sinai – divine encounter, connectedness to others, clarity of mission – is intimately ingrained in creating the experience of the א – Aleph, of silence. As I imagine we all still value and even crave these Sinai-itic benefits … the quest for the א – Aleph moments will always be essential to our well-being of our bodies, hearts, minds and souls.