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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Seeing the Sounds

By: Chaya Shuchat, on Chabad.org

When describing the giving of the Torah, the verse states: “All the people saw the voices and the torches, the sound of the shofar, and the smoking mountain.” How do you see “the voices and the sound of the shofar”? In his commentary, Rashi explains, “They saw what is usually heard.” The Jews experienced a moment of synesthesia: they were able to see the thunder and hear the lightning that accompanied the giving of the Torah.


In our usual state, we see the physical, while the spiritual is something that we only hear about—it is abstract, removed from our everyday experience.


But when the Torah was given, that which is usually heard was seen. The veil was lifted, and the people were able to directly see and experience G‑dliness while the physical world faded back into the abstract.


Since that day, we have been striving to recreate our experience at Mount Sinai. To “hear” the physical and “see” the spiritual. To remember that there is a world beyond that which we can see with our physical eyes, which we can access through effort.

We sometimes get so bogged down with the day-to-day routine that the spiritual world may seem like a distant dream. Our goals may revolve around putting the next meal on the table and balancing the checkbook, and the grander picture gets lost in the process.


But what we need to keep in mind is that the spiritual and physical worlds are not separate. “Seeing what is usually heard” means realizing that the physical world already contains the greatest spiritual lights. Our everyday lives are actually infused with tremendous beauty, passion, and power. Each small mitzvah that we do transforms an ordinary physical event into a spiritual power source.


The spiritual world is also advancing and becoming more accessible to us. This process will be completed when Moshiach comes when we will no longer be blind to the spiritual radiance that lies just beyond our vision. It will become part of our daily reality.


Candle lighting times in NYC: Thursday at 7:57 PM & Friday at 7:58 PM (from a pre-existing flame). For blessings, go to www.VirtualShavuot.org


Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!



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