The Violence of Silence

Jun 24th, 2009 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Relationships, Spiritual Growth
It happened, as I knew it would. We received a hate filled comment to one of our blogs. How sad that such a thing is expected! How frightening that such things are so common that we can laugh and shrug them off!

Then again, I prefer a comment to silence. Not the silence of no comment; we are so inundated with blogs, Tweets and web links that it is impossible to comment on or even read everything we receive. No, it is not a lack of comments that bothers me; it is a refusal to comment, positively or negatively that troubles me.

When someone unsubscribes from our newsletter, I will usually call and ask “why?” Can I improve the newsletters? Do you have any criticisms?

I want to know if you are angry, bothered or bored. Silence.

I asked many friends to write articles for The Foundation Stone, and thank God, almost 100 people have contributed. Two or three say, “I’ll see.” And then, nothing but silence. “Is there something about the website that bothers you? Silence.

Are you too busy? No, I write every day. So, why the silence? Silence.

Such silence is a constant. I have watched people be hurt by others’ silence; they sense that someone is upset with them and they prefer to directly deal with the issue, but often all they get is silence.

No wonder Mitzvah/Concept (#15) is, “You shall not hate someone else in your heart.” Hatred is not the issue as much as the silent “in your heart.” We may not allow three days to pass in which we, hatefully or angrily, refuse every opportunity to say something to someone else. The Torah advises us to, “Rebuke your friend.” (Mitzvah/Concept #16) Tell someone that you are upset or bothered. Your silence my hurt more than your words of rebuke.

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