The Miracle of Radios

I believe in everyday miracles. Many are things so common we take them for granted, but it’s good to stop sometimes and really consider them and how miraculous they truly are. To me, a radio is one of these things. Yes, these days we may call it “streaming,” but the ability to send invisible, silent signals through the air, to pass them through a mechanical device and transform them into sound, and to hear everything from music to sports with the turn of a dial—now that’s what I call a miracle!

Just imagine all those silent waves surrounding you, constantly bombarding. And yet you can't see or feel them. They hold so much information, but you can’t hear them unless you have a radio. Without the radio, the room would be silent. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

But what does this have to do with G‑d and Judaism? Well, just like those omnipresent radio waves, G‑d is everywhere, all the time. And like those radio waves, He appears to be invisible and silent unless we have the right device to hear Him. How do we make that device and tune in?

First, Build Our Radio

In Pirkei Avot, Shimon HaTzaddik says that the world stands on three pillars: Torah, avodah (prayer) and gemilut chassadim (acts of kindness). Just as a radio is only a silent box until it’s turned on and receiving signals, so the world seems spiritually silent to us without these three pillars. The first pillar, our holy Torah, is the detailed instruction manual for building and operating our radio. When we study the Torah, we transform ourselves into human radios to receive G‑d’s wisdom. That wisdom is also expressed in the Torah. So the Torah is both the instruction manual and the broadcast!

Next, Dial In

Sound doesn't travel in a vacuum, nor does G‑d’s presence. Through our avodah and gemilut chassadim, we provide the medium through which G‑d transmits his ongoing sustenance of the world, the way radio stations transmit their broadcasts through the air. Our service to Him, whether through prayer or action, releases goodness into the world. That goodness is the medium through which G‑d makes His presence heard.

When we pray, it’s as if we’re calling in to a radio talk show. Often the hosts of these shows are experts of one kind or another. They may offer financial advice, relationship advice, or just a friendly ear for whatever is on your mind. G‑d is the ultimate talk show host. He’s always there, always listening. He will comfort you, guide you, support you. The act of prayer dials you straight in, no waiting on hold, and no intermediary.

When you turn the dial on the radio, the unique frequencies of each station are received and transformed into sound for you to hear. Every mitzvah, like every act of gemilut chassadim, works the same way. Each has its own spiritual frequency. Each provides a connection to G‑d, in a way unique to that action. A blessing over food connects you to the Gratitude Station. A prayer for the health and recovery of a loved one connects you to G‑ds Call-in Help Line. The dial on your personal radio will tune you in to many stations in the course of a day.

Turn Up the Volume

The Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple, was G‑d's dwelling place on earth; His ultimate live broadcast radio station. The Levites sang, the korbanot (sacrifices) were offered, and the entire Temple was filled with the holiness of His presence. If holiness was a sound, the sound at the Temple must have been deafening and awesome! These days, when the Beit Hamikdash no longer stands, we have to recreate that energy with our enthusiasm for living a Jewish life. Our enthusiasm and joy are the electricity that keeps our radio playing, volume pumping.

G‑d is broadcasting 24/7/365. He provides stations for every person, for every situation, and for every mood. Through Torah, avodah, and gemilut chassadim, He’s given us the tools to make ourselves into our own spiritual radios and connect to Him. Happy listening!