After an amazingly wonderful holiday filled with food and friends and family and prayers, today's blessing is about the power of the voice. The prayers of Rosh Hashana are very beautiful, almost overwhelming at times. We were blessed with the beautiful voice of Yehudah Katz, founder of the Reva l'Sheva band. We were doubly blessed with the honor of hosting his family for two of the meals.
So first, there was the power of Yehudah Katz's voice joined with many of my friends during the prayers...that in itself was very meaningful. Then there were the words of the prayers saying, guiding us, in so many ways, to deliver our hopes and dreams for the coming year, our retrospective of the past year and what we want to do differently, better.
And then yesterday, in addition to the Katz family, we were honored to host a family from our neighborhood. It was quite a meal - 17 people...and while I was in the kitchen shifting between the meal and the dessert, I heard a single voice singing. At first I thought it was Yehudah's voice but when I went to listen more closely, I saw that he too was listening. I searched around the room - from where was this voice coming?
In the end, it was from a very talented 15 year old. I'm not sure yet if he knows how incredibly talented he is. He seems to enjoy it but also be a bit embarrassed by all the attention.
It brought the room to silence and then to cheers. So today's blessing is the human voice - it can bless; it can harm. It can heal; it can encourage. It is at once our most powerful weapon and our greatest resource.
It allows us to speak our hearts and our minds - to all, to any, to God. Of all the blessings that God gave to man alone, the human voice is perhaps the most precious.
A long time ago, I started a website - a collection, an archive of articles I had been writing for many years - even decades. I didn't know what to call it, but friends chimed in with "PaulaSays" and I tried it. I never loved the name and yet it remains. But the tag line was mine - "A Voice from Israel".
A voice is a very precious thing. There are many crimes that humans commit, unspeakable horrors in the name of so many things. Silencing someone's voice is a crime - whether it is done by violence, by out-shouting the other person, by closing one's heart to someone's voice - all these are wrong.
A voice - a true blessing...