News Alert
Two Injured 12-Year-Olds Rescued from Malibu Cliff

Speaking of Silence

Internal silence enables us to purge our old ideas from our mind so we can experience a true moment of chochma, or wisdom.

"The gate to wisdom is silence" —Pirkei Avot 3-14 

What is silence?

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you had to solve a problem and were in desperate need of a solution and an answer that was just not coming? Perhaps you were a student preparing for an exam or a businessman looking for a solution. Whatever it might be, the frustration of not having the solution is frustrating indeed!

In Kabbalistic terminology, the first state of awareness, when a new idea enters our minds, it is called "chochma" (wisdom). Even more literally, the Hebrew word "chochma" is composed of two words: "choch" (power) and "ma" (what). Together, meaning "the power of ... what?"

When we recognize that we don't know, when we ask "what," we are enabled to become a vessel to receive new wisdom and answers. This is why wisdom is called "the power of … what?"

How do we hasten to obtain the real solution to problems that in the natural scheme of things do not seem to have any viable solution?

When we submit to the possibility that the answer lies beyond our current space of thinking, that is when we admit to ourselves that we ran out of ideas, then we can ask, "what?" Consequently, we become open to a "chochma" experience, that is when the split second of bright light fills our mind with a new flash of insight that seems to have arrived from beyond.

Know this: We cannot have chochma without internal silence.

Internal silence enables us to purge our old ideas from our mind so we can experience a true moment of "chochma."

Imagine how different our world would be if each person practiced a little more internal silence!

Shabbat Shalom!

Mr. Malibu December 10, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Dear Rabbi Cunin, Thank you for this inspiring message. The phrase "seems to have arrived from beyond" is interesting in its reflection of the seeming two sides of the Divine - indeed what seems to have arrived was always within us and the quiet silence is the environment lifting the fog away from what is always there within us. In one sense, it IS beyond, yet in another is within. Becoming silent has everything to do with the "know-how" not to listen to the thought maker. While we've been taught to be great thinkers, there is a time when we need the silence away from the thought maker and since the thought maker is almost infinite in its momentum, it needs to be focused on that which is more powerful and the Divine within IS more powerful. People think it is mysterious yet it is the most un-mysterious because in truth, it is the only thing present when that mind stops.
Rabbi Levi Cunin December 11, 2011 at 11:14 PM
Well said! “beyond” is meant to state that it is outside the usual frame of reference. But just as our life force has abilities that one can live a lifetime without even touching the potential that exists within, same is true with reaching beyond our scope of understanding.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »