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    The silence of Abraham – Tol’dot

    Moses speaks constantly, but Abraham doesn’t. Very rarely does Abraham utter a word. It’s not that he can’t speak but that he doesn’t.

    Kierkegaard says, “When I speak, if I am unable to make myself intelligible, then I do not speak” There are some people who can speak on many subjects but on other subjects they cannot open their mouths.

    When things happen which one cannot understand or explain, the best advice is given by Pir’kei Avot (4:18) which says that when one is faced with the ultimate questions it is better not to utter a word. At that point it is silence that says it all.

    In silence one says there is nothing one can say. All that has happened has happened and one cannot (as Omar Kayyam says) undo it or cancel even half a line.

    Nevertheless no-one is powerless. Real strength comes from realistic acceptance that facts are facts. Real power comes from asking oneself, “How do we handle the event? Where do we go from here?”

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