"You hear silence speak" (Kreuzberg Kollel Commentary on Sukkah 56)

"You hear silence speak"​​​​​​​ by Shoshana Rürup

You hear silence speak.

- Edmond Jabés, The Book of Margins -

The rabbis speak and listen and listen and speak, swimming on the waves of their machlokot.

The priests gather in pairs and groups and descend and ascend, with trumpets in their hands and water drawn from the Pool of Shiloah, and the "pious and the men of action" are dancing before the people.

They use their mouths to play the flute, to question and argue and refute and agree.

Their ears listen to sound and word.

Rav and Rabba bar bar Hana dispute over time and place.

Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai dispute with regard to the halachot of a meal.

Beit Shammai see the law fulfilled when the blessing over the sanctification of the day is said first and only then the blessing over the wine is made.

Beit Hillel say: first the wine, then the day.

When and what first and what then?

?מאי למימרא What does the text come to teach?

The first Mishnah of Berakhot opens with a discussion over the proper time of the Shma.

When is the right time to say the Shma in the evening?

"From the time the priests enter to partake their terumah".

Until when does the time of the recitation extend?

"Until the end of the first watch".

There is community bound to time. Our community is bound to time.

When does the watch of the community of priests start and end, and when do we, the community of learners and listeners, gather for a meal on Shabbat or a festival day and when do we say which blessing?

There seems to be an urgency in the repetitiveness of the discussions around the issue of time in the Talmud. Time is precious and has its place, something we moderns often seem to miss and lack.

Community needs time.

We need the time of the watches, the time of the festivals, to gather in community, the time to sit face to face, to eat, to drink, to speak the blessings and to sing the songs and draw the water from the sea of texts.

To learn. To engage in machloket with fear of heaven and in constructive ways.

To agree and to disagree and let stand - !תיקו -, and start anew.

To shed tears of anger and joy.

To compromise.

":קראה אחד קראוה שנים יצאו" says the Mishnah.

The rabbis teach us to take our time for careful reading and to value attentive listening to all the voices there are.

Abba Shaul adds matzah and leavened bread "for you", and also this is written down and handed over to the generations.

It is in the book, to be excavated when needed by the learners to come.

There will be a time for it.