or advice. While reading through the letters to the magazine of our local Sunday paper, I saw a link to this study (here and here). I know this self-silencing can be so dangerous in other areas, too; that’s why I left my job after umpteen years. I was so filled with stress and I couldn’t do anything about it, except add to the frustration. It is so hard to feel that powerless. I guess if we lived in the Far East and were Buddhists or Hindus, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard. But we Jews are not used to self-silence; we’re trained to talk our way through everything. Especially at this time of year–what am I kidding? All year long!
What do we say at the seder? Vchol hamarbeh, harei zeh m’shubach. And anyone who adds, this is praiseworthy. And what does the Rambam say for how we should do our vidui’im? The same.
So we publicly praise big mouths. And this cannot be only for men. Yes, there are times when silence is golden (is this really from the Megillah with Esther being told not to tell where she was from?). Shiva houses and all that, of course. And that’s where we get it wrong, usually. It is hard to do this part of the time, clearly. And don’t get me started about how noisy it was yesterday during shul, especially when the bar mitzvah boy was giving his speech, and even more so when my husband tried to give his…
So clearly we need better training. Learning to keep our mouths open for some times, and supremely shut at others. This balance thing is just tough, but it is how we will gain our true voice.