Putting God in the mix

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com/chaplain).

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

When is a conversation really all about you (or me)? Have you ever had the need or desire to talk about a situation you are in or faced? Do you ever need to chat about something without hearing another’s personal take on the situation or a similar challenge they faced? Sometimes it just needs to be about one person.

It’s like the Disappearance of God. The brilliant theologian Martin Buber challenged us to think of the Almighty in terms of an “I – Thou” relationship. When you are fully engaged with another, listening to each word, and not contemplating your response or making a grocery list in your mind while absently pretending you are listening, you are in an “I – Thou” relationship where God dwells amongst you. God is in the relationship.

Lately, I find that God is missing from relationships. I experience and observe that people talk at each other. Someone may be describing a situation at work or a child’s experience and suddenly, the other person has taken over the conversation, implanting their work challenges or child’s experiences. Often, when I see this happen, or it is occurring to me, I shut down from the chatter and just listen. I figure the other person has the need to really talk, so let it happen.

Do you think the way we communicate (texting, tweeting) has stripped the way we address each other when we actually are face to face? We seem to have abandoned any sense of holiness when really trying to talk to another soul. I am calling for God to return to my interactions with people. I need God in the mix.