By: Batya Fruhman (11th Grade)
In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Ki Tisa, Moshe comes down from Har Sinai to deliver the luchot. While he descends, an uproar of noise comes from the people. Yehoshua, who stood next to Moshe, interpreted this noise as shouting. However, Moshe immediately identified the shouts as a sound of distress.
How was Moshe immediately able to understand the noise as negative sounds? The reason lies in the difference between hearing and listening. When you hear someone, you merely hear the noises coming from their mouth, nothing else. However, when you listen, you internalize what they are saying, and can glean a lot more than simply what the noise is. Moshe, much like a mother who is always able to recognize why her baby cries, listened and was able to interpret why there was an uproar from the people, and therefore react appropriately.
Because he listened to them, rather than only hear them, he was able to realize why the people were having this uproar. In the modern day, it’s really easy to go through life hearing, but never really listening. It is important that we learn from the parshah to always be sure to listen to others when they speak.