By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman
This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM
One of the opening passages of this week's Torah portion (Tzav [Leviticus] 6:1-8:36) tells us, "[The priest] shall remove his garments and don other garments; and he shall then take the ashes to a pure place, outside of the camp" (Leviticus 6:4). The commentaries explain: since the removal of ash will most likely soil his vestments, the Torah recommends that he change his clothing for this particular task. Thus the Torah teaches common courtesy - "it is unseemly to wear the same attire in the kitchen as when pouring wine for a master."
The Torah is teaching the need of changing 'garments' for different functions.
It Once Happened...
Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch often spent hours receiving visitors in private. During this time he would perspire profusely and on occasion even excused himself in the middle of an interview to change his garments. When asked for the reason he explained, "When I receive a visitor I am wearing my own 'garments.' But to understand his comments from his perspective I must remove my garments and don his. At this point I must consider the problem from my own perspective and for that I must don my own garments. Having developed a suitable response I must dress my advice in words suitable to my visitor's ears, and for that I must once again don his garments. Going through this procedure of this constant change of 'garments', are you surprised that I perspire so much?" Such is the art of listening.
Every counselor is advised to listen to his patient or client without forming judgment. This means, to virtually crawl into the patient's mind and hear their troubles from their perspective. Sometimes a friend or client simply requires the compassion and empathy that a listening ear provides.
The next time someone pours his heart out to you, look into his eyes and listen quietly and 'actively' with full focus, without assumptions. Often we jump to conclusions without really hearing the whole 'story'. In fact, the Rambam (Maimonides) teaches that before a rabbi or Dayan (Rabbinical court judge) can decide a Halacha or pass a court decision, the Rabbi needs to repeat the story or case back to the litigant or one presenting the question, in the Rabbi’s own words, so that it will be realized that the Rabbi properly heard the case and did not jump to conclusions. You may then find that your perhaps 'bright' solutions are unwanted, misdirected, and even unnecessary. Properly directed compassion can solve problems, our empathy can sooth fears, even our silence, when used wisely and appropriately, can often calm a raging mind.
From Chabad.org - Rabbi Yanki Tauber
May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!