Shema: Hear! Listen!

By Gloria Scheiner (Sarasota, FL)

We signed the Shema today.

We cupped our ears and raised one finger to show the Lord is One.

It was Tot Shabbat at my daughter Elana’s temple, and everyone was called to listen.

The Lord is One, and we were one Jewish community.

The parents recited the blessing over their sons and daughters, and, of course, Elana, Michael, and three-year-old Chloe sneaked in a special prayer to include their miniature dachshund, Otto.

The Shema urges us to hear, to listen!

I listen.

I listen to my forty-year-old son, Adam, when he calls me each morning at 7:20 am on his way to his office.

I hear all about his day’s plans, his stories about the kids, the challenges of raising a family in today’s world.

I listen.

I listen to his six-year-old.

“Grandma,” he says, “I have to go to a listening class every Sunday. Everyone wants me to listen but nobody wants to listen to me.”

I listen to him.

I listen to my forty-three-year-old son, Jac.

He shares his excitement about his partnership, his books, his music, his recipes, and sometimes even his dates.

“Hey Mom, I completed Sunday.”

Who else but someone who has listened to him could share that excitement?

Because I listen, I know what he’s excited about: the Sunday crossword puzzle.

We listen to each other because we love each other. We love each other more because we listen to each other.

“Listen, Glo. I’m furious. Why do I have to bla,bla,bla…?”

I listen to my sister’s frustration. The more I listen, the more I connect.

It’s so easy to love and be loved. Just listen!

The Shema tells us to hear, to listen, even when it’s a challenge to listen to a loved one when Dr. Alzheimer interrupts his speech and flow of thoughts.

It gets more difficult every day, but I am determined. I am pledged to listen.

Some days are better than others. Yesterday was not one of the better ones.

Tomorrow I will have my hearing aids checked.

I want to listen.

Gloria Scheiner is a member of “The Pearls,” a group of six women who meet every Monday in Sarasota to write. “We choose a word and write for about ten minutes. If we like it, we are free to expand it, edit it, or just hone in on a particular phrase or idea. What I love most is how one word evokes such a different chord in each of us.”

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8 Comments

Filed under American Jewry

8 responses to “Shema: Hear! Listen!

  1. Rachel Braynin

    Gloria – They say the secret for successful grandparenting is to listen. Thanks for sharing the reality of listening as a strength of relationships – all of them.

  2. Barry Strulson

    Thank you Gloria. My daughter Rachel sentme to this site and I read with great intereat your thoughts. As a grandparent myself, I know how important listening can be. Nothing pleases me more that listening to my grandchilden at all times. In the afternoons when I am fortunate enough to pick-up my grandaighter from her Jewish School and listento her sing Jewish songs. Listening to all my grandchildren talk with each other, listen to my daughters and sons-in-law tell me about their day, what funny things their children did. Thank you for reminding us to LISTEN.

  3. Helen Schwartz

    Hi, Gloria–
    I’ve always known I could learn a lot from you by listening to you speak; however, I never before realized I could also learn by reading about your listening.
    Thank you for so beautifully sharing your thoughts and enlightening my thinking. I will take this lesson to heart.
    By the way, tell Jac I also get super-excited about finishing the Sunday puzzle. For Steven, it’s routine; for me, it’s an occasion!
    Hugs and kisses to you and your wonderful family!

  4. sheila bunin

    I’ve known Gloria for 40 years, and she truly listens with her heart, her head, her spirit, her love.

    She has always offered an ear to my family, enhancing our marriage and our children.
    We have been blessed to have her in our lives.

    I now pray that her prayers, and our prayers for her, will be listened to, heard, and fulfilled.

    Gloria, you are dearly loved!

  5. Barbara Berkowitz

    Gloria,
    Again you have touched my heart!
    Thank you for teaching me how to really listen;
    not just to hear.
    Love you.

  6. my mom’s writing always gives me chills but in this short piece i think i felt my soul swell just the slightest bit 🙂 i am so proud to call her my mom and just wanted to add my praise to the list for this, the strongest and wisest, woman i know 🙂

  7. Joan Chait

    Gloria,
    As I’ve said every time we get together, I always look forward to talking and LISTENING to you. Jeanne must be very proud of what you have written since she sent it on to me to appreciate also.
    Joan

  8. bob sussman

    Gloria,your words moved me.Tomorrow I’m going to try and listen better.

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