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Vayeshev - Listening

One of the most difficult things about teaching today is the fact, that it is almost
impossible to get a sentence out without being interrupted. If the interruption had what to do with topic at hand, that might not be so bad, however, many times the comment has nothing at all to do with the class or with what is being taught. The result of this is that the students are not really listening and many times miss the essence of what is being said.

What does it mean to listen? I remember when I started as a student at the yeshiva of Brisk, I was told the rule: for the next six months you are not allowed to speak up in the shiur. Before you have the right to speak, you have to prove that you have the ability to listen.

We see this in the Parsha when Yehudah tells his brothers not to kill Yosef, rather to sell him. After his statement the verse says: "וישמעו אחיו" - and his brothers heard. Rashi quotes the Targum Onkulus that is means: "וקבילו מיניה" - they accepted from him. It was not just that they heard, rather they understood and internalized his words and therefore were able to act on them. Rashi continues, that there are times that the Targum translates it simply as: they heard, however, those are only when it refers to hearing a sound, or a statement as it is, without any deeper comprehension.

When we talk, we can't listen. When we don't listen, we miss out on information, understanding, and most important of all: relationships. Let us lead to listen, the talking can come later.

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