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    In last week’s article, we were discussing the proper usage of our ears. One of the wonderful things we can do with our ears is to allow a troubled person to unburden themselves. The Gemora recommends, “Daaga b’lev ish yasichena l’acheirem – One who has worry in their heart should talk it over with another.” As the saying goes, “A trouble shared is halved.” A listening ear can also alleviate the pain of loneliness. Bending one’s ear in friendship can be a lifesaving task of kindness for the Gemora teaches us, “O! chavrusa, O! misusa – Either companionship or death!” Such is the agony of acute loneliness. With the plethora of older singles, divorcees, widows and widowers, there is much one can accomplish by just being a good friend and having a patient ear.

    Also, with covid-19 still keeping many people sheltered, there are many opportunities to excel at the gift of listening. Of course, charity starts at home and one’s first responsibility is to listen carefully and with profound empathy to the needs, worries, hopes, and dreams of one’s spouse. We should also find time to listen to our parents, children and grandchildren. The time spent with our parents is a sure assurance for longevity as the Torah promises, “Lemaan yarichun yamecha – In order that you should have a length of days.” And so too when we invest in our descendants, the verse states, “V’hosircha Hashem bifri vitnichah – and Hashem will give you extra because of the fruit of your belly.” The Chasam Sofer, zt”l, zy”a, interprets this to mean that if we spend time with our grandchildren, then Hashem will give us extra life so that we can be around longer for them.

    It goes without saying that we shouldn’t listen to other people’s secrets nor should we pollute our ears with vulgar speech and we shouldn’t allow gentile ballads to defile our souls. Of course, the greatest excellence of the ears is when we use them to learn Torah. As the Chassidim say, When we daven we talk to Hashem, while when we learn Hashem is talking to us! It is the fulfillment of the directive Shema Yisroel, Listen Yisroel, and it is what we promised at Har Sinai, “Naase v’nishma – We will do and we will listen.”

    As we coronate Hashem as our King this Rosh Hashanah, let’s make a renewed commitment to find more time to listen to Him with the learning of more of His Torah, finding time to learn more halachah to know what to do, and to learn more mussar so that we have the smarts to know how to be truly God-fearing and in that merit may Hashem bless us with long life, good health and everything wonderful.

    To be continued…