Dear Readers,

There’s an old joke: When you talk to G‑d, it is prayer, but when G‑d talks to you, you need a psychiatrist.

But really, this is not necessarily so.

There are many ways that G‑d talks to us. Sometimes, it is sign, a turn of events or a set of “coincidences.” Sometimes, it is a mentor or an article that lands in our inbox and “speaks” directly to our situation. Sometimes, in moments of distraught prayers, we feel this voice of comfort. When we listen to these “Divine whispers,” we hear G‑d communicating with us.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, “Every single day, a Heavenly voice emanates from Mount Horeb, proclaiming and saying, ‘Woe to them, to the people, because of their insult to the Torah!’ For whoever does not occupy himself with Torah is called, ‘Rebuked,’ as it says, [Like] a golden ring in a swine’s snout is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.”

And it is further stated: “The Tablets are G‑d’s handiwork, and the script was G‑d’s script, charut (engraved) on the Tablets. Do not read charut but cherut (freedom), for there is no free man except one who occupies himself with the study of Torah ... (Avot 6:2).”

In the year 2448 from creation, heaven and earth kissed. G‑d descended on Mount Sinai and communicated with those who stood at the foot of the mountain, as well as every soul that would ever exist. He taught us His wisdom, and how to heal ourselves and our world. There was total clarity and direction.

Ever since then, we succeed and we fall; we take one step forward and too many steps backward. Throughout our journey, there is a heavenly voice that reminds us about our purpose. It “proclaims and says” … this double wording implies both forbearance and urgency because the call is individually tailored to each of us. Depending on our life’s situations, at times it talks vehemently; other times it pleads softly and sympathetically, trying to reach our inner core.

But what of those many times that we don’t hear its message? The Baal Shem Tov explains that while this voice is not physically audible, the highest parts of our soul, which is not enclothed within our bodies, senses its powerful call and is aroused by its Divine urging.

Because each of us are like the words of the Torah that were “engraved on the tablets.”

What is the difference between letters that are engraved and those written with ink? Engraved letters are an actual part of the substance onto which they are written. The Torah, too, is engraved within us—at one with the deepest dimension of our being.

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch said: “Every Jew is a letter in G‑d’s Torah, a letter engraved in stone. At times, the dust and dirt may accumulate and distort—or even completely conceal—the letter’s true form, but underneath the letter remains whole. We need only sweep away the surface grime and the letter, in all its perfection and beauty, will come to light.”

While each of us is constrained by our inherent limitations, the Torah is G‑d’s wisdom and will. When we listen to these Divine whispers, we find personal freedom as well as redemptive healing for our world.

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW